WASHINGTON, D.C. — Twenty students from McDowell County are in the nation’s capital this week for a unique experience. They’re getting a look into their possible future.

The American Federation of Teachers  is helping coordinate the “Broader Horizons” program through Reconnecting McDowell.

“They are at-risk kids, at-risk of dropping out (of school) but they showed enough motivation to be selected for this program. They are so excited about this,” AFT spokesperson Janet Bass said.

The journey got underway on Monday morning as the students visited the University of Maryland at College Park and made a stop at the student-run broadcast studios and got a tour of the campus. Also on the agenda, a trip to Georgetown University to talk about preparing for college and financial aid.

The students will be in D.C. all week. They’ll visit with the state’s congressional delegation, tour the NBC Washington studios, take a trip to the National Zoo talk about careers in technology at the AT&T Innovation Center.

Bass stressed the goal is to get these students, who come from low-income households, many living with their grandparents, to see a future beyond a minimum wage job.

“This could be in their future if they’re interested and motivated, if they put their nose to the grindstone and work hard.”

Bass said students in McDowell County need to understand there’s a big world out there.

“What we’re showing them is there is a life outside of McDowell County to improve themselves,” she explained. “Wouldn’t it be great if they came back to McDowell County after college and really tried to help and be a part of reinvigorating the county.”

The Broader Horizons program is being sponsored by a three-year $300,000 grant from AT&T Aspire.

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  • kc

    What a great opportunity for these kids. Thank you, Reconnecting McDowell.

  • DWL

    Right! Like McDowell Co offers a "bright future". Where state delegate Clif Moore (d) can't stay sober long enough to drive home! Why not send them to the dysfunctional capital to learn the ways of the crime infested city, corrupt politicians and lazy, lying government workers. That's motivational! Teaching them to be good parasites of the system. Empowering Entitlements.

    • James Lane

      I think the idea is, or the hope is, these kids will be put on a different path and then come back to improve conditions in McDowell County. As far as seeing lazy, lying government workers, I know a few soldiers, sailors, marines, firefighters. police, and even DMV and IRS workers who would take exception to that. Oh wait, now as I read the rest of your post I can see that you wanted to paint government workers a certain way and with the same brush as you were making your not repetitive, not reductive, not overwrought, and 100% reasonable right wing machine response to a field trip to the nation's capitol. Sorry, didn't mean to get in the way of you showing how much you love your country and the children of McDowell County.