One of the main tenants of Catholic Social Teaching is to provide options for the poor and the vulnerable. Furthermore, the teachings of the Catholic Church promote that parents are the primary educators of children and that parents should be afforded the ability and opportunity to make the best educational choice possible for their children. Thanks to the grace of the state of Florida, and many of you here today, Incarnation Catholic School is able to serve over 70 Step Up for Students scholarship recipients who would otherwise be unable to afford the cost of education at our school. These students, and the 60,000 other scholarship students in Florida, wouldn’t have the opportunity to experience programs like the one at Incarnation and the other outstanding schools represented and recognized here today if it wasn’t for these scholarships.
As Americans we believe that all people are created equal and that everyone is guaranteed the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Offering children and families the chance to participate in the outstanding education offered at private schools throughout our state allows students the opportunity to pursue, with greater chances of success, these rights that make our nation so amazing.
Governor Scott, members of the cabinet and other distinguished leaders gathered here today, on behalf of my fellow educators and Shine Award recipients, I thank you for affording us the opportunity to give all children, regardless of race, regardless of religion, and regardless of economic status the education they so rightly deserve and the education our state and nation so desperately need its children to receive.
We, as educators, give our students roots to stand firm in the face of adversity and the courage to fight for peace and justice in our world. As educators, we give our students wings to reach new heights and to accomplish those things that right now remain nothing more than a distant dream.
But today, we, as educators, give you, state officials, our thanks. Thank you for your work, thank you for your support for education and for Florida's Tax Credit Scholarship. May God bless you. May God bless the State of Florida. May God bless our children. And may God always bless America.
As educators, it is incumbent upon us to teach in such a way that the divine spark inside each of our students may receive the breath of God and be a source of light and warmth to the world. As educators, we must allow our light to shine so that our students are liberated to do so as well.
Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it SHINE!