CHAPIN, S.C. (WIS) - A little over a year after resigning from her post as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley visited with students at Chapin High School on Wednesday.
She took the time to talk about her experiences in both state and federal office and give life advice to seniors who will graduate in May.
"The biggest thing for me about teamwork is loyalty, hands down," said Haley. "If you are not loyal to the people you're down in the trenches with, that is the worst thing you can ever do."
Haley also talked about the importance of being diligent on social media, adding she never hired anyone within the governor's office or as ambassador without looking at their social media accounts.
She also asked students to be thankful they live in the United States and said while the world of politics is very divisive, she got a glimpse of "evil" through her job as ambassador.
"I've been in Venezuela and seen people starving, killing zoo animals to survive," she said. "I've seen pictures of children killed by chemical weapons attacks in Syria, children ripped from their mothers’ arms in the Democratic of Congo. When you’ve seen those images, that’s evil. What we need to remember is to be grateful because on our worst day we are blessed to be in America.”
During a brief question and answer session, Haley was asked about the most consequential moment as governor of South Carolina.
“I think of bringing down the Confederate flag because it was one where I knew those that appreciated the flag, appreciated it for service and sacrifice and things that were good and it wasn’t out of hate," she said. "I knew that what had happened, when the killer of the Mother Emmanuel shootings, when he was holding the confederate flag, he had hijacked it and the meaning had gone away.”
Seniors were given the opportunity to take a picture with Haley, who afterward said her visit is an experience they won't forget.
“I will forever remember this especially because I want to attend Clemson University and before I got to talk to her about Clemson and it made me really excited. I will take everything she said and apply it to the rest of my life to make sure I’m successful," said senior Mary Grace Galloway.
Even though many of the students were in elementary school when Haley was elected as governor, the life lessons she shared are ones many students are thankful to hear.
“She said the best is yet to come and, for me, that’s nice to hear because I love high school, but I have my whole life ahead of me. So, I’m looking forward to what it brings. It’s really inspiring how she came about, her being made fun of a little bit to where she is now. I really love that," said Jacob Dickson.
Haley served as governor of South Carolina from 2011 to 2017 and three terms as a representative in the state legislature.