Nixon had been in Joplin to discuss restoration of trees following the May 22 tornado. He flew into the Monett airport and made trips to both Purdy and Exeter.
The Nixons met with five members of the Purdy R-2 Board of Education and talked about the A+ program with three students. Jacqueline Fuller, the district A+ coordinator, brought three seniors, Nathan Wolf, Alejandra Gomez and Stephanie Kaiser, to describe their future plans and how the A+ program has helped them.
The Nixons were impressed with the extent of the recycling program and the community support it receives. The governor described a program in Kansas City that used an approach that Purdy could use.
An assembly followed in the entire high school student body. Superintendent Jerry Lingo said it was not every day that the school got a visit from the governor, and the students responded with enthusiastic applause.
Nixon praised the district for having been accredited with distinction for the first time last year and for having a nationally recognized recycling program. He acknowledged the strong community support that has helped the school.
Nixon focused his strongest praise on the district achieving A+ status. Students receive the preparation needed to compete and succeed in a global economy.
"We value your commitment," Nixon said. "For a young person to succeed in today's economy, their education cannot stop at the 12th grade. "That's why the Missouri A+ program helps students achieve the dream of a college education through hard work and dedication. The young men and women at Purdy High have shown that they have what it takes to success, and we're behind them all the way."
Purdy was one of 50 schools added to the A+ program during the past year, bring the total to 360. A total of 14,500 graduates would take advantage of A+ benefits this year,4,200 more than two years ago. Nixon said expanding the base of the A+ program offered a tremendous advantage to Missouri students. The state's budget included the additional $29 million needed to cover the cost.
"You do the work and we're going to be there to pay for it," Nixon said.
"We go to a lot of schools and we see a lot of good schools," Nixon continued. "You have all the skills you need to succeed. It's an honor and a pleasure to be here with these fine folks."