UNION — A life that includes education, hard work, positive role models, choosing the right friends, and having a backup plan is a successful life U.S. Sen. Tim Scott told Union County High School students Friday morning.
Scott, who was sworn-in as South Carolina’s junior senator at the beginning of this year after being appointed by Gov. Nikki Haley, addressed the UCHS student body about the importance of getting an education and making positive choices. He shared with the students his life story which began in an impoverished North Charleston home where, after his parents divorced, his mother worked two jobs to support him and his brother. Scott told the students that he flunked his freshman year in high school and might have continued on a downward spiral had it not been for, first, the discipline his mother imposed on him and, second, the counsel he received from a successful businessman who mentored him. He said his mentor pointed out that he could think his way out of poverty and provided him with insights on how to truly succeed in life.
“He said that having a job is good but creating jobs is even better,” Scott said. “Having an income is important but making a profit is even more important.”
The combination of his mentor’s advice and the encouragement of his mother — which Scott said involved her using a switch — helped Scott begin to turn his life around. His academic performance improved and he played football, but any hopes of pursuing an athletic career came largely to an end after an automobile accident while he was still in high school. While he was still able to get a partial football scholarship to Presbyterian College, Scott said it was during his recuperation from the accident — which he said caused him to miss six weeks of football season — that he realized the importance of having a backup plan. His backup plan was a career in public service and he eventually won a Christian Leadership scholarship to Charleston Southern University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science.
After graduation, Scott became a businessman like his mentor, eventually becoming the successful owner of the Tim Scott Allstate Insurance Agency in Charleston. Scott said that his success as a businessman enabled him to have the career in public service that he desired. He told students they too can enjoy success and realize their dreams if they are willing to work hard, beginning in school and continuing in their adult lives. Scott pointed out that they, like him, have teachers “who love and appreciate you.” He recalled an especially tough teacher who he said he was thankful for because in her demand that he pay attention in class and do the work assigned she helped him discover his potential.
“Some of the toughest teachers love you the most,” Scott said.
In addition to parents, teachers, and mentors, Scott said friends can have a major impact on a person’s life. Scott urged the students to choose their friends well, pointing out that hanging out with the right of kind of friends can help them have an incredibly bright future. Choosing the wrong kind of friends can lead to a future that is anything but bright.
After his address, Scott answered questions from some of the students in the audience. One of the questions was about what could done to provide more job opportunities for college graduates.
Scott again stressed the importance of education, pointing out there are great opportunities for college graduates with skills in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math. He said there is a great demand from companies like BMW, Boeing and Michelin for workers with skills in those areas.
Other areas with great potential for college graduates with the skills demanded by those industries are medicine and energy. Scott said he felt the cures and amazing breakthroughs in the field of medicine provide employment opportunities for college graduates while the energy sector provides great opportunities for the next generation.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com.