Covington girl demands education changes from the President

By Kimberly Holmes – bio | email

COVINGTON, KY (FOX19)  - Na'Dreya Lattimore enjoyed running around and playing with her three younger brothers Thursday afternoon, but during the school year, the 10-year-old is all about business. Last year, the fifth grader at Sixth District Elementary School was fed up with the country's education system so she wrote the President a letter days before her birthday.

The idea stemmed from a simple question. Lattimore asked her grandmother about the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

"She told me that it basically means that all children are entitled to the same education," Lattimore said. "I don't think it's true. Nobody is getting the same education."

Na'Dreya's mom, Lisa Lattimore, was more than happy to help her straight-A student.

"She wrote the letter in December, sent it off, waited, and waited, and waited for a response," said Lisa. "And finally she just said, well, he's a busy man. I think he'll eventually write me back. She didn't give up."

And for good reason.

"Then he wrote me back and I was shocked," said Na'Dreya.

That's right. President Obama sent Na'Dreya a postcard -- handwritten and signed by the President.

On Thursday, the President surprised everyone. Thursday afternoon, the Head of State quoted Na'Dreya's letter at the end of his speech to the National Urban League in Washington D.C.

Na'Dreya said she's happy with the President's response, but hopes to see some real results soon.

"I hope that he'll help our schools out with the education thing because it feels sometimes that the smarter kids are being punished because they have to redo work because of the kids on lower levels," said Na'Dreya.

"What can you say? Are you smarter than a fifth grader? Because who is really going to take the time to sit down and write the President because they don't think they'll get a response. Nobody's going to read it. Nobody cares. She did. And she got an answer," Lisa said.

Na'Dreya's mom said she can't believe the response her daughter has received so far. She said she thought Na'Dreya's 15 minutes of fame were up a decade ago. Na'Dreya was the last baby born in the Tri-State on December 31, 1999.

Na'Dreya wants to be a forensic scientist when she grows up.


Excerpt from President Barack Obama's speech to the National Urban League:

I got a letter recently postmarked Covington, Kentucky.  It was from Na'Dreya Lattimore, 10 years old -- about the same age as Sasha.  And she told me about how her school had closed, so she had enrolled in another.

Then she had bumped up against other barriers to what she felt was her potential.  So Na'Dreya was explaining to me how we need to improve our education system. She closed by saying this:

"One more thing," she said.  (Laughter.)  It was a long letter.  (Laughter.)  "You need to look at us differently.  We are not black, we're not white, biracial, Hispanic, Asian, or any other nationality."  No, she wrote -– "We are the future."  (Applause.)

Na'Dreya, you are right.  And that's why I will keep fighting to lead us out of this storm.

But I'm also going to keep fighting alongside the Urban League to make America more perfect, so that young people like Na'Dreya -- people of every race, in every region -- are going to be able to reach for that American Dream.

They're going to know that there are brighter days ahead; that their future is full of boundless possibilities. I believe that, and I know the Urban League does, too.

Thank you very much, everybody.  God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

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