Northam tells Boys State delegates "If and when you make a mistake, don't quit"

Published: Jun. 21, 2019 at 3:30 PM EDT
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Aim high and learn from your mistakes. That's the message Governor Ralph Northam had for high school students at a leadership conference in our region Friday.

Hundreds of young men from all over Virginia are at Radford University this week for the American Legion Boys State conference. The event dates back to the 1930's and it's tradition for Virginia Governors to speak during the final full day of the annual gathering.

This year Governor Ralph Northam had some advice for students that he said was based on personal experience.

"You will make mistakes. We all are human," Northam told the young crowd. "If and when you make a mistake, don't quit. Pick yourselves up, dust yourself off, learn from the mistake that you made and do better the next day."

During his speech Northam advised students about the dangers of opioids and encouraged them to avoid drugs.

He also talked about job opportunities for young men in Virginia, advising them to consider vocational training for careers in science and technology.

"There are a lot of very good, high-paying jobs that you don't necessarily need a four-year education for," Northam explained.

Northam did not take any questions from reporters, but he did field three questions from students.

Two chose to ask him why he wants to hold a special session of the General Assembly July 9th to explore new gun control measures.

"We have like one tragedy after another, and I hear people say now's not the right time. I say when is the right time?" Northam said.

After changing into the Boys State uniform, Northam briefly conducted the delegate's marching band before quickly heading out to Farmville for a similar speech at the Girls State conference.