SECRETARY CLINTON: Good morning.
STUDENTS: Good morning.
SECRETARY CLINTON: I am so happy to be here today. And I thank your principal for that wonderful introduction. And I’m so pleased that I had a chance to be here with you on the first day of school for the Manhattan Charter School. I know tomorrow all the students from PS142 will be here, and this building will just be filled with boys and girls who are ready to learn a lot.
And it is exciting for me to have this chance to come here today to talk with you and answer your questions. Now when I walked in, one of the boys here said, “I have a question for you.” So I hope a lot of you have questions for me because – oh, I see the papers (inaudible). I want to talk with you about what is on your mind.
But first, let me thank your principal. Thank you so much Principal DePolo for your leading of this school, all of the faculty and staff of the Manhattan Charter School. I also want to thank the board of the school which is here. I want to recognize Mike Mulgrew from the UFT, and so many others who really work hard every day on behalf of the education of our children – Christina Grant, Ira Greenberg, William Colavito, Michelle Lewis, Jonas Chartock, Paul O’Neill – and all of you who are part of making sure that every boy and girl has a chance to live up to his or her God-given potential.
Now, I would imagine that many of you are thinking about what this year is going to be like, what are you going to learn, what plans are you going to make, what you believe you’re going to be learning and doing and (inaudible) as the year goes by. Well, there is somebody who really does care a lot about what happens to our young people, and that’s our President, Barack Obama. And he is going to give a message to students all across the United States later today. And he’ll talk about how important it is what our teachers and our students do, because ultimately, how much you learn, how you feel about yourself is really up to you. And so President Obama wants to talk with you about his own experience and about what he hopes that each of you can achieve. He asked me to come today to speak personally with you because your education is so important to our country.
Now when I was your age, I think I was in fifth grade. Are there any fifth graders here? Oh, good. When I was in fifth grade, we had a president by the name of President Eisenhower. Now President Eisenhower gave us a very important message when I was a fifth grader. He basically said that he hoped that the boys and girls of America would study more math and science because our country needed people who could help us send a man to the moon, help us have breakthroughs in new kinds of scientific discoveries. And my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Kraus, came into our classroom one day and she said, “Boys and girls, the President of the United States wants you to learn more math and science.” Well, I was pretty excited to think that the President of the United States, way over in Washington, D.C. in the White House, was hoping that we would learn more.
Well, President Obama hopes that each of you will learn more. Now, I was never great at math or science, but I felt like it was important that I try my best. And that’s really what President Obama and I want each of you to feel, because there are so many opportunities for those who get an education.
How many of you want to grow up and graduate from high school? How many of you want to go to college? That’s wonderful. Well, I hope that all of you understand because it’s important not only for yourselves, but for each and every person in our country that our young people like you get the very best possible education you can. Your parents and your grandparents, your big brothers and sisters and everybody knows that it’s important that you’re here today. And I hope that this year will be the most exciting year that you’ve had.
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