This afternoon, President Obama traveled to Worcester, Massachusetts to deliver the commencement address at Worcester Technical High School.
In his remarks, the President congratulated the graduates on their accomplishments, letting them know that they stand out among other high schools across the country:
I’m here today because there is nothing ordinary about Worcester Tech or the Class of 2014. You have set yourselves apart. This high school has set itself apart.
Over the past four years, some of you have learned how to take apart an engine and put it back together again. Some of you have learned how to run a restaurant, or build a house, or fix a computer. And all of you are graduating today not just with a great education, but with the skills that will let you start your careers and skills that will make America stronger.
"The thing I really want to do," he said, "is make sure that what we've learned here at this high school we can lift up for the entire nation. I want the nation to learn from Worcester Tech."
President Obama also reminded the graduates that none of this could have happened without someone first believing in them. "First of all, I want you to remember that each of us is only here because somebody somewhere invested in our success." He then shared his own story, being raised by a single mom with the help of his grandparents.
"We didn’t have a lot of money growing up," the President said. "At times, we struggled. When my mom was going to school at the same time as she was raising my sister and me, we had to scrape to get by." But he had a family who loved him -- and with the support of his community, opportunities opened up.
That same story is true for Worcester. Because others invested in the community and in Worcester Tech, these graduates will have the keys to a brighter future. "As you experience your success and as you experience setbacks," the President remarked, "you need to remember everything that's been put into making sure that you had opportunity."
And because of those opportunities, the President stressed the importance of these students giving back to their communities:
So part of what you’ve learned here is that we are at our best, we are strongest when we are working together and when we’re looking out for one another and we have responsibilities towards each other, and all of us have contributions to make. You’re giving back to folks who gave you so much. And whatever you do next, I hope you keep giving back.
The President closed his commencement address optimistic for the future of our country and our competitive spirit:
You’re graduating at a time when you’ll no longer be competing just with people across town for good jobs, you’re going to be competing with the rest of the world.
But when I meet young people like you I am absolutely certain we are not just going to out-compete the rest of the world, we are going to win because of you. Because we are Americans, that's what we do. We don't settle. We outwork. We out-innovate. We out-hustle the competition. And when we do, nobody can beat us."