Sanford speaks at school that didn't air Obama speech live - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Sanford speaks at school that didn't air Obama speech live

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(Source: Stewart Moore) (Source: Stewart Moore)

By Stewart Moore - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - We received an email asking why Swansea High School did not broadcast President Barack Obama's address to students last week, but did allow Governor Mark Sanford to speak to students on Monday.

Mandy Rivers wrote, "My husband and [I] are looking to move and were leaning heavily toward Swansea, but I think this sort of decision making by the schools is a deal-breaker for me."

Sanford was there to speak to students involved in a dropout prevention program known as Jobs for America's Graduates, or JAG.

Students enrolled in JAG have seen their GPAs increase 45 percent in the past five years.

"This program is about picking up and saying, are there things we can do in the classroom setting that cause people to refocus on education and the impact it will have on their lives going forward?" said Sanford.

That message of helping students is one that many public figures have been stressing lately.

Take the president's speech to school kids across the nation last week.

"Barack Obama said the right thing last week when he talked about you going to study, study hard," said Sanford. "This notion of excellence and anything we do is critically important as these kids compete with the six billion people around planet Earth."

But in a twist of fate, Lexington School District Four, including Swansea High, chose not to air the president's speech. District Superintendent Linda Lavender says that this was a different circumstance, saying that the governor speaking to a small group was targeted to the program, unlike the broad message the president delivered would have created scheduling conflicts.  

The school has shown President Obama's speech to several students including those in the JAG program.

"Had the president asked to come and talk to a specific group of children, students, of course, any," said Dr. Lavender. "We bring guest speakers a lot."

What is evident is that the students at Swansea appreciate anyone who takes the time to encourage them to succeed.

"You know you have people there to back you," said student Fallon Steele. "Governor Sanford coming is a good motivation for our students. It's more of a real deal to you know, it's something that helps you with your life."

Dr. Lavender went on to say that the school district did tape the president's remarks and that teachers can insert the video into future lesson plans.

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