BECKER – U.S. Rep. Trent Kelly visited the Advanced Learning Center Oct. 16 as a special guest for Corey Summerford’s advanced placement government class.

ALC Principal Misty Powell was quick to give credit to Payton Atkins, a Hamilton student who served as a liaison with her father, Brian Atkins, and Community Bank’s Amory branch president Brad Stevens for the visit.

“Ms. Summerford had just finished a unit about the United States Congress and wanted to commemorate the studies with a special event, and Payton took it from there,” Powell said.

Kelly shared highlights of his careers in the military and politics with them, saying it’s all about service.

He gave tribute to the late Congressman G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery, who was one of his predecessors in Congress, representing parts of South Mississippi.

“He was always accessible and engaged in the community,” Kelly said.

He shared three principles he received from Montgomery that guide his work both as a congressman and as a Brigadier General with the National Guard.

“First, choose your mentors well but don’t expect perfection. Second, be humble. Third, don’t confuse access with influence,” he said.

Kelly warned his young audience of the accountability that comes with leadership.

“People watch what you do when you’re a leader. How you act becomes your influence on others,” he said.

Kelly stressed the value of bipartisanship when working with people of differing viewpoints.

“I work with colleagues that are blue, blue Democrats while I’m a red, red Republican. You don’t always get to choose who you want to like. It’s all about working together for America – it’s about finding common ground,” he said.

Powell was thrilled Kelly agreed to speak to the class.

“I’m thankful that he is a strong supporter of education. We were fortunate to have the connections to be able to get him here,” she said.

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