ODA Seniors Enjoy George W. Bush Live Lecture

In the audience at the Van Wezel Performing Arts hall on Tuesday, January 14, four ODA seniors sat excited in their seats. These students had been presented a wonderful opportunity from Out-of-Door, the chance to attend one of the speeches in the annual Van Wezel Lecture series. And who better to kick of this famous event than the 43rd president of the United States, George W. Bush.

Courtesy of an anonymous donor, 20 tickets were given to our senior class to attend five of the lectures in the event, George W. Bush, Lara Logan, Wes Moore, Leon Panetta, and Platon. Four students are able to attend each event on a first come first serve basis. Students were lined up in front of Ms. Evans office the moment the tickets were available, and now, most of the spaces are filled.

On Tuesday night, I was lucky enough to watch George W. Bush speak, along with my classmates Brenna Corry, Sarah Wilcox, and Lauren Stewart. We were all excited to see such an esteemed person speak and hear his personal opinions not only about his presidency, but about one of the most tragic events in US history, September 11.

“I was really excited about the prospect of hearing a former president speak” says Corry. “I knew he would be incredibly interesting.”

“I was really interested to hear about his perspectives on September 11,” Wilcox recalls.

George W. Bush was president during a very controversial time, and we were incredibly lucky to hear his perspectives on the events that took place during his presidency. As president, Bush worked to expand freedom and security to American citizens and to countries abroad. Many would expect someone who dealt with a difficult presidency to be serious, but surprisingly, this was not the case.

Bush’s humor in recalling funny events of his presidency was a delight, and he was a very engaging speaker. He painted a picture of what it felt like to be in the Oval Office and what it felt like to make rapid and important decisions as president, and he was very personable with the audience. He never shied away from a question, even those that were asked about his opinions of other world leader. His honesty and evident strong moral compass amazed us, and hearing how both of these things drives him was wonderful to listen to.

“I think a lot of people tend to have a bad image of Bush because of past media coverage about him, but I thoroughly enjoyed listening to everything he had to stay,” says Stewart.

“I love how he incorporated humor into his speech making; it made him much more personable,” says Wilcox. It was fun to hear him be able to talk about serious topics about 9/11, and then transition to lighter notes like his new painting hobby.”

Listening to such an esteemed person speak was a great experience, and something none of us will ever forget. We can’t wait to hear about the rest of the lectures!