Hundreds of students, adults and dignitaries withstood the late afternoon heat and humidity for a chance to see the President of the United States give a speech on the future of higher education at Henninger High School in Syracuse.
President Barack Obama's bus tour arrived on the high school campus just after at about 5:45 pm. (Watch the video). About a half hour later, he slipped through the blue drapes to a roar of applause and the flash of cameras.
He took a moment to remind the television audience that all of Syracuse's high schools were represented by students in the audience. Along with Henninger, he named Nottingham, Corcoran, Fowler and Central Tech. Each school had its own cheering section.
Eventually he zeroed in on the educational theme taking some of the same text from his Buffalo speach earlier in the day. He said there are three prongs to his plan to hold colleges and universities accountable and bring change. The President said the nation needs to connect financial aid to school performance, support academic innovation and competition, and make college affordable.
The speach lasted about 30 minutes. (Watch here or above)
He then shook hands with those fortunate enough to be near the front of the room. Many of those in attendance said they were moved by the President's words.
The President spent another hour at Henninger High School after he left the gym before his motorcade departed for Auburn for the night.
(Check out our
from President's visit to Henninger High School and Central New York.)
During his speech, the President was was interrupted momentarily by Ursula Rozum and Amelia Ramsey-Lefevre who were chanting about Bradley Manning. They call themselves individuals working on behalf of the Bradley Manning Support Network. Rozum was a Green Party candidate who ran for Congress in 2012 against Democrat Rep. Dan Maffei and Republican Anne Marie Buerkle.
A number of protesters had lined the roads as the motorcade arrived at Henninger High School before the speech. The majority opposed fracking, while some protested the U.S. policy in the wake of the recent coup in Egypt. A group of
about 100 anti-fracking protestors
showed arrived about three hours before the event.
Earlier in the day, Air Force One landed at Buffalo Niagara International Airport at 10:15 a.m. The President was accompanied by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the governor's three daughters. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Rep. Brian Higgins also greeted the President.
The President concluded his speech at the University of Buffalo and the motorcade departed Buffalo for Syracuse at about 12:10 p.m.
Obama stopped for lunch
at Magnolia's Deli and CafÃ© in Rochester on his way to Syracuse. The White House Press Office says the President stopped to shake hands and talk with people having lunch outside. (
The motorcade left Rochester around 2:40 p.m. The White House Press Office says the streets were lined with people, some people waved and one man saluted. There were also protest signs about fracking.
A crowd hoping for a
presidential visit in Seneca Falls
guessed correctly. The President stopped at the
Women's Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls
on his way to Syracuse ahead of Women's Equality Day next Monday. Obama said he was "very proud" to visit Seneca Falls.
The motorcade departed for Syracuse at 4:25 p.m. The President exited the Thurway headed for Syracuse just before 5:40 p.m. and arrived at Henninger High School around 5:50 p.m. The lively crowd could be heard chanting "Obama! Obama!"
The Presidentâ??s visit to Syracuse was highly anticipated by many in the Syracuse community. Syracuse families waited in line for hours Tuesday to get their one free ticket per person to see the President. Some even camped out overnight Monday.
Even though the White House handed out tickets for the President's appearance earlier this week, people showed up early in hopes of being first in line. About 30 people were lined up by 10:30 a.m. Thursday.
The first two people in line
were Fernando Ortiz and Courtney Mangan, who are seniors at Henninger High School.
Syracuse resident Tiffany Harris said she planned to take her son Julius to see the first African American president speak about education. "He's speaking on education. That's important for Julius to hear directly from the President on how important it is to get an education," says Harris.
Neighbors in the Eastwood neighborhood decorated their homes in anticipation of the Presidentâ??s motorcade. "We're going to set up early. We hope that by example a lot of our neighbors around here would do that," said Ann Beaulieu with F.R. Brice Florist. The staff decorated the outside of the building with flags and red, white and blue decorations. Beaulieu's grandchildren also had a lemonade stand set up outside the flower shop with proceeds going to charity.
Obama will conclude his bus tour Friday with an appearance at Binghamton University and in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
The President Obama
spent the night in Auburn
. The Federal Aviation Administration
cleared the airspace over Auburn for Thursday night into Friday morning.