The President Goes to School

Barack Obama speaks to students about the importance of education

September 15, 2010

Last week, President Barack Obama gave a back-to-school speech to students at the Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Students in schools across the country also tuned in to watch the President's speech on TV. He stressed the importance of trying new things, working hard and believing in yourself.

'We Need to Work Hard'

While acknowledging that times are tough for families across the country, Obama reminded students that hard work now can mean big success later. "Nobody gets to write your destiny but you," he said. "Your future is in your hands. Your life is what you make of it. And nothing—absolutely nothing—is beyond your reach."

Obama spoke about his own life, and lessons he learned from his mother, who had to remind him to stay focused on his studies. He told students the recipe for success: "Showing up to school on time. Paying attention in class. Doing your homework. Studying for exams. Staying out of trouble."

Expand Your Mind

Obama encouraged students to embrace what makes them different. "We shouldn't be embarrassed by the things that make us different," he said. "We should be proud of them."

He also suggested taking advantage of all of the opportunities at your school, and always being open to trying new things. "Just because you're not the best at something today doesn't mean you can't be tomorrow," he said. "Even if you don't think of yourself as a math person or as a science person—you can still excel in those subjects if you're willing to make the effort. And you may find out you have talents you'd never dreamed of."


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