ST. GEORGE – On Wednesday afternoon, in front of a packed crowd of 6th- and 7th-graders and their teachers, Rep. Chris Stewart spread a message of hard work and success during a special assembly at Tonaquint Intermediate School.
Tonaquint Intermediate School received a national Schools to Watch award and, as a result of that honor, the principal and two teachers were invited to attend a conference in the District of Columbia in June of this year, where they were able to spend some time with Stewart, Principal Bobby Garrett said.
“We had a really nice visit with him and his staff,” Garrett said, “and we invited him out and he scheduled us in and came to our school.”
The visit with Stewart at the conference lasted about four hours, special education teacher Lani Harward said, and they were able to discuss their school as well as address concerns about education in Utah.
At Wednesday’s assembly, Stewart kept the students engaged with anecdotes about his life and accomplishments and spoke about the value of work and believing in oneself.
Stewart told students about how he spent 14 years in the Air Force and holds the world record for the fastest nonstop flight around the world; he said he has also authored 18 books. He told the students he wasn’t telling them these things to brag but to point out a life lesson: Hard work pays off.
“Pick something you want to do in life, find a job you like,” Stewart said. “I promise you, you will be successful if you are willing to work.”
Stewart also encouraged the students to believe in themselves despite any problems they are facing and despite problems that will face this state and nation throughout their lives.
After Stewart’s remarks, the time was turned over to the students to ask him questions.
As part of their Utah Studies class, the students were asked prior to the assembly to generate questions for the congressman, Harward said, and 10 of the questions were chosen to be asked during the assembly.
Questions ranged from what the congressman does to help Utah to who is his greatest hero – he said his father – and the best and worst parts of his job.
Though Stewart did address many of the concerns facing our nation during the event – slow job growth, poor health care, bombs in Syria, to name a few – the overall message to the students was one of positivity.
“You can do hard things, you can do this,” Stewart said. “That’s right! You can do whatever it is that your life calls upon you to do.”
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