Outgoing Superintendent of Schools David Godby introduced Manchin along with local representatives Ralph Rodighiero, Ted Ellis and Jeff Eldridge; members of the Logan County Board of Education, Phyllis Adkins, president, and Bob Wolfe, and Bill Davis, and principals Terry Elkins, Bob Lucas, and Sandy Manning as well as Wilma Zigmond.
Godby said Manchin had visited the area many times as Secretary of State and Governor and had proven to be a concerned and energetic leader.
Manchin said he was sad to hear that Godby would be retiring.
Manchin said that he had seen a lot of change in his lifetime and that the current trend nationwide was for parents to abrogate their responsibilities in child raising.
“In West Virginia, that is not the case...Parents, I say thank you,” Manchin said. He quoted famed poet W.B. Yeats and told young people that the role of leadership was to “light the fire,” and encouraged them to continue their education. Manchin said there had been a lot of criticism in some corners about the PROMISE Scholarship program but that the program was a promise from the states to students and that the purpose was to invest in them by helping assist them in getting a better education which benefited everyone.
Manchin pointed to studies showing that individuals with a college education will earn an extra $1 million over their lifetime compared to those without such education and noted that if West Virginia is to succeed in being a competitive state it will need an educated and dedicated workforce.
Currently 70 percent of West Virginia students go on to college from high school, but only 18 percent graduate from college, the governor noted.
“That has to change,” he said, noting that West Virginia is known for world class workers who are among the best in the nation, even when West Virginia’s image in the public consciousness has not been flattering.
The governor said his “Open for Business” campaign was all about changing that perception and pointed out that in the future West Virginians will be competing against Chinese and Koreans on the world marketplace, not neighboring Kentuckians or Ohioans and that to beat the emerging world powers it would take dedication and total commitment.
Manchin challenged the young people to show the “will to do the right thing” and to face challenges and develop themselves into tomorrow’s leaders. He noted that this year the PROMISE Scholarship program will cost $40 million and told the students they needed to prove themselves to the taxpayers for that investment.
“West Virginia is a wonderful place,” the governor said.
The PROMISE Scholarship program is a tremendous advantage to young people who can utilize it, he noted.
Manchin said challenges students would face included: