Honoring the nation's teachers at the White House Tuesday, President Barack Obama said teachers are “helping to preserve the basic promise of America.”
Winners of the 2012 Teacher of the Year awards from all fifty states and territories and the national Teacher of the Year, California educator Rebecca Mieliwocki, gathered in the East Room of the White House Tuesday.
"These are the kind of teachers who change lives forever. I wouldn't be here today if it were not for teachers like these who challenged me, and pushed me, and put up with me, and inspired me - and set me straight when they had to. And I think everybody here can say the exact same thing.
Teachers matter. That's why I often tell young people: If you want a guarantee that you're making a difference every single day, become a teacher. A teacher is the key to a child reaching their potential," the president said.
Rebecca Mieliwocki, who has been an English teacher for the past 14 years, is a faculty member at California's Luther Burbank High School.
The annual competition is organized by Council of Chief State School Officers.