Congressman Clyburn Visits Students at Harbison West Elementary School

Showing Off Our ‘Heart Smarts’ at Harbison West Elementary

It was a Valentine’s Day to remember at Harbison West Elementary when a very special guest made a visit to WINGS.

WINGS kids at Harbison West Elementary showing off their ‘Heart Smarts’ with Congressman Clyburn


A Special Visitor Arrives

Kids at Harbison West Elementary School in Columbia, SC were treated to a special visit from Congressman James E. Clyburn, retired educator and current Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Firstly, WINGS Ambassadors Charleston (2nd grade) and Kamarri (5th grade) greeted Congressman Clyburn at the door as he arrived. The kids—who had been anticipating his visit—shared a little bit about what they learned in programs that week. The kids, along with the principal, then escorted the Congressman to the auditorium where nests of WINGS kids gathered to greet him.

CEO Bridget Laird, WINGS Ambassadors Charleston and Kimari, and Program Coordinator and Coach Sara (pictured left to right)


After introductions, WINGS kids took part in their daily rituals and routines, reciting Words to Live By and sharing some Good News. Good News is when everyone shares a moment in their day where a friend may have helped them or showed what it means to be kind and caring. It could also be a moment when they felt joyful that day.

Wise Words from a Wise Man

Congressman Clyburn reflected on his very first visit to a WINGS program at Memminger Elementary school in Charleston. CEO Bridget Laird gave the Congressman a tour of the program at Memminger over 10 years ago. “I’m grateful to be invited to WINGS again,” Clyburn stated. Mr. Clyburn also had the opportunity to read our new book, I Soar with Wings, to the kids. Meanwhile, kids taught the Congressman the hand motions that accompany the words in the book—Words to Live By. WINGS kids were eager to teach the Congressman these special motions that help bring Words to Live By to life. Bridget jumped in to lead the Congressman through the pages of the book and help teach the actions.

“Thank you for allowing me to be and be a part of this school exercise. I was just thinking as you were going through those Words to Live By, if I could have had the other 434 House members of the house of Representatives, and 100 Senators, I wish all 535 could have been a part of this today. I think they would’ve learned some things to live by. Because sometimes in Congress, we act as if we have not learned the words you have just recited. So thank you so much for all that you are doing in support of each other.”

– Congressman Clyburn

After that, the Congressman opened the floor to questions from the kids, taking the time to thoughtfully answer each one. Questions ranged from, “What do you do on a daily basis as a Congressman?” to “What’s your favorite color?” and “Where did you grow up?” 

Bridget and WINGS kids teach the Congressman Word to Live By


Q&A Session with the Congressman

After questions were answered, the kids gathered around the Congressman to say thank you and give him a warm send off. The school community was thrilled with the visit and appreciated the Congressman’s time and effort in connecting with them. Above all, the students left feeling inspired and excited about the possibilities of making a positive impact on their community and the world. It was a great visit with Congressman Clyburn and we hope to enjoy a visit with him again in the future!

Congressman Clyburn and a WINGS student sharing a special moment at the end of his visit