“I stuttered all through high school,” revealed Vice President Joseph Biden, the keynote speaker for Washington’s Lab School’s Twenty-fifth Anniversary at the National Building Museum. “People think you’re not very smart,” he continued, praising Lab School, the first of its kind in the nation as a model for success in helping students overcome learning disabilities. “It sapped my confidence.”
He said he didn’t mean to compare his stuttering with the handicaps some of the students faced, but in struggling against it (he stood in front of a mirror and recited poetry to get control) he gained an understanding of the efforts they made.
“Don’t let it define you,” he urged. “My parents told me that being different is no barrier to success. It is not a reason for shame.”
Founded by the late educator Sally Smith, students from kindergarten though twelfth grade are prepared for success and future schooling through an innovative, tailor-made curriculum that includes art and creative projects.
This year’s honorees were Bill Milliken, the founder of Communities in Schools; motivational speaker Jonathan Mooney, author of “Learning Between the Lines,”; and actress Lara Flynn Boyle, who was unable to attend.
Comedian Ali Wentworth shared the master of ceremonies stint with her husband, George Stephanopoulos, who is currently rumored to replace ABC’s Diane Sawyer when she moves up to the anchor slot after Charlie Gibson takes a bow.
Laughter ensued when George mentioned he could always get good quotes from Joe Biden, (probably because the loquacious vice-president has so many of them). Biden shot back that he hoped to keep that tendency in check: “I’m trying like hell, but it’s difficult. I’ve never had a boss before.”
Honorary chairs were Sally Quinn and Ben Bradlee. Co-chairs were Nancy and Alan Bubes and Angus and Sissy Wentworth Yates.