Thank you, Betsy for your warm welcome and for sharing your love of teaching as America's Teacher of the Year. I met Betsy when she came to the White House in April to receive the Teacher of the Year award. In her remarks that day Betsy said, "It's quite overwhelming to be recognized for something that you love to do every day."
All teachers deserve to be recognized for the contributions they make in our classrooms and in our country. Teaching is the greatest public service and we owe teachers our admiration and respect. Each of the teachers here tonight exemplifies the very best in teaching - and the students who honor you are evidence of your immense talent and dedication. I'm happy to say that President Bush loves teachers so much that he married one, and he sends his congratulations and thanks to all of you.
I know how rewarding and challenging teaching can be and what a remarkable difference a teacher can make in a child's life. When I was only eight years old I made a very mature and a very wise decision - I decided to be a teacher. I decided this not only because I loved school and writing on the chalk board. I wanted to teach because I loved my second-grade teacher, Mrs. Gnagy and I wanted to be just like her. So I went to college and earned a teaching degree, and after working as a teacher in Dallas, I gained a whole new respect for Mrs. Gnagy. But I loved every minute of it.