George W. Bush photo

Remarks on Helping America's Youth in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

March 07, 2005

Thanks for the warm welcome here to "Knowledge City." Laura and I just came from the Providence Family Support Center. [Applause] You've got a reason to cheer. [Laughter] It is a fabulous place, and we really appreciate the Sisters of Divine Providence for letting us visit, particularly Mary Joan Coultas and all the other sisters there, for filling that space with love and compassion, trying to save souls one person at a time, and advancing a goal we all want, and that's for America to be the most hopeful country in the world for every single citizen. And that's really what we're here to talk about.

I said that's what we're here to talk about, but the truth of the matter is, I'm the introducer. [Applause] Yes. Not the first time people have cheered when I said, "I'm the introducer, and Laura's the speaker." [Laughter]

I do want to thank Senator Arlen Specter for joining us today, and I appreciate him coming here. He's always telling me what to do, and I'm telling him what to do. [Laughter] Since it's my airplane—well, actually—[laughter]. I'm proud of Congressman Tim Murphy. It's good to see you, Murph. Thank you for coming. Congresswoman Melissa Hart, thank you for being here.

It's always good to see Bishop Donald Wuerl. Gosh, I think I've been with the Bishop three or four, maybe five times. Every time I'm with him, he talks about education. [Laughter] He loves education.

And it's—one of the things—when you talk about a hopeful America, it's important to always keep in mind the cornerstone of a hopeful America, the foundation of a hopeful America, is an education system which makes sure every single child can read, write, and add and subtract. It's the beginnings of what a hopeful America is about.

And I appreciate, Bishop, your leadership when it comes to the Catholic education system here in Pittsburgh. It's a model of excellence. It is—someday I hope that we're able to further the ability for parents to escape failure and go to any school they choose—or send their children to any school they choose.

Speaking about organizations that work, I appreciate the Community College of Allegheny County for, one, lending us the facility, and two, providing an education that is affordable and flexible and market-driven. I want to thank Paul Whitehead and Brian Johnson for being good hosts.

The community college system is a vital part of making sure people are able to gain the skills necessary to fill the jobs of the 21st century. Community colleges are able to adjust their curriculum to the needs of the local employer base. And if somebody needs nurses, they come to a community college system and help—they help design a curriculum so we can train nurses. They need computer technology people. I mean, the community college system is vital and important.

Melissa happens to be a board [member] * of this community college system. And this administration will continue to support our community colleges to make sure that people have the skills necessary to fill the jobs which are being created in America, the jobs of the 21st century. So thank you for letting us come here today.

And now it's my honor to introduce Laura. [Laughter] She and I share a passion that we've got to make sure that the great strength of our country—that is, the hearts and souls of our citizens—are directed in such a way that every child can be saved. That's what we want, and we're worried. We're worried about gangs. We're worried about drugs. We're worried about bad choices. But we also know that if we can, in our small way, encourage people to put their arm around somebody and say, "I love you. What can I do to help you," if we can encourage people to step forward and to volunteer their time and talent and compassion, this country can be a better place. So one of the big initiatives that she is—will be leading on behalf of my administration and the country is how to utilize the assets at our disposal to make sure that every single child, every single person has a bright and hopeful future.

You know, de Tocqueville, years ago, wrote about America. In 1832, he wrote about the great capacity of our country to have people of—who cared about their country to be able to associate in a voluntary way to kind of transcend individualism. In other words, what he was really saying is, America is a unique place where people come together to serve a cause greater than themselves. And I think the patriotism of the 21st century is—can be found when somebody goes to the center we just came at and volunteer his or her time, and says to a child, "I love you. What can I do to help you to realize your dream?" And Laura's here to talk about that on behalf of our country.

I'm proud of her as the First Lady. I love her dearly as a wife. She's a fabulous mother. Laura Bush.

NOTE: The President spoke at 3:58 p.m. at the Community College of Allegheny County—Allegheny Campus. In his remarks, he referred to Mary Joan Coultas, CDP, provincial director, Sisters of Divine Providence, Pittsburgh, PA; Bishop Donald Wuerl of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, PA; Paul V. Whitehead, chair, board of trustees, Community College of Allegheny County; and Brian Johnson, senior vice president for community and student services, Community College of Allegheny County, and chief executive officer, Community College of Allegheny County—Allegheny Campus. The transcript released by the Office of the Press Secretary also included the remarks of the First Lady.

* White House correction.

George W. Bush, Remarks on Helping America's Youth in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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