President Barack Obama encourages South Dakotans to focus on service opportunities. Mister Obama spoke Friday at Lake Area Tech's commencement. The president highlighted personal stories of LATI workers and graduates including Staff Sergeant Joe Wiskur. The airman deploys shortly after graduation, and Mr. Obama says his education makes him a better soldier.
"Sergeant Wiskur is one of 35 service members and veterans graduating from Lake Area tech today, and as your commander in chief I could not be prouder of you, and I ask everyone to stand and recognize these men and women for their service," Obama says.
The crowd clapped for more than 20 seconds. The president says graduating from Lake Area shows the student make investments in themselves and in their country.
John Ward is a new Lake Area Tech graduate with a degree in environmental technology. He says hearing the commencement address from the President of the United States was a unique experience.
“I thought it was an excellent speech,” Ward says. “It really touched home for a lot of us graduates this year in South Dakota. It was inspiring, especially from the President himself giving us some information as to how to go forward, positive outlook on the future. And just kind of, very inspiring.”
Parents of a Lake Area Tech grad, Annis and Dana Iversen, say they like the personal nature of the President’s speech.
“I was impressed,” Annis says.
“It was a good speech,” Dana says. “I like the way he interacted with all the kids and the people that were there. He picked out individuals.”
Event goers also say attending the speech was a once in a lifetime experience.