South Plains students watch President Obama's speech live - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock


South Plains students watch President Obama's speech live

By Ann Wyatt Little - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Students across the country are home after President Obama delivered his school speech. The president addressed the nation's grade students from a high school in Virginia. The last President to give a national school speech like this was the first President Bush back in 1991.

Here on the South Plains, many districts opted to record the speech and review it before making it available to students, but that didn't keep some older students from watching the speech live. The target audience, according to the department of education, for President Obama's speech was grades K-12, but anyone could watch it live on the Internet. Some South Plains College students say a key demographic may have been overlooked, them.

It wasn't a group the Department of Education initially extended an invitation to watch the president's back to school speech, but a message 30 college students say still applies to them.  

"It showed he cared, that he took the time to speak to us," says SPC student Harry Cortez. A South Plains professional speech class and a television production class met to watch the President's address. Professors Julie Gerstenberger and Billy Alonzo decided at the last minute to show the 16 minute speech live. Professor Alonzo turned what was labeled by some a controversial speech into a lively class discussion.

"There were no right or wrong answers in the discussion. They had the chance to express their opinions and that's important during their first semester of college," Gerstenberger said.

The president's message of study hard and stay in school is one Cortez takes to heart.

"I'll be the first to graduate in my family so that's my main goal right now," he says.

A message Catherine Paneral says all students should hear, no matter what grade.

"I liked that it was geared to elementary school, they may not have listened but you have to start from bottom and work your way up," says Paneral. And it reminded Katie Vierstra that it is okay to fail at first.

"Definitely that it is okay to fail, if you succeeded that means you've probably failed before," says Vierstra.

Part of the class assignment was to write a reaction paper and a small news article. Back in Lubbock, school administrators say they are working to duplicate DVDs and the social studies curriculum department met Tuesday to decide how to incorporate the president's speech.

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President Obama's School Speech Video included

Read the President's school speech.
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