I AM very honored today to present to Barbara Coleman the award of Teacher of the Year.
And I think back to the year 1953 when I first helped to make this award. I was then Vice President of the United States and it is a particular pleasure to make it today to Barbara Coleman.
She is obviously an extraordinary teacher, as are all of those who have won this award before. Her three students-I can see their smiles--must agree that she is.
I looked into her record and she would perhaps be not willing to brag so much as to disclose what her students say about her. But they say that she cares and she makes them glad to be alive.
What an inspirational teacher she must be. It is this kind of inspiration that we have among hundreds of thousands of our teachers around this Nation that here at the White House today we honor.
Sometimes we talk about our schools and our teachers in terms that are very critical, and sometimes we fail to appreciate these very dedicated people who have devoted their lives to teaching.
I would like to say to you, Miss Goleman, an interesting thing: I found in studying history that six Presidents, before they became President, were teachers, including, incidentally, President Johnson. He was a teacher before he became President.
While I cannot claim that, my wife, Mrs. Nixon, was a teacher before I married her. So I have, therefore, a special feeling about teachers, both because of being in the Office that I hold and the personal relationship.
So we congratulate you. We congratulate your students for speaking so highly of you so that you receive this award.
Also, I want to congratulate your student, Mr. Mayland. I understand that he has been selected as valedictorian of his class of 542.
So we have an outstanding student and the teacher who made him that way.