THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Palm Beach, Florida) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release October 31, 1997
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT TO THE STUDENTS AND TEACHERS OF LIGHTHOUSE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Lighthouse Elementary School Jupiter, Florida
1:16 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Hello! Well, I finally made it. (Applause.) First, you know, I hurt my leg and I couldn't come. And this morning, I got up at 5:30 a.m., and I was getting ready to come here and I thought I'm going to be able to keep my promise to the children at Lighthouse Elementary. Then we got to the airport and it was so foggy in Washington that I couldn't see my hand before me, and we had to wait for two hours to take off. So I made you late, and now you are a little bit wet. (Laughter.) But you look beautiful to me, and I thank you for making me feel so welcome. Thank you. (Applause.)
I want to thank Congressman Deutsch and Congressman Foley for coming with me, and, Mayor, thank you for making me feel so welcome. Principal Hukill, thank you for what you said. And I thought Jessica did a wonderful job introducing me, didn't you? (Applause.)
I'd also like to thank the people who are here from the Palm Beach County Literacy Coalition, Palm Beach America Reads. The district President of the Miami Dade Community College Dr. Padrone is here, I think. And I thank you all for being here. And I thank the Middle School band for being here. (Applause.) I hope you'll play me some music when I'm finished speaking. I want to hear you.
I am so glad to be here with all of you today, because one of my most important responsibilities as President is to do everything I can to see that you get a world-class education. You know you are living in a world that is dominated by computers and technology. But you also live in a world where you can't fully enjoy them unless you can read well, unless you can do basic math, unless you can learn the things that your teachers are trying to teach you.
And about a year ago I tried to think of what I wanted to say to America in one sentence about our schools. And it is that I want an America in which every 8-year-old child can read a good book on his or her own; in which every 12-year-old can log on to the Internet; in which every 18-year-old, without regard to their family's income can go to college; and every adult can keep on learning for a lifetime. Will you help me make that kind of America? Will you do that? (Applause.)
I want to thank all the people here who helped Lighthouse Elementary succeed, to show that every school to succeed needs to be a community school -- or, as my wife says, a school where the whole village is involved in helping children learn. There are 250 volunteers who contribute at least a thousand hours of their time to the students and the teachers every month. That's wonderful. If every school could say that, education in America would be much better. You should be proud of yourselves. (Applause.)
I also want to congratulate the students here who participate in the Sunshine State Readers program and read 15 books a month and write reports on them. I wish I still had time to read 15 books a month. You will never regret it. And if you don't read that much a month, every one of you should do whatever you can to read more. You will learn a lot and help yourselves and it's a lot of fun.
Let me finally say that we are going to do everything we can in Washington to help make sure that a college education will be there for you if you'll work hard at school and learn what you need to know. We want to help your families send you to college. We want to help get high standards in the later grades as well. But in the end, it all depends on every one of you -- what's in your heart and what's in your mind.
When you were singing your school song today and you felt good doing it, that's the way I want you to feel when you're in class. I want you to be proud of what you can learn, and I want you to believe that every one of you was given a mind by God that can learn. You can all learn. You can all do better. You can all learn more.
So be brave and have a good time and make the most of your education. And thank you so much for making me feel so welcome today. God bless you all. (Applause.)
END 1:21 P.M. EST