the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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Weekly Wrap Up: "What You Do Matters"

Summary: 
Here's quick glimpse at what happened this week on WhiteHouse.gov.

Watch the West Wing Week here.

White House Science Fair: On Tuesday, President Obama welcomed our country’s youngest scientists and innovators for the 3rd Annual White House Science Fair. More than 100 students from more than 40 states joined the President for the all-day celebration. The President toured the fair and even hopped on a bicycle-powered, emergency water-sanitation station developed by high-school students Payton Karr and Kiona Elliott of Oakland Park, Florida.

The President launched the White House Science Fair in 2009 as way to help encourage science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.  In December of 2012 the Administration announced a goal of one million new STEM graduates in the next decade, and the President’s plan works for educational opportunities and support for women and underrepresented minorities.

Teacher of the Year: On Wednesday, the President invited the state and national teachers of the year to the White House. Jeff Charbonneau from Zillah, Washington received the honor of the 2013 National Teacher of the Year. Over a decade ago, Zillah High School did not have a single engineering class and a struggling science curriculum, but 11 years ago Charbonneau returned to his hometown to teach at Zillah High School determined to change this. Today, science enrollment is up and students are graduating with college-level science credits. The President thanked all of the educators for their hard work and commitment in the classroom.

I want you guys to know that the country appreciates you. The kids appreciate you. The parents appreciate you.  What you do matters.  It's critical to our success as a country, but most importantly, it's critical to those kids themselves.  I cannot think of something more important than reaching that child who maybe came in uninspired, and suddenly, you've inspired them.

Texas Memorial Service: On Thursday, President Obama delivered remarks at a memorial service for emergency first responders killed during the tragic explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas. The President praised the people of West for their unity and their ability “to stand tall in times of unimaginable adversity.” The President provided comfort to the people of West and amid recent crisis, he assured West the country shares their pain.

Today our prayers are with the families of all who we’ve lost -- the proud sons and daughters of West whose memories will live on in our hearts.  Parents who loved their kids and leaders who served their communities.  They were young and old, from different backgrounds and different walks of life.

George W. Bush Presidential Library: On Thursday, the President and the First Lady traveled to Dallas for the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library. President Bush was joined by former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, as well as former First Ladies Roslyn Carter, Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Laura Bush. President Obama thanked President Bush for his service and love of country, while also pointing out his personality.

“He knows who he is,” said President Obama. “He doesn’t put on any pretenses. He takes his job seriously, but he doesn’t take himself too seriously. He is a good man.”

Amir of Qatar: On Tuesday, President Obama welcomed Hamad bin Khalifa al- Thani, the Amir of Qatar, to discuss issues covering commerce, trade and education. The two leaders also talked about the urgency to end the slaughter in Syria and finding a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The President thanked Qatar for their friendship and says he looks forward to working with Qatar for many years to come.

National Park Week: Last Saturday marked the start of National Park Week, an annual tradition celebrating our country’s great natural beauty and cultural landscapes. By being involved, you can help preserve the beauty, history and values of America and protect national parks for future generations.

There are national parks located in and around America’s major cities, including San Francisco, New York CitySanta MonicaChicago, St. Louis, Miami, San Antonio, Baltimore and Washington, DC.

Take a look at the National Park Week event calendar and plan your visit for today!

Bombings in Boston: Last Friday, the President addressed the country after the capture of the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing. President Obama vowed to find more answers and ensure the American people are safe.

All in all, this has been a tough week. But we've seen the character of our country once more. And as President, I'm confident that we have the courage and the resilience and the spirit to overcome these challenges -- and to go forward, as one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.