Boehner Gives Tearful Speech at School Gala: D.C. Scene

Lab School of Washington Gala
Katherine Schantz, head of school at the Lab School of Washington, and House Speaker John Boehner, Ohio Republican. Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

“There’s a box of tissues here somewhere,” Speaker of the House John Boehner said last night in his keynote speech at the annual gala for the Lab School of Washington.

Boehner fought back tears as he talked about “that one teacher who made a difference” to him: Gerry Faust, his football coach at all-boys Archbishop Moeller High School in Cincinnati. “Even though I had 11 brothers and sisters, he was my guy and still is my guy.”

Later, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy received the school’s award as outstanding achiever with a learning difference. He said he struggled with “everything” in school, but the “compensatory skills” he developed as a result have served him well in his political career.

Guests included Senator Max Baucus, Montana Democrat, Representative John Dingell, Michigan Democrat, former Senator John Breaux, and Timothy McKone, executive vice president of federal relations at AT&T, who co-chaired the gala at the National Building Museum and has a son in the school’s seventh grade.

The Lab School caters to students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia and other learning disabilities.

Between sniffles, Boehner, an Ohio Republican, said, “What teachers do and what schools can do to help every student is immense. Every child can learn, and every child deserves the opportunity and the chance to be all they can be. The biggest disgrace in America is that we only educate half of America’s kids.”

On a lighter note, the gala auction featured a tear-defying Shih Tzu puppy, whom guests fawned over during the cocktail hour.

(Stephanie Green is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

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