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Public Papers - 1989

Remarks to the Students at the Wilson Magnet High School in Rochester, New York

1989-05-18

Thank you all very much. That is the best educated, brightest Wildcat I've ever seen in my entire life, and I've seen a lot of Wildcats. First, Suzanne Johnston, your able leader, has told me that, in addition to this enthusiastic gathering -- and we're plugged in by overflow TV, and so what I want to do is, at the outset, thank those kids and teachers and others who are watching this gala performance from some other room. And I'm sorry that we will miss the personal connection, but I just wanted you to know -- I can tell them in here eyeball-to-eyeball, but I wanted the rest of you to know how pleased I am to be here in this great school. And thank you all for this warm welcome. And if ever we need a cheerleader for a serious proposal to go to the Congress, I'm going to call up Walter Jahnke and get him down there and he can -- no wonder the guy's staying so fit -- anybody going through all those gyrations. [Laughter] And then, as for this cheerleading, I commend you on your timing. Had it been off, you would have taken the head off of the guy next to you. [Laughter] So, I saw that, and I use this cheering squad here to simply say I am pleased to be here. I'm sorry Barbara is not with me because her interest in this Excellence in Education is really good, and she's really fascinated with this concept and hopes to be able to help this concept of magnet schools. And so, I salute you all.

You know, when I was in school a thousand years ago, they kept telling -- you know, study hard, do my work every day, and that way I'd be prepared to choose a field to go into. The only problem is, the teachers were talking about a field of endeavor, politics or law or something, and I was talking about a field -- right field, left field, center field, or something of that nature. But then it became clear that sports are important, but it's even more important to make a strong commitment to education -- your education -- to the future -- to your future. And that is why I wanted to come here today.

I've done a little homework, and I know of the reputation of this school in the Rochester area, and indeed nationwide. And I think that if this visit does nothing else but to encourage others to use this model to achieve excellence it will have been well worth it. And so, I'm delighted to be here. And I've just met with some of the teachers -- and an impressive group of people. And I don't expect every kid here to get up and give a testimony about how great the teachers are, but I can speak to it because they are sensational. And when you just were in there and listened to that, commitment was the word that kept coming through. And not only do they have it but they were telling us that you all have it, and I salute you -- I wish you well.

And I can tell you, I hope that this visit, Sue, hasn't been a terrible drain on the facilities here and on all these advance people and security people and telephone people. But I promised her I would leave on time so you can get back to normal. But I won't forget this visit, because what you're doing is an example for the entire country. And I'm going to do my level best as President -- leave aside the politics -- as the President of the United States to get this message of excellence and commitment and magnet schools way even beyond the confines of New York, all the way to the West Coast and up to Alaska. You're the future. And I congratulate you, and I thank you very, very much.

Note: The President spoke at 11:16 a.m. in the school gymnasium. In his opening remarks, he referred to Suzanne Johnston, principal of the school, and Walter Jahnke, a math teacher who led the students in cheering. Prior to his remarks, the President attended robotics arm and computer demonstrations by the students.

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