Posted on Thursday, January 8, 2015

GE DayAt least three dozen Great Expectations students from a variety of Virginia’s Community Colleges paid a visit to the Governor’s Mansion recently.

No one was asked to show their ID when they reached the door. These young men and women were invited guests of the state’s chief executive and Virginia’s First Lady.

With their coaches and a group of donors in tow, the students hobnobbed with Governor Terry McAuliffe, his wife Dorothy, Secretary of Education Anne Holton, and VCCS Chancellor Glenn DuBois for about 90 minutes. They shook hands, shot the breeze and reveled in the holiday atmosphere.

Poses were also struck, photos were taken and anecdotes swapped with enthusiasm.

The governor even sat down to perform a piano duet with one student while the First Lady took another on a tour of the mansion’s security facilities.Sarah Williams

The highlight of the event came in the form of a brief but impactful speech. But it wasn’t the governor orating from the podium. Instead, it was Sarah Williams, a GE student at Southside Virginia Community College, who took the opportunity to share some of her experiences as a foster youth.

“I thought being a ward of the state was a bad thing, but as I’ve grown up I’ve learned to know that in a lot of ways, it’s not,” she said.

You don’t get an audience with the governor every day and Williams was understandably nervous. But she managed to hit it out of the park with her closing remarks.

“When I think back on where I was and where I am now I’m grateful for it all, the failures, the lessons, and all for those that made me strive to be the person I am today.”'

Craig Butterworth

A native of Richmond, Craig Butterworth is an award-winning broadcast journalist and communications professional. He has worked as a spokesperson, staff writer and editor for a variety of non-profit and for-profit organizations throughout the Richmond area.

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