Vice President Joe Biden knows it's not going to be an easy year for 2009 graduates. The economy is bad and jobs are scarce, but he says this is no time to give up. "So for those who tell you you are doing too much, be smart enough not to listen," Biden said. "For those who say what we dream of can not be done, be nave enough to give it a shot."
An SU graduate himself, he remembered sitting on that field at to receive his law degree. During that time, he says he and his fellow grads faced uncertain times as well, but they never doubted they could change history, and now is the time for the class of '09.
After commencement, Vice President Biden's tour of Syracuse continued to Bellevue Elementary School, the place his late wife taught back in the 60s. The kids wrote letters to him shortly after the election hoping to bring him to the school, and although they have many years to go before they can cast their own votes, they had plenty to say.
It was a pleasant break from the hard-hitting questions he's become accustomed to. Students asked, "if the White House was painted red and black, would it be the 'red and black house?'" Biden laughed and answered, "Yeah, yeah it would."
Another asked, "Have you ever played basketball with President Obama?"
"I haven't had the chance to play basketball with President Obama," Biden said. "He is a pretty good basketball player."
While the Vice President says getting into the White House is not always easy, he made a special promise to all the students. "If you're good and you come to the White House and you say, I'm from Bellevue School, can I see Joe Biden?' I will get you into the White House."
This is a homecoming for Biden. When he was in law school, his late wife Neilia taught at Bellevue and they lived on Stinard Avenue. All these years later, returning as the Vice President, this trip is inspiring White House dreams. "My dream is to become president as well so I want to see what they do and it will inspire me even more to become what I want to be," said 5th grader Yanira Johnson.
And it's not everyday you get to meet the V.P. "Oh, we're all so thrilled," said librarian Monica Minion. "It's just a dream come true. It's something that will never happen again."
"It inspired me a lot because not many kids our age get an opportunity to meet a man like him," said student Maniya Cannon.
While Washington D.C. can be a tough crowd to crack, here, the Vice President can expect a warm welcome back.