Secretary Arne Duncan Helps Distribute Tickets to the 131st White House Easter Egg Roll

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Earlier this week, school children at Plummer Elementary School in Washington, D.C., learned that they would have the opportunity to attend the largest and most inclusive Easter Egg Roll ever held at the White House. For the first time in the 131 years since the springtime celebration became an annual tradition on the south lawn, the White House will welcome visitors from 45 different states and Washington, D.C.—having distributed more tickets than ever before to a wide range of children and families from across the country.

Secretary Arne Duncan joined D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Michelle Rhee at Plummer Elementary on the south-east side of the city to surprise a third-grade class with the announcement.

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ED Staff

Secretary Arne Duncan joined District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty and District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Michelle Rhee at Plummer Elementary on the south-east side of the city to surprise a third-grade class with the announcement.

Secretary Duncan noted that—for the first time—the Department of Education, in collaboration with the White House, is giving 4,000 tickets to school children in the Washington, D.C., metro area, with half of those tickets going to hardworking DCPS students. All children in pre-kindergarten through fourth grade at Plummer will attend the historic event.

Once the third graders and parent volunteers in Ms. Deborah Gardner’s class learned that they would be rolling eggs with the First Family, the room erupted into applause and cheers. Each child who attends on Monday, April 13, will receive a special souvenir—a colorful egg signed by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. The theme of this year’s celebration, “Let’s Go Play,” will encourage children and families to lead healthy, active lifestyles.

Chancellor Rhee shared that she was especially proud of Plummer—a school where test scores were once among the lowest in the district—because student performance has significantly improved in both reading and mathematics this year. Chancellor Rhee selected 20 DCPS schools that will receive tickets to the Easter Egg Roll in recognition of similar improvements and achievement. Across the metro area, students who otherwise would not have been able to participate in such an extraordinary event will be able to benefit now.

After reading letters describing what they would do if they were elected President of the United States, the students presented handmade thank-you cards to Mayor Fenty, Chancellor Rhee, and Secretary Duncan. In addition to speaking with Ms. Gardner’s class, all three also took advantage of their time at Plummer by participating in a reading lesson with first and second graders.

Secretary Duncan noted that visiting Plummer and giving out tickets to the Easter Egg Roll was a perfect opportunity to tell the local school community, “Great job, keep working hard—we couldn’t be more proud of what you’re accomplishing.”