Obama’s Back to School Speech


“Nobody gets to write your destiny but you.” These words were spoken by President Obama’s during his second “back-to-school” speech to students all over the country. Presented on September 14, 2010, at Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School, in Philadelphia, PA, the positive speech encouraged the students of America to follow their endeavors.  

The President begins the speech by connecting the experiences his daughters are having – it being sad for summer to go and beginning a new school year, while at the same time feeling content and ready for great opportunities, like building new friendships and strengthening old ones, joining a school club or trying out for a team – as a new year starts. As students hear this, they feel connected to what he is saying, as they are experiencing the same feelings. Obama also addresses the many hardships and difficult times in our world today, such as recessions and the war on terror. He comforts the students as he is aware they need to take on more responsibilities because of this. “A lot of you are having to act a lot older than you are; to be strong for your family while your brother or sister is serving overseas; to look after younger siblings while your mom works that second shift; to take on a part-time job while your dad is out of work,” he remarked, while relating to what the students and citizens across the United States are dealing with. 

 Obama returns to the main focus of the speech: the importance of getting to write your own density. “Nothing will have as great an impact on your success in life as your education,” he stated, stressing that in today’s world, more opportunities are open to students by how far they go in school.  He says that the government will help, but the students also need to put forth the effort. “Showing up to school on time. Paying attention in class. Doing your homework. Studying for exams. Staying out of trouble. That kind of discipline and drive – that kind of hard work – is absolutely essential for success,” the president remarked.

The President wrapped up the speech by stating his confidence in all students across the country, succeeding this year and for the rest of their lives. “Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the Untied States of America.” 

The speech seemed to be objective as it simply just encouraged students, as they start another school year, to strive to do the best they can each day. Ironically, hardly any criticism of his speech was heard this year. Recall the controversy surrounding last year’s speech. Many wondered what President Obama’s real purpose was for the speech. Will his speech cover sensitive topics, like abortion, that parents don’t want children to see? Is it for propaganda, trying to sway students in his political party? 

People get hyped up over an issue one year, and the next not even raise a finger. Did the critics discover the purpose of President Obama’s speech was not to sway student’s opinions and rather just to support and encourage United States students as they begin a new school year, around the country, at Masterman, and here in Latrobe. As the students of Latrobe start a new year, they all should take the ideas in President Obama’s speech and be successful. “Your future is in your hands. Your life is what you make of it. And nothing – absolutely nothing – is beyond your reach. So long as you’re willing to dream big. So long as you’re willing to work hard. So long as you’re willing to stay focused on your education.”