As her husband did one year ago, former first lady Laura Bush visited Montgomery Thursday night as the feature key note speaker at Faulkner University's annual Points Dinner Benefit.
About two thousand people joined Mrs. Bush inside the Montgomery Renaissance Convention Center. Following dinner Mrs. Bush spoke to the room for about 20 minutes, talking about everything from her memories at the white house, to the September 11 attacks, to the way she found her identity as first lady.
Bush says her identity was primarily shaped around the importance of education in America. Throughout the evening Faulkner University integrated different skits, performances and videos surrounding education.
“I especially loved all the students who said who their favorite teacher was,” Bush said to the audience with a wide smile. “We just can't thank our teachers enough. It was so sweet to see all of that, so I just want to tell you that my favorite teacher was my second grade teacher, Miss Neggy.”
“I wanted to grow up and be just like her, and so I did, I became a teacher,” Bush said.
The two time former first lady shared the latest about the health and livelihood of her family and even joked around sporting a bobble-head version of herself at the podium.
“I'm happy to be in Montgomery tonight to support the scholarship fund for this terrific university,” she said.
In fact, the entire evening at Faulkner University's Points Dinner Benefit was centered around school, especially how teachers shape children, just as Mrs. Bush's teacher influenced her, and her platform as first-lady.
One of the videos played during the benefit was a mix-up of different students, young and old, sharing their best memories about their favorite teachers.
One young girl said her teacher, “cared about me, I wrote stories and drew pictures for her and she put them on the wall.”
Another explained, “She taught me to read and if she hadn't taught me to read I wouldn't be able to do a lot of things I like to do.”
Mrs. Bush told the audience she believes every child in America should learn to read. She said literacy is “an essential foundation for democracy.”
The audience was thrilled to meet Mrs. Bush and even more supportive of the message she sent in her speech.
“I think it shows the community that Faulkner is more than just a college, that we are involved in the community, that we try to do things that unite the community and I think thats what she's here for,” Cathy Davis of Montgomery said.
Most men and women said they planned on attending regardless of the guest speaker, but Laura Bush made the evening extra special.
“I've always admired her, just to be here with her, I just always thought she was a gracious first lady,” said Pam Morgan of Montgomery.
Other guests have been attending the benefit dinner the past few years and had the privilege to hear Mrs. Bush's husband and former GOP vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin speak.
“I didn't know what they were going to do after they had President Bush, I actually asked them, 'how you gunna one-up that one?' They may have, she's a classy lady,” Brian Ward of Wetumpka said.
Mrs. Bush ended the evening saying the greatest honor of being first lady was having the chance to witness all of America shatter change and stand proud.
Tickets for diners ranged from $150 for general admission to upwards of $3,000 to meet Mrs. Bush. Part of the proceeds from the benefit dinner will go towards scholarships for Faulkner University students.