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Do you want your news in a nutshell? If so, Elm City Express is the source for you. We are a service of the New Haven Register, but we will provide a slightly different daily dose of New Haven happenings, all wrapped up in the same place. We love to hear from the community and will post your news for you, often in your words! Remember: Local news is our story. Contact us at: We would love to hear from you.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Coast Guard Auxiliary, Stratford to hold safe boating course

The Coast Guard Auxiliary, Stratford, is offering a Boating Course on July 9, according to a release.
For complete information and to enroll call Brian, at (203) 381-2085, or email 
 Visit the website or  use this registration form.
 Flotilla 24-2 is located at 1 Birdseye Street, Stratford. (At the Birdseye Boat Ramp).
Successful completion of this 8-hour course satisfies the Connecticut licensing requirements for both boats and personal watercraft (PWC), the release said..
"Instruction will cover all the basic topics involved in the safe operation of recreational boating and seamanship. It will also cover safe personal watercraft operation"
Cost is   $49.00
 Please Note:
All students will need to obtain a State of CT Conservation ID Number before taking the ABS/PWC class. Go HERE and register for a FREE ID number.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Obama's remarks after briefing on Orlando tragedy

The following remarks were released by the White House today, shared unedited here and as a public service:
THE PRESIDENT:  I just had the opportunity to get the latest briefing from FBI Director Comey, as well as Deputy Attorney General Yates and the rest of my national security team about the tragedy that took place in Orlando.  They’re going to be doing a more extensive briefing around noon -- just a little bit after noon over at FBI headquarters.  So I will allow them to go into all the details, but I thought it was important for you to hear directly from me.
First of all, our hearts go out to the families of those who have been killed.  Our prayers go to those who have been wounded.  This is a devastating attack on all Americans.  It is one that is particularly painful for the people of Orlando, but I think we all recognize that this could have happened anywhere in this country.  And we feel enormous solidarity and grief on behalf of the families that have been affected.
The fact that it took place at a club frequented by the LGBT community I think is also relevant.  We’re still looking at all the motivations of the killer.  But it’s a reminder that regardless of race, religion, faith or sexual orientation, we’re all Americans, and we need to be looking after each other and protecting each other at all times in the face of this kind of terrible act.
With respect to the killer, there’s been a lot of reporting that’s been done.  It’s important to emphasize that we’re still at the preliminary stages of the investigation, and there’s a lot more that we have to learn.  The one thing that we can say is that this is being treated as a terrorist investigation.  It appears that the shooter was inspired by various extremist information that was disseminated over the Internet.  All those materials are currently being searched, exploited so we will have a better sense of the pathway that the killer took in making the decision to launch this attack. 
As Director Comey I think will indicate, at this stage we see no clear evidence that he was directed externally.  It does appear that, at the last minute, he announced allegiance to ISIL, but there is no evidence so far that he was in fact directed by ISIL.  And there also at this stage is no direct evidence that he was part of a larger plot.  In that sense, it appears to be similar to what we saw in San Bernardino, but we don’t yet know.  And this is part of what is going to be important in terms of the investigation.
As far as we can tell right now, this is certainly an example of the kind of homegrown extremism that all of us have been so concerned about for a very long time.  It also appears that he was able to obtain these weapons legally because he did not have a criminal record that, in some ways, would prohibit him from purchasing these weapons.  It appears that one of those weapons he was able to just carry out of the store -- an assault rifle, a handgun -- a Glock -- which had a lot of clips in it.  He was apparently required to wait for three days under Florida law.  But it does indicate the degree to which it was not difficult for him to obtain these kinds of weapons.
Director Comey will discuss the fact that there had been some investigation of him in the past that was triggered, but as Director Comey I think will indicate, the FBI followed the procedures that they were supposed to and did a proper job.
At the end of the day, this is something that we are going to have to grapple with -- making sure that even as we go after ISIL and other extremist organizations overseas, even as we hit their leadership, even as we go after their infrastructure, even as we take key personnel off the field, even as we disrupt external plots -- that one of the biggest challenges we are going to have is this kind of propaganda and perversions of Islam that you see generated on the Internet, and the capacity for that to seep into the minds of troubled individuals or weak individuals, and seeing them motivated then to take actions against people here in the United States and elsewhere in the world that are tragic.  And so countering this extremist ideology is increasingly going to be just as important as making sure that we are disrupting more extensive plots engineered from the outside. 
We are also going to have to have to make sure that we think about the risks we are willing to take by being so lax in how we make very powerful firearms available to people in this country.  And this is something that obviously I’ve talked about for a very long time. 
My concern is that we start getting into a debate, as has happened in the past, which is an either/or debate.  And the suggestion is either we think about something as terrorism and we ignore the problems with easy access to firearms, or it’s all about firearms and we ignore the role -- the very real role that that organizations like ISIL have in generating extremist views inside this country.  And it’s not an either/or.  It’s a both/and.
     We have to go after these terrorist organizations and hit them hard.  We have to counter extremism.  But we also have to make sure that it is not easy for somebody who decides they want to harm people in this country to be able to obtain weapons to get at them. 
     And my hope is, is that over the next days and weeks that we are being sober about how we approach this problem, that we let the facts get determined by our investigators, but we also do some reflecting in terms of how we can best tackle what is going to be a very challenging problem not just here in this country, but around the world.
     Again, my final point is just to extend our deepest sympathies to the families of those who were affected and to send our prayers to those who are surviving and are in hospitals right now, and their family members hoping that they get better very soon.
     But in the meantime, you can anticipate sometime around noon that Director Comey and Deputy Attorney General Yates will provide you with a more full briefing about this.  Okay?
     Q    Mr. President, is there anything more to the LBGT angle to this?
     THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think we don't yet know the motivations.  But here’s what we do know -- is organizations like ISIL or organizations like al Qaeda, or those who have perverted Islam and created these radical, nihilistic, vicious organizations, one of the groups that they target are gays and lesbians because they believe that they do not abide by their attitudes towards sexuality.
     Now, we also know these are organizations that think it’s fine to take captive women and enslave them and rape them.  So there clearly are connections between the attitudes in an organization like this and their attitudes towards tolerance and pluralism and a belief that all people are created equally regardless of sexual orientation.  That is something threatening to them.  Women being empowered is threatening to them. 
     So, yes, I’m sure we will find that there are connections -- regardless of the particular motivations of this killer -- there are connections between this vicious, bankrupt ideology and general attitudes towards gays and lesbians.  And unfortunately, that’s something that the LGBT community is subject to not just by ISIL but by a lot of groups that purport to speak on behalf of God around the world.
     Q    What are your thoughts about the fact that after all of these incidents over these years, that there has not been any move to reform gun control in this country?
     THE PRESIDENT:  April, I think you know what I think about it.  The fact that we make it this challenging for law enforcement, for example, even to get alerted that somebody who they are watching has purchased a gun -- and if they do get alerted, sometimes it’s hard for them to stop them from getting a gun -- is crazy.  It’s a problem.  And we have to, I think, do some soul-searching.
     But again, the danger here is, is that then it ends up being the usual political debate.  And the NRA and the gun control folks say that, oh, Obama doesn't want to talk about terrorism.  And if you talk about terrorism, then people say why aren’t you looking at issues of gun control.
     The point is, is that if we have self-radicalized individuals in this country, then they are going to be very difficult oftentimes to find ahead of time.  And how easy it is for them to obtain weapons is, in some cases, going to make a difference as to whether they're able to carry out attacks like this or not.  And we make it very easy for individuals who are troubled or disturbed or want to engage in violent acts to get very powerful weapons very quickly.  And that's a problem. 
     It’s a problem regardless of their motivations.  It’s a problem for a young man who can walk into a church in South Carolina and murder nine people who offered to pray with him.  It’s a problem when an angry young man on a college campus decides to shoot people because he feels disrespected.  It’s certainly a problem when we have organizations like ISIL or al Qaeda who are actively trying to promote violence and are doing so very effectively over the Internet, because we know that at some point there are going to be, out of 300 million, there are going to be some individuals who find for whatever reason that kind of horrible propaganda enticing.  And if that happens, and that person can get a weapon, that's a problem. 

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Alehounds to open 2016 Twilight Concert Series

The Alehounds
NEW HAVEN - The Alehounds will open the 2016 Twilight Concert Series at the Pardee-Morris House at 7 p.m. June 29, according to a release.

The free outdoor concert is being presented by the New Haven Museum, which owns and operates the historic site, the release said.. The on-site food-trucks for the evening will be Frank Andrews Wood-Fired Pizza and The Cannoli Truck. (rain date June 30)
"The Alehounds are a guitar, banjo, fiddle band that plays traditional Irish folk and Americana with just a hint of rock and roll," the release noted. "The band consists of Sean Conlon on guitar, harmonica, vocals; Chops MacConnie on mandolin ad vocals; Mike Ryan on percussion; Colleen Filush on fiddle and  vocals, and Charlie Stevens on banjo. With their musical influences ranging from the Dubliners to the Clancy Brothers, and from Bob Dylan to The Pogues, the New Haven group plays many a rollicking standard."
Other Summer Events scheduled at the Pardee-Morris House
·         Connecticut Open House Day – Saturday, June 11, noon – 4 p.m. - Free tours, crafts, and colonial games.
·         2016 Twilight Concert series:
o   July 13 (rain date July 14): Tuxedo Junction
o   July 27 (rain date August 3): Wise Old Moon
o   August 10 (rain date August 11): Goodnight Moonshine
"The Museum thanks Alder Salvatore E. DeCola, the Knights of Columbus, Rodrigo Council #44, and neighbors Frank Pinto and Rosemary Spring for supporting the 2016 summer season."
Concert Details:
The Pardee-Morris House is located at 325 Lighthouse Road, New Haven.  Grounds open at
6 p.m., the concert begins at 7 pm. The Pardee-Morris House will be open to visitors for tours till 8 p.m. The public is invited to bring blankets and chairs and enjoy a picnic on the lawn.  Admission is free; donations are welcomed.
For more on summer events at the Pardee-Morris House, visit the New Haven Museum’s website: and Facebook page: Sign up for e-blasts at, or call the New Haven Museum at 203-562-4183.  For more information on the New Haven Museum visit or or call 203-562-4183.

Editor's note: All information and the photo in this post were contributed. Click one of the buttons below to share it.

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Friday, June 3, 2016

Puppypalooza to be held at Anna Liffey's in New Haven

NEW HAVEN - The Friends of New Haven Animal Shelter will hold Puppypalooza from 5 p.m. to closing June 18, at Anna Liffey’s, 17 Whitney Ave.

The event will include an open mic for dog stories, with music by Ian Biggs, Seth Adam, piper Durant McCurley.

Also, prizes, a vegetarian buffet, cash bar and "puppy punch."  Dogs are welcome.

Tickets are $18 at the door, and $15 in advance.

For tickets, go to the New Haven Animal Shelter, 81 Fournier St., Anna Liffey’s, FNHAS website.

Editor's note: All information and the photo in this post were contributed. Click one of the buttons below to share it.

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Monday, May 23, 2016

NAACP to hold 2016 Health Expo in New Haven

NEW HAVEN – The Greater New Haven NAACP branch, in partnership with Yale-New Haven Hospital, will hold 2016 Health Expo “Mind, Body & Soul” from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 4 at Southern Connecticut State University, according to a release.

The event will be held in front of the Moore Field House/Gymnasium, but in case of rain, it will take place inside the facility at 125 Wintergreen Ave.

The event will include free health screenings and information, music, Zumba, face painting, the mammography van, activities for children, and more for the entire family, the release said.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Theta Epsilon Omega Chapter is sponsoring a shred-it truck, and the community can shred items for free.

Community partners for the event are the Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center; the New Haven Fire Department and the New Haven Police Department

For more information call the NAACP Office 203-389-7275

Editor's note: All information and the photo in this post were contributed. Click one of the buttons below to share it.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Reusable bags a delight in Connecticut - and perfectly environmentally friendly

This group shows how easy it is to make changes that matter!

FAIRFIELD - According to library officials, Mary Hogue, Chairman, of the Fairfield Earth Day Committee asked the Fairfield Woods Branch Library’s Sewing Studio, if they would be willing to make cloth bags for Fairfield’s April 30 Earth Day Celebration.
It worked!
"Several woman and children took on the challenge of producing cloth bags for people to use instead of plastic," the release said.

"Initially the goal was to sew 30 bags; however, over six weeks and much dedication, 115 bags were made and given away" at the celebration, according to a release.

Find the library on Facebook and Twitter.

Editor's note: All information and the photos in this post were contributed. Click one of the buttons below to share it. with grateful acknowledgement to Jane Siefert of the Fairfield Public Library

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Program on raptor rehabilitation and birds of prey to be held in Derby

The Naugatuck Valley Audubon Society,  in cooperation with the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection will hold "a program for the entire family" at the Kellogg Environmental Center, Derby at 1 p.m. May 15, according to a release.
The event will help folks learn about "A Place Called Hope, a Raptor Rehabilitation and Education Center for Birds of Prey," the release said.

This non-profit organization, located in Killingworth, is run by volunteers who specialize in rescue, rehabilitation, re-nesting, and release of birds of prey within Connecticut, the release said. "Their goal is always to reunite wildlife into the natural world."
The program will include two live diurnal and two nocturnal birds of prey. Visitors will have a chance to see birds, rehabilitated from injuries too severe for release, which have become educational birds, the release said. "You will learn about their habitat along with tips on how to lessen human conflicts."

After the presentation participants will have a chance to take a walk through the Osborne Homestead Museum gardens and, if time allows, a bird walk across the street at Osbornedale State Park where NVAS maintains bluebird houses, the release said.
The program will be held at the Kellogg Environmental Center, 500 Hawthorne Ave., Derby. A donation of $5 per adult is requested. Children under 12 are free. Light refreshments will be served after the meeting.

For more information, directions, or to register, call (203) 734-2513 or email

Editor's note: All information and the photo in this post were contributed.  Photo by:  Paul J. Fusco/CT DEEP Wildlife Division.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Read what President Obama said about National Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes

Photo courtesy Waterbury Public Schools
National Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes taught social studies at James Hillhouse High School after obtaining her bachelor’s degree from Southern Connecticut State University.
This is the (unedited) "Remarks by the President at the 2016 National Teacher of the Year Celebration" as released by the White House Press Office:
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Well, welcome to the White House.  (Applause.)  And thank you, Jahana, for that wonderful introduction.  Everybody please give the National Teacher of the Year a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  It’s a little surprising that she got this award because you can tell she’s a little shy -- (laughter) -- and lacks enthusiasm.  (Laughter.)  And yet somehow she seems to be performing pretty well in the classroom.  (Laughter.)  Look at that smile.
So for seven years, I’ve stood in the White House with America’s finest public servants and private-sector innovators and our best advocates and our best athletes and our best artists, and I have to tell you there are few moments that make me prouder than this event when I stand alongside our nation’s best educators.  (Applause.)
Every year on this day, we say publicly as a country what we should be eager to say every day of the year, and that is:  Thank you.  That’s what this event is about.  That's why it’s one of my favorites.  It’s a good day with all of you guys here in Washington to say thank you for the extraordinary work that teachers do all across the country.  It’s also, I guess, a pretty good day for substitute teachers because we got a lot of folks -- (laughter) -- we got a lot of folks playing hooky today.  (Laughter.)  This is a school day.  (Laughter.) 
MS. HAYES:  It’s a learning opportunity.  (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT:  It’s a field trip. 
Now, among our country’s best educators happens to be our Secretary of Education, Dr. John King, Jr.  (Applause.)  John is someone who, like Jahana, found refuge in school as a youngster.  And he found role models in the classroom at a time when he needed them most.  And that experience instilled in him the empathy that makes him such a powerful voice for students and for teachers and for principals and superintendents and educators all across the country. 
I also want to acknowledge Jahana’s senator from Connecticut, Chris Murphy.  He’s around here somewhere.  There he is.  (Applause.)  He’s proud of you, too. 
I want to welcome her fellow Teachers of the Year from all 50 states, D.C., and our territories.  (Applause.)  And we want to welcome the hundreds of distinguished educators from all across the country that joined us this afternoon.  So thank you.  (Applause.)
I figured this is the last time I was going to do this, so I wanted to invite as many of you as possible -- (applause) -- because you are people who are inspiring at every grade level, who are opening minds to math and music; to basic literacy but classic literature; to social studies and science, Spanish, and special education.  (Applause.)
In their daily lives, the men and women who teach our children fulfill the promise of a nation that's always looking forward, that believes each generation has a responsibility to help the next in building this great country of ours and making the world a better place.
President Kennedy said, “Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education.”  Now, the school where Jahana teaches happens to bear President Kennedy’s name.  And it’s fitting then that the perspective, that approach that she brings to the classroom suits the philosophy that he articulated.
This is what Jahana said about how she approaches her responsibility: “It doesn’t matter how bright a student is or where they rank in a class, or what colleges they have been accepted to if they do nothing with their gift to improve the human condition.”  And Jahana cares about the example she sets as much as the exams that she scores.  (Applause.)  
All right, you just need to settle down.  (Laughter.)  This is what makes her a great teacher.  You can't be great if you're not enthusiastic.  (Laughter.)  You got to love what you do -- and she loves what she does. 
And what’s remarkable about Jahana’s natural talent in the classroom is that when she was growing up in Waterbury, Connecticut, being a teacher was the furthest thing from her mind.  In fact, there were times where she didn’t even want to be a student.
No one in Jahana’s family had gone to college.  No one at home particularly encouraged education.  She lived in a community full of poverty and violence, high crime and low expectations.  And drugs were more accessible than degrees.  As a teenager, Jahana became pregnant and wanted to drop out of school.  But her teachers saw something.  They saw something in her.  And they gave her an even greater challenge, and that was to dream bigger and to imagine a better life.  And they made her believe she was college material and that she had the special gift to improve not only her own condition, but those around her.
And today, Jahana’s principal at Kennedy High says she gets through to her students precisely because she remembers what it’s like to be one of them.  And she doesn't forget that everyone in her class brings their own different and sometimes difficult circumstances.  And she meets them where they are.  And she sees a grace in them, and she sees a possibility in them.  And because she sees it, they start seeing it.
And that’s what makes Jahana more than a teacher; she’s a counselor and a confidant.  That’s how a woman who became a teenage mom is now a mentor to high schoolers in the same city where she grew up.
And meanwhile, outside of the classroom, Jahana has been a leader in the afterschool theater program.  She put together a “Teen Idol” singing show.  (Laughter.)  She won the school’s “Dancing with the Stars” competition.  (Laughter.)  I wish I had met you before I started tangoing in Argentina.  (Laughter.)  Could have given me some tips. 
And this is something that I think is particularly remarkable:  Jahana inspires her students to give back.  I think she understands that actually sometimes the less you have, the more valuable it is to see yourself giving, because that shows you the power and the influence that you can bring to bear on the world around you.
One year, she had been assigned to a group that seemed unmotivated, so she found out what was distracting them.  Seven students in one class had recently lost a parent to cancer.  So she organized a Relay for Life team through the American Cancer Society, and it became an annual event.
Last year, when Jahana went online to register her team, she noticed not one, not two, but fourteen teams led by former students had already signed up.  She organized her students to walk for autism, to feed the homeless, to donate clothes, to clean neighborhoods, and even to register voters.  And so it takes a unique leader to get students who don’t have a lot to give of themselves.  But because Jahana understood those kids, she knew not to set low expectations, but to set high ones and to say to them, you can make a difference.
And that's the kind of leader our Teacher of the Year is.  She knows that if students learn their worth, then the class rank and the college acceptances and the exam scores will follow.
Now, if there’s one thing Jahana wishes she had in school, it was more teachers who looked like her, as she already mentioned.  And so she wrote and won a state grant to inspire more students to become teachers –- but especially to recruit more black and Latino teachers in her district.  (Applause.)  And that's important. 
Not one of the teachers standing behind me or in front of our children’s classrooms chose this profession because they were promised a big payday or a short workday.  (Laughter.)  Although, you all do need to be paid better.  (Applause.)  That I believe.  But the main reason teachers do what they do is because they love kids.  They love our kids.  And yes, we should pay teachers more because what they do is invaluable and essential.  And the teachers here, though, will tell you that what would be most helpful, in addition to a little financial relief, would be people understanding how important the work you do is -- (applause) -- and to appreciate it, and not take it for granted.
And so part of the reason this event is so important is for us to be able to send a message to future generations of teachers, to talented young people all across the country to understand this is a dream job; that this is an area where you will have more influence potentially than any other profession that you go into.
AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Say it again!  (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT:  This is a profession where you have the potential to make more of a difference than just about anything you can go into.  (Applause.)
So over the past seven years, we’ve looked at every element of our education system with an eye towards boosting the teaching profession.  And thanks to our educators and the opinions you’ve voiced and the leadership that you’ve shown, we’ve come a long way since we came into office.
One of the first things we did, in the middle of the worst economic crisis in generations, when states and cities were slashing budgets, was to keep more than 300,000 educators in our kids’ classrooms.  That was part of the Recovery Act.
We’ve taken the first steps towards making sure every young person in America gets the best start possible.   And keep in mind that in 2009, when I started here, only 38 states had their own preschool programs.  Today, all but four have.  We've expanded Head Start programs for tens of thousands of kids who need it.  (Applause.)
We made turning around America’s low-performing schools a national priority.  The year before I took office, a quarter of our high school students didn’t graduate on time.  More than a million didn’t finish high school at all.  And today, high school graduations rates have never been higher, dropout rates have gone down.  We’re transforming hundreds of America’s lowest-performing schools. 
We’re also bringing new technology and digital tools to our classrooms to modernize and personalize learning.  Three years ago, less than a third of all school districts could access high-speed Internet, and a lot of low-income communities were left behind.  Today, 20 million more students and most of our school districts have fast broadband and wireless in the classroom.  And by 2018, we’re going got make sure that we reach the goal I set:  99 percent of our students will have high-speed Internet.  (Applause.)
We're making remarkable progress towards my pledge to train 100,000 STEM teachers by 2021 thanks to the great work of “100K in 10” –- which, with new commitments to prepare 70,000 more teachers, I want to just announce today this is a goal that we are going to achieve on time.  We're on our way. 
And we unleashed a race to the top, convincing every state to raise its standards so students are prepared for success in college and for future careers.  And we listened to parents who wanted subjects like computer science taught in our schools.  And we listened to teachers who have shown why cookie-cutter solutions don’t always work.  We’re empowering states and communities to set their own standards for progress with accountability.  And because nobody thinks our students need to spend more time filling in bubbles on standardized tests, we’re starting to give educators like those behind me the flexibility to spend more time teaching creatively than they're spending teaching to a test.  (Applause.) 
Now, that doesn’t mean that all our problems are solved.  You know it better than I do.  In too many states, we are underfunding public education.  And it is the job of state legislators and of governors to recognize that the wellbeing of their state and their communities and their families and their kids requires them to step up.  (Applause.)  In too many school districts, we still have schools that, despite great efforts by a lot of great teachers, are still not getting our kids prepared the way they need to be prepared.  And we've got to be willing to be honest when something is not working and say, all right, let’s try something different.  And sometimes, we won't necessarily get it right the first time. 
But the reason I think -- I want to bring this up.  This wasn’t in my prepared remarks -- (laughter) -- but I think it's important.  So often now, the debate swings back and forth.  You got some folks who say resources and money don’t make a difference, and the problem is all the teachers' unions and they want to break up the schools, and they think vouchers are all the answer, or some other approach.  And then on the other side you got folks who just know that argument is wrong, but too often it sounds like it's just a defense of the status quo.
And the fact of the matter is, is that we do have to do better in too many of our schools.  We need more teachers like this in all of you.  We've got to make the profession more attractive.  We do have to have accountability in the classroom.  That doesn’t mean forcing you to teach to the test, but we've got to come up with measures that are meaningful, so that if somebody doesn’t have the skills that Jahana or these other teachers have, that they can start developing it and we know what to look for.  We've got to make sure that we're setting our sights high.
And although I am very proud of the work that we've done, I know we're not there yet.  And we may have replaced No Child Left Behind, which was a relief for a lot of folks, but the absence of something that wasn’t working as well as it should is not the presence of the kind of work that remains to be done. 
So, in our country, it's a little harder than in some other countries, because we've got diverse populations, and we got folks coming from different backgrounds and starting off in tougher circumstances.  But our Teacher of the Year here stands as proof that you can't set expectations high enough for our kids.  There's magic in those kids.  We just have to find it.  We have to unleash it.  We have to nurture it.  We have to support it.  We have to love them.  And then we have to tell them precisely because we love you, you're going to work harder, and you're going to do better.  And we're going to stay on you.
That's what we have to do.  And we can't just leave it to the teachers -- because if our notion is we drop off our kids and then the teacher is doing everything, and then our job is done, it's not going to work. 
So this is why my administration launched Teach to Lead -- (applause) -- to give teachers a greater voice in the policies that affect them every day. 
And I'm going to close by just talking about a letter I received at the beginning of this school year from a teacher in central Virginia named Danny Abell.  There's Danny.  (Applause.)  There's a reason why he got a good spot -- (laughter) -- because he knew I was going to talk about him.  So Danny asked his students if any of them wanted to be a teacher when they grew up.  And no one raised their hands.  And that worried him.  So he wrote me to ask what I’d say if one of my daughters told me she wanted to become a teacher.  And I mean this -- this is the God's honest truth -- if Sasha or Malia wanted to be teachers, I will tell them I could not be prouder of what you've done.  (Applause.)  And I'd tell them to be the kind of teachers who don't just show her students how to get the correct answer, but how to be curious about the world and how to care for the people around her, and how to analyze facts and evidence, and how to tell stories, and how to believe in their ability to shape their own destiny.
In other words, I’d tell her to be like Jahana and to be like each of the educators behind us here today, and the kinds of teachers that you see in classrooms in every state and every territory, and the District of Columbia.  I'm so proud of all of you for the high standards you set for your students, for your fellow teachers.  Thank you for making our nation stronger. 
And now, Jahana, please join me to accept this award from America’s educators –- the crystal apple -– as the National Teacher of the Year.  (Applause.)