Premier's Awards For Teaching Excellence
I am so pleased to be here today to congratulate and honour our award-winning educators and support staff.
I'll tell you why I created the Premier's Awards for Teaching Excellence.
I believe the single most important thing we can do to build a caring society and a strong economy, the single most important thing we can do to nurture responsible, engaged citizens who care about others -- whether those others are in their community or on the other side of the world.
The single most important thing we can do to build a powerful workforce to create the wealth we need for Ontarians to enjoy a high standard of living so that together we can support our schools and hospitals, the single most important thing we can do for ourselves and our children is to give them the most precious gift of all: A high quality, publicly funded education.
Education is the foundation for a child's future success and fulfilment.
It's how we help all our children achieve their potential and become the best they can be.
It's how we help ourselves, as a society and an economy, flourish.
There's one more thing that drives me to keep improving education for our kids.
In my family, we owe everything to education.
On my dad's side, his mom was married at 16 to a man, my grandfather, who was 32.
They both had their Grade 8 education.
On my mom's side, when she was still a little girl, her father left her and her four little sisters one day and he never came back.
So, my grandmother, who also had very little education, got a job cleaning other people's houses.
Here I am, two generations later, speaking to you as Premier of the greatest province in the best country in the world.
That speaks to the power of education.
It gives everyone of us a chance.
Education is the doorway to opportunity.
But we all need help getting through that doorway.
We need people who devote themselves to our learning.
People who guide us, encourage us, nurture us, challenge us, open our minds and hearts to the possibilities.
It's been said that teachers affect eternity, because they never know where their influence will end.
To all our award winners: Thank you for being such good teachers.
And you are all "teachers" -- whether you stand in front of a classroom or not.
By being outstanding role models, you are teaching the rest of us.
You are a powerful, positive influence in education.
And because of your dedication, our children and our province are assured of a bright future.
Congratulations to all of you.
Thank you for all your good work.