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Morrisey talks vapes, opportunity, success at Clay-Battelle HS

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey visited students at Clay-Battelle High School in Blacksville Wednesday morning to talk about some of the issues we are facing in West Virginia and what they can do to be successful future leaders. 

“I think it is so important to talk to the kids in our state and help to try to inspire them and help to teach them about what’s going on in state government, but also to give them a sense as to a lot the incredible opportunities that are in front of them right here in West Virginia,” Morrisey said. 

“It’s always really important to get in front of kids who are going to be future leaders of our state and this part of rural West Virginia that doesn’t get heavily trafficked, and I think it’s important to come and let them know that they’re important as well.” 

One of the main issues Morrisey discussed with the students was vaping.  Nearly every student in the auditorium – sixth through twelfth graders – raised their hands when Morrisey began by asking how many of them knew someone who had used a vape … of course, very few admitted to having vaped themselves. 

Morrisey warned students about the dangers of fentanyl-laced vapes and implored them to think before they vape. 

“You don’t know what’s in it – I promise you,” Morrisey told the kids.  “And we need you guys around for a long, long time because you are our future.” 

Morrisey said he wanted to talk about the perils of vaping because it’s of deep concern in our state. 

“I try to educate people about how dangerous it is, especially with vaping which is littered with fentanyl,” he said.  “That’s huge problem in West Virginia and across our country and so that’s important to convey to them.” 

The AG also encouraged the students to think about what they hope to achieve and the opportunities that are available right here in West Virginia. 

“Our kids are our most precious resource and I want to let them know there is a future if they stay in West Virginia – it’s going to be an economically vibrant future and they have some people that are fighting for them to try to make that future as bright as possible,” Morrisey said. 

In what he called “the ‘P’ speech,” Morrisey offered the Cee-Bees a series of around 15 words that start with “P” that will help them become successful in whatever they want to do.  He discussed how each of the words – like purpose, practice, partnership, and patience – could help put them on a path for a successful future. 

Following the presentation, students were given the opportunity to ask the state’s chief legal officer any question they wanted.  A few students asked Morrisey more general questions, like what is his favorite color and his favorite Marvel movie – the “Loki” miniseries, was his reply. 

Some of the older students turned up the heat on the AG with questions regarding what he has done in his capacity as AG that directly affects them and his thoughts on what seems to be an increased focus on education for blue-collar jobs and decreased interest in liberal arts and critical thinking. 

“I tried to take a lot of questions from them, I tried to talk about some of the pathways they have available for them and that they are our future,” he said.  “And I couldn’t be any more proud of the kids that were there today.  It was one of the best groups of kids I’ve been before in a long time.” 

The teachers at Clay-Battelle were also proud of their students’ engagement with the AG. 

“I think the high schoolers that asked questions asked some very critical thinking questions, so I was happy to see them ask those questions,” said social studies teacher Julia Zerdin.  “I think it’s great to get their minds working instead of just telling them what to think.  That’s a big thing I preach in my classroom.  I want them to be able to think for themselves and make their own opinions, so it’s been great to kind of teach that in my curriculum and see them use their minds and think.” 

Math teacher and coach David Joyce said he appreciated Morrisey coming to Clay-Battelle and thought his comments and presentation were spot-on for the kids. 

“It’s good for the kids to see some of our political figures, especially the ones that behind the scenes have an impact on their lives,” Joyce said.  “I appreciated some of the statements he made to get kids thinking … I think what he said led them into some good questions, so if nothing else they’ll take away that there’s more out there than just Blacksville, West Virginia.” 

Morrisey said he believes it is part of the role of the Attorney General and people in public office to talk to kids and inspire them to achieve whatever they want to do. 

“They have to talk with people who have come before them and need to know they too can do it as well – and that’s what you try to accomplish in these speeches,” he said.