This school year, President Barack Obama is challenging the nation's students to show up on time, pay attention in class and do their homework with their goals in mind.
Obama spoke to students at a Philadelphia high school, Tuesday, for his second annual back to school address. The pep talk focused on students taking control of their future.
"Nobody gets to write your destiny but you. Your future is in your hands. Your life is what you make of it," he said. "And nothing, absolutely nothing, is beyond your reach, so long as you're willing to dream big. So long as you're willing to work hard. So long as you're willing to stay focused on your education."
Obama talked about his personal experience and how he didn't always have the drive to succeed. He recalled a conversation with his mother about his slipping grades and passive attitude.
"Eventually, her words had their intended effect," Obama said. "I got serious about my studies. I made an effort. And I began to see my grades - and my prospects - improve. And I know that if hard work could make the difference for me, it can make the difference for you too."
For the second time, the president launched his "commencement Challenge," a nationwide contest in which schools compete to have Obama speak at their graduation.