Laura Bush visited the New Orleans area today to give the last twelve grants for the Gulf Coast School Recovery Initiative. All 116 schools that received awards since 2006 were invited to participate in this event and representatives from 77 of those schools were there. I attended along with my principal, Jaime Zapico. It was held at Chalmette High School in St. Bernard Parish because that is where Mrs. Bush presented the first round of awards in 2006.
It was a beautiful affair. When we arrived, we got to visit with all the librarians and eat muffins and drink coffee. Since I have worked in both Orleans Parish and now Jefferson Parish schools, I knew a lot of the librarians attending the event. There was a wonderful student jazz band playing. After about an hour, we went into this amazing auditorium. A facility that we at Patrick Taylor only dream about. The chorus sang, and we heard more music from the band. Then a video was shown with librarians, students, and principals from many of the schools telling their stories about their libraries and thanking Mrs. Bush. Our 25 second video was cut to almost nothing, but I have uploaded it below for you to see.
Next were the speeches. I have to tell you that I think that Sophie, the president of the Chalmette High Student Council was one of the most eloquent speakers. However, it was Mrs. Bush's announcement that got the room humming. Near the end of her speech, she told us that every school that was a recipient of an award from the Laura Bush Foundation would receive another check. I asked later and found out that it will be $1000-$1200. That is amazing. I had no idea that was coming. We all felt like we were on Oprah's Favorite Things show.
|Idella Washington, librarian at William Harte Elementary is on the left|
Mrs. Bush is on the right (but you knew that)