Dawson-Bryant students get lesson through song

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 1, 2002

DEERING -- Kids normally love school assemblies because it means they get out of class for roughly 45 minutes.

But Monday's assembly at Dawson-Bryant Elementary garnered more than the usual enthusiasm.

The kids cheered and clapped as traditional/folk music entertainer Steve Austin played and sang a selection of gospel, patriotic and Bluegrass tunes. And they deluged him afterward for his autograph.

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Austin, who played six different instruments during his motivational concert, told the kids that playing music or doing anything worthwhile in life takes


"Discipline is nothing more than a good habit," Austin told the kids in between songs. "That's how I learned to play these instruments. I did it by simply practicing. Good habits are like bad habits. They become second nature if you do it long enough."

His message was just what school officials wanted the kids to hear.

October is National Drug Awareness Month. Austin was invited to the school to kick off the month's drug awareness activities.

Assistant Principal Susan Heyard said she wants the kids to think now about establishing good habits that will keep them safe and healthy throughout life.

"I love the idea of teaching them to have good habits," Heyard said. "When you think of discipline this way, it doesn't sound negative."

Austin told the kids he was happy to visit them, and happier still that he was allowed to share his love for God and country through inspirational and patriotic songs.

"It's great that since 9-11, I can do inspirational songs without fear of being arrested or not being paid," Austin said. "I'm no longer getting a hard time about it."

Some of the kids who attended the assembly said they enjoyed the gospel tunes.

They also liked "Froggy Mountain Breakdown,"his ribbiting rendition of the bluegrass classic.

Austin made friends several years ago with Lou and Rondal Robinson, of Perry Township through a friend who was a patient at Jo Linn Health Center. The Robinsons' daughter, Ronda Hall, is a fifth grade teacher at Dawson-Bryant Elementary.

"He has a positive message about character, and ethics, and he's hilarious, too," Hall said. "And this exposes them to music that they may not usually hear."

In addition to performing, Austin owns a music store in Portland, a Nashville suburb.

Austin also visited the Jo-Linn Health Center Monday evening.