Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Breakfast Group All Achievers Awards Dinner
June 14, 2003

Good evening. It is great to see Don Briscoe in a tux! I am thankful that Rep. Pettigrew and I have been able to rebound from some of the extremely late nights we have experienced in Olympia recently to join you here tonight. You teenagers in the audience can bounce back from all-nighters a lot more quickly then us “more experienced” folks. But we survived. And it is an honor to be here.

I wanted to be here to personally congratulate all of our students being recognized this evening. And as I look out tonight, I see the future. Among you are tomorrow’s educators, ministers, scientists, doctors, business-people, community leaders, maybe even a future Governor—tomorrow’s role models.

And to the parents, teachers, friends and relatives of these outstanding young men, congratulations as well. You’ve done a great job of nurturing and supporting these tremendous achievers. They are our future, and the future looks very bright indeed. So be proud, you adults!

To the students: we’re all so proud of you! Students who are committed to improving themselves; who are excelling in academics, athletics, extra-curricular activities, community, church involvement, or leadership experiences. You are excelling in realizing your full potential. When I was a student, I often times struggled. Schoolwork came very hard for me. I didn’t consider myself among the brightest. I was often one of the last ones to finish the test. It seemed I always needed more hours of homework and study than some of my quicker classmates.

But I was able to make my way and succeed. Because like you, I had opportunities. This is a state and a nation of great opportunities. I want to thank the Breakfast Group for placing some of these opportunities within the grasp of so many young people, especially through Project Mister and the All-Achiever Awards.

My family has lived these opportunities. My grandfather came to America from China more than a hundred years ago. He worked as a servant boy in Olympia for a family in exchange for English lessons.

Now I live in the Governor's mansion just one mile from where my grandfather lived — the first Asian-American governor in the continental United States. Our family jokes that it took one hundred years to travel one mile!

I reflect on how my own life has gone. I wasn’t any smarter, any luckier, or any richer than you are now. But I had adults who cared about me. People who believed in me. And I had opportunities.

You have adults like that, too: in your families, in your schools and in organizations like the Breakfast Group. And tonight we celebrate all you have done to walk down the path to success.

You’ve had many obstacles in your life and will have more in the future. But life involves obstacles, and success involves overcoming them. So you are all making great progress in your own personal journey to success. You’ve worked hard, overcome obstacles, and seized opportunities.

Your families are proud of you. Your teachers and school administrators and communities are proud of you. Your friends are proud of you. And I am proud of you.

Congratulations again. Have a great evening! And may all your dreams come true!

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