President Obama speaks, some Bremerton High students listen

When President Barack Obama gave his educational address Sept. 8, students in the Bremerton School District were given the opportunity to hear his message, though a few parents chose not to allow their children to view it.

“There were about eight parents at the high school who opted their kids out of watching the speech,” said Patty Glaser, BSD spokeswoman.

Many parents nationally were upset at the notion of the president speaking directly to their kids via television, but most were concerned with wording rather than the act itself.

“I think parents were more concerned before the speech,” Glazer said. “But we didn’t hear much after the fact.”

The speech, which lasted less than an hour, was aimed at students in an effort to get them thinking more seriously about education.

Obama spent the better part of his time on stage talking to America’s youth about taking responsibility for their own, individual educations.

He started by telling a story about a time growing up in Indonesia when his mother would wake him at 4:30 a.m. to give him some extra lessons. He would complain about how early it was, but it was the only time his mother had to give him such lessons.

“She would say, ‘Listen buster, this is no picnic for me either,’” he said.

He said parents and teachers have a responsibility to their children to help guide them through their education, but he said not enough students actually take responsibility for themselves.

“None of it matters unless you fulfill your responsibilities,” Obama said. “You have a responsibility to yourself.”

Obama also explained the importance of education not only for individuals, but for the country as a whole, with statements like “The future of America depends on you,” and “If you quit, you are not just quitting on yourself, you are quitting on your country.”

State Superintendent Randy Dorn said he was pleased with the White House’s efforts to motivate students.

“I applaud President Obama’s focus on education,” Dorn said. “I have met with the president and his administration and believe they are passionate about all students succeeding. I’m sure his words will have a great impact on students.”

Although Dorn said he supports the president’s efforts, he said viewing the speech was voluntary.

“... the viewing of his speech is not required. It will be up to individual school districts around our state on whether they view the president’s speech.”

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