Michelle Obama is rested, ready and screwing up a bunch of ordinary people’s lives again.
Fresh off a luxurious vacation to China (which was fresh off a long vacation at Oprah’s Maui home), the first lady has threatened hassle and hardship upon hundreds of students and their families in Topeka, Kan. with a last-minute announcement of her intention to speak at a combined graduation ceremony for the city’s five public high schools.
School district officials deserve just as much blame for the developing fiasco—possibly more. They invited Obama to speak at the May 17 graduation back in December, reports The Topeka Capital-Journal.
The reason for the invitation is the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that declared separate-but-equal public education unconstitutional.
“It really is a historical day,” Topeka school superintendent Julie Ford said when she announced the exciting news on Thursday. “We couldn’t be more happy.”
Turns out, though, a large number of students and their families were far happier before the announcement, which will necessitate the combined graduation and move it to the Kansas Expocentre, a 10,000-seat multi-purpose arena.
The new graduation venue will severely limit the number of family members and friends who can attend the mass commencement. (It should also make for a staggeringly longer ceremony.)
Normally, graduating seniors across Topeka’s five high schools can invite anyone they want to their big days. It’s not a bidg deal. However, this year promises to be much different.
Worried parents who called the district said they learned each student would receive a mere four tickets each.
Topeka High senior Taylor Gifford told the Capital-Journal she was “absolutely thrilled” when she first learned Obama would speak. “I mean, it’s the first lady,” she said.
Excitement soon turned to despair, though, when Gifford realized the price of the speech would be a drastic reduction in the number of guests she could bring.
“I’m the oldest of eight,” the senior lamented, adding that she hoped to see family friends at the event in addition to her nuclear family members.
“These are people that have watched me grow up and become the person I am,” Gifford said.
Topeka mother Tina Hernandez expressed similar disappointment.
“This is not fair,” the hardworking single mom told the Journal. “My son is more important than Michelle Obama.”
Hernandez said she has already sunk hundreds of dollars into announcements which will be wrong.
“You look forward to this day,” the irate mom said. “You can bring the president and it doesn’t matter. This is my son’s day.”