Archive for Friday, April 11, 2008

Bush to attend Greensburg graduation

President to give commencement address

President Bush comforts residents in the aftermath of the May 2007 tornado in Greensburg. Bush is going to speak at the high school's commencement on May 4.

President Bush comforts residents in the aftermath of the May 2007 tornado in Greensburg. Bush is going to speak at the high school's commencement on May 4.

April 11, 2008


— President Bush will share a stage with Greensburg High School students next month as he delivers the school's commencement address a year to the day after a fierce tornado tore through their tiny Kansas town.

Bush's May 4 speech will cap a weekend of events marking the storm's anniversary and celebrating the remarkable progress toward rebuilding the city and keeping the community together.

"We're just honored that he would take time out of his schedule and spend it with our students and with our graduates, spend it with our families and especially with our community," said Greensburg Public Schools Superintendent Darin Headrick.

The event has been in the planning stages for more than a month, but local officials said they were sworn to secrecy while the White House and Secret Service officials worked out the arrangements.

Headrick said the original commencement date of May 10 was changed to fit the president's schedule. That is the day Bush's daughter Jenna is getting married at her parents' ranch in Crawford, Texas.

Bush also visited the town days after the storm last year to lift spirits. White House press secretary Dana Perino said Thursday that Bush is "very pleased to be going back and celebrating that event with them."

There are just 18 students graduating from the high school this year, but Headrick said he expects about 800 people to cram into school's practice gym to watch.

"We have one building that serves as our cafeteria, it's our practice gym, it's our auditorium," Headrick said. "It's the 'cafegymatorium' but it's the only facility in town that can hold over 40 people."

The gym is the only permanent structure on the high school campus that has been rebuilt, but plans call for breaking ground for a new school in the next month or two. Students have been taking classes in portable units.

Stacy Barnes, an assistant to Greensburg's city administrator, called Bush's visit a chance for the city to show the world how far it has come since it was destroyed by a tornado that hit speeds up to 205 mph.

"To have the president come to your town twice in one year, it not only keeps people thinking about us and what we're doing here, but also gives encouragement to the people here that we haven't been forgotten and that our hard work is being seen," Barnes said.

Security for the commencement will be tight and attendees will have to have tickets. Barnes said the family of each graduate will get 10 tickets for the event.

Headrick said students are excited but not overwhelmed that the president will be at their graduation.

"They've had so many things happen in the last year," Headrick said. "They're very honored and appreciative. It's just one of a litany of things that they've dealt with throughout the year."

Bush's address in Greensburg is one of just three graduation speeches he'll give this spring. He also is giving the commencement address on May 28 at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., and on May 31 at Furman University in Greenville, S.C.


Confrontation 10 years, 2 months ago

I imagine his address will go a little something like this:"I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some ... people out there in our nation don't have maps and uh, I believe that our, ah, education like such as in South Africa, and, uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should, uh, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., or should help South Africa, it should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future, for."

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 2 months ago

"ruin a high school commencement speach (sic)?"No need to. Bush will do that all by himself.

Haiku_Cuckoo 10 years, 2 months ago

What a tremendous privilege for the Greensburg students. Apart from his commitment to providing aid to Africa, there isn't much that Bush does that I agree with but I must admit that it is very cool of him to schedule another visit to Greensburg.

Keith 10 years, 2 months ago

Hasn't Greensburg suffered enough from windy blowhards?

1wetwilly 10 years, 2 months ago

To have The President Of The United States deliver a high school commencement speech is a distinguish honor. To have The Decider deliver it is a distinguished hoot.

jumpin_catfish 10 years, 2 months ago

Oh happy days, soon we will have new president to hate because we all know that everything that is wrong with this country is the president's fault.

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