U.S. Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Paul Ryan made his first public appearance in Janesville since taking on his new role.

The Janesville native spoke at his high school Monday, and although there was no mention of politics during his visit at the school, he did leave students with a handful of advice.

Ryan graduated from Craig in 1988. He, along with his family and friends, still live in Janesville.

He spoke to students about the impacts the city of Janesville and the community at Craig had on forming who he is now. He also offered up some advice for those now sitting in the same seats in which he once sat.

“I learned at a young age that in this country if you apply yourself, if you focus, you can make a huge difference in people’s lives. You can make a huge difference in whatever it is that you want to do, and that’s what’s great about freedom,” Ryan said.

Speaking on the impacts of trade enforcement and custom laws, Ryan toured the Castle Metals facility in Janesville. The company started operations in December and has already hired 70 employees. The company hopes to hire close to 100 in total by the end of this year for their warehouse.

“We have to have a level playing field so that we have trade laws where we respect the rule of law, where we honor our contracts and we don’t subsidize currency or devalue currencies to give other countries and other companies unfair trading advantages,” Ryan said.

Keeping it personal back at his old high school, the Wisconsin congressman advised students to foster friendships, respect opposing views and to not let circumstances define them.

“I will remember it, I think, forever. Having one of the most important people in the nation come to our school and to learn that if you set your mind to it, you can make anything possible,” Craig High School senior Maddie Hodge said.