With graduation just around the corner, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton emphasized the importance of college and answered questions about city issues as he spoke to a classroom of seniors on Wednesday at Mountain Pointe High School.

Visiting government teacher Lane Waddell’s room with a group of about 25 students, Stanton revealed the “secret to college” and challenges their generation will face.

“You might not appreciated this now, but don’t turn Thursday nights into weekends, keep Thursday nights for studying,” said Stanton, drawing chuckles from the classroom.

Stanton told students about his “typical” day, visiting community leaders, speaking at events, briefing on city issues, and spending his mornings with his wife and two young children.

“In some ways, I have to be a generalist, I can’t dive deep down on most issues because there are so many,” he said.

Students asked the mayor about what he hopes to influence or make a difference in, what college is like, and what his average day consists of.

“The whole idea is that the students ask questions,” said Waddell, who usually brings in guest speakers to his class. “It’s so the kids can understand that these people are your elected officials and that they can interact with them.”

In the past, local politicians like Sen. John McComish, of Legislative District 18, have visited Waddell’s students, but getting the mayor down to Ahwatukee was a first this year.

Stanton said when people interact with government he wants to make sure they feel that he cares.

“I have found in my time in politics, that if you take the time to explain to people why you decide some things, people appreciate it.”

Mentioning that this generation of students would face challenges in the economy he described as international in competing with other countries around the world, he stressed the importance of education.

“Whatever it is that you want to do, it’s right there in front of you, you just have to roll up your sleeves and get active in the community.”

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dmartinez@ahwatukee.com. Follow her on Twitter @dmartinezAFN.

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