WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama surprised a group of eighth graders from a Colorado middle school on Monday, just days after they feared a government shutdown would scuttle their trip to Washington.
"Now that things worked out, we figured we'd give you a little bonus," Obama told the students from Altona Middle School in Longmont, Colo. He greeted them on the South Lawn as they toured the White House.
Obama had mentioned the students and their trip in a speech he delivered late Friday night after lawmakers reached a deal to keep the government running. He spoke about a letter he received from Shalini Schane, whose son was among the students planning to come to Washington. Schane wrote to the president about the fundraisers and projects the students did to prepare for the trip, and their appointment to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
"She asked those of us in Washington to get past our petty grievances and make things right," Obama said Friday.
With more budget battles in store, Obama told the students and their teachers that education remains a priority and is an area where he wants to increase investments, not make cuts.