President's return stirs mixed feelings - KOAM TV 7

President's return stirs mixed feelings


The President's return to Joplin for tonight's graduation is stirring mixed feelings among residents, especially with this year's election in November.

Former Joplin High School graduates Michael Putnam and Barbara Puckett, class of 1972, reminisce about their high school days, but admit they don't remember who spoke at their commencement ceremony.

"We didn't have anybody like the President of the United States that's for sure," Puckett says.

"Our graduation was held at Junge Stadium but it was a huge important moment for all of us at that time and here we are 40 years later and a President of the United States is speaking at the commencement, I think it's a marvelous thing, it's a huge, unique opportunity and honor," says Putnam.

But some are curious to see if President Obama's graduation speech will turn into a political one.

"If it does get political it may take some spotlight off the kids," says former resident Heather Christenson.  "But if he can keep it as an encouragement to them and their successes during this hard difficult school year then probably not."

"President Obama came here after the storm to lend his support - I didn't see it as anything as a political agenda whatsoever and the fact, like he said, 'we will not forget you', and the fact that he is coming back I think is a huge honor for Joplin," Putnam says.

An honor the Class of 2012 will be telling others about for years to come.


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