Young College students return from Washington - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Young College students return from Washington

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

January 23, 2009

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A group of college students from ASU returned from Washington in the wee hours of the morning, and were back in school today. The young people are actually part of Albany Early College, middle school students that attend class at the college. A handful of them were able to go to the inauguration this week and they say it's an experience they'll never forget.

Shuntavious Ranson was up late last night, returning from Washington. He should be tired, but he's not.  He said, "It just made me jump for joy."

He didn't get to see President Obama in person, but he was part of the crowd of millions gathered for the ceremony. He said seeing the first black President being sworn in, was a huge moment for him.

He said, "I learned that I can be the President if I want to be. Whatever I set my mind to, I can do it. I also learned that if you want to be something in life, you can be it, all you got to do is just stick to it and do everything you can do to get there."

His teacher, and Program Coordinator Barbara Harvey, said the inauguration was a chance of a lifetime. Not only for her, but her students.

She said, "It takes a lot of the obstacles that young black Americans felt were in their way. It removes all of those obstacles, because he certainly has hurdled all of them."

She says in eight years of teaching, she never heard one black student say they wanted to be President, but now, they know it's possible. "I have heard kids say I can do that too. I can become the President of the United States."

But not Shuntavious. He wants to follow in another person's footsteps, his teacher's. By inspiring students, like she inspired him. "I want to give them the same thing Mrs. Harvey gave."

An opportunity of a lifetime, to be part of history in the making. Students held fundraisers to help pay for their trip. Some grant funds were also utilized. Each student who attended was selected by their teacher.

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