ACC student is honored guest at State of the Union address

Jenny Bragdon

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Tuesday night President Barrack Obama will give his final State of the Union address to the nation.

The White House is promising it will be different from the list of priorities he usually lays out for congress. The president hopes to complete a list of tasks before the end of his term including criminal justice reform, approving the Trans-Pacific Trade partnership, and looking at the big picture.

Jenny Bragdon
ACC student Jenny Bragdon (Courtesy: ACC)

In the audience will be two residents of Austin. One is an Austin Community College student who will be a guest of second first lady Dr. Jill Biden. Jenny Bragdon, 42, works full time, and this past spring started back at college after 20 years off to become a middle school teacher.

During Dr. Biden’s visit to ACC in March of 2015, Bragdon demonstrated ACC’s ACCelerator math class that allows students who struggle with math to learn in a unique environment and go at their own pace. Bragdon told Dr. Biden the class changed her outlook on mathematics and that impressed the second first lady so much she called Jenny to offer an invitation to sit with her during the State of the Union address.

“It was just shock that she remembered the visit much less me and than she would invite me to be her guest and she only gets one so I was truly honored and gobsmacked,” said Jenny Bragdon, ACC student attending State of the Union.

Last week President Obama called for all community colleges to be free for the first two years in an effort to get more people to attend. Three quarters of the cost would be covered by federal funding and the states that take part in the program would pick up the remaining amount. If all 50 states take part the president believes this would benefit roughly 9 million students each year.

The other Austinite attending is Earl Smith, a veteran who first met President Obama when he was a senator visiting Austin in 2008. Smith worked security at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and gave Obama a military patch he wore while serving in Vietnam. President Obama plans to donate that item to his presidential library. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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