BETHESDA – First lady Laura Bush, who has visited countless schools in the United States and foreign countries, made her last school visit Jan. 13 to Little Flower School, a Catholic school in the Washington suburb of Bethesda.
“Today is my very last school visit while my husband is president,” she told the students, faculty and staff. “I wanted to end my school visit with a terrific school like Little Flower.”
Mrs. Bush praised the school for receiving the U.S. Department of Education’s Blue Ribbon Schools Award last fall in recognition of its academic achievement. “That’s really a wonderful accomplishment,” she said. “Congratulations on being such smart kids.”
Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl introduced Mrs. Bush and noted the first lady was “no stranger to education and no stranger to our schools.” A year ago, Mrs. Bush visited Holy Redeemer School in Washington.
Both visits were to commemorate Catholic Schools Week, an annual observance which this year will be celebrated Jan. 25-31 with the theme: “Catholic Schools Celebrate Service.”
Mrs. Bush told the school assembly that as a former librarian and a teacher she has always been interested in education. She noted that many of the first schools in the United States were Catholic schools. She also urged members of the school community to take time during Catholic Schools Week to talk to government leaders about the importance of Catholic education.
Mary Therese Snyder, an eighth-grader at the school, mentioned the school’s patron saint, St. Therese of Lisieux, known as the “Little Flower” in an address to the school assembly and their visitor.
The student noted ways the first lady “showered others with roses” during her husband’s presidency. The student noted the first lady’s “grace under pressure” after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and her work in promoting women’s education in Afghanistan.
“You’ve been a model of graciousness,” the student said. A group of students then presented the first lady with a bouquet of roses.
Mrs. Bush told the students she had cleaned out her office and found many children’s books which she was donating to their library.
“This is a wonderful day for Little Flower,” said Sister Rosemaron Rynn, a member of the Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the school’s principal. “This is really a Blue Ribbon event and a wonderful looking forward” to the celebration of Catholic Schools Week.