On the first day of school for many American children, President Obama told students “what’s expected of all of you in this new school year.”
Obama’s speech, given before a group of high school students in Arlington, Virginia and broadcast live at many schools across the country, faced controversy before it was even given. Some schools chose not to air it, after critics said it was an opportunity to indoctrinate, rather than motivate, children. The White House released the prepared text of the president’s speech yesterday, so that parents could read it and decide whether it was appropriate for children to watch.
The president’s speech focused on the importance of education and the responsibility students have to make sure they get the most out of their education. “Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is,” Obama said. “That’s the opportunity education can provide.”
While studying is hard work, Obama said, “that’s no excuse for not trying.” Hard work is how people become successful, the president explained. Obama also told students not to be afraid to ask questions or for help when they need it, something he does “every day.”
No matter what career path you follow, Obama told students, you will need education to reach your goal. And developing those skills is not just important for an individual, but for the future of the United States. “If you quit on school, you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country,” Obama said.
What did you think of the president’s speech?