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Obama quotes letter of Flowery Branch junior
Student wrote to the president to support the American Jobs Act
1004obama-desty wheeler
Destiny Wheeler

Click here to watch Obama's speech.

Writing letters to the president is usually reserved for in-class assignments, but not for Destiny Wheeler.

Wheeler, 16, a junior at Flowery Branch High School, took some time one weekend in September to write President Barack Obama and tell him what she thought about his jobs bill.

"I've been listening to what's happening in education. There's so much going on, and if people could just compromise we could get something good done," she said. "I said there's not a lot of good stuff going on with education ... but with this jobs bill it will improve schools and help modernize them."

Obama used Wheeler's letter, along with remarks from other constituents, in his weekly address Saturday to help persuade Congress to pass the jobs bill.

"Destiny Wheeler is a 16-year-old from Georgia who wants to go to college. She wrote to me saying, ‘Nowadays it is hard to see myself pushing forward and putting my family in a better position, especially since the economy is rough and my starting situation is so poor. Yet, the American Jobs Act gives me hope that I might start to receive a better education, that one day job opportunities will be open for me to grasp, and that one day my personal American Dream will be reached,'" he said. "Destiny needs us to pass this jobs bill."

Wheeler found out she would be mentioned on a White House website Friday, but it wasn't until she was searching the Web over the weekend that she noticed the speech with her name in it.

"From what I hear, (the bill is) going to give money to help schools get more technology and computers," Wheeler said. "Many classrooms don't have computers or if they do, they just have one. It's kind of sad. Certain areas will be able to get the funding they need to get themselves a better education."

The jobs bill has several key tenets: a 3.1 percent payroll tax cut for all businesses, legislation and regulation to help small businesses work better with government and expand, having servicemen and women leave the military career-ready, and preventing teacher layoffs and investing in infrastructure, to name a few.

But the component Wheeler was concerned with was modernizing at least 35,000 of the country's public schools.

"The accumulated backlog of deferred maintenance and repair amounts to at least $270 billion. Schools spend over $6 billion annually on their energy bills," the American Jobs Act states. "For children in the nation's poorest districts, these deferred projects too often mean overcrowded schools with crumbling ceilings and a lack of the basic wiring infrastructure needed for computers, projectors and other technology."

The bill says $30 billion will be invested in modernizing schools with repairs and renovations, energy efficiency upgrades and equipping community colleges to train a modern workforce. Much of the funds will be directed to schools in high-need districts, such as those in rural areas.

Wheeler is in support of the bill passing.

"This is about Destiny Wheeler and Alice Johnson. It's about Cathleen Dixon's children, and the Fabers' family business," Obama said in his speech. "These are the people who need a win, and I will be fighting for this jobs bill every day on their behalf."