WYLIE (CBSDFW.COM) – Former President George W. Bush went back to school in Wylie on Thursday morning. A newly opened elementary school in the North Texas city has been named after the former U.S. leader. Administrators stated that the school was named in Bush’s honor to recognize the former First Family’s commitment to education.
Thursday was the school’s official dedication ceremony. “I am thrilled and honored to be here,” Bush said at the event. “I want to thank you all so very much for naming this beautiful facility after me. It’s a huge honor.”
The new $19 million campus features a presidential seal on the lobby floor and Bush’s portrait hanging inside. The school was made for kids in kindergarten through fourth grade, and includes a dual-language program. There are 555 students enrolled.
“I’m proud to have my name associated with a high-performing school district, one that sets high expectations and is willing to challenge the soft bigotry of low expectations,” Bush continued. “This building is beautiful. I’m not sure that I’m worthy of such a beautiful building. I know this — the students are worthy of such a beautiful building.”
During his nine-minute speech, the former President discussed a variety of educational topics, encouraging kids and teachers to learn multiple languages and even discussing his talents as a painter. “Learning is a lifetime experience,” he told both adults and children at the dedication. “You never stop learning.”
Bush offered advice for students. “Make good decisions, especially when people aren’t watching you. Make the right choices in life, starting now,” the former U.S. leader said. “Love a neighbor like you’d like to be loved yourself. Always remember to think about how you would like to be treated.”
Some of Bush’s advice was met with applause from adults in the room. “Read more than you watch TV,” he told the students on Thursday. “Read more than you play games on electronic devices.” Former First Lady Laura Bush is a former teacher and a former school librarian.
Bush even had some words for older generations in the audience. “Be willing to take risks and challenge life. It’s amazing what can happen,” he said.
The George W. Bush Elementary School mascot is, fittingly, a bald eagle named Ranger. Bush was previously the owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team. “You can soar like an eagle,” the former President said. He concluded his speech with a glance at the crowd and some optimistic words. “As I look at the faces of the future of Texas, it gives me great hope that this great state will continue to be a great state.”
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