(This story by Greg Sukiennik was published in the Bennington Banner on May 9, 2017.)
MANCHESTER — Gov. Phil Scott will be the keynote speaker at Burr and Burton Academy’s 184th commencement exercises next month, the school announced Monday.
Headmaster Mark Tashjian made the announcement at the school’s regular school-wide Monday morning meeting, according to a news release from BBA.
“Our keynote speaker bestows upon us a great honor,” Tashjian told the student body and faculty, according to the release. “Governor Scott has devoted his life to public service, and with his election this past November, a Republican in a deeply liberal state, he has proven himself to unite Vermonters across the political spectrum.”
Scott visited BBA for a question and answer session on Oct. 14 when he was still the Republican candidate for governor. During his visit he took questions from the student body, toured the school and sat down for a one-on-one interview, with cinematography students from BBA filling the interview, camera and sound roles.
Scott’s October visit served as a prologue for his current legislative agenda, in which he is advocating for moving collective bargaining for K-12 teachers’ health insurance to the state level, a move he said could save $26 million.
“Lowering the operational and overhead costs of the public education system is the only way to get property taxes under control,” he told the audience at BBA in October.
As a candidate and as governor, Scott has supported school choice, an issue important to many in the BBA community.
“I am certain he will have words of wisdom to share with us all, and this is also an opportunity to thank the governor for his instrument to work in helping to protect school choice and independence,” Tashjian said Monday, according to the release from BBA.
The BBA senior class chose two additional speakers who will share the stage with Scott: science department chairman Dave Curtis, who will retire at the end of this year, and Joel Secoy, a BBA alumni and member of the school’s custodial staff.