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McGarrah parent determined to send daughter to D.C.

McGarrah Elementary fifth-grader, Victoria Rice was selected to attend the 2012 Junior National Young Leaders Conference (JrNYLC), this summer. She holding her acceptance letter into the program.

McGarrah Elementary fifth-grader, Victoria Rice was selected to attend the 2012 Junior National Young Leaders Conference (JrNYLC), this summer. She holding her acceptance letter into the program.

Victoria Rice is a fifth-grader at McGarrah Elementary School who has been selected to attend the 2012 Junior National Young Leaders Conference this summer. Now, it’s just a matter of raising the money to go.

That’s where Victoria’s mother, Shannon, comes in. She’s a tower operator for Delta Air Lines, president of the Parent Teacher Association at McGarrah and volunteers at various school functions. Into her busy schedule, she’s trying to find a way to come up with $2,000 by an April 27 deadline to send her daughter to the Washington, D.C., conference.

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Photo by Jeylin White McGarrah Elementary fifth-grader, Victoria Rice (left) poses with her mother Shannon and younger siblings Stephania and Christian. Rice was selected to attend the 2012 Junior National Young Leaders Conference (JrNYLC), this summer. Her mother is raising money for her by selling T-shirts and buttons.

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Photo by Jeylin White Shannon Rice holds a sponsorship letter to help raise funds for her daughter McGarrah Elementary fifth-grader, Victoria, to attend the 2012 Junior National Young Leaders Conference (JrNYLC), this summer.

“I’m single mom raising four kids so I really want the school and community to support Victoria because this is just a great opportunity for her,” she said.

Three weeks and a substantial chunk of money separates Victoria and her dream. “I’m really excited about going but I don’t want to get my hopes up if I can’t raise the money in enough time to attend,” she said.

Shannon Rice said the Junior National Young Leaders Conference (JrNYLC), which lasts four weeks, offers mature, high-achieving elementary- and middle-school students the opportunity to learn about leadership by studying the leaders of the past. It focuses on social advocacy to make a positive impact in their homes and communities.

She said her daughter and scores of other students across the country will gain a better understanding of what it takes to become an effective leader.

Shannon Rice has hit the streets of Clayton County passing out sponsorship letters to business and community members and has even taken it a step further by making up pink T-shirts, which are being sold for any donation, and buttons for $1.50 each.

The money she’s trying to raise would cover her tuition and includes all housing, program materials, breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Also included in tuition is transportation from Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) to the program locations (the National 4H Youth Conference Center or the Kirkland Conference Center) for students arriving by plane.

“No matter what, I’m determined for Victoria to attend the conference and she will be going,” said Rice.

So far, Rice said, she has contacted Tyler Perry Studios, in Atlanta; television personality Oprah Winfrey; and comedian Steve Harvey. However, she said she would really like the support from the people in the school system.

“This is a good thing and we need to acknowledge and support our students when they are doing good things,” said Rice.

She said family, friends, her Delta Airline co-workers, and a few teachers at McGarrah Elementary have already made financial contributions, but they are still long way from having the funds they need.

“Whether we get the support from the community or not, I will find someway for [Victoria] to attend the conference,” said Rice.

She said for those interested in sponsoring Victoria e-mail her at shannon3161@hotmail.com or call (770) 771-3769.

For more information about JrNYLC, visit www.cylc.org.