Dr. Ben Carson and his wife Candy join Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson and wife Deb for an event at Mountain City Church on Aug. 22.

Hundreds of Anchorage youth heard inspiring stories this week from Dr. Ben Carson about American history and the importance of defending freedom and kindling faith.

After Anchorage Schools Superintendent Jharrett Bryantt unceremoniously blocked Carson from a speaking engagement with students at Mountain View Elementary, the Medal of Freedom honoree visited alternative locations with his message of hope and determination. Over the past two days he spoke at a public school in the Mat-Su, Holy Rosary Academy in Anchorage, the Mountain View Boys & Girls Club and Mountain City Church.

Mayor Dave Bronson, along with his wife Deb, were instrumental in guiding Carson and his wife Candy to various engagements in Anchorage, where the famed brain surgeon urged youth to learn about American history, while holding fast to their faith and convictions.

“Deb and I were honored to have Dr. Ben & Candy Carson in our great city,” Bronson stated on Aug. 22. “Having Dr. Carson and his wife Candy Carson here was an absolute treat, and we wish them well on the rest of their trip!”

Dr. Ben Carson and his wife Candy read inspiring stories about America’s founding to students at Holy Rosary Academy on Aug. 22.

Superintendent Bryantt’s abrupt and inexplicable decision to disinvite the renown Carson has stirred the ire of many educational advocates across the state, fueling speculation that the decision was motivated by partisan political ideology. Byrantt has offered no rationale for his decision, apart from asserting that he has the authority to cancel such invitations.

One day after speaking to a packed gymnasium at Iditarod Elementary in Wasilla, Carson visited Holy Rosary Academy in Anchorage on Aug. 22 to remind the student body that America is still a place of great hope, where people come from all over the world to pursue their dreams.

He recounted his own difficult childhood, overcoming poverty, naysayers and poor schooling in Detroit to become one of the most respected neurosurgeons in the world.

“Interestingly enough, I wasn’t a very good student,” he told rapt Holy Rosary students, many of whom held miniature U.S. flags. “I was a terrible student.”

Carson recalled that he was at the bottom of his class in the fifth grade, before his mother began encouraging him and his brother to turn off the tv and read inspiring books. They also supplemented their public education with trips to museums and art galleries.

Students from Holy Rosary Academy speak with Dr. Ben Carson on Aug. 22.

“The only person who really believed in me was my mother,” he said. “She was always encouraging me … she knew education was the key the escape from poverty.”

As he began to read more books, Carson said his childhood imagination was sparked by what he might be able to accomplish with his life. He stopped listening to negative comments and claims of victimhood, and began focusing on what he could do to proactively change his life, he said.

By sixth grade, Carson was at the top of his class. He later headed off to college and eventually became one of the most gifted and celebrated brain surgeons in U.S. history. In 2008, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2016, he ran for president before later serving as a cabinet secretary under President Trump.

During his talk at Holy Rosary, Carson reminded students that they were created in God’s image, and he encouraged them to pursue whatever God puts in their path. He also urged the youth to study history, learn from the past and become independent thinkers.

“People who are not very knowledgeable are very easy to manipulate,” he warned.

Following his opening remarks, Carson joined his wife in reading a children’s book he co-authored called “Why America Matters.” It highlights the founding ideals and extraordinary history that has made America the envy of the world.

At one point, Carson told the students that the reason we stand for the Pledge of Allegiance is because it “stands for freedom.”

He concluded by challenging students to love others, stand by their convictions and remember the many heroes who fought and died to preserve the freedoms they now enjoy.

“Why did they do that?” he asked. “Obviously they didn’t do it for themselves. They did it for you and me.”

Before departing he emphasized that everyone has unique talents, which can be unlocked if they live honestly and listen to those who have come before them – parents, grandparents, teachers.

“We need to be incredibly grateful for what we have,” he said.

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After Anchorage school visit blocked, Dr. Carson visits alternative sites to inspire kids to cherish America’s founding ideals

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.