Barack Obama Speech to Kids Transcript

Here's the Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama's Back to School Event speech on Arlington, Virginia, September 8, 2009 at 12 Noon Eastern and 11 Central Time.

Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing today? I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. I’m glad you all could join us today.

I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.

I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday – at 4:30 in the morning.

Now I wasn’t too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I’d fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I’d complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, "This is no picnic for me either, buster."

So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I’m here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I’m here because I want to talk with you about your education and what’s expected of all of you in this new school year.

Now I’ve given a lot of speeches about education. And I’ve talked a lot about responsibility.

I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.

I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.

I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve.

But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.

And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.

Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.

Maybe you could be a good writer – maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper – but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine – but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.
And no matter what you want to do with your life – I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.

And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.

You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.

We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that – if you quit on school – you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country.

Now I know it’s not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.
I get it. I know what that’s like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn’t always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didn’t fit in.

So I wasn’t always as focused as I should have been. I did some things I’m not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse.

But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our First Lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn’t have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.

Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don’t have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there’s not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don’t feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren’t right.

But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.

Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.

That’s what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.
Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn’t speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.

I’m thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who’s fought brain cancer since he was three. He’s endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer – hundreds of extra hours – to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and he’s headed to college this fall.

And then there’s Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and she’s on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.

Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell aren’t any different from any of you. They faced challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same.

That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe you’ll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, I hope you’ll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don’t feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.

Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.
I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work -- that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things.

But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.

That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, "I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.

No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust – a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor – and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.

And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.

The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best.

It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.

So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?

Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down.

Make us all proud. I know you can do it.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

3 Components of Data Communications System

The 3 Components of Data Communications System

  1. TRANSMITTER - Can be any circuit or electronic device designed to send electronically encoded data to another location. Can also be called the Source.
  2. TRANSMISSION PATH or CHANNEL - A path or link through which information passes between two devices.
  3. RECEIVER - could be any device designed to receive any conveyed message from the Transmitter or the Source. Receiver is also known as the Sink.

Good Listening in Class

It is important for you to be a good listener in class. Much of what you will have to learn will be presented verbally by your teachers. Just hearing what your teachers say is not the same as listening to what they say. Listening is a cognitive act that requires you to pay attention and think about and mentally process what you hear.

Here are some things you should do to be a good listener in class.

* Be Cognitively Ready to Listen When You Come to Class. Make sure you complete all assigned work and readings. Review your notes from previous class sessions. Think about what you know about the topic that will be covered in class that day.

* Be Emotionally Ready to Listen When You Come to Class. Your attitude is important. Make a conscious choice to find the topic useful and interesting. Be committed to learning all that you can.

* Listen with a Purpose. Identify what you expect and hope to learn from the class session. Listen for these things as your teacher talks.

* Listen with an Open Mind. Be receptive to what your teacher says. It is good to question what is said as long as you remain open to points of view other than your own.

* Be Attentive. Focus on what your teacher is saying. Try not to daydream and let your mind wander to other things. It helps to sit in the front and center of the class, and to maintain eye contact with your teacher.

* Good Listening In Class, Ear Listening Be an Active Listener. You can think faster than your teacher can speak. Use this to your advantage by evaluating what is being said and trying to anticipate what will be said next. Take good written notes about what your teacher says. While you can think faster than your teacher can speak, you cannot write faster than your teacher can speak. Taking notes requires you to make decisions about what to write, and you have to be an active listener to do this.

* Meet the Challenge. Don't give up and stop listening when you find the information being presented difficult to understand. Listen even more carefully at these times and work hard to understand what is being said. Don't be reluctant to ask questions.

* Triumph Over the Environment. The classroom may too noisy, too hot, too cold, too bright, or too dark. Don't give in to these inconveniences. Stay focused on the big picture - LEARNING.


The RQWQCQ Strategy for Solving Math Word Problems

RQWQCQ is a good strategy to use when solving math word problems. Each of the letters in RQWQCQ stands for a step in the strategy.

Read the entire problem to learn what it is about. You may find it helpful to read the problem out loud, form a picture of the problem in your mind, or draw a picture of the problem.

Find the question to be answered in the problem. Often the question is directly stated. When it is not stated, you will have to identify the question to be answered.


Write the facts you need to answer the question. It is helpful to cross out any facts presented in the problem that are not needed to answer the question. Sometimes, all of facts presented in the problem are needed to answer the question.

Ask yourself "What computations must I do to answer the question?"

Set up the problem on paper and do the computations. Check your computations for accuracy and make any needed corrections. Once you have done this, circle your answer.

Look at your answer and ask yourself: "Is my answer possible?" You may find that your answer is not possible because it does not fit with the facts presented in the problem. When this happens, go back through the steps of RQWQCQ until you arrive at an answer that is possible.

Use RQWQCQ to help you correctly solve math word problems.


U. S. Presidential Trivia Questions and Answers

President trivia questions and answers.

What U.S. president's State of the Union address lasted a record 81 minutes?
A: Bill Clinton's.

What U.S. president was born William Jefferson Blythe IV?
A: Bill Clinton.

What 1970's president openly discussed his battle with hemorrhoids?
A: Jimmy Carter.  

What U.S. president had the shortest life?
A: John F. Kennedy.

What former president was on an African hunting trip when his enemy J. P. Morgan quipped: "Let every lion do his duty"?
A: Theodore Roosevelt.

What conspirator in the Lincoln assassination was pardoned for saving the lives of prison guards during a yellow fever epidemic?
A: Dr. Samuel Mudd.

What president opined: "Once you get into this great stream of history you can't get out"?
A: Richard Nixon.

Who was the first president to utter "We shall overcome" before a joint session of Congress?
A: Lyndon B. Johnson. 

What future president was the only U.S. senator from a Confederate state to remain in Congress after secession?
A: Andrew Jackson.

What president's mug graces a $100,000 bill?
A: Woodrow Wilson.

What future U.S. president received the last rites of the Catholic Church after an infection following spinal surgery in 1954?
A: John F. Kennedy.

What war saw James Madison become the first U.S. president to command a military unit during his term in office?
A: The war of 1812.

What document did President Andrew Johnson want a copy of placed under his head upon his burial?
A: The U.S. Constitution.

Who was the first daughter of a U.S. president to pose nude for a Playboy video?
A: Patti Davis.

How many U.S. states are named after a president?
A: One.

Who is the only president to have survived two assassination attempts by women?
A: Gerald Ford.

What portly U.S. president was the first to be a golf nut?
A: William Howard Taft.

What future president's Texas classmates ran a shot of a jackass under his yearbook photo?
A: Lyndon B. Johnson's.

What day does the U.S. president traditionally deliver a weekly radio address?
A: Saturday.

What horse-loving future president cheated on an eye exam to join the cavalry reserves in the 1930's?
A: Ronald Regan.

What U.S. president threw out the most Opening Day baseballs?
A: Franklin D. Roosevelt.

What card game did Dwight D. Eisenhower play fanatically while planning for D-Day?
A: Bridge.

What White House lawyer first revealed the existence of an "enemies list" and "hush money" at the Watergate hearings?
A: John Dean.

What date saw FDR sign the U.S. declaration of war against Japan?
A: December 8, 1941.

What U.S. president installed solar panels on the White House roof?
A: Jimmy Carter.

What First Lady of the 1980s was shocked to find "a tremendous rat" swimming with her in the White House Pool?
A: Barbara Bush.

What future anchor was the only female reporter to tag along with Richard Nixon on his historic trip to China?
A: Barbara Walters.

Who revealed that the U.S. had a hydrogen bomb in his last State of the Union speech?
A: Harry S. Truman

Temperature Scales

Temperature is the level of heat in a gas, liquid, or solid. Three scales are commonly used for measuring temperature. The Celsius and Fahrenheit scales are the most common. The Kelvin scale is primarily used in scientific experiments.

Celsius Scale

The Celsius scale was invented in 1742 by the Swedish astronomer, Anders Celsius. This scale divides the range of temperature between the freezing and boiling temperatures of water into 100 equal parts. You will sometimes find this scale identified as the centigrade scale. Temperatures on the Celsius scale are known as degree Celsius (ºC).

Fahrenheit Scale

The Fahrenheit scale was established by the German-Dutch physicist, Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit, in 1724. While many countries now use the Celsius scale, the Fahrenheit scale is widely used in the United States. It divides the difference between the melting and boiling points of water into 180 equal intervals. Temperatures on the Fahrenheit scale are known as degree Fahrenheit (ºF).

Kelvin Scale

The Kelvin scale is named after William Thompson Kelvin, a British physicist who devised it in 1848. It extends the Celsius scale down to absolute zero, a hypothetical temperature characterized by a complete absence of heat energy. Temperatures on this scale are called Kelvins (K).

Converting Temperatures

It is sometimes necessary to convert temperature from one scale to another. Here is how to do this.

  1. To convert from ºC to ºF use the formula:  ºF = ºC x 1.8 + 32.
  2. To convert from ºF to ºC use the formula:  ºC = (ºF-32) ÷ 1.8.
  3. To convert from K to ºC use the formula:  ºC = K – 273.15
  4. To convert from ºC to K use the formula: K = ºC + 273.15.
  5. To convert from ºF to K use the formula: K = 5/9 (ºF – 32) + 273.15.
  6. To convert from K to ºF use the formula:  ºF = 1.8(K – 273.15) + 32.

Comparing Temperatures

Here are some common comparisons between temperatures on the Celsius and Fahrenheit scales.

Boiling point of water100212
Freezing point of water032
Average human body temperature3798.6
Comfortable room temperature20 to 25
68 to 77


Math Tips

Here are some "how-to's" that will come in handy.

How to Round a Number

To the nearest ten

If the ones digit is 5 or more, round to the next highest ten (68 rounds to 70).
If the ones digit is less than 5, round to the next lowest ten (33 rounds to 30).

To the nearest hundred

If the tens digit is 5 or more, round to the next highest hundred (384 rounds to 400).
If the tens digit is less than 5, round to the next lowest hundred (427 rounds to 400).

To the nearest thousand

If the hundreds digit is 5 or more, round to the next highest thousand (7,602 rounds to 8,000).
If the hundreds digit is less than 5, round to the next lowest thousand (7,268 rounds to 7,000).
How to Find an Average

To find the average of several numbers, add the numbers together and then divide the sum by the number of numbers.

The average of 17, 30, 6, and 7 = 60 ÷ 4 = 15

How to Tell if Two Fractions are Equivalent

Cross multiply the fractions. If both products are the same, the fractions are equivalent.

3 and 9 3 x 24 = 72 3 and 9 are equivalent fractions.
8 24 8 x 9 = 72 8 24

5 and 3 5 x12 = 60 5 and 3 are not equivalent fractions.
8 12 8 x 3 = 24 8 12

How to Find a Percentage

To tell what percentage one number is of a second number, divide the first number by the second. Move the decimal point of the resulting quotient two places to the right.

Example: What percentage is 20 of 300?
20 ÷ 300 = .067 = 6.7%
How to Change a Fraction to a Percentage

Divide the numerator by the denominator. Move the decimal point of the resulting quotient two places to the right.

6 = 6 ÷ 15 = .4 = .40 = 40%

How to Change a Decimal to a Percentage

Move the decimal point two places to the right.

0.792 = 79.2%

Refer to these how-to's until you can do them automatically.


Using Abbreviations To Write Notes Quickly

Using Abbreviations To Write Notes Quickly

Many of the questions you find on class tests will be based upon the information your teachers orally present in class. Therefore, you need to write class notes that completely and accurately include the most important information presented by your teachers. This is hard to do because your teachers can talk faster than you can write.

It would be nice if your teachers talked slower so that you could keep up with what they are saying as you write your notes. This is not realistic though. It is up to you to write more quickly. One way to do this is to write abbreviations for words.

An abbreviation is a shortened form of a word used when writing to represent the complete word. You must be able to recognize the complete word from its abbreviation.

Many words have a commonly used abbreviation. Here are some examples of words that have a common abbreviation:

Word Abbreviation Word Abbreviation
department dept package pkg
introduction intro negative neg
junior jr magazine mag
mathematics math foot ft
weight wt highway hwy

You can form your own abbreviation for just about any word. Here are three ways you can do this.

1. Write just the beginning of a long word. Here are some examples of long words that have been abbreviated by writing just the beginning of the word:

Word Abbreviation Word Abbreviation
different diff feminine fem
incorporated inc population pop
elementary elem ambiguous ambig
molecular molec separate sep
division div hippopotamus hippo

2. Leave out the vowels when writing a word. Here are some examples of words that have been abbreviated by leaving out the vowels when writing the word:
Word Abbreviation Word Abbreviation
century cntry point pnt
mountain mntn school schl
reason rsn clean cln
popular pplr teacher tchr
quality qlty progress prgrss

3. For words that have just one syllable, write just the first and last letter of the word. Here are some examples of words that have been abbreviated by writing just the first and last letter of the word:

Word Abbreviation Word Abbreviation
quart qt land ld
tick tk round rd
girl gl pack pk
night nt field fd
link lk heart ht

Use common abbreviations of words whenever you recognize them. For other words, form abbreviations by using one of the three ways you just learned. Use the way that best fits the word for which you are writing an abbreviation. Do not try to abbreviate every word you write in your notes. Abbreviate those words that are important and for which you can quickly form an abbreviation. REMEMBER: YOU MUST BE ABLE TO RECOGNIZE THE COMPLETE WORD FROM ITS ABBREVIATION. Knowing the context in which you wrote the word will help you recognize the complete word from its abbreviation.

Using abbreviations for words will help you take good notes more quickly. Having good notes will help you do better on tests.


Writing Techniques

Writing is an important form of communication. Good writers use different writing techniques to fit their purpose for writing. To be a good writer, you must master each of the following writing techniques.

1. Description

Through description, a writer helps the reader use the senses of feeling, seeing, hearing, smelling, and tasting to experience what the writer experiences. Description helps the reader more clearly understand the people, places, and things about which the writer is writing. It is the most common form of writing. You will find descriptive writing in newspapers, magazines, books, and most other forms of written communication.

2. Exposition

Through exposition, a writer informs, explains, and clarifies his/her ideas and thoughts. Exposition goes beyond description to help the reader understand with greater clarity and depth the ideas and thoughts of the writer. Expository writing, like descriptive writing, is commonly found in newspapers, magazines, books, and most other forms of written communication.

3. Narration

Through narration, a writer tells a story. A story has characters, a setting, a time, a problem, attempts at solving the problem, and a solution to the problem. Bedtime stories are examples of short stories while novels are examples of long stories. The scripts written for movies and plays are further examples of narrative writing.

4. Writing Techniques, Pen Persuasion

Through persuasion, a writer tries to change a reader's point of view on a topic, subject, or position. The writer presents facts and opinions to get the reader to understand why something is right, wrong, or in between. Editorials, letters to the editor in newspapers and magazines, and the text for a political speech are examples of persuasive writing.

5. Comparison and Contrast

Through comparison and contrast, a writer points out the similarities and differences about a topic. Comparison is used to show what is alike or in common. Contrast is used to show what is not alike or not in common. Describing living conditions in 1900 and living conditions today would allow for much comparison and contrast.

By using the writing technique that fits your purpose, you will be able to communicate your ideas effectively.