Remarks on Arrival in Chattanooga, Tennessee

May 19, 1987

It's a great pleasure to be here in Chattanooga. I'm glad that Tom Griscom let me come along. [Laughter] And thanks for the band music -- the McCallie School Band, the Chattanooga Christian School's Combination Band, the Hickson High Band, and the Red Bank High Band. And I understand there are members of the Cherokee Area Council of the Boy Scouts here today. [Applause]

I'm here to celebrate the graduation of the public high schools in the Hamilton County and Chattanooga city school systems. And I know there are fine private and parochial high schools here as well. I don't think any other city in America can claim to have two graduates of an area school in the United States Cabinet.

They're great Tennesseans, and they're great Americans. And every now and then when they get together, I think I hear them saying, "Go Blue Tornadoes.'' But you should be proud of them -- Bill Brock and Howard Baker.

Over the past decade, the schools of the Chattanooga area and all of Tennessee have made great strides in improving the quality of education. And many have received national recognition for quality. And I'm here to recognize that quality. When it comes to quality in a school, the important thing is not what goes in, but what comes out, not how much money is spent or how new the buildings are, but how well students read, write and do math and what they know about our sacred national heritage. Today I'll see a lot of graduates who are coming out. And I'm going to have lunch and talk with a few of them. But I know that quality is something schools throughout the area -- not just those graduating this week -- care about.

So, thank you all for coming out to greet us. I know that I have to get into this car now and get on with the busy schedule that's been lined up. But this is a great honor that you've done me, and I'm very grateful. And I see that sign about my roommate Nancy. Yes, I'll tell her that you bid her welcome also. But thank you all again. God bless you all.

Note: The President spoke at 11:48 p.m. at Lovell Field. Following his remarks, he went to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's student center, where he had lunch with area high school seniors and faculty members.