Coral Reef Senior High School Miami, Florida
3:05 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Miami! (Applause.) Hello, Cuda Nation! (Applause.) Hello! It is good to be here at Coral ReefSenior High. (Applause.) You guys are just happy because it’s warm down here all the time. (Laughter.) I don’t know ifyou’re aware of this, but the rest of the country is cold. (Laughter.) Listen, Michelle and I are so grateful for the warmwelcome. It is great to be here. I want to thank some people who are doing outstanding work.
First of all, your superintendent, Superintendent Carvalho, is doing great work. We’re really proud of him. (Applause.) Your principal, Principal Leal, is doing great work. (Applause.) All the Coral Reef teachers and staff, you guys are all doing a great job. (Applause.) And you’re doing what is necessary to help young people get ready for college and careers. So that’s why we’re here. We are proud of what’s being done at this school.
I want to mention a few other folks who are here who are fighting on behalf of the people of South Florida every day. We’ve got Congressman Joe Garcia is here. (Applause.) We’ve got Congresswoman Frederica Wilson here. (Applause.) We’ve got Miami‐Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez. Your former Governor Charlie Crist is here. (Applause.)
And most of all, I want to thank the people that Michelle and I came all the down here to see, and that is the students of CoralReef. (Applause.) We had heard great things about your school. We had heard great things about the students. We wanted to come down here and just see what was going on. (Applause.) And Michelle and I just had a chance to visit with some of your classmates who are going through some of the scholarship applications, and we had a chance to talk to them and hear what their plans were. And first of all, Michelle and I looked and we said, these must be actors playing students, because they were all smart and good‐looking and organized. (Laughter.) And I asked them, what are you going to do? And they’re ‐‐ well,I’m going to be applying to business school, and then I’m going to start a company, and then I ‐‐ when I was your age, I didn’t know what I was doing. I was lucky if I had gotten out of bed on time. (Laughter.) So you guys are ahead of the game.
And we’re here to tell you that you’ve got to keep up the good work, because by working hard every single day, every single night, you are making the best investment there is in your future. And we want to make sure you’ve got everything, all the tools you need to succeed. We want every young person to have the kinds of teachers and the kind of classes and the kind of learning experiences that are available to you here at Coral Reef. (Applause.) Because that’s the best investment we can make in America’s future. (Applause.)
Now, keep in mind, Michelle and I, we’re only here today because of the kind of education that we got. That was our ticket to success. We grew up a lot like many of you. I was raised by a single mom; she was a teenager when I was born. We moved around a lot, we did not have a lot of money, but the one thing she was determined to see was that my sister and I would get the best education possible.
And she would press me. Sometimes she’d make me wake up, do my lessons before I even went to school. She was not going to let me off the hook. And at the time, I wasn’t happy about it, but now I’m glad she pressed me like that. Because,thanks to my mother and my grandparents, and then great teachers and great counselors who encouraged me, and a country that made it possible for me to afford a higher education, I was able to go to college and law school.
And then when I met Michelle, I saw that ‐‐ (applause) ‐‐there were a couple of things I noticed. I noticed she was smart.(Applause.) I noticed she was funny ‐‐ she’s funny, she’s funnier than I am. (Laughter.) Obviously, I noticed she was cute, yes. (Applause.) But one of the things I also realized was, even though we had grown up in very different places, her story was a lot like mine. Her dad worked at a city water plant. He didn’t go to college. He was a blue‐collar worker. Michelle’s mom ‐‐ my mother‐in‐law, who I love to death ‐‐ she was a secretary. No one in her family had gone to college. But because she had worked hard and her parents understood the value of education, and she had great teachers and great opportunities,and because the country was willing to invest to make sure that she was able to pay for college, she ended up going to some of the best universities in the country. (Applause.)