Thank you Dr. Stark for that introduction.
It's a great day to be an Eagle!
I'm here for two reasons today; first to encourage you to keep giving your best effort in school because your future depends on it.
Second, I want to let the teachers and administrators here at Bonham Elementary and all across the state to know how much I appreciate their hard work.
Not everyone has what it takes to be a Texas teacher.
Sure, you need to have a sharp mind and the right education but the best teachers need something bigger than that a calling to make a difference in the lives of the next generation.
From the looks of things here at Bonham Elementary your teachers have been hearing that calling loud and clear and acting on it every day.
With great teachers like these and the support of Commissioner Scott's team and your legislators in the capitol you are definitely getting prepared for a great life.
Now, let me take a minute to talk to your teachers and the other grownups here today.
Texas has a strong story to tell in terms of academic improvements thanks to a concerted effort that we've made in conjunction with legislators, the TEA, teachers groups, parents and local districts.
From 2000 to 2009, the state's share of public education spending increased from $11 billion per year to $20 billion, an 82% increase.
At the same time, we've beefed up accountability in our schools and focused on the basics like math, science, English & social studies.
Those efforts are paying off in the lives of our young people. For example, Texas has been recognized as one of only four states closing the achievement gap in math.
We're all proud that African-American eighth graders from Texas recently tied Massachusetts for 1st place on a national math exam.
These are just a few indicators of the impact our teachers are having in the lives of young Texans.
So, to all the teachers here today, we owe you an enormous debt of gratitude for the work you do, both in the classroom and beyond.
Thanks to you, our state's future is getting brighter all the time in the midst of evolving technologies and expanding opportunities.
Your hard work is not only preparing them to succeed in middle school, high school, college and career, but also for a lifetime of individual learning that will equip them to live in a world of constant innovation and change.
If you're a student sitting here today, you need to know just how important your teachers are.
Someday, you'll look back and realize what a huge difference they made in your lives.
You probably don't see all the work they do, from preparing lesson plans to grading assignments or answering parent emails, but they go the extra mile for you as they prepare you to succeed in life.
So, I want you to take a minute and thank your teachers by giving them a big round of applause.
Ok, you can sit back down.
The power of a simple "thank you" can mean the world to someone.
We've already thanked your teachers here and I've said "thank you" to teachers across the state.
Wouldn't it be great if we took the "thank you" process to a new level?
Let me tell you about a little program called The Milken Awards which have honored more than 2,400 K-12 teachers, principals and specialists across the country distributing more than $60 million in awards of $25,000 each.
This year one of those $25,000 Milken Awards is going to a teacher right here at Bonham Elementary.
Looks like I just got the teachers' attention.
I am proud to announce that a $25,000 Milken Award is being presented to: Rogelio Garcia!