Glenn Hills students inspired by Obama speech

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Shawniece Walker vowed to never let her past determine her future after watching President Obama's televised speech Tuesday.

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Glenn Hills was one of only two Richmond County schools to broadcast the 18-minute speech Tuesday.  Annette M. Drowlette/Staff
Annette M. Drowlette/Staff
Glenn Hills was one of only two Richmond County schools to broadcast the 18-minute speech Tuesday.

The Glenn Hills High School sophomore said she spent much of her childhood misbehaving, but the president's speech convinced her that she could overcome her past.

"He said, 'Let your failures teach you,' " Shawniece said after watching the speech in her world history class. "I felt like I was nobody when I was getting into the trouble, but now I see I can still be successful. I can be a leader, not a follower."

Every classroom at Glenn Hills High tuned in to the president's back-to-school speech Tuesday afternoon, Principal Wayne Frazier said.

Glenn Hills and Jenkins-White Charter School were the only confirmed Richmond County schools that let students watch the broadcast during class.

Superintendent Dana Bedden released a statement Friday stating that teachers would not be required to show the televised, 18-minute message from the president, which his critics had said would be agenda-driven. He gave teachers the option of showing the speech as a part of their instructional period.

Last week, the central office was inundated with phone calls from people concerned that teachers would be required to show the speech, which Mr. Obama gave from the library of Wakefield High School in Arlington, Va.

In Columbia County, schools Superintendent Charles Nagle said last week that the system would not show the live broadcast.

Dr. Frazier said he asked his teachers to show the address to their students because it would be useful in impressing upon them the importance of attending school and doing their best.

"This was not about Republican or Democrat," Dr. Frazier said. "We took this opportunity in the best interest of the students' success and student growth. There's no controversy in that."

Mr. Obama isn't the first president to address schoolchildren in a national speech. On Nov. 14, 1988, President Reagan reached out to America's junior high school students and advised them to "just say no to drugs."

President George H.W. Bush addressed students Oct. 1, 1991. In the televised speech, Mr. Bush said, "Every time you walk through that classroom door, make it your business to learn."

At the time, Democrats accused Mr. Bush of politicizing education.

Much of Mr. Obama's message mirrored that of his predecessors.

"Every single one of you has something you're good at. Every single one of you has something to offer," Mr. Obama said. "And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That's the opportunity an education can provide."

Jenkins-White second-grade teacher Rodithia Carr said Mr. Obama's message correlated with what she tries to teach her students daily.

"He was talking about us having high expectations for them, and how they should have high expectations for themselves," she said. "It was good for them to hear that from someone besides me."

Tenth-grader Sean Ferguson said he had never listened to a presidential speech before Tuesday. Sean said he now plans to work harder in his math and social studies classes so he can attend culinary school someday.

"I usually don't pay attention to speeches, but this gave me a lot of inspiration," he said. "He (Mr. Obama) related to us. I haven't found a lot of people in older age groups that can relate to us."

Reach Stephanie Toone at (706) 823-3215 or stephanie.toone@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (128) Add comment
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mieshel
3
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mieshel 09/09/09 - 01:47 am
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congrats kids..make that

congrats kids..make that change!!! study hard,,,,make the grade, because your the future...im praying for you!

wildman
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wildman 09/09/09 - 04:07 am
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The kids should be inspired

The kids should be inspired regardless of who is the President. The Dems complained and now the Reps complain, come on folks get with the program and get over the silly crap. I did not vote for Obama and will not vote for him next time but he is the President and we should teach the kids to respect the position if not the person. Proud American

voiceofconcern
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voiceofconcern 09/09/09 - 05:16 am
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My sentiments exactly. Uncle

My sentiments exactly. Uncle BS is on the money ... couldn't have said it better. GO U.S.A.

AhsanMinnik
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AhsanMinnik 09/09/09 - 05:55 am
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Let's revisit this in the

Let's revisit this in the spring when test results, academic rankings and graduation rates come out for Glenn Hills vs the Coloumbia County schools that did not show this "inspirational message". My children have heard the things he said - from me. This was just a cheap political shot to try and soften up the country for the whopper he is about to deliver to the parents tonight. "But, Mom, I heard him say....."

opiner
2
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opiner 09/09/09 - 06:00 am
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Many presidents have spoken

Many presidents have spoken to school age children over the years. It's what politicians do. The speech Obama gave was almost exactly the same as the one Bush Sr. gave and will have the same affect on the students. Now let's see what he says to the voters.

BBSouth
12
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BBSouth 09/09/09 - 06:21 am
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I wonder if there would be

I wonder if there would be such an uproar about the Obama speech, his helath care reform, cash for clunkers, and other ideas he has had if he was white. You can't tell me that some of the absurd commends that these idiots make against him are solely based on his politics. The children in Columbia County were not done any favors by not hearing the speech, it just shows the rest of the area that thier parents are idiots.

BBSouth
12
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BBSouth 09/09/09 - 06:21 am
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I wonder if there would be

I wonder if there would be such an uproar about the Obama speech, his helath care reform, cash for clunkers, and other ideas he has had if he was white. You can't tell me that some of the absurd commends that these idiots make against him are solely based on his politics. The children in Columbia County were not done any favors by not hearing the speech, it just shows the rest of the area that thier parents are idiots.

Rhetor
1026
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Rhetor 09/09/09 - 06:27 am
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This was a fine speech and

This was a fine speech and people who were against it should hang their heads in shame.

AhsanMinnik
0
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AhsanMinnik 09/09/09 - 06:41 am
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BBSouth - The race card you

BBSouth - The race card you so proudly display has nothing to do with it. Y'all have worn that one out. Rhetor - I did not complain about the content of the speech. The timing of it makes it obvious that it's just another political ploy to sidetrack attention from the BS I expect that puppet clown to spout out tonight.

justus4
107
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justus4 09/09/09 - 06:45 am
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The kids get it. The
Unpublished

The kids get it. The president get it. Those informed minorities get it, but some are hiding fake concern for their kids for personal hatred and bias. It must be stated because the truth matters. Now some people lie their whole lives, but don't condemn the children to your hateful ways. Again, the kids were inspired and THAT, is what some minorities believe, is why "they" hated the speech-it would inspire those kids.

opiner
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opiner 09/09/09 - 06:45 am
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BBSouth, I wonder if people

BBSouth, I wonder if people like you feel everything that sounds like a different idea is because of skin color. You must be a special genius. When Bush Sr. made the same speech to school children, the Dem congress held special meetings and investigations to see if the president could be brought up on charges. I wonder if they would have taken those actions if Bush was black?

hardtobelieve
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hardtobelieve 09/09/09 - 06:52 am
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Whether you agree with the

Whether you agree with the President or not, I believe that everyone should have listened to his speech. What better way to inspire our youth to pusue their education and obtain the knowledge needed to make an informed decision about what lies ahead for their future. Regardless of who the President is there will never be a consensus on his/her policies. Each President goes into office with every intention of doing what they feel is best for the country. We as Americans have lost something, and that something is respect for people in positions of authority. I heard a portion of the speech and thought that everything he said was appropriate. As one of the top nations in this world, our drop out rate is ridiculously high and we lag behind many countries when it comes to education. As long as the message is positive, I don't care who it is talking to our children.

AhsanMinnik
0
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AhsanMinnik 09/09/09 - 06:53 am
0
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Pres Bush did not deliver his

Pres Bush did not deliver his "talk to the kids" on the eve of a "State of The Union" speech or anything similar either. This is so obviously tied in with his comedy show coming up tonight it's already laughable.

whoshere
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whoshere 09/09/09 - 07:03 am
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I just think it's hilarious

I just think it's hilarious that Obama got all of this hype during the election with "change" and "yes we can," and now all the people that voted for him are rallying against him going in the schools. I thank God my child wasn't subjected to his "speech" and I hope all that voted for Obama think before they vote next time.

oh bull
0
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oh bull 09/09/09 - 07:06 am
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I was blown away when I heard

I was blown away when I heard Wayne Frazier, the principle, on T.V .... the man can't speak english!!!

sjgraci
2
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sjgraci 09/09/09 - 07:17 am
0
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There are a lot of stupid

There are a lot of stupid people in this country. A lot of them are in Columbia County and the majority of them are not students.

jack234
820
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jack234 09/09/09 - 07:20 am
0
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Seems like someone wasn't

Seems like someone wasn't blown far enough! A great speech despite the fact that Rush picked away at it with his lies. Can the fool find anything to compliment our president on. People really buy into Rush's foolishness. Many people realize its just a sit down comedy show. I voted for President Obama and will do it again if the economy continues to improve. I don't think just anybody could have turned it around like it has in such a short time. He will do amazing things in the next three years. I look forward to his speech to the joint session tonight. HELLO! HELLO!

charliemanson
1
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charliemanson 09/09/09 - 07:22 am
0
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If I was President and

If I was President and everyone was calling me a Marxist dictator, I would find every school district that blocked my speech and cut off their funding. Then, take that money and pay down the debt. LOL

WAG
287
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WAG 09/09/09 - 07:28 am
0
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Who cares what he has to

Who cares what he has to say.... A fine speech my ---. All he does is lie

AhsanMinnik
0
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AhsanMinnik 09/09/09 - 07:31 am
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helterskelter - That's fine -

helterskelter - That's fine - do it - we won't pay federal taxes anymore. You can keep your entitlement generations.

55 F-100
1
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55 F-100 09/09/09 - 07:53 am
0
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It's good that Prezbhojangles

It's good that Prezbhojangles inspired some students to be more studious and work harder on their studies. Let's all hope that some students will excel, get their diplomas, and actually get a job and pay some taxes, unlike the majority who follow different "career paths".

PoliticallNcorrect
0
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PoliticallNcorrect 09/09/09 - 07:55 am
0
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OMG...A video would have been

OMG...A video would have been nice.

teharper428
2
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teharper428 09/09/09 - 08:17 am
0
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President Obama's life

President Obama's life experiences are testimony to the American dream that if you work hard and get a good education you can be anything you put your mind to. He spoke of not always doing what was right, things he now regrets, but he chose to take his life in a positive direction. He told of feeling lonely and not fitting in (a feeling most kids have at some point in their lives). He connected with kids by his personal experiences in a way that few politicians are able to. His speech should have made every American proud to be its citizen, no matter of one's personal feelings for our president.

HotFoot
17
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HotFoot 09/09/09 - 08:24 am
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AhsanMinnik, first you say

AhsanMinnik, first you say the "race card has nothing to do with it", then you call our President "that token clown". Well, which is it?

mosovich
826
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mosovich 09/09/09 - 08:25 am
0
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You guys crack me up with

You guys crack me up with your ignorance.. I mean, I've got friends who read these comments just for the comedy... WAG, what exactly has he lied about?

Great speech and I'm glad at least one school had the smarts to show it..

HotFoot
17
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HotFoot 09/09/09 - 08:27 am
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whoshere, it's not those who

whoshere, it's not those who voted for him who wanted to keep the legitimate and inspirational address of our duly elected President out of the schools--it's the Palinbots and Dittoheads. You know--the cognitively-challenged. Sure seem to be a lot of you out in CC.

AAQueen
18
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AAQueen 09/09/09 - 08:27 am
0
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For all you haters that claim

For all you haters that claim that race is not an issue, need to take your head out of the sand. Your postings are peppered with terms like token, bhojangles. Look in the mirror and you will see the word racist written across your fore head. I bet you all were the parents that told their child to walk out of class if the speech was shown in class. Other presidents spoke to the children and it was shown in school, so why not Pres. Obama. Bush was even in a classroom when 911 happen. You all are racist and is turning your children into little mini-me's.

AhsanMinnik
0
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AhsanMinnik 09/09/09 - 08:29 am
0
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Obama did not grow up in

Obama did not grow up in America - he is the "Pakistani Dream". HotFoot - Good point, I never considered that folks would take "token" to mean minority. That was not my intent. I'll adjust it. Thanks

teharper428
2
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teharper428 09/09/09 - 08:37 am
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pakistani dream- what right

pakistani dream- what right wing nut website did you get that???? In addition, ahsan, you never heard the term token to mean minority? Never heard token black or token woman? It never occurred to you? right.....

AhsanMinnik
0
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AhsanMinnik 09/09/09 - 08:41 am
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teharper - I did not say I

teharper - I did not say I had never heard it. I said that was not my intent. Words mean things. I changed it to "puppet".

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