On Wednesday, April 27th, General Colin Powell visited Lift for Life Academy for the first time.  He talked with students about his experience, leadership and life beyond high school.  Here is the story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  Here is a link to the story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

BY ELISA CROUCH • ecrouch@post-dispatch.com > 314-340-8119STLtoday.com |

st. louis • The world history class at Lift for Life Academy sat at rapt attention Wednesday as former Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke firsthand about the very subject they were studying: China.

When he first visited China 40 years ago, Powell told them, everyone wore identical grey uniforms that made it impossible to distinguish the generals from the soldiers. But the country began to change rapidly as it grew into an economic powerhouse and a continued source of anxiety to many Americans.

“Two countries as large as ours share the basis for a relationship even though they don’t agree on the political system,” the retired general said.

“I still don’t think it’s the best political system, but is it my place to judge that if they’re improving the lives of their people?”

Powell, in town for a motivational conference, spent about an hour Wednesday morning at Lift for Life Academy, a charter school at 1731 South Broadway that grew out of an after-school weight-lifting program in north St. Louis that Powell first visited in 1999.

Powell hadn’t yet seen the charter school, which opened in 2000 with 60 sixth-graders and which now has 500 students in sixth through 11th grades.

Powell said he stops by schools “every chance I get.”

“I’m a great believer in all forms of education for young people, including charter schools like this one.”

Alex Nguyen, a sophomore, asked Powell: “After all you’ve been through, do you have any regrets?’

Yes, Powell said. He didn’t mention specifics — whether those regrets include decisions made as four-star general, as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or as secretary of state under President George W. Bush.

Regrets, he said, “can be angst on your soul.”

He spoke briefly with more than a dozen students as he ducked into classrooms. He surprised a few by asking what they were working on.

“Is that differential calculus?” he asked students Atiyah Reed and Janicia Mitchell “I found it very hard.”

“It is,” Atiyah told him.

“You’d be surprised how important it will be later. Not just knowing how to do it, but the logic it puts into your mind,” Powell said. “Stick with it.”




General Powell talking to a high school history class