The governor of Missouri paid a visit to Ozark West Elementary to meet with students and encourage their teachers.

Gov. Mike Parson and his wife met with members of the Ozark Board of Education and toured classrooms before speaking at an assembly with the entire student body.

“I wouldn’t be governor of the state of Missouri if it were not for my teachers and the influence they had when I was your age,” Parson told the kids.

Parson encouraged the kids to dream, and pledged to continue to fund the public school systems that helped him eventually become governor.

“I never did know when I was in school, like you sitting on these bleachers today, that I would ever be the governor of the state of Missouri. I never thought that. You never know where life is going to take you,” Parson said.

First Lady Teresa Parson encouraged the West Elementary students to visit her Facebook

“Mr. Buzzaround is the mascot at the mansion, and he’s a honeybee, and the honeybee our state insect. So we adopted Mr. Buzzaround to be the mascot at the mansion, and he flies around the mansion and he takes 360-degree pictures of the mansion,” Teresa Parson said.

West Elementary Student Council member Maggie Sult introduced Gov. Parson and the First Lady to her fellow students. Sult said West Elementary Principal Sharon Underwood have her about four days to prepare.

“I was just walking down the hall on Monday and Dr. Underwood grabbed me and she was like, ‘Hey, would you like to introduce the governor?’” Sult said. “It was a huge honor, and I was very glad she picked me.”

Sult is no stranger to public speaking, but said she was still nervous. She had some speaking experience from the student council election.

“We had to give a speech in front of our whole class and get voted to be picked,” Sult said.

The Missouri General Assembly adopted the state’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year the night before Parson’s visit to Ozark. That budget included several provisions for education, namely complete funding of the Missouri school funding formula. 

“We’ve fully funded the education formula this year, plus we added new money to transportation which is really important to rural areas,” Parson said. “We also understand how important K-12 is and how much preschool is to the future of our state. I’m a big advocate of early childhood development, but more importantly, preparing those kids for the workforce—not just a matter of going through higher education, wherever they might go, but are we really preparing them for the workforce?”

Parson called on the General Assembly to fully fund the formula in the 2019 State of the State Address in January.

On the Web

Mr. Buzzaround at the Missouri Governor’s Mansion:

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