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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
August 22, 2002

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at Laura Welch Bush Elementary School Dedication
As Delivered
Laura Welch Bush Elementary School
Leander, Texas

Thank you very much, T. J. (Johnson) and Ellen (Chappell); Principal Sylvia Flannery, faculty, and especially students, for the wonderful welcome to Laura Welch Bush Elementary School.

I want you to know how much I appreciate this honor and how I enjoy being here with students who hold such much promise for America, and for America's future.

This school bears the name of a person who absolutely loves schools and all the things that happen within these walls - learning, laughing, singing, playing, and something else very important: reading. In fact, I brought some of my favorite books as a gift for your school library, and I hope you'll read them all this year.

President Bush and I want every child to learn to read - and read well. There's a secret to reading: practice, practice, practice.

You can become really good readers by spending at least as much time reading as you do watching TV. And if you become really good readers, you can be anything you want to be - anything that you can imagine. Maybe one of you will become a famous writer whose books we'll all read.

I have a wish to make for this school. But this one won't come true unless I tell you what it is. I wish that every one of you will be very good students who study really hard.

I hope you won't waste a single moment of your time in school. Pay attention in class and work very hard on every assignment your teacher gives you. The lessons you learn in class are things you will need to know for the rest of your life.

No matter what you want to be when you grow up - a singer or an artist, a firefighter or a soldier, a football player or a famous scientist - you have to be good students to be good at those things when you grow up.

When you read my name on this building, I hope you'll remember Laura Bush's wish for you to study hard in school.because that's your job for 12 years --

to be great students. And I know you will always be the kind of students that America can be proud of.

I'm not the only one who wishes good things for you. Your teachers do too. I want to thank every teacher here because you teach, and you do so much more. You inspire, you challenge, you mentor and you love children.

I know you don't hear often enough how much we appreciate you. Your job is often a difficult one, but it's a rewarding one. What you do in the classroom determines the future for your students.and for our country.

I know how excited you are about this new school and this new school year. I'm excited about this new school, too. And I share your sense of pride today and your hope for tomorrow.

Remember also, Laura Welch Bush Elementary School has a playground outside.

There's a reason why grown-ups build playgrounds for children. It's because we know that life has to have a balance of work and play. So have fun on the playground, climbing and swinging, skipping and jumping, laughing and being silly on purpose.

Enjoy your time at school. I hope this school is a place where you learn, have fun, and make lasting friendships.

Thank you very much. Have a great year.

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