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President Kennedy Honors Michigan High School Class

June 21, 1962 - President Kennedy paid tribute in person today to a group of Michigan students who almost missed their senior trip to Washington because they chose to help a classmate stricken by cancer. “You are very much honored guests here,” the President assured the 33 Glen Lake High School graduates facing him in the White House garden. The students had given up their long-planned Washington trip to contribute $700 for cancer treatments of a classmate, 17-year-old Duane Richardson. Their generosity, recognized on the Senate floor a few weeks ago, prompted a group of Washington residents to finance their trip here. Today, President Kennedy called Duane Richardson to his side. The youth is undergoing treatments at an Ann Arbor hospital’s outpatient clinic. Doctors have said he has a good chance for complete recovery. It was unnecessary for the students to come to Washington, the President said, “because all the things we hoped you might learn, all the lessons that a trip to this capital might have taught you, you learned in your own hometown in your own high school.” “But I am glad you came anyway,” Mr. Kennedy continued, “and I do think it demonstrates that on more occasions perhaps than we think, acts of generosity and consideration bring back returns many times.” He assured the students that “this house belongs to all of you.” The President shook hands with all the students and promised to sign their diplomas “and anything else you want signed like that.”


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