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.
So thank you all so much. It was really fun to get to hear you. (Applause.)
END 2:38 P.M. (Local)