The White House
President George W. Bush
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Golden Apple Teacher Awards
Chicago, Illinois
May 14, 2001

Remarks of Laura Bush at Golden Apple Teacher Awards

As delivered.

Thank you very much, Dr. Schuster.

Mrs. Daley, Mr. Koldyke, good evening. I’m thrilled to be here for the Golden Apple Awards and to salute teachers.

Tonight’s Golden Apple Award winners impart knowledge to their students and they are mentors and heroes. They are sources strength and guidance during the crucial years of childhood. Some of their lessons may fade with time, but their good example will last forever.

As James Baldwin said, "Children have never been good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them."

Teachers leave a lasting impression that students will remember long after their years in the classroom.

My favorite teacher was Mrs. Gnagy, my second grade teacher. She’s the one who made me realize that I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. And she’s part of the reason why I am encouraging more Americans to consider teaching as a career as part of my Ready to Read, Ready to Learn initiative.

Recently I was at Fort Jackson in South Carolina to promote "Troops to Teachers," a program that recruits soon-to-be retired soldiers into the teaching profession.

A 14-year-old boy spoke just before me. His parents weren’t in the audience...his mother is in prison and his father lives in another state. At a young age, this boy began a pattern of poor decision making and trouble with the police. But his history teacher, Mr. Davis, changed the course of his life.

Of his teacher, the student said: "There’s only one reason why I can say Mr. Davis influenced me — not by being a teacher or giving advice, but by caring. By caring, he shows me that he is willing to be there for me and listen to me. By doing those things, he has shown me that he’s willing to be a friend."

Few professions entrust one person with so much responsibility. The job is always a challenge, but the rewards are tremendous, as tonight’s honorees will tell you.

President Bush joins me in saluting the Golden Apple Award winners, and all of the educators watching tonight. Thank you all for your dedication to the children of America, and for making a difference in their lives and their future. Good night.

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