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Times Record: Womack Celebrates Fort Smith School’s Achievements

Rachel Rodemann - Times Record

During a break from duties in Washington, U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, visited Woods Elementary School students and faculty Wednesday to honor and celebrate their many recent achievements.

In 2013, four teachers from Woods received awards in economic education. Second-grade teacher Kimberly Been, third- and fourth-grade teacher Jenny Holland and fourth-grade teacher Jennifer Howald received the 2013 Bessie B. Moore Award, and first-grade teacher Sheila Humphrey earned the National Teacher Award from Economics Arkansas.

Though Womack originally contacted Woods about honoring the teachers, Principal Diane Isaacs had more in mind for his visit.

“I said, ‘Well, if you’re coming to Woods I would love for the students to hear what someone in Congress does,’” Isaacs explained. “Because everyone, starting in third grade, starts learning about government.”

“I think so many times it’s just in theory when we talk about government, and to have the actual person here is huge,” she said, “because then when the kids think about Congress and they think of a congressman, they will have an actual person, Steve Womack, to relate to.”

After presenting the teachers with his congressional challenge coin, Womack engaged with the students in a discussion about how to be successful, and what it means to be a congressman.

“This is a great country, America. The greatest in the whole world. You can spin that globe and you can stop it anywhere, and I promise you that the United States of America is the best place on the planet,” Womack said. “And I’m going to give you four things today … my four keys to success.”

Womack explained that education is the most important key to success, closely followed by good behavior, good health and maintaining a spirit of public service. The children listened excitedly as Womack stood, sat, crouched and moved among them, and many raised their hands to ask questions when he finished.

“What made you want to be a congressman?” asked fourth-grader, Hannah Dingman.

“I wanted to give something back to my city, my county, my state, my nation … I wanted to give something back to the community and the country that has done so much for me,” Womack answered.

After his discussion, a student met Womack with a challenge coin of his own, and having already given his collection of congressional coins to the teachers, Womack was forced to drop and give the students 20 push-ups. As the crowd chanted wildly, calling out the number of push-ups with shock and delight, Womack added a few to the end, finishing with 23.

“Always give them more than they expect,” Womack laughed, brushing off his hands. “That’s No. 5.”

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