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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
March 25, 2008

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at Rolling Ridge Elementary School
Rolling Ridge Elementary School
Olathe, Kansas


11:45 A.M. CDT

MRS. BUSH: Thank you very much, Senator Roberts. Thank you, boys and girls. I'm so happy to have this chance to be with you today here in your school. And, you know, former teachers, like Senator Roberts, are some of our strongest advocates for our nation's school, and so thank you very much, Senator Roberts, for inviting me here to Rolling Ridge Elementary School in Olathe. I'm thrilled to be here with all of you.

I also want to recognize Franki Roberts, my friend, wife of Senator Pat Roberts, who is here with us today. Thank you very much, Franki, and thank you for your friendship. (Applause.)

Congressman Dennis Moore, thank you very much for joining us today. Mike Copeland, the Mayor of Olathe, thank you, Mayor, for joining us today. And I just heard Senator Roberts talk about the Mayor's book club. Thanks so much for getting the word out to everybody in your town that reading is so important. And Pat All, the Superintendent, thank you so much, Dr. All, for your great work here.

When I visit a school, I always know all the stats on the school and what the test scores show and how well the school is succeeding, and you all are just great. I know all about it. I was reading all about your school when I was coming over here from Washington this morning, and I'm thrilled to have this chance to get to be here with you and congratulate all of the adults: the school board, the teachers, the Principal -- especially the Principal, Lori Fielder -- for your good work in making sure every child here in Olathe gets a really great education. So thanks to every one of you. Kevin Gilmore, the President of the school board, thank you for what you do, and Annabeth Surbaugh, the Johnson County Commissioner, is also in the audience, and thanks a lot.

Senator Roberts and I just visited a class. We got to visit Mrs. Aguilar's 4th-grade class and got to see all the interesting things they're doing and the way they're learning a big, big vocabulary, which helps them, of course, to be able to read widely, and that is read a lot of different books, because that's what helps you become a good reader. Reading takes practice, just like throwing a baseball. And if you read every single night, you'll get to be a better and better reader. And you know what President Bush always asks kids, and that is: Do you read as much as you watch TV? Think about it, because most TV shows are 30 minutes long or an hour long. And do you read every night for at least 30 minutes or an hour? If you don't, start reading that much so you'll become a really, really good reader.

Rolling Ridge Elementary students have a lot to be proud of. Today we're going to recognize your very strong commitment to community service by presenting eight exceptional students with the President's Volunteer Service Award. This award honors Americans who have made service to others an important part of their lives. More than 690,000 volunteers have been honored since this award was created in 2003.

The children receiving awards today have given from 75 hours to more than 100 hours of community service over the past 12 months. They've collected food for families affected by the Greensburg tornado. They've helped clean and teach at their churches. They've assisted with English classes for adults. They've aided their fellow students with homework.

Sixth-grader Victoria Garcia is receiving the Gold Level award for the fifth time, recognizing that she has again performed more than 100 hours of service over the last year. Each of these boys and girls have provided a positive example for children across our nation. It's good news for America when our young people demonstrate such a strong sense of responsibility to their communities. We also know that young people who volunteer are more likely to avoid risky behaviors like drug and alcohol abuse, and are more likely to lead healthy and successful lives.

Since 2003, Rolling Ridge students have volunteered more than 11,000 hours of their time to help their fellow students and neighbors. In recognition of this achievement, Rolling Ridge Elementary School is receiving the President's Call to Service Award, which Principal Fielder will accept on your behalf. Congratulations to every student here for earning this award, and thank you all for setting an example that we all can follow.

Your school counselor, Mrs. Suzie Turner, started the community service program at Rolling Ridge in 2002 to encourage you to become volunteers. I invite her now to come up and tell us more about the students who are being honored this morning.

Thank you all very much for having me here today, and congratulations on these well-deserved awards. Mrs. Turner. (Applause.)

END 11:50 A.M. CDT

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