Students at charter, private schools react to President Obama’s speech

By Debbie Carson, Online EditorINDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Students at a few Indian River County schools spent approximately 20 minutes listening to President Barack Obama address the country’s school children, encouraging them to stay in school, work hard and set goals. Students at St. Peter’s Academy, a charter school, filed into the school’s auditorium to watch the speech on a large screen. Half the students seemed to be interested in the president’s speech, while others squirmed and yawned.St. Edward’s School, a private school, decided to show the speech in the various classrooms, though officials did allow students to opt out of watching the speech. “I wasn’t excited to listen to it,” said junior Joseph Duncan. “I’m glad I did.”Duncan said that he is not an Obama supporter, but that the president’s speech had good information in it.One class of 15 students sat quietly watching the presidential address after learning that the speech had caused some controversy.”I think it’s not so much that parents don’t want kids to hear that message — because that’s an amazing message,” said junior Elizabeth Sockol, in a class discussion after the speech. She added that she thinks some parents think their kids are maybe too impressionable.”There’s nothing about that speech that I would not want a 4-year-old to hear, an 18-year-old to hear, or a 22-year-old to hear,” said St. Edward’s headmaster Mike Mersky in response to Sockol’s comment.The president’s speech stayed close to the released test the White House released, with relatively few phrase changes. He did, however, remain on topic, particularly that it is the students’ responsibility to take control of their future. To read the president’s script click HERE. (Please note that you will be leaving and going to***Staff photographers Keith Carson and Tom McCarthy contributed to this report.

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