Luce Elementary School remembers surprise visit from President Biden

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SPENCER COUNTY, Ind. (WEHT) – Today’s inauguration of President Biden reminded several Tri-Staters of his surprise visit six years ago at a Spencer County school, when he was Vice President.

The parking lot here at Luce Elementary School sees lots of vehicles on school days.

But nearly six years ago to this day, a motorcade stopped here for a few minutes, leaving a long lasting memory.

January 27, 2015 started like most other days at Luce Elementary.

“We were just in class, having a regular first class day,” recalled Amy Chapman, who was a first grade teacher at the school in 2015.

It was regular until the school heard the man who is now president was going past their school.

“When we found this out, of course, we were all excited,” said Kim Simpson, 2nd grade teacher at Luce.

President Biden was vice president at the time of the surprise visit. He was coming back from Owensboro, where he spoke at the funeral for the late former Kentucky Senator Wendell Ford. The plan was to wave at the motorcade as it went down State Route 66 after the funeral.

“We just went outside and stood in the front yard and, like I said, the plan was to wave,” Simpson recalled. That plan changed.

“As he was coming through, we saw the turn signals come on,” said Simpson.

“We just saw a bunch of cop cars and then two Escalades pull up, and a huge group was outside,” recalled Taylor Sharp, who was in 5th grade at Luce in 2015.

“They were freaking out. They started screaming and jumping. I remember that,” adds Briley Burns, who was a 4th grader at the time.

He stopped and talked with students and teachers for ten to 15 minutes before returning to Washington D.C.. Some former students didn’t know who he was until after the surprise visit.

“Once we got back inside, our teacher told us, ‘O.K., this is who this was.’ Then we were shocked. It was kind of crazy,” said Sharp.

“I was just kind of in awe,” adds Burns. “Like, why did he choose us to come see and the fact that he was driving by our school anyway was kind of crazy.”

As they watched the inauguration, memories of that visit came back.

“It was, kind of, weird because you walk in and you’re like, ‘Hey, I met that guy before,'” said Sharp.

“Here we are in little Spencer County, Indiana and someone such as the Vice President at the time stops by to make us feel special and important that day, and now he’s the President of the United States,” Simpson says.

One teacher adds co-workers that still work here still have copies of media reports they saved from when the man who is now president was here.

(This story was originally published on January 20, 2021)

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