4:38 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: What beautiful singing I just heard from the glee club. Thank you very much. That was so beautiful. Thank you. (Applause.) Good afternoon. I’m thrilled to be here with so many friends and colleagues and distinguished educators for our annual National Teacher of the Year celebration.
I’d like to thank Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos for joining us, along with Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta. Thank you very much, Betsy and Alex. Thank you. (Applause.)
And a very special thanks, again, to the Glee Club of the Walter B. Patterson Elementary School. Brilliant talent, and great voices. Big future. Big future. (Applause.)
Finally, congratulations to all of the Teachers of the Year representing their respective states, territories, and the District of Columbia. Very, very special people. Very important.
We’re joined by three amazing finalists for National Teacher of the Year: Amy Anderson, Jonathan Juravich, and Kara Ball. Where’s Kara Ball? Where is Kara? Please stand up. Jonathan, stand up. All three, please stand up. (Applause.) That’s a great job. Thank you, Kara. Thank you. Thank you, Jonathan. Beautiful. Thank you. (Applause.) I just met — we took pictures backstage, and it was my great honor. It’s a tremendous achievement.
And it’s also my honor to host all of you — your families, your amazing friends — all right here at the White House. A very, very special place. We all agree. You were saying before just how special it was, and it’s special. Every time I walk into it or go to sleep upstairs — (laughter) — I say, “This is a very, very great place.”
Each of you has dedicated your lives to our nation’s single most important resource: our children. Every President since Harry Truman has honored the National Teacher of the Year, and I’m proud to continue this tradition with this year’s recipient: Mandy Manning, of the state of Washington. Great state. Thank you. Fantastic, Mandy. (Applause.) Outstanding job by Mandy — by everybody. But outstanding job by Mandy. Thank you.
Having begun her teaching career in the Peace Corps almost two decades ago, I know that Mandy will be pleased to see Dr. Jody Olsen, Director of the Peace Corps, joining us in her honor. Thank you very much, Doctor. Appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.)
Mandy took her passion for education from the Peace Corps to Joel E. Ferris High School in Spokane, Washington, where she has been teaching English and math for the past six years.
Her incredible devotion has earned her the adoration — total adoration, actually — and respect of students and colleagues throughout her school district, community, and the entire state.
Teachers like Mandy play a vital role in the well-being of our children, the strength of our communities, and the success of our nation.
The job of a teacher is not only to instruct the next generation of workers, but the next generation of citizens to teach our children to care for others, to think for themselves, to love their country, to be proud of our history, and to be true pillars of their families and their communities. Such an important job. There is no more important job.
We have teachers to thank for identifying and nurturing the boundless potential of America’s youth. Sometimes, all it takes to begin the next great American success story is a teacher who really, really cares.
The legacy of a good teacher extends through many lifetimes. As the great author Henry Adams once said, “A teacher affects eternity.” So true.
To Mandy and all of the amazing educators here today: Your tireless dedication doesn’t just inspire your students, it inspires all of us. And I can tell you, it very much inspires me. We honor you and every citizen called to the noble vocation of teaching.
Now, it is my privilege to present Mandy with the National Teacher of the Year Award. This is a truly special award. And, Mandy, congratulations. (Applause.)
(The award is presented.) (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I just want to thank everybody again for being here. I want to really wish you the best, for Mandy and for all of this incredible talent. And that’s what it is. This is talent.
I just want to say God bless you. And God bless America. Congratulations. Thank you all very much. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.)
4:44 P.M. EDT