Dear President Obama

Published 12:27 am Friday, August 28, 2009

SELMA — Knox Elementary School Principal Joslyn Reddick has a very special letter to display.

More than eight months after his inauguration, President Barack Obama has written her a letter in response to the school taking students to the Jan. 20 event.

“When I was preparing to take my students at Knox to the inauguration, I had written President Obama a letter describing my school and the students and I requested some tickets,” Reddick said of the initial contact.

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The principal didn’t receive a response — until last week.

“The letter went to the Knox address; however, it was addressed to me,” Reddick said. “The secretary, Mrs. McCants, saw that the letter was from the White House and called me.”

Reddick had the letter sent by her daughter, Jataris, a student at Knox. The principal thought the letter was some kind of presidential student nomination form or something similar.

“When I picked my daughter up from my aunt’s house after school, my daughter handed me the letter as we were going to the car, so I opened it,” Reddick said. “When I saw what it was, I got excited, started jumping up and down and ran back into the house to show my aunt.”

The letter is on simple stationary that says, “The White House.” The president’s signature is at the bottom.

In the letter, the president thanks Reddick for her letter and her commitment to her students.

“It is a great relief that your students and chaperones were able to bear the cold weather and watch the Inauguration ceremony from the National Mall,” Obama wrote. “Your students should be commended for their strength and perseverance in the face of so many obstacles. I am pleased to know that they were able to be among those gathered together in Washington D.C. — a unique opportunity that will only serve them well in the future.”

Obama closed by sending his best wishes to the students.

Reddick said she plans to take the letter to a store in Montgomery and frame it in a shadow box with the group picture from the inauguration and with a letter of appreciation from Selma Mayor George Evans.