I watched President Obama's speech to students across the country on YouTube. He gave a lot of the same messages that everyone gives: work hard, practice, overcome your obstacles, these other people had it much harder than you but they're doctors and community leaders now, etc.
This speech, like his presidency, means a lot more because of his background. Raised by a single mom, without privilege, having to work hard to overcome every obstacle, etc. If Bush had delivered the same speech, it wouldn't have meant anything not only because he was a dumbass, but also because he never had to work for anything in his life.
Of course, the students all looked bored and I'm sure that most of them realized "He's going to say the same thing as every motivational speaker has ever said" right away. I'd like to think that even a few students around the country took his message to heart and worked harder to reach higher goals, just like there are some, mostly minority, children around the country who see now that they, too, can become president.
What did the speech actually DO, though? Nothing. This speech means nothing to students who can't afford notebooks, who sell crack just to support their own children, who are beaten by their parents, etc. They're too busy trying to survive to care what the president says. It's great that some students worked hard enough to overcome their lack of privilege, but some students have only enough to take care of their elderly grandparents or have only enough to travel two or more hours through dangerous neighborhoods just to get home from school. Nothing is being done to help them; a speech is nothing compared to HEALTH CARE and WELL-FUNDED EDUCATION.