THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release April 24, 2012
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AT PRESENTATION OF
THE NATIONAL TEACHER OF THE YEAR AWARD
10:11 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Wow, thank you, everybody. (Applause.) Thank you. Everybody, please have a seat. Have a seat. Welcome to the White House.
Before we get started, I want to recognize one of our greatest advocates for education and for teachers, our Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, is here. Give him a big round of applause. (Applause.)
Now, let's face it, a lot of important people visit the White House. (Laughter.) But to young people in classrooms around the country, nobody is more important than the men and women that we honor here today -- the State and National Teachers of the Year.
These are the kind of teachers who change lives forever. I wouldn’t be here today if it were not for teachers like these who challenged me, and pushed me, and put up with me, and inspired me -- and set me straight when they had to. And I think everybody here can say the exact same thing.
Teachers matter. That’s why I often tell young people: If you want a guarantee that you're making a difference every single day, become a teacher. A teacher is the key to a child reaching their potential. And if we need more proof -- (baby chatters.) Yes, it's true. (Laughter.) Yes. She agrees. (Laughter.)
And if we need more proof that teachers matter, all we've got to do is look around this room. I’m honored to be here with teachers like Gay Barnes, from Madison, Alabama, one of the four finalists for this award. There’s Angela Wilson, who teaches children of military families at Vicenza Middle School, in Italy. Not a bad place to hang out. (Laughter.) There is Alvin Aureliano Davis, who teaches music in Florida.
And there is our 2012 National Teacher of the Year, Rebecca Mieliwocki, from Burbank, California. So give Rebecca a big round of applause. (Applause.) And this is Rebecca's crew right here -- (laughter) -- who are very proud. Auntie and cousins and -- (laughter) --
MS. MIELIWOCKI: My boss.
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, boss. (Laughter.) Even more important. (Laughter.)
Now, you might say that teaching is in Rebecca’s DNA, because both her parents taught in public schools. She saw how hard they worked, how much time and energy they devoted to their jobs, how much they gave to their students.
White House transcript of award ceremony
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