Gibbs' special guests
February 4th, 2011
06:32 PM ET

Gibbs' special guests

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Press Secretary Robert Gibbs had two very special guests today at the White House: Emily Sparrow and Elaine Rutland. Or as he more likely refers to his high school government and economic teachers – Ms. Sparrow and Ms. Rutland.

Both retired from Auburn High School in Alabama, they made the journey to Washington, DC, today to visit “Bobby” Gibbs, their former ace student (Auburn HS class of ’89).Invited to the White House by the press secretary, the duo was seen in the James S. Brady Briefing Room taking in Gibbs’ daily briefing and snapping some photos. Later, they got a seat in the auditorium where President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Harper held their joint press availability.

Both Sparrow and Rutland gushed over Gibbs, recalling how he took Advanced Placement courses and excelled in class, earning high marks. Ms. Sparrow even brought her old grade book to the White House to show that Gibbs’ average in US Government was a 99. He earned a less stellar (but still respectable) 92 average in US History, which Sparrow also taught. Ms. Rutland didn’t recall his marks in her Economics course, but praised Gibbs as being “brilliant.”

And frustrated reporters take note – both teachers described Gibbs as a good listener who “cared about everyone in the room.”

Along with the grade book, Sparrow also had an old photo of her student on hand, which showed the future press secretary participating in a mock debate where Gibbs argued for the election of George H.W. Bush.

No wonder the two teachers now refer to it as “The Great Debate.” They assured us Gibbs took the opinion opposite of what he actually believed.

Topics: Press Briefing • Robert Gibbs • The Buzz

soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Anne Tidmore

    Dr. Emily Sparrow is one special lady. I am so glad she had this opportunity. I know she must have been a wonderful teacher, and it is no wonder her students excell!!!

    February 5, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  2. Joe Slaughter

    Mrs.Rutland was also my high school history teacher in 1970. She made history so interesting that I still remember our discussions about the French Revolution. Appreciate Mr.Gibbs honoring these teachers & Auburn, AL where we both grew up.

    February 5, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
  3. reta McKannan

    Thanks to Robert for making two Former teachers happpy and for reminding us that our teachers are the very reason we're able to accomplish in life.

    February 6, 2011 at 11:08 am |
  4. Edwin W.

    Two wonderful teachers. They taught me in the mid-80s and I still use the critical thinking skills they taught me every day. What a great story!

    February 6, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  5. Betsy Jones Hindman

    This is so great. Boy do both of those teachers deserve this treat. Ms Rutland was my most inspirational
    teacher and I think of her often.

    February 7, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  6. Betsy Jones Hindman

    This is great. Both of these teachers are wonderful and I'm so thrilled they had this opportunity. Way to go Robert!

    February 7, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
  7. Kim Ledbetter Price

    I love that Dr. Sparrow and Mrs. Rutland had this wonderful opportunity!!! They were two of my very favorite teachers in my days at AHS.

    February 7, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
  8. Carl Benson

    WTG Dr. Sparrow and Mrs. Rutland! Great people and great teachers!

    February 10, 2011 at 9:50 am |