Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Costco Scholarship Breakfast
September 30, 2004

Good morning, and thank you President Sundborg. I am honored to be here.

I want to begin by congratulating all of the Costco scholars for their great achievement in being selected to attend one of these fine universities and in receiving a Costco scholarship. We are proud of you, and proud of the more than 650 students who have been a part of the Costco Scholarship program since it began. Letís hear it for our Costco scholars!

And a huge thanks to the Costco executives who have been so instrumental to these scholarships and raising $5.8 million for 650 scholarships. On behalf of the people of our state, and especially the recipients and their families, a special thanks to the driving forces behind these scholarships:

∑ Jeff Brotman, a regent of the University of Washington; and
∑ Jim Sinegal, chair of the Seattle University Board of Trustees

I look forward to these breakfasts every year. Each year, I am inspired by these celebrations of outstanding academic achievement, education and diversity.

Iím always moved by the stories of our Costco recipients. Iím in awe of the student spears and proud that they are our future. I canít wait to hear from our student speakers this year, Charisse Arce and Elizabeth Carbajal, and the inspirational story of the Three Doctors!

But I have memories of other breakfasts, not quite so pleasant.

I had a grade school teacher who went around the classroom almost every morning, asking us what we ate for breakfast. When we Asian American kids answered, "fish and rice," we received a sharp, stinging slap on the wrists. Because it wasnít the typical American breakfast of, for instance, ham and eggs, we were slapped for being "UnAmerican.Ē Diversity, it seemed, was a shameful thing.

But when I was growing up, my parents instilled in us kids the value and power of education. They told us education makes dreams possible and overcomes obstacles. And they passed onto us a passion for learning.

My parents were not affluent. They ran a mom-and-pop grocery store and sacrificed so much for us. They made it clear we would all attend college. But thanks to financial aid, loans, scholarships and part-time work, I was able to go to college. I was able to choose my destiny and realize my dreams.

Money isnít everything. But sometimes itís the only thing standing between deserving students and their dreams. Thatís why Iím a big supporter of scholarship programs.

These Costco scholarships will help so many students realize their dreams and the dreams of their families.

We are here because we recognize the power of those dreams and the power of education. And we share another, equally important conviction: We all know that diversity is our greatest strength.

In our diversity lies our humanity. A society that denies its differences is doomed to division.

But an inclusive society that embraces its rich variety of people, cultures, and religions reaches for the highest, best potential of its citizens.

And thatís what these scholarships are all about. These scholarships reaffirm the very best in all of usóour faith in the virtue of diversity, our belief in the power of education, and our commitment to opportunity for all.

So, thank you for your generosity in making the American dream come true for so many deserving students of color.

And congratulations to our Costco scholarship recipients!

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