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Recalling Barbara Bush’s Visit to Glenfield 30 Years Ago

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Librarian Virginia Weaver (l) and Library Media Specialist Harriet Parker, along with students, admire the signed copy of a book First Lady Barbara Bush gave to Glenfield 30 years ago.

In light of former First Lady Barbara Bush’s passing last week, Glenfield Middle School took a moment to reflect on her visit 30 years ago and the special gift she left behind. The visit took place as her husband Vice President George H.W. Bush, was in the middle of his campaign for President of the United States. 

The school principal at the time was Dr. Janet Kalafat Tunstall, and two of Glenfield’s current staff members, Dan Gill and Rosalind Thompson were there during the visit and shared their recollections of the day’s events:

The day before Mrs. Bush’s arrival, the Secret Service came to the school to make sure she would have a safe and secure visit. They went through the building with dogs that were trained to detect explosives. The local roads were checked, and so was the route to the hospital, even though Mrs. Bush traveled with her own doctors. All of this was done to make sure that in case of emergency situation that they would be able to take care of Mrs. Bush quickly.

The day of the visit the school was locked down. There was no movement in the hallways until students and faculty were told to do so. Reporters from local and national newspapers and television networks set up their cameras. The street in front of the school was blocked off by the local police and the Secret Service.

Mrs. Bush’s convoy pulled up in front of the school at mid-morning. Mrs. Bush, was escorted in by Secret Service and her personal agent, who never left her side. She was led to her first stop – the school library. She met informally with Student Council members and donated an inscribed photo book of Abraham Lincoln. According to Glenfield Library Media Specialist Harriet Parker that copy, recently uncovered by Glenfield librarian Virginia Weaver, is still there today for students to use when studying the Civil War. Mrs. Bush then proceeded to the auditorium where she spoke to the entire school community about her love of reading and the importance of literacy for all children.

Mrs. Bush shook hands with staff as she exited the building and stopped to say a heartfelt goodbye to several classes that had lined up outside. Those who were there at the time will always remember a gracious, down to earth woman who went on to become a First Lady and the mother of a future president. Glenfield students today have this story and her signed book to pass down for years to come.

Updated: 4/26/2018