From Luis Zelaya - Columbia Heights Educational Campus

3101 16th St, NW / Washington, DC 20010 / HS: 202.939.7700 / MS: 202.939.6680 / Maria Tukeva, Principal
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PRESS ROOM > Special Events > President Obama's Visit > Letters to the President

April 6, 2011

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama:

          My name is Luis Zelaya and I am a senior at Bell Multicultural HighSchool. I want to thank you for giving my school a chance to ask you, the President of the United States, questions on education.

No country is perfect and has its flaws. The election of the first African American President showed the world thatwhile we are still not perfect, we are, in fact, perfecting our union.  I believe the presidency is not a matter of race, but what you do as our President. Your actions define you better than your words.  As you have said, “The time for change is now!”  So far you have improved the economy, changed health care as we know it andsparked a light of hope in everyone’s eyes;and yet there are still major changes needed.Weare still suffering from prejudicethat impacts our dreams of a higher education.

There are still many students that do not have the ability to go to college because of their immigration status in America or financial reasons. I acknowledge you have other issues to deal with like the current crisis in Libya and the current status of unemployment. These issues are very important, but education should be given as much priority as the economy.  Education is ten times more importantthan even the defense budget. The education we receive will define this country’s future. And you cannot depend onus to lead the future if the federal government keeps cutting the education budget.  If we are to be prepared for the future, then a college education in America cannot simply depend on the wealth or native country of my parents.

The United States lands 25in Math, 14in Reading skills and 17in Science. Weare outranked by Japan, South Korea, Finland, the Netherlands and many other countries.  Education is the great equalizer. Without proper education, a nation can never stand at the top of the food chain. The truth is that if you,Congress and local government do not begin collaboratively working together to solve the issuesoon, rather than kicking it down the road, our students and our nation will have been failed once again.  

            I thank you again for taking thetime to answer questions at Bell and reading this letter. You are one of the few people I admire and aspire to be. Just an aside,your visit to my high school and being able to interact with you inspires me to major in Political Science when I attend college next fall.  Sir, you still have my vote for 2012 and I hope you will be able to solve these problems in the near future. Better sooner than later though.


Luis Zelaya
Bell Multicultural High School
Class of 2011

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