Since 2009, Obama has delivered commencement addresses at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., the Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and the Coast Guard Academy in New London.
On Monday night, the president spoke at the commencement ceremony for Joplin High School in Missouri. His remarks fell on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the tornado that killed 161 people in the city. The school was destroyed and the graduating class spent their senior year taking classes in a converted department store.
Obama told the graduating class that its community’s spirit is a “source of inspiration’’ to him and the nation.
“You’ve learned at a younger age than most that we can’t always predict what life has in store for us,’’ Obama said in remarks prepared for delivery. “But here in Joplin, you’ve also learned that we have the power to grow from these experiences.’’
“We can define our own lives not by what happens to us, but by how we respond,’’ he said. “We can choose to carry on and make a difference in the world.’’
The president visited the Missouri city in the days after the tornado struck to tour the devastation and meet with residents. — WIRE SERVICES