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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
January 13, 2009

Mrs. Bush's Remarks During Visit to Little Flower School
Little Flower School
Bethesda, Maryland

10:10 A.M. EST

MRS. BUSH: Thank you all. I'm very happy to be here today. One of the things I've been most interested in over the last eight years while I've had the chance to live in the White House is education, because like the Archbishop said, I was a teacher. I was also a school librarian. That's been my whole career. And I've had the chance to visit schools all over the United States, and schools in many foreign countries, as well.

So today is my very last school visit while my husband is President. This is my last school visit as First Lady of the United States, and I wanted to end my school visit with a terrific school like Little Flower. (Applause.)

January 25th through January 31st is National Catholic Schools Week in the United States. That's the date that -- the week that everybody in the United States can thank our Catholic schools for the great work that you do all over our country and all over the world, really. And it's also a time for us to talk to our leaders about the importance of Catholic education.

Catholic schools have a very long history in the United States. Many of the very first schools in our country for the first little boys and girls that lived in the United States were Catholic schools. You have a long history of both academics and also of making sure American children in Catholic schools learn the values that are important to all of us and that are important to the people of the United States.

So this is an early celebration of that National Catholic Schools Week, and it is an opportunity for me to thank you all, to thank everybody, involved in Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Washington, and also to give you thanks on behalf of President Bush.

Catholic schools have a special commitment in inner cities. Many Catholic schools in the United States are taking as a special mission their responsibility to educate disadvantaged students, and I want to give you my special thanks for that and my encouragement to continue that important mission in our inner cities.

Then the other reason that I'm here today -- and that is to congratulate Little Flower School on being chosen as a Blue Ribbon School. Have you all seen that great big blue ribbon right here in your hallway? Did you know that only 50 non-public schools in all of the United States were chosen as Blue Ribbon Schools? So that's a really wonderful accomplishment. And that means that your school -- that in your schools, students are really learning, you're succeeding in every way, and so I want to give you special congratulations to the teachers, to the administration, to the faculty, but especially to the students at Little Flower School. I want to applaud you. (Applause.)

Congratulations on being such smart kids. You might want to know that in the Archdiocese, about 97 percent of children who go to Catholic schools go on to higher education, go on to college. And that's a very, very good record and very good statistic. So congratulations to all of you, and thank you very much, Archbishop. Thank you, Sister, for letting me visit your school. And thank you for the opportunity to come congratulate all of you on that great blue ribbon that we see out there in the hall. (Applause.)

END 10:14 A.M. EST


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