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Scholastic Kids Press Corps
The Scholastic Kids Press Corps is a team of about 50 Kid Reporters around the nation.  The interactive site brings daily news to life with reporting for kids, by kids.
Several hundred students filled the bleachers in the gymnasium of the Arlington, Virginia, high school for the lunchtime speech. Students were the focus and students ran the show.

Students React to Obama Speech


Work hard, try your best, your country depends on it, says President

By Gopa Praturi | null null , null

President Obama visited Wakefield High School on its first day of school to talk to the students.

"I want to talk to you about your education," he said.

Several hundred students filled the bleachers in the gymnasium of the Arlington, Virginia, high school for the lunchtime speech. Students were the focus and students ran the show.

Timothy Spicer, the Senior Class President, welcomed Obama to the school and introduced his speech.

"I was excited to hear that I got to introduce the President of the United States," Spicer said. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance that many students don’t get, and I was very happy to have this chance."

Spicer thought a step ahead when he found out that President Obama was coming to his school. He had to prepare his remarks for one thing. He also got to meet Obama and chat with him before the speech.

"It felt good," he said of the meeting, "but I was more interested in his speech than his presence."

President Obama's speech touched many students because of the way he talked about everyone. He mentioned a young girl in Texas who couldn’t speak English when she started school.

"She is now in graduate school on her way to becoming Dr. Jazmin Perez," he said.

He also mentioned a young man from California with brain cancer. "But he never fell behind and he is headed to college this fall," the President continued. "At the end of the day, the circumstances of your life is no excuse for not trying your best."

Wakefield students said they were inspired by his words.

"I like the way he said that you have to keep trying no matter what happens in life," said Sanderson Alim, a senior at Wakefield.

President Obama also talked about how the country relies on every student's hard work.

"What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country," Obama said. "What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future."

That's what senior Ben Names learned from Obama's speech.

"He taught us that we are the future for tomorrow’s world," he said. "It's important that we educate ourselves so that we can support the country and our future."

Obama was joined by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who also talked to the Scholastic Kids Press Corps about the speech.

"The President wants kids to work at their goals," said Secretary Duncan. "The President has been through this too. He knows how it feels."

About the Author

Gopa Praturi is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.


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