Sixth Grader Waits For Obama's Speech To Kids
JENNIFER LUDDEN, host:
President Obama speaks to American schoolchildren today. Florida student Damon Weaver is paying special attention. After all, it was the sixth-grader who broke the news of the event, a scoop he got with the president during an exclusive White House interview in August.
Mr. DAMON WEAVER: I've heard that you would like to make an announcement about education. Can you tell me about the announcement?
President BARACK OBAMA: Well, on September 8th, when young people across the country will have just started or are about to go back to school, I am going to be making a big speech to young people all across the country about the importance of education, the importance of staying in school.
LUDDEN: That presidential interview is part of Weaver's already dynamic journalism career. He was part of inauguration coverage on ABC News. He previously scored an interview with Vice President Joe Biden, and he's been a featured guest on all the top cable news networks and here on NPR.
Earlier, we spoke with Damon Weaver. He said that he was looking forward to the president's education speech.
Mr. WEAVER: Today, I want to hear from the president. I want to hear his speech about education, and I really want to hear it because it's very important. He's the president, and he's trying to encourage kids to do better in school.
LUDDEN: You did a story about your hometown, Pahokee, Florida, for ABC News. You talked about gun violence there. We'd like to play a little clip from that, and here we have sound of you talking about a shooting in your neighborhood.
Mr. WEAVER: They were fighting over there, and guns were shooting over there, pow, pow, pow. So then I started to run over here. That's why it's not safe to be outside at night because the gunshots happen at night.
LUDDEN: Your ultimate question to the president in that story was whether he would help you and other people there in Pahokee to be safe. So can I ask you: Have you seen anything that the White House has done to this point that might improve life there in your hometown?
Mr. WEAVER: Well, I think that life can be improved because that the president can send more units out in my town, Pahokee, and I think that it would really be safer because of the presence of the policemen.
LUDDEN: You want more policemen on the streets there.
Mr. WEAVER: Yeah.
LUDDEN: But has that happened so far?
Mr. WEAVER: Not much, but they ride uptown, and, like, if something happens, they'll get caught and be put into jail.
LUDDEN: Well, I know that you talked about the problem - you interviewed a policeman there who said the problem is people don't report these crimes. Everyone's really scared. I mean, what else do you think should happen?
Mr. WEAVER: Well, I think that people can speak more and go to the court and say I swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, and they can help those people get in jail because they do bad things, and they deserve it. Don't do the crime if you can't do the time.
(Soundbite of laughter)
LUDDEN: Um, Damon, you're a very young reporter, but you really campaigned hard to get an interview with President Obama, and you did in August. What was it like to speak with him?
Mr. WEAVER: Well, it was very cool to speak with President Obama. He's a very nice guy, and he gives good details, and I think that he's a very smart person, and I think that if your childhood is bad like his were…
LUDDEN: He had a bad childhood?
Mr. WEAVER: Yes, and if it's bad, you still can lead to a success.
LUDDEN: What did your friends say afterwards?
Mr. WEAVER: They were, like, you interviewed the president. He's tall. I would have stayed there and hanged out with him.
(Soundbite of laughter)
LUDDEN: They would have stayed around the White House.
Mr. WEAVER: Yes.
LUDDEN: What's your next goal in your young journalism career?
Mr. WEAVER: You really want to hear on my career?
Mr. WEAVER: I would like to be a football player or a jockey or a person who makes clocks, a whale trainer, a president, a journalist, a picture maker. I want to be a soccer player, football player, baseball player. I want to play lacrosse. I want to be a curtain maker. I want to be - I want to be a pilot. I want to be a camera maker. I want to be a football maker. I want to be a picture-frame maker. I want to be a waiter, and that's about it.
LUDDEN: Okay, well, that's a pretty long list. I guess it's a good thing you're starting young.
(Soundbite of laughter)
LUDDEN: Damon Weaver is a sixth-grade student at KE Cunningham/Canal Point Elementary in Canal Point, Florida. He's a reporter for the school's television station, KEC TV and joined us from his school. Thank you so much, Damon.
Mr. WEAVER: You're welcome.
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