BY ROBERT L. BAKER
Wyoming County Press Examiner
Although school was still 10 days away, a number of Tunkhannock Area students got quite an education last Friday when their moms took them to Scranton to hear the Pesident and Vice President of the United States.
Anne DeMarco had four of her five children with her, and said she wanted them to experience something she never had – to be in the presence of the leader of the free world.
She said President Barack Obama probably made the greatest impression on her 11-year-old, Elizabeth, who remembered seeing him be inaugurated on television during her first year in school, five years ago.
“And, having the vice president also there left quite an impression,” DeMarco said.
She noted that she expects all of her children to go to college, “so a lot of what the president and vice president had to say resonated with me, especially as I’m aware of the deep budget cuts imposed by the state.”
The president told the crowd of more than 2,700 people late Friday afternoon at Lackawanna College that “Higher Education is not a luxury, it’s an economic necessity, and every American should be able to afford it.”
She said it was “a pretty daunting statistic” to learn from the president’s speech that even though the cost of public college rose 260 percent over the past three decades, the typical family income rose only 16 percent.
DeMarco said that while she liked the President’s articulation of a plan to make college more affordable, she also liked the fact that her kids were hearing inspiring words from both the president and vice president.
In introducing Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden said Scranton was the perfect place to talk about education.
“Mr. President, the American dream is alive here in Scranton,” he said. “I think I know the reason why it’s alive. The values that have made the middle class possible in America still matter here: community, hard work, personal responsibility, faith, family.”
“The value held most dear by this community,” he added, “is opportunity.”
It was a comment also not lost on Lake Carey resident Trish Thatcher who was in Scranton for the presidential and vice presidential remarks.
“We all need to be inspired,” Thatcher said, “and reminded about the importance of a college education.”
She noted that, although they weren’t with her, both her children and her husband were helped by student loans “and we need to make sure the next generation has the funds to make their dreams come true as well.”
Thatcher sat near DeMarco and Tunkhannock Area teacher Melissa Kandrovy, whose two children, Logan and Dayton, also got to hear the president.
Kandrovy said her daughter Logan got to shake the president’s hand and she’s been talking about that a lot.
“It’s a moment she’ll never forget,” Thatcher said.
In front, Leah (4) and Sarah (7) DeMarco, Dayton (8) and Logan (11) Kandrovy, Nicholas (8) and Elizabeth (11) DeMarco, Trisha Thatcher, Melissa Kandrovy, and Anne DeMarco wait just outside the Lackawanna College gym where moments later they get to hear the Preisdent of the United States. STAFF PHOTO/ROBERT BAKER