First Lady

Essay gains student admission to Governor’s Mansion ​
Posted on 11/17/2021
Teresa Parson and Jude Stewart

A Mark Twain School sophomore was a guest of honor at the Governor’s Mansion on Tuesday, Nov. 9, in Jefferson City, along with approximately 65 students across Missouri.

Jude Stewart was selected to attend a reception as part of the fourth annual First Lady’s Essay Contest through the JAG-Missouri program—Jobs for America’s Graduates—for his local winning entry.

“I am so proud of each of these students and know they can succeed at anything they want to through JAG,” posted First Lady Teresa Parson after delivering a short speech to the students alongside Gov. Mike Parson. “Each of them represented their schools so well!”

The governor added on his Facebook page: “We believe in the young people of Missouri and the positive impact that JAG has on our youth.”

Teresa Parson serves as a board member for JAG-Missouri, a project-based learning program with career exploration opportunities available for students enrolled at Mark Twain. In light of the bicentennial year of Missouri’s statehood, the annual essay topic question for JAG participants was: What has contributed to making Missouri great over the past 200 years?

Jude’s essay entitled “Missouri Is Great!” touched variously on historical figures including Lewis and Clark, George Washington Carver and Laura Ingalls Wilder; landmarks and attractions including the St. Louis Arch, and Mingo National Wildlife Habitat; and other entertainment such as the World’s Fair, and sporting events and dining. He also talked about the Show-Me State mentality, and how Missourians tend to come together during crises.

“…We also are willing to help those in need. One of the ways is the food bank and distributing the food at places like the Bread Shed and the soup kitchen,” Jude wrote. He and his schoolmates have been volunteering to combat food insecurity in Poplar Bluff by regularly serving at the Bread Shed, along with helping to pack boxes at the SEMO Food Bank in Sikeston.

For representing the district, Jude received a commemorative coin containing an official state seal and had a chance to tour the “People’s House” as well as the Missouri Capitol. He was accompanied by JAG specialist Darla Nunn and, by personal request, teacher Shelly Roby from Mark Twain.

“Jude was very excited to attend and really enjoyed the day. It was fun and truly a cool opportunity,” reported Nunn, noting that the experience was a first for a student of Mark Twain School.

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Cutline: Jude Stewart of Mark Twain School poses with Missouri First Lady Teresa Parson during a reception held Tuesday, Nov. 9, at the Governor’s Mansion.

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