Mr. Vice President, distinguished Members of the Congress, Mr. and Mrs. Tenney and members of their family, ladies and gentlemen:
I have always believed that we make our decisions around here on the basis of merit and merit alone, but when I observe that the Teacher of the Year whom we honor is from Minnesota and has some direct associates in the crowd called Humphrey, I do know what they would say if the situation should be reversed and the teacher came from Texas and his name were Johnson--someone would think there's been some wheeling and dealing somewhere!
I am very much impressed--both by your music and your message. And I am happy to pay my respects to the 1967 National Teacher of the Year.
Last year, we honored a teacher who makes poets out of first-graders.
This year, we pay tribute to a teacher who makes musicians out of football players-and who makes memberships in his choir as sought after as a place on the first team.
Mr. Tenney is an unusual man. The young singers from his high school have won national recognition. He directs three choirs at the local high school. He is the organizer and director of a community choir in his city. He directs two choirs at his church. He teaches adult classes in speech, music conducting, and music appreciation. He coaches young singers individually. He judges 10 to 12 regional and State music contests each year. Somehow, he finds time in his busy schedule to participate in civic affairs, including work with the local Boy Scout troop.
I am about ready to start negotiations with Congressman Quie here--after he gets through with my Teacher Corps up there on the Hill and gets it thoroughly abolished-to see if we can't work out arrangements for him to conduct some singing for both national conventions.
As all of you may or may not know, I am not a singer. My musical education stopped with violin lessons in my boyhood. But it does give me great pride to know that I played a small part in helping to encourage men and women like Mr. Tenney.
Since 1965, your Federal Government has devoted nearly $14 million to encouraging the arts and the humanities all over this great country of ours. The dollars, of course, are just the smallest part of that story. The real story can be seen in the thousands of schools, concert halls, and theaters that stretch out through our 50 States where we have new enthusiasm and new vitality and they are stirring the arts.
Mr. Tenney, you are an example and an inspiration for all of us. I am happy that I could be here with your distinguished Vice President, whom we all honor, respect, and love so much, the members of your delegation led by Senator McCarthy and other Members of the House, and to pay you this great honor and to present to you this award of the year.
I spent a few years of my life teaching.
Sometimes people think that I am not doing a very good job of teaching now--that I ought to go back to the profession. But as a former teacher, I cannot think of anything that a teacher would cherish more than the recognition of his countrymen of his outstanding achievements as you have been recognized by this Look award.