Desert Vista High School had one of the most memorable first weeks of the fall term with having President Barack Obama speaking in their gymnasium on Tuesday afternoon.
The speech was an invite-only event where local political figures, select DV staff and the senior class were able to hear the president speak about plans to better assist the middle-class with homeownership.
More than 2000 individuals were able to be present during the president’s speech.
Dr. Anna Battle, principal of DV, said according to the Phoenix Fire Marshall the doors at the gymnasium had to be shut to access the number of attendance because the school was reaching the maximum capacity.
She added that the school continued its regular day but had to operate on a no-bell schedule.
“We couldn’t have the bells ringing to exchange classes, but it went fluidly,” Battle said. “Our security and front office staff still ran school as business as usual.”
Lunch schedules for the students were planned accordingly for the speech, and the senior class who attended were given lunch at an earlier time.
The atmosphere at the school was filled with excitement especially from the senior class, who were all dressed in their best business attire, as they formed their own rally circle chatting, “Fired up, ready to go. We love Obama” before the president hit the stage.
The crowd erupted when the president stepped onto the stage, filling the gym with cheers as Obama waved to the crowd.
During the speech a person in the crowd shouted to the president wishing him happy belated birthday, which led to the whole crowd conducting their own Marilyn Monroe rendition of singing happy birthday to the President.
Battle said there was no negativity with having the president on campus, where everyone at the school was poised and the students were well behaved during the day.
“The families, friends and politicians who were all here were cordial and excited about the president being on our campus and very complimentary of our community as well as our school,” Battle said.
Mountain Park Community Church assisted DV with its parking situation by having guests use their parking facility and then shuttled them to the school because teachers were not able to park on the campus, Battle said.
Response to the speech
Although excitement could be felt in every inch of the school, across the street of the school protestors did not share the same enthusiasm.
One of the protestors, Victor Cos, said he and fellow protestors were there to make sure their voices were heard and to let the President know they can see through “the scandals.”
Nick Metzger, a senior at DV, said it was an awesome experience to be able to see the president in person and have him at the school.
Metzger felt Obama’s speech was relevant to what’s going on in the area, and says his family has felt some homeowner issues with trying to sell one of their homes.
“It’s really nice to hear stuff on that and to hear that it’s going to get better,” Metzger said.
Bernie O’Keefe, a business teacher at DV, shared the same sentiments as Metzger on having the president speak at the school and felt the topic was good.
O’Keefe teaches a financial-planning class at the school, where they speak about buying home and affordability, and felt the president hit hard on the idea of a home being a part of wealth and something that should be respected.
“As far as Obama being here, regardless of your politics, he is the President of the United States and it’s a big, big deal,” O’Keefe said.
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