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Tuskegee Airmen highlight Career Day activities
for students


By Jason A. Smith
Times Correspondent

  Students in Henry County recently got a glimpse of history, as part of an effort to help them decide on a future career.

Tuskegee Airmen William O. Smith and Command Sgt. Don Summerlin recently addressed students as part of a Career Day at the Merle Manders Conference Center.

Photo by Mickie Jackson

  A pair of Tuskegee Airmen addressed students from High Point Christian Academy in Stockbridge March 28, as part of Career Day at the Merle Manders Conference Center. Attorney Latanya McPherson of the McPherson Law Firm in Morrow, who sponsored the event. said Airman William O. Smith and Command Sgt. Don Summerlin inspired students and adults in attendance with stories about overcoming adversity in World War II.

  “Just to be in the presence of history --  to touch it, see it, hear it -- was an incredible experience,” said McPherson.

  Larry McNorton, director at High Point Christian Academy, brought six junior high and high school students to take part in the Career Day activities. McNorton said the Tuskegee Airmen’s presentation was one of courage and education for the students in attendance.

  “These were men who, through the most difficult obstacles, just simply said, I’m going to climb that mountain and do what God intended for me to do, I’m going to do it and nothing on earth is going to stop me,” said McNorton. “One of the things they tried to emphasize is that education is good, but you’ve got to have some practical experience and the courage to use that knowledge and experience to better life for everyone. We can all get for ourselves, but we need to learn how to pass it forward.”

  McNorton said Career Day not only helped his students in their career searches, but also taught them how to dress for success, gave them valuable lessons about keeping a positive outlook and a superior work ethic.

  “It wasn’t just talking about jobs,” he said. “It was talking about your attitude toward that job. Whatever you’re going to choose to be, just put yourself into it. It was a very positive experience for all the children that came.”

  McPherson added that the goal of Career Day was to give private-school students the same type of access to information that public-school students already enjoy.

   “The focus was to expose the students to various professions,” said McPherson. “The public schools have a lot of resources. The private schools have much smaller numbers and what I found out was that a lot of these schools don’t even have career days or career events.”

  In addition to a presentation by the airmen, students received information from local entrepreneurs, military personnel, Brown Mackie College and the Henry County Fire Department.

  “I think these students had a great time, and they obtained a lot of information,” said McPherson. Even the adults didn’t want to leave, because the event was that good.”



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