Obama to de­liver Jo­plin com­mence­ment ad­dress

The Washington Times Daily - - Politics -

Pres­i­dent Obama will speak at the high school grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony in Jo­plin, the Mis­souri city slowly re­cov­er­ing af­ter be­ing struck by a dev­as­tat­ing tor­nado a year ago.

Mr. Obama will de­liver re­marks at the May 21 com­mence­ment, ac­cord­ing a White House of­fi­cial, who re­quested anonymity to speak ahead of the for­mal an­nounce­ment.

The pres­i­dent last vis­ited Jo­plin in May 2011, just days af­ter the mas­sive tor­nado hit. At least 160 peo­ple were killed, in­clud­ing seven stu­dents and one staff mem­ber at the high school, mak­ing it the worst tor­nado to strike the United States in decades.

Speak­ing at a me­mo­rial ser­vice in Jo­plin last year, Mr. Obama pledged to res­i­dents that “your coun­try will be there with you ev­ery sin­gle step of the way.”

The killer tor­nado struck the city of 50,000 less than an hour af­ter the lo­cal high school wrapped up its 2011 grad­u­a­tion cer­e­monies. Will Nor­ton, one of the stu­dents re­ceiv­ing a diploma that day, was killed in the storm.

With much of Jo­plin High School lev­eled by the tor­nado, this year’s se­niors have been at­tend­ing classes at a nearby mall. Other schools in the area have moved to tem­po­rary lo­ca­tions in aban­doned ware­houses and in­dus­trial build­ings.

De­spite the im­mense chal­lenges, school of­fi­cials pride them­selves on hav­ing started the school year on sched­ule. While they ex­pected a steep de­cline in en­roll­ment, of­fi­cials say about 95 per­cent of stu­dents re­turned to at­tend classes in Jo­plin this year.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.