Remarks on Departing Fairview Elementary School in Columbia, Missouri

March 26, 1987

The President. Well, thank you, Bill, and thank all of you very much for a wonderful welcome. You know, I put some things down on a card here so I wouldn't forget, and then he took care of it and asked you, and you answered, all the questions and so forth. So, I don't know whether this card is worth anything or not. But I'm grateful for your principal, James Wells, inviting us here to be here today, and I have a special thanks for Mrs. Hassemer and Mrs. Loethen and the classes that I have just visited here.

And also I have with us Ms. Joy Underdown, and she's kind of special to us because, out in California before she came here, she was the teacher of our son, Ron. And we thought she was a very wonderful teacher, and so did he. And so, I was glad to make contact again after a certain number of years that have gone by since he was there. But I wasn't surprised to find her teaching in such a great school. And because I know that you -- and that's great, the way you feel about it, but do you know something else? A lot more of us who hadn't even been here before know that this is a great school. And it has been so rated because of the progress that you've made and the quality of the education that you're getting here and the level of all of you as students -- that this is one of the truly fine schools in all of the United States of America. And all of you it takes to make it that way, your faculty, your teachers, your administrators, you students, your parents. It's taken all of you and your very fine Governor here to make this the great school that it is.

So, you are busy now because in the 21st century you'll be in charge; you'll be taking over. And what you're learning right here are the things that you need to know when you are running the country in that new century. So, again, I just want to thank all of you for letting us come here and be with you for a while this morning. And I know that we've got someone waiting for us now at another great school, one of your high schools here, and we have to get on to that high school. You wouldn't want us to keep them waiting, would you?

Audience. Yes. [Laughter]

The President. Well, there was a little divided opinion there, but -- [laughter]. And I'm flattered by that, but the ones that said no are the ones that will have to decide. And we'll have to get going. But, again, thank you all. God bless you all.

Note: The President spoke at 12:38 p.m. in the school auditorium. Secretary of Education William J. Bennett introduced the President.