Students Hear President Obama Speak at Cornell

News, Rotator — By on October 29, 2012 3:19 pm

By Hannah Wieditz

Excitement filled Social Studies teacher Ed Timm’s classroom as the high school students prepared to make their way to Cornell College to see the President of the United States in person. Only a week before the second presidential debate was it announced that President Barack Obama would be visiting Cornell’s campus and giving a speech in their hometown composed of only about 4,500 people.

Carson Kuntz reaches to shake President Obama’s hand Oct. 17. Photo by Calvin Kragenbrink.

The school had originally planned to take all students from Mount Vernon High School to go listen to Obama’s speech on Oct. 17, but unfortunately the location was moved from an outdoor venue to the Richard and Norma Small Multi-Sport Center. The tickets then became limited, but luckily, school board member Darrin Gage could provide 20 tickets to the school to distribute to students.

The next decision the school had to make was how to distribute the tickets. Mr. Timm, Student Council adviser, proposed that the student government should be given the opportunity to attend.

He had an another idea on how to distribute the remaining tickets. “We decided to have a lottery. I had 52 cards to give out to seniors,” said Mr. Timm. Students were to hold onto the playing card they received until 5th period when the announcements read off the suits and numbers that had been drawn from a new deck. Those whose cards were named received the tickets to go see the President of the United States.

Jake Muller, was one of the last seniors to be drawn to go see the speech. “I was really excited because it’s a big opportunity to go see the President of the United States while he’s still in office,” Jake Said.

The students all met together Wednesday morning at 8:15 to start their walk to Cornell campus. Cutting through the soccer fields, they finally made their way to a line that reached Springville Road from the entrance. Senior Tanner Mote, the only eligible voter in the group, used the opportunity to discuss politics. “The line was long so I talked with other potential voters, and collected as many Obama stickers as I could,” he said.

The doors opened at 9:15 and the line began to move. Eventually, they had to pass through something similar to airport security. The students were so close to making into the gymnasium where the speech would take place, only to be informed that there was no room and they would have to be funneled into the space provided for overflow.

Little did the students know that they would be standing front row where Obama would make a quick appearance before going upstairs for his actual speech. “At first it was disappointing, because we wouldn’t get to hear his speech, but it turned out nicely because we got to shake his hand and see him up close, rather than being in the back of the gymnasium,” senior Paulie Massey said.

When Obama came downstairs, students were ecstatic. “I thought it was so cool to see him in person. For once, he just wasn’t the guy on TV but he was actually there,” recalled senior Hannah Snyder, a supporter of the President.

Even though the school took 20 students, many others went with their family and made it to the upstairs auditorium. Junior Taylor Goetschius, who saw the speech with her mom, said the gymnasium was very hot, but she said the President “related to the audience and made the speech fit the targeted voters.”

Social studies teachers Ed Timm and Maggie Willems can be seen in the foreground of the photo listening to President Barack Obama speak at Cornell College Oct. 17. Photo by Taylor Hauser.

Other Mount Vernon students shared their political views after the speech. “I’m Pro-Obama. I think my views most align with him. The thing about politics for me is not that I’m going to agree with somebody 100 percent, but it’s who I agree the most with,” said senior Alex Bell.

Sophomore Allison Platte is also an Obama supporter. “I like Obama because Mitt Romney doesn’t support many women’s rights.”

Even though some of the students didn’t get to see the speech in person, it was still a memorable experience. After all, there have only been 44 American Presidents in the history of the United States, and it was amazing to have seen one in the comfort of their own hometown.

Tags: , , , , ,


You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.