BRIDGEPORT, Wash. — President Barack Obama won’t be giving the commencement address at a tiny Washington state high school, but Gov. Chris Gregoire and a federal cabinet secretary will.
Bridgeport High in Eastern Washington’s orchard country was one of three finalists in a competition to have the president come speak. A school in Tennessee won.
The news was tough to take for five girls who were in the principal’s office to listen when the White House called on Tuesday. An official told them the school should be proud of what it has accomplished, but the girls came rushing out in tears.
Two teachers did a dance in the gymnasium before a school assembly to cheer the students up. Principal Tamara Jackson announced that the governor and an as-yet-unnamed cabinet secretary would be speaking instead.
“I’m so proud of Bridgeport High School and the hard work of the students and educators there,” State Superintendent Randy Dorn said in a statement released following the announcement. “The fact that people around the nation know Bridgeport’s story makes them a big winner. The high school is a leader in our state and a model for how, with hard work and perseverance, all students can achieve with high expectations.”