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President Obama Broadcasts Speech to Students Over Internet; SAT Scandal

Aired September 29, 2011 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Advice from students, an SAT scandal and buried treasure at the bottom of the sea. Those are the stories coming your way on CNN Student News. I`m Carl Azuz. Let`s go.

First up today, we`re talking about a speech from President Obama that is aimed directly at students. It`s the president`s third annual back-to- school speech. This year, he urged students to, quote, "explore" and every once in a while, quote, "color outside the lines."


AZUZ (voice-over): President Obama made this year`s speech at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School. It was broadcast on the Internet. One of his big themes was that education and learning don`t stop after high school. And he offered some suggestions about what students can focus on this year.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So I want all of you who are listening, as well as everybody here at Banneker, I want you to make the most of the year that`s ahead of you.

I want you to think of this time as one in which you are just loading up with information and skills, and you`re trying new things and you`re practicing, and you`re honing all those things that you`re going to need to do great things when you get out of school.

Your country is depending on you. So set your sights high. Have a great school year. Let`s get to work.


AZUZ: All right. It`s one thing to get advice from the president. It`s another to hear it from students like yourself. We`re talking about a segment we call "Student Views".

And this past summer, we talked with some rising juniors and seniors at the Leadership Unplugged program. It was held here in Atlanta, and we asked for their words of wisdom for anybody who`s just starting out in high school. Here are some of the things they had to say.


SHAKORI FLETCHER, HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR: I would tell incoming high school freshmen they definitely need to stay focused. And they need to have a plan of where they`re going and how they`re going to get there, because now there are strenuous requirements for getting into college and for, I guess, standing out and being amazing, in a sense.

MACHMUD MAKHMUDOV, HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR: I know that it may seem as if, once you get into high school, it`s really intimidating and everything. You want to just get out and experience college life.

But I really recommend to every freshman that you take your time and enjoy your four years, because it really does go by quickly. And you really start to miss the experiences if you don`t stop and look around for a bit, smell the roses, as they say.

MICHAEL GORDEN, HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR: Just be yourself at school. Don`t try to fit in with the "in" crowd, you know, the tough kids. Just do what you`ve done your whole life and be comfortable with yourself and be confident.

GRACE LITTLE, HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR: It`s never too early to start looking at colleges. A lot of colleges take scholarships and applications presented your sophomore year. So if you already know what schools you`re interested in, you could start looking for those your freshman year.

TAYLER CRITCHLOW, HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR: Even though high school seems like a big place, it`s tons of kids are there, like way older than you, don`t get freaked out. You`ll be up there sooner than -- don`t get freaked out, like just flow with it. It`ll all work out. Don`t worry.


AZUZ: I like that, "Don`t get freaked out."

Well, we have a piece of advice for you now from police, and that is don`t cheat on the SAT. They say some students from a high school in Long Island did just that.


AZUZ (voice-over): Seven people have now been arrested. Sam Eshaghoff, whom you see hear, plus six other students who are accused of hiring Eshaghoff to take the SAT for them.

KATHLEEN RICE, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Who are the victims in this instance? The victims are their fellow students, the kids who don`t cheat, the kids who take the SAT prep course, the kids who study, the kids who do their homework, the kids who play by the rules.

AZUZ (voice-over): The charges against Eshaghoff , the accused test- taker, are serious. Listen to this: first degree scheme to defraud, first degree falsifying business records, second degree criminal impersonation.

His lawyer says he`s not guilty.


AZUZ: The six students accused of paying him thousands of dollars to impersonate them and take the test have been charged with less serious misdemeanors. But what`s unclear is what happens to them if they`re found guilty, whether the colleges that some of these students have already gotten into are going to allow them to stay.


AZUZ (voice-over): Really significant story for us here on CNN Student News. There`s so many different types of punishment for cheating. If someone is found guilty of doing it on a major exam, like the SAT, what do you think should happen?

We know you`re going to want to talk about this and we`ve set up a place for you to do it, our blog at We want you to log on to share your reactions and to share only your first names. So if you had your class or an initial, it won`t get published. The blog is first names only.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today`s first Shoutout goes out to Mr. Johnson`s civics classes at Pendleton High School in Pendleton, Oregon.

Which of these holidays is the Jewish New Year? If you think you know it, shout it out. Is it Hanukkah, Rosh Hashanah, Tu Bishvat or Yom Kippur? You`ve got three seconds, go.

Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. In Hebrew, it means "beginning of the year." That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.


AZUZ: Jewish people around the world are celebrating Rosh Hashanah right now. The Jewish calendar is a lunar one, so holidays start at sunset. And Rosh Hashanah began when the sun went down last night. It marked the start of the year 5772 on the Jewish calendar.


AZUZ (voice-over): Rosh Hashanah begins the Jewish high holy days, which end 10 days later with Yom Kippur. It`s a time for reflection, for people to look back at any mistakes from the past year and to plan changes for the new year.

One of the most important rituals during Rosh Hashanah is the blowing of the shofar. It`s played kind of like a trumpet. It`s made from a ram`s horn and used as a call to repentance.



AZUZ (voice-over): Some events from this day in history, in 1988, the shuttle Discovery lifted off into space. It was the first launch following the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger.

That same day, Stacy Allison became the first American woman to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, the highest point on the planet.

And in 2008, during the height of the financial crisis, the U.S. stock market tanked. It suffered its worst single-day point drop ever. On that day, it lost more than 777 points.


AZUZ: Treasure hunters in search of a shipwreck that could hold millions of dollars lost beneath the waves. Kind of sounds like what could be the plot for the next "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie.

But this thing is totally true. It`s a story that started 60 years ago. And it could be getting ready to reach a conclusion now. We`re going to explain why. Ralitsa Vassileva dives in with the details.


RALITSA VASSILEVA, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): An eerie scene from the bottom of the sea. Here lies the S S Gairsoppa. The British cargo steamer was torpedoed by a Nazi U-boat back in 1941, taking all but one of the 85 people on board and its precious cargo to a watery grave.

Using the latest high-tech and deepwater robots, Florida-based treasure hunters Odyssey Marine Exploration located the wreck about 300 miles off the Ireland coast.

The ship went down carrying tea, pig iron and some 200 tons of silver, now valued at more than $210 million, making this a highly sought-after salvage.

MARK GORDON, CEO, ODYSSEY Marine EXPLORATION: And you know what? If the tea hasn`t floated away, good chance the silver hasn`t floated away, either.

VASSILEVA (voice-over): While the wreck now lies in water even deeper than the Titanic, Odyssey`s chief executive believes that won`t prevent a full cargo recovery.

GORDON: We`re very fortunate because we found this shipwreck sitting upright on the sea floor, with the cargo holds opened. And the process of unloading the cargo won`t be too different than if it were sitting alongside a dock, although we are going to be doing it in about, you know, 5 kilometers of water depth.

VASSILEVA (voice-over): Odyssey crews hope to start bringing that silver to the surface next spring -- Ralitsa Vassileva, CNN, Atlanta.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Time for a Shoutout Extra Credit. In which of these areas could you best see the aurora borealis? You know what to do. Is it in the Arctic Circle, Amazon Forest, Sahara Desert or South Pole? Rewind that clock to three seconds and go.

The Arctic Circle would be an ideal spot to see the aurora borealis, or northern lights. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout Extra Credit.


AZUZ: You don`t need to go to the Arctic Circle to see it. You could just watch today`s "Before We Go" segment.


AZUZ (voice-over): . because thanks to an iReporter in Denmark, we have this awesome view of the northern lights. The aurora borealis is this colorful glow that happens in the upper atmosphere. The iReporter said usually you see scenes like this in countries that are farther north than Denmark. But when he caught sight of the impressive display himself, he went running for the video camera.


AZUZ: All right, I`m going to be honest. We tried to come up with a pun for this story, but it`s really hard to do anything with the terms "aurora borealis." It just doesn`t lend itself to any jokes.

So at the end of the day, we just decided, you know what? We`re not going to make "light" of the situation. Ack! No, we didn`t want to leave you disappointed. We`ll be back tomorrow to close out the week, and we hope you will be back to join us. For CNN Student News, I`m Carl Azuz.