EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

Hunter High School faculty and students shocked to learn of first lady’s visit

Jan 17, 2024, 8:00 AM | Updated: 11:11 am

First Lady Jill Biden and Utah First Lady Abby Cox standing with students from Hunter High School o...

First Lady Jill Biden and Utah First Lady Abby Cox standing with students from Hunter High School on Jan. 16, 2024. (Kennedy Camarena/KSL NewsRadio)

(Kennedy Camarena/KSL NewsRadio)

SALT LAKE CITY — First Lady Jill Biden touched down in Utah on Tuesday to attend a fundraiser for President Biden’s presidential campaign.

Before heading to the fundraiser in Park City, the first lady visited with faculty and choir students at Salt Lake City’s Hunter High School.

English Language Arts teacher Jeanne Yamashita was surprised to hear the first lady was coming to Hunter High.

“When I first heard about it, I was kind of shocked it would be Hunter High of all places,” Yamashita said. “Utah doesn’t get a lot of political figures coming through the state. The fact that she picked Hunter High was kind of cool.”

While the high school’s faculty awaited the first lady’s arrival, a small number of choir students prepared to welcome Mrs. Biden by practicing their singing skills.

(KSL does not name the students in this article due to a request for anonymity by Hunter High School officials.)

Over and over, the choir students asked if they could sing Jingle Bells because there was still snow on the ground.

One Hunter High choir student told KSL that the first lady visiting their school was the last thing they expected to happen in their life.

“If you had told seventh grade me, in choir, in junior high, that my senior year of high school I would sing to the First Lady of the United States of America … I would have called you crazy. Absolutely crazy,” she said.

Another student mentioned how it was an amazing opportunity for Hunter High to have the first lady visit. She said it was especially important after two years have gone by since a shooting took place near the school, claiming the lives of two Hunter High students.

What did the first lady talk about?

One of the subjects Mrs. Biden discussed was the future and importance of education. She was a teacher for over 30 years.

“When I was in college, I thought about how much books shaped me. And how I loved, you know, escaping into them or learning something new,” the first lady said.

“It really broke my heart that there were so many people who didn’t know that joy. Who could not read. And I realized that it was a gift that I could give to someone.”

Utah First Lady Abby Cox was also present when Biden touched down in Utah. Cox then joined Biden at Hunter High School.

Hugo Rikard-Bell contributed to this story.

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Hunter High School faculty and students shocked to learn of first lady’s visit