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National Teacher of the Year Award Remarks of the President and Myrra Lenore Lee at the Presentation Ceremony.

March 22, 1977

THE PRESIDENT. Well, one of the most delightful experiences in the life of any person is to have a schoolteacher, at any level of education, who forms a personal relationship with his student that serves as a lifetime inspiration. I've had that experience in my own life, and I know that when it comes time to choose from among the hundreds of thousands of teachers in our country, some one person to exemplify the meaning of a good teacher, it's a very difficult task. And to be chosen the Teacher of the Year in the whole Nation is an extraordinary honor.

I know, though, that from the very beginning of this ceremony, which has been an annual occasion for many years, the teacher chosen has represented all the other teachers of our Nation who quite often don't receive an adequate degree of appreciation expressed to them.

It's with a great deal of pleasure that I, as President, deliver this award to Mrs. Lee of California. Her congressional leaders are very proud of her and those who are associated with her in the teaching profession are very proud of her. I know all the teachers of the Nation are very proud of her. And the President of the United States is proud of you, too.

I'm very grateful to have the honor to present to you the award, and I know that you represent many other teachers who look on you with a great deal of admiration and feel a kinship with you as you serve the students who look to you for guidance in their lives.

Mrs. Lee has served for 10 years as a part-time volunteer teacher and 10 years as a full-time teacher. You must be an extraordinary woman to have received this award. And I'm very honored to have you here.

Would you like to say a few words?

MRS. LEE. Yes, I would.

Thank you very much, President Carter. This is probably the most exciting day of my life, as everyone probably realizes. First I would like to--before I say anything else--I would like to present you with a gift from the people of California.

This is a tray made by the crafts people from Monterey. It's handmade, inlaid with California poppy, representative of the largest State of the Union, and from many people who admire you.

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much. I've had the good fortune of having your Governor last night as a guest of ours at the White House.

MRS. LEE. Oh, I didn't know that.

THE PRESIDENT. He met with me and the congressional leaders this morning.

I know that California has an extraordinarily good education system, and I am very grateful to have this beautiful demonstration of handiwork in California, and I'll use it. When I leave, I'll let it be part of the White House furnishings so

that future Presidents can also enjoy it. Thank you very much.

MRS. LEE. Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT. It's a real pleasure. Thank you. I'm proud of you.

Note: The President spoke at 2:31 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House.

The National Teacher of the Year Award program was started in 1952 by the U.S. Office of Education in conjunction with the Council of Chief State School Officers and McCall's Magazine. It is currently sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers, Encyclopaedia Britannica, and Ladies Home Journal.

As this year's national teacher, Mrs. Lee, who teaches social living, history, and women's studies at Helix High School in La Mesa, Calif., will be appointed, by law, to a 1-year term on the Commission on Presidential Scholars.

Jimmy Carter, National Teacher of the Year Award Remarks of the President and Myrra Lenore Lee at the Presentation Ceremony. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/243278

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