[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1997, Book II)]
[October 31, 1997]
[Pages 1464-1465]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

[[Page 1464]]

Remarks at Lighthouse Elementary School in Jupiter, Florida
October 31, 1997

    Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Hello! Well, I finally 
made it. First, you know, I hurt my leg, and I couldn't come. And this 
morning, I got up at 5:30, and I was getting ready to come here, and I 
thought, I'm going to be able to keep my promise to the children at 
Lighthouse Elementary. Then we got to the airport, and it was so foggy 
in Washington that I couldn't see my hand before me, and we had to wait 
for 2 hours to take off. So I made you late, and now you are a little 
bit wet. [Laughter] But you look beautiful to me, and I thank you for 
making me feel so welcome. Thank you.
    I want to thank Congressman Deutsch and Congressman Foley for coming 
with me, and, Mayor, thank you for making me feel so welcome. Principal 
Hukill, thank you for what you said. And I thought Jessica did a 
wonderful job introducing me, didn't you?
    I'd also like to thank the people who are here from the Palm Beach 
County Literacy Coalition, Palm Beach America Reads. The district 
president of the Miami-Dade Community College, Dr. Padron, is here, I 
think. And I thank you all for being here. And I thank the middle school 
band for being here. I hope you'll play me some music when I'm finished 
speaking; I want to hear you.
    I am so glad to be here with all of you today, because one of my 
most important responsibilities as President is to do everything I can 
to see that you get a world-class education. You know you are living in 
a world that is dominated by computers and technology. But you also live 
in a world which you can't fully enjoy them unless you can read well, 
unless you can do basic math, unless you can learn the things that your 
teachers are trying to teach you.
    And about a year ago I tried to think of what I wanted to say to 
America in one sentence about our schools. And it is that I want an 
America in which every 8-year-old child can read a good book on his or 
her own, in which every 12-year-old can log on to the Internet, in which 
every 18-year-old, without regard to their family's income, can go to 
college and every adult can keep on learning for a lifetime. Will you 
help me make that kind of America? Will you do that? [Applause]
    I want to thank all of the people here who helped Lighthouse 
Elementary succeed, to show that every school, to succeed, needs to be a 
community school or, as my wife says, a school where the whole village 
is involved in helping children learn. There are 250 volunteers who 
contribute at least 1,000 hours of their time to the students and the 
teachers every month. That's wonderful. If every school could say that, 
education in America would be much better. You should be proud of 
    I also want to congratulate the students here who participate in the 
Sunshine State Readers program and read 15 books a month and write 
reports on them. I wish I still had time to read 15 books a month. You 
will never regret it. And if you don't read that much a month, every one 
of you should do whatever you can to read more. You will learn a lot and 
help yourselves, and it's a lot of fun.
    Let me finally say that we are going to do everything we can in 
Washington to help make sure that a college education will be there for 
you if you'll work hard at school and learn what you need to know. We 
want to help your families send you to college. We want to help get high 
standards in the later grades as well. But in the end, it all depends on 
every one of you, what's in your heart and what's in your mind.
    When you were singing your school song today and you felt good doing 
it, that's the way I want you to feel when you're in class. I want you 
to be proud of what you can learn, and I want you to believe that every 
one of you was given a mind by God that can learn. You can all learn. 
You can all do better. You can all learn more.
    So be brave, and have a good time, and make the most of your 
education. And thank you so much for making me feel so welcome today.
    God bless you all.

Note. The President spoke at 1:16 p.m. on the athletic field. In his 
remarks, he referred to Mayor

[[Page 1465]]

Karen Golonka of Jupiter; Una Hukill, principal, and Jessica Haft, 
student, Lighthouse Elementary School; and Eduardo Padron, president, 
Miami-Dade Community College.