For Immediate Release
Office of Laura Bush
November 5, 2003
Remarks by Mrs. Bush at the Coming Up Taller Awards
Welcome to the White House and to the sixth annual Coming Up Taller
Awards. And welcome to Minister Ignacio Duran and our friends from the
Mexican delegation. The President's Committee on the Arts and
Humanities is pleased to honor two programs in Mexico with Coming Up
Taller Awards. I'm thrilled to have so many young artists, actors, and
dancers here. Today, we celebrate your talent, and the dedication of
your teachers who inspire you to paint, act, and dance out your
Jacques d'Amboise is one of those dedicated teachers. Dance changed
his life and as Jacques says he wants to teach children, "how the arts
are a way of discovering their humanity and their excellence." Daisy
Acevedo is discovering her excellence at Life Lines in Brooklyn. Daisy
said, "(Life Lines) has inspired me to go after my dreams of going off
to college and becoming a lawyer. It's inspired me to be optimistic
about life." Through the study of the arts and humanities, young people
like Daisy are inspired to tune violins rather than tune into
television. And more are participating in theater than in violence.
Growing up in Los Angeles, Jose Herrera could have easily followed
a path of violence. But he found a better path at Will Power to Youth
where he performs Shakespeare. Jose said, "Every person is important. It
gives you confidence knowing that people support you." Thanks to the
arts, young people like Jose are growing up stronger and smarter, and
more prepared for what the world holds. The arts and humanities are
critical building blocks for a child's development. The study of poetry
helps with memory and vocabulary. And theater brings history to life --
especially at the Orphan Girl Theatre in Butte, Montana.
Performing plays about the history of Butte has given Micaela
Newman a greater appreciation for her hometown. Micaela said, "We share
stories, and learn to value each other. You can see everyone changing
for the better. The Orphan Girl is really a home away from home." At
Orphan Girl Theatre, young people learn in a safe environment where
they are recognized for their accomplishments. They learn confidence
and discipline. And above all, they learn to love learning. Edgar
Sifuentes Casso, from Mexico has been singing with MECED Chimalli for
three years. Edgar said, "This experience has changed my life, and has
given me the opportunity to learn about my culture through singing."
At MYTOWN, Rajiv Lahens is learning about his Haitian heritage and
about the lives of immigrants as he leads walking tours of Boston.
Rajiv said this program gives, "young people the opportunity to become
leaders. (MYTOWN) will help to guide you along a road of life. You
need programs like this to make your ride a little less hectic."
And you need a really good teacher, as Byron at Ailey Camp in
Kansas City, Missouri has learned. Byron said, "(Ailey Camp) has made
me more culturally aware, confident, and has given me friends and
teachers who changed my life." I commend the teachers here for sharing
your time and talent with young people. The study of arts and the
humanities helps to develop a child's character and confidence. And as
we've learned from Daisy, Jose, Micaela, Edgar, Rajiv, and Byron -- the
arts and humanities also have the power to change a child's life. Along
with these talented young people, this is truly what we celebrate
I'd now like to introduce Adair Margo, Chair of The President's
Committee on the Arts and Humanities.
Thanks to the dancers from the National Dance Institute and to the
singers from the Center of Creative Arts for your colorful
performances. Congratulations to the recipients of this year's Coming
Up Taller Awards for the difference you are making in your communities
and in the world.
I understand that Jose Herrera's favorite play is Shakespeare's
Twelfth Night. And his favorite line is, "If music be the food of love,
play on." Today, I encourage all of you to act, sing, and dance on to
fulfill your dreams. Thank you for being here and please join us in the
State Dining Room.
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