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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
June 10, 2008
Mrs. Bush's Remarks at a Student Event in Za in Proti (ZiP)
National Museum of Slovenia at Metelkova
2:35 P.M. (Local)
MRS. BUSH: I think I'll come to the microphone so I don't have to talk too loud.
Thank you all. Congratulations to each of you on your debate. This was very interesting and a lot of fun to listen to, and you do -- your English is terrific; it's perfect, as a matter of fact. And congratulations on that as well.
I think this is a very interesting topic. I noticed that a lot of you mentioned Washington, D.C., the District of Columbia, as your example of a school district that requires community service. And I think that's interesting; obviously that's our hometown right now.
Our whole government, the United States government, does not require community service as a requirement. It's really left up to the local school districts, and some school districts require it and other school districts don't. But this is a topic that our Congress debates every once in a while, and that is whether or not to require community service as a condition on graduating from high school for every single student across the United States.
And the debate goes very much the way your debate did. Some people think you can't -- that the whole purpose of volunteering is to actually volunteer and not be forced to do something. And then the others think that it's such a great experience when you volunteer that it opens you up to the world, you meet people who aren't like you, you find out how good it makes you feel. And a lot of people in the United States think that one of the secrets to a good life is volunteering, because you're taking yourself out of you own problems and serving, like you said, as a sounding board for someone else to be able to talk about what's bothering them, whatever -- however you volunteer.
But this was very fun to get to hear. I think it's a debate that will go on, this actual idea, for a long time, whether volunteering should be required or just something that people do. But I hope that one of the things you debaters got from it is this whole idea of critical thinking as you examine issues from every side, like debaters do. And then I also hope that it opened you all up to the idea of volunteering yourselves, to choose to help other people, because I do think that one of the things that can make you happy -- and especially if you are sort of unhappy -- a good way to change your whole attitude is to reach out to other people and do things for them, and then you'll find out you feel a lot better about yourself.
So thank you all. We've had a wonderful trip. Thank you very much, Mrs. Turk. Thank you for hosting me for the luncheon before, where we -- it was a very distinguished group of women for the luncheon, and we had the same sort of conversations that you all just had in this debate -- ways we can help each other, ways we can get to know each other in a better way so that we realize how much we all are alike no matter what part of the world we're from.
END 2:38 P.M. (Local)