Public Papers

Remarks at the Point of Light Award Presentation Ceremony for the Henderson Hall/Barcroft Elementary School Adopt-A-School Program in Arlington, Virginia


Thank you, Dr. Kahan, and to everybody else -- Ms. Treadwell and Colonel Buckley, Corporal Simms, and so many others. I'm just delighted to be here with you, with the students, all the students of Barcroft, and their marine buddies from Henderson Hall.

You know, this is, as Dr. Kahan said, a very special day because I am naming you and these efforts -- the marines -- the 400th daily Point of Light. That's something that this school and all of you can be very proud of. And since this event is so special, recognizing our 400th Point of Light, I want to tell you just for a minute what this recognition means.

Some of you know that on every single day of the year except Sunday, I name as a Point of Light a person or a group serving their community somewhere in America, volunteers helping other people. I call them our Points of Light because their caring deeds shine like beacons of hope.

You say, why do we honor them this way? Well, first of all, I name a Point of Light each day because I want to show the whole country that all of our problems have solutions. In fact, this country is full of solutions. You kids here just have to look around you to see that this is true -- look at how the Henderson Hall marines became your ``Tuesday Tutors'' to help you in school. They've shown that caring is one of the best solutions that there is.

Also, I name a Point of Light each day because I want to remind people that real success doesn't mean earning a lot of money or wearing expensive clothes. Real success means helping someone who needs you. We see that success right here. You kids here needed some friends. So 8 years ago, the Henderson Hall marines became your buddies, buddies both in and out of the classroom. Your special friends are real successes because they're volunteering their time to help you.

In addition, by naming Points of Light I want our whole country to know who our nation's heroes are. Today's heroes are our neighbors and family and friends, anyone who gives of themselves by teaching someone to read or by visiting a lonely senior citizen or by helping a lonely child. And by naming Points of Light, I want all Americans to discover the heroes that they can be. As President, I want to do everything that I can to call on each person in America to find a way to serve someone in need.

And so, that's why I came here today, to show the whole country this very special relationship between the marines and the students of Barcroft. And this relationship shows that there are all kinds of heroes. We all know that the front line for some marines was in the desert of the Middle East liberating Kuwait. Well, I'm here today to say that there are other marines on another front line, this one right here, right here in our own backyard. And these Henderson Hall marine buddies are serving our country in another kind of fight, the one to help our children be successful, happy students.

To the marine buddies, I say thank you for the important work that you're doing here and for the inspiring example of strength you're showing the Nation. And to the kids, to the students, I say I hope you'll follow the example of these outstanding marine buddies of yours by helping people who need you throughout your whole life. The marines are the heroes of today, and I've got this wonderful, warm feeling that you'll be the heroes of tomorrow.

And so, it's my great pleasure to recognize our 400th Point of Light and to present to you, the marine buddies, and to you, Dr. Kahan, for Barcroft Elementary School, letters of appreciation for the wonderful example that you have set for our entire country.

Thank you all very, very much.

Note: The President spoke at 1:57 p.m. in the cafeteria of the school. In his remarks, he referred to Ellen Kahan, principal of the school; Rita Treadwell, civil coordinator of the marine program; Col. Robert R. Buckley, Henderson Hall base commander; and Corp. Dawn Simms, a marine tutor. Following his remarks, the President returned to the White House.