Bush speaks on the importance of education and reading

Laura Bush delivers a speech to the audience in attendance at the Show Me Center for the “Evening with Laura Bush” event on Feb. 21. Photo by Joshua Dodge

Reading and education were two of the main points former first lady Laura Bush touched on during her speech as the Show Me Center on Feb 21.

Bush, the wife of former President George W. Bush, opened with an update on her family members, which included a new addition — a grandchild. She talked about the importance of educating every child in the nation, and being a past educator she shared stories during her time as a teacher. She said in second grade she knew she wanted to become a teacher.

“I wanted to work with children who had been left out and too often left behind,” she said. “I wanted to help those children so badly.”

Bush spoke on one of her causes while first lady, reading.

“For me, reading is not just a cause I selected as first lady, it’s one of the guiding passions of my life,” she said.

The question-and-answer part of the event started with instructor and director of Health Communication, Brooke Clubbs, asking what Bush missed most about living at the White House. She answered quickly, saying “the chef.” She continued to speak about the White House and her time there with her family.

“It’s a great history lesson to live there,” she said.

Clubbs asked Bush to speak more on her time as a teacher and Clubbs asked Bush a question many her own student in her classes here at Southeast want to know, asking “What’s the most important skill to teach?”

“If you read, you can read every subject,” the former first lady said.

Bush elaborated on the importance of reading, and how reading and sharing stories with children was her favorite thing as a teacher. Bush said it’s important for adults and college students to look at themselves and decide how they want to be a role model for kids.

“There are a lot of kids out there who need the attention of an adult, and a college student can certainly do that,” she said.

Bush also talked about the importance of national parks and why she started Texan by Nature.

Special education major Madie Rob attended because her dad got her tickets.

“I’m not old enough to remember the Bush presidency, but I still think it’s pretty cool to be able to hear her,” she said.

She said many of Bush’s words about education stood, out to her but a call to action to help in the community really stood out.

“To help everyone in general, not just kids,” she said.

Tay Sain attended the event to take advantage of what he called “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to hear a former first lady speak. He found her story about wanting to teach since second grade inspiring because he did not decided to pursue teaching until his junior year of high school.

Bush ended the night with singing a blessing, one her family sings before dinner, which Clubbs prompted by asking about any family-dinner traditions.

Bush was the last speaker for the University Speaker Series this school year.