Supreme court justice visits AHS

Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page poses with a student after his presentation to AHS students Wednesday. -- Trey Mewes/trey.mewes@austindailyherald.com

When Alan Page speaks, people listen.

The former Minnesota Vikings great and current Minnesota Supreme Court Justice spoke to a crowd of more than 1,200 Austin High School students in Knowlton Auditorium Wednesday, and they listened to his message of personal responsibility, the importance of education and learning to accept other cultures.

“It was amazing,” said Jordan Stevens, AHS Junior. “He inspired me. I’m not a kid who’s dedicated to school very much, but (he) made me think to myself, ‘maybe I should think about school a little bit more.’”

Page’s presentation, sponsored by Austin’s Human Rights Commission, came after the HRC tried to get him to give several lectures on Martin Luther King Jr. Day last January. Page’s schedule wouldn’t work out, but he offered to come speak to Austin students instead. He met with several students before his schoolwide presentation Wednesday to talk about applying for scholarships under the Page Foundation, an organization Page founded with his wife in 1988 which gives students of color from underprivileged backgrounds the opportunity to go to college, while requiring students to work as educational volunteers in elementary and middle schools.

“It was very cool,” said Kirsten Lindbloom, HRC chairwoman. “Talk about an impact.”

Page, a Pro-Football Hall of Famer, the 1971 NFL Most Valuable Player and an associate justice of the state Supreme Court since 1993, has a passion for education and likes to tour schools and remind students of the things they can achieve when they strive to succeed in the classroom.

“Education is a tool that will help you solve virtually every problem, no matter what the issue,” Page said.

Page told students about his experiences growing up in Canton, Ohio in the 1950s, his college football days, his days as a pro football player and his inclination for law.

“I wanted to be a lawyer,” Page told the crowd. “Growing up at that time, the prospects for someone like me weren’t all that great. If things went really well you might get a job at the steel mill.”

Page broke racial barriers throughout his career and never stopped pursuing his dream of practicing law. He first went to William Mitchell College of Law during his rookie season, but had to drop out due to the pressures of law school.

“I wasn’t committed or focused,” Page, who graduated from the University of Notre Dame, said. “I was way in over my head.”

Page received a law degree from the University of Minnesota in 1978. He worked as a lawyer for the law office of Lindquist and Vennum for several years before becoming an assistant attorney general.

Page’s message to students was simple: strive to do your best in school and in life, and you’ll be able to decide your future.

“It is important that we be persons of character,” Page told students.

He gave his views on everything from affirmative action to the NFL lockout, telling students he wouldn’t be surprised to see players and owners work out an agreement before the first preseason game is played.

“No one is losing money yet,” he said.

Yet his positive message on equality and diversity struck a chord with many of the students.

“We can learn to live together if we’re willing to put aside stereotypes,” Page said. “And stereotypes go both ways. We have to deal with our own biases, our own prejudices.”

Mower County

Commissioners approve resolution using federal funds to replace county bridges

Mower County

Evolve wraps up successful season

Mower County

Young Eagles Flight Rally scheduled for June 8

Mower County

Mayo Clinic Ambulance Service offers paid training program

Mower County

Fourth Grade Junior Fire State Poster Contest winners named

News

Two correctional officers sustain minor injuries after assault by two inmates at Minnesota prison

Education

In Your Community: Masons give out scholarships

News

Israeli strikes kill at least 37 Palestinians, most in tents, near Gaza’s Rafah as offensive expands

News

Trump prosecutor focuses on ‘cover-up’ in closing arguments while defense attacks key witness

Blooming Prairie

Two from Austin injured in Friday crash near Blooming Prairie

News

Minnesota lawmakers assert protections for public waters

Mower County

I-90 eastbound 4th, 6th Street ramps in Austin close May 31, Cedar River closes June 3

Mower County

Photos: Those who gave all honored on Memorial Day

Mower County

Honor those who served this Memorial Day

Education

‘Light the world on fire:’ Pacelli graduates the Class of 2024

Education

Signing ceremony a first step for students hoping to get into education

Education

Hook, line, and sinker – Lyle students made the best catch

Mower County

Austin Stormwater Resilience Plan – Open House slated for Tuesday

Mower County

Mueller awarded fellowship to attend leadership institute

Mower County

Nominations to open June 1 for APS Distinguished Alumni

Mower County

Great River Energy donates fire test hose station to Dexter Fire Department

Mower County

In Your Community: Austin Masons donated to area fire departments

Brownsdale

In Your Community: Brownsdale Study Club

Mower County

In Your Community: Duplicate Bridge