President Obama’s Message for America’s Students | Notes & Review

Posted on September 9, 2009


Full transcript here:

obama wakefield

At the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, parents, and the best schools in the world, and none of it will matter, unless you all fulfill your responsibilities…to put in the hard work to succeed.

Your responsibility to YOURSELF. Discover what it is that you’re good at, something that you have to offer. That is what education can provide; the opportunity to discover what it is that you’re good at. And, no matter what you want to do in life, you’re going to need a good education to do it. You cannot drop out of school and drop in to a good job. You’ve got to train for it, work for it, earn it. If you don’t do that, if you quit on school, you quit on yourselves and your country.

And maybe you don’t have the advantages; the neighborhood, the money, the parents. But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life, none of that is an excuse for neglecting your homework of having a bad attitude in school. There is no excuse for not trying. Where you are right now does not determine where you end up. Because here in America you write your own future.

Set your own goals through your education and do everything you can to meet them. Your goal could be as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or reading every day. Maybe you’ll decide to take better care of yourself…whatever you resolve to do, commit to it, work at it.

The truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject that you study. you won’t click with every teacher that you have. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right at this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try. That’s okay. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who have had the most failures. You can’t let your failures define you, you have to let them teach you, to show you what to do differently next time.

No one is born being good at all things. You become good at things through hard work. You’ve got to practice. The same principle applies to your school work.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength, because it shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something and that then allows you to learn something new.

Even when you’re struggling, and even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you, don’t ever give up on yourself. When you give up on yourself you give up on your country. The story of America is not about a people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best.

So, today, I want to ask all of you: What is your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make?

I expect all of you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So, don’t let us down, your family, your country, and most of all, yourself. Make us all proud.

— VIA —

Perhaps the sentiment that I appreciate the most is the message of personal responsibility. As America becomes more a culture of entitlement, expectation, and minimal effort for maximum gain, this is a message that is perhaps not only timely, but timeless.

In addition, the exhortation on never giving up, never quitting; that failure actually teaches, grows, and strengthens an individual. If this truly gets into the minds of our young, then there is great things to come on the horizon.

Lastly, I am so appreciative of the humble spirit by which he presented himself, and the encouragement to ask for help, and to realize that recognizing that you need help is actually a sign of strength! Personally thankful for that message.