President Obama visited Benjamin Banneker High School in Washington, D.C. this morning to deliver his third back-to-school speech. It was transmitted to schools all around the country. Most all of the schools here in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area offered the speech to students with the option to “opt out.” I’m not quite sure what the opt out option is all about or what message it sends to our young people other than “You don’t have to listen to the President of our country because he’s a Democrat and black to boot.” It definitely is not the way to teach our young people respect for our country or its leaders. But, anyway…
Here is a bit of the President’s message. The full transcript follows the break.
It starts, obviously, with being the best student that you can be. Now, that doesn’t always mean that you have to have a perfect score on every assignment. It doesn’t mean that you’ve got to get straight As all the time — although that’s not a bad goal to have. It means that you have to stay at it. You have to be determined and you have to persevere. It means you’ve got to work as hard as you know how to work. And it means that you’ve got to take some risks once in a while. You can’t avoid the class that you think might be hard because you’re worried about getting the best grade if that’s a subject that you think you need to prepare you for your future. You’ve got to wonder. You’ve got to question. You’ve got to explore. And every once in a while, you need to color outside of the lines.
That’s what school is for: discovering new passions, acquiring new skills, making use of this incredible time that you have to prepare yourself and give yourself the skills that you’re going to need to pursue the kind of careers that you want. And that’s why when you’re still a student you can explore a wide range of possibilities. One hour you can be an artist; the next, an author; the next, a scientist, or a historian, or a carpenter. This is the time where you can try out new interests and test new ideas. And the more you do, the sooner you’ll figure out what makes you come alive, what stirs you, what makes you excited — the career that you want to pursue.