President Obama Speaks At McGavock High School
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – President Barack Obama brought his message from Tuesday's State of the Union to Nashville. The Commander in Chief made a stop at McGavock High School Thursday afternoon.
Air Force One landed at Berry Field Air National Guard Base just after 3:30 p.m. The plane was delayed landing in Nashville nearly 45 minutes, due to the wintry weather in Milwaukee where the President spoke earlier in the day.
Mayor Karl Dean was one of the first people to greet the President as he walked out in the tarmac. Governor Bill Haslam was originally supposed to be in attendance, but his office stated he was in a meeting at the time of the President's arrival.
"It's a great day of recognition for our public schools and for McGavock and just a real positive day for Nashville," said Nashville Mayor Karl Dean.
President Obama's security detail enlisted the help of almost 120 officers from the Metro Nashville Police Department.
Officials issued a traffic advisory for the visit. President Obama's visit caused some road closures from Berry Field to McGavock High School. Specific details of the president's travel plans were withheld by the Secret Service for security purposes.
Students and faculty spent most of this week getting ready for the spotlight. Hundreds packed into the McGavock gym for a chance to hear President Obama speak, and some waited hours to hear him.
"It was a once in a lifetime opportunity," said Kristopher Woodard, a McGavock freshman. "I will never forget this. This means a lot to me."
The students in attendance cheered and applauded loudly as the President was introduced by McGavock High School's student body president. His message for young people was simple – dream big.
The President was very specific about the subject of education and commended students, faculty and staff members for the school's success. He applauded the school's departments that give students' hands-on training for their career fields. He said wants his administration to implement programs in school systems across the nation.
During his speech, President Obama highlighted the success of former McGavock student Sara Santiago. She has since graduated and is now working on a film degree at Vol State. Santiago said she was surprised by the recognition.
"It's been amazing honestly," said Sara Santiago. "To being able to go to school, and then this happening. Its incredible what God can do in one's life."
After the speech, people in attendance said they were proud to see President Obama put McGavock in the spotlight, and it was an experience they will never forget.
President Obama also said he and the first lady are praying for the families affected by a fatal shooting of a 15-year-old student at the school.
Obama said he knows the past few days have tested people's spirits. But he said he wanted the McGavock High School community to know it is in his thoughts and prayers.
He also met with the family of the deceased 15-year-old before his remarks.
Authorities said the shooting happened Tuesday at a Hermitage apartment complex when 17-year-old Kameon Robinson was playing with a pistol. It discharged a bullet that struck his 15-year-old friend Kevin Barbee in the face.
Both were 10th-graders at McGavock.
(The Associated Press Contributed To This Report.)