Gov. Phil Bryant took his message of success to high school hallways and classrooms. The focus was to make sure Mississippi students are prepared for life after graduation.
For high school seniors at Lanier High School in Jackson, the lesson plan Monday took a turn when Bryant walked through their classroom door.
They're part of Lanier's YEP program, headed by instructor Chloe Elkins.
"Oftentimes when students observe those who have been successful, they think it's an overnight success," said Elkins. "They do not realize that many people have the same stories that they will one day be able to tell."
YEP is an after school enrichment program designed to help keep students on track for college or employment and make sure they're ready for life after high school.
It's this type of program Bryant says he would like to see happen across the state.
"This is where we start," said Bryant. "Lanier obviously has so many challenges, more of an inner city school, probably a lower socioeconomic area than most so we can say if you can see the success here that we're having with this program we need to emulate this throughout."
To battle educational problems in the state, Bryant says the level of expectation needs to be raised and recognizes there's still a long way to go.
"We just need to expect excellence from them and that's something we haven't done lately," the governor said.
Those battles aren't just in the school hallways. Bryant says social issues like teen pregnancy are having negative impacts on student achievement and success.
"If you want to graduate, if you want to get a job, if you want to go one to IHL, wait until you're an adult and you get married to have those children," said Bryant.
For Jackson Public Schools superintendent, Dr. Cedric Gray, that's a message students can't afford to dismiss. It's also one he says is understood.
"They absolutely get it. Every student I've met is very tuned in to what is necessary to become productive citizens after high school," said Gray.
With the clock ticking down to graduation, before students begin a new chapter, Bryant says they must first learn that success is more than just a seven letter word