Valdosta Daily Times

What We Think

October 25, 2012

Welcome, Laura Bush

VALDOSTA — Education brings former First Lady Laura Bush today to Valdosta. Georgia Christian School has long been an exemplar of excellence in private education. A few years ago, the school began an annual fundraising dinner to benefit its curriculum. Originally featuring sports figures as speakers then moving to former GOP presidential candidate and Fox News personality Mike Huckabee last year and now Laura Bush this year, the annual fundraising dinner has become a premier event for the school and the community.

Nor is the dinner as partisan as some may expect. Last year, Gov. Huckabee spoke not a single ill word against any political rival. Instead, he presented a message focusing on the importance of education and faith, and how the two can meet with positive results in the classroom.

Even though a heated presidential election is only two weeks away, the audience should not expect Laura Bush to speak about the current race to the White House. She, too, will likely devote her keynote remarks to education.

Laura Bush was born in Midland, Texas, the daughter of Jenna and Harold Welch. With a degree in public education and a master’s degree in library science, she taught in Dallas, Houston and Austin public schools and worked as a public school librarian. She married George W. Bush in 1977.

As First Lady, in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, she provided these words of comfort to teachers and parents. “We need to reassure our children that they are safe in their homes and schools. We need to reassure them that many people love them and care for them, and that while there are some bad people in the world, there are many more good people.”

Her visit also follows a tradition established 70 years ago connecting First Ladies and education in Valdosta. In 1941, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt visited Valdosta to dedicate the new library at Georgia State Womans College, which is now Valdosta State University.

In her remarks, Roosevelt said, education provides the means for the youngest generation to “shape the life of this nation, and it is the young people who are going to decide what is going to happen to our country and perhaps the world in the future.”

It is a fine moment that Georgia Christian School continues this proud tradition in the 21st century. We congratulate the school for its successes in education and in inviting Laura Bush to Valdosta.

And The Times welcomes Mrs. Bush to Valdosta.

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