Obama to Speak at Joplin High School Graduation

Mar 5, 2012 10:10am
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(Image Credit: Jeffrey Phelps/AP Photo)

President Obama will deliver the commencement address at the first high school graduation in Joplin, Mo.,  since a tornado nearly obliterated the town one year ago, killing 160 people.

Obama will travel to the still-recovering region to speak May 21 at Joplin High School immediately after the G8 and NATO summits in Chicago, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer announced today on Twitter.

In the aftermath of last year’s storms, Obama flew to Joplin to tour the devastation and attend a memorial service, where he promised residents, “your country will be there with you every single step of the way.”

News of Obama’s planned return comes as the region was rocked by another string of unseasonably dangerous storms late last week and the weekend that left at least 39 dead across five states, just east of Missouri.

Obama isn’t the first president to speak to the graduating class of a Midwest town that had been leveled by twisters. President George W. Bush spoke in Greensburg, Kan., in May 2008, one year after it was nearly wiped off the map.

Obama will also deliver the commencement address at Barnard College in New York City on May 14 and the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., on May 23, the White House announced today.

ABC News’ Ann Compton contributed to this report.

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