On Tuesday President Barack Obama delivered his address to the nation’s schoolchildren, and despite highly publicized concern, at Centennial Middle School, only 23 of 1,100 students opted not to listen to the president’s remarks.
In the Kyrene School District, principals were given the opportunity to present the speech to their students in whatever way worked best for their school. Some schools showed the speech in individual classrooms while others presented the speech to several classes at once in large multi-purpose rooms.
The content of the speech consisted mostly of President Obama encouraging children to hold themselves responsible for their schooling and to set goals for themselves.
“He said what you do now will really affect your future,” said Sami Pincus, a seventh grader at Centennial Middle School. “If you drop out of school you won’t get a good job later on.”
Pincus said that she saw a few students not paying attention to the speech, but that she did not see anyone upset about it.
Seventh grade teacher Mark Lemieux thought the speech was a good idea, and said that his students were not overly concerned with the speech.
“It really wasn’t a big deal to them, but a few of the students wanted to know why it was a big deal to other people,” Lemieux said.
President Obama’s speech used well known people such as J.K. Rowling and Michael Jordan to encourage students to push themselves to success.
“When you give up on yourself, you give up on your country,” Obama said in the speech. “What’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve?”
Ev Michell, principal of Centennial Middle School, said that the speech was spreading a good message among students at her school.
“He’s putting responsibility on the kids as well as the parents and teachers,” Michell said.
Lisa Foster, the parent of a third grader at Kyrene de la Sierra, thought that the speech was inspirational.
“He told students to stay in school and work hard, which is really the same message that teachers are sending to students every day,” Foster said.
To view a transcript of President Obama’s address, go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/MediaResources/PreparedSchoolRemarks/.