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Student Spends Day With Powell

February 2, 2001

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A high school senior who spent Friday with Colin Powell said he was surprised at how much access he had to the secretary of state.

``I was thinking I wasn’t going to see him that much,″ said Johnny Stone, who followed Powell as part of the national Groundhog Job Shadow Day. ``I didn’t think I was going to be eating lunch with him.″

The day marked the first time the pair met in person, although Powell has mentored the 17-year-old Washington student by e-mail for several months.

``It has been a pleasure this past year to be able to get to know Secretary Powell through e-mail exchanges,″ Stone told other students participating in the shadowing program at the State Department. ``I also really enjoyed the opportunity to be able to shadow him today. He’s a nice guy. And cool, too.″

Powell took some time to explain to the group what he does at work.

``I come in and there’s a box on the left side of my desk all full with stuff, paper, lots of paper,″ he said. ``All these adults you see around the room against the walls stay up all night writing paper I have to read the next morning.″

He then encouraged students in the group to master the English language because it would open the door to improvement in all other subjects.

``One thing I want you to take away from this day is the importance, the absolute importance, of the English language in your lives,″ he said. ``Read anything you can get your hands on.″

Stone said that he has begun studying harder since corresponding with Powell.

``He’s just told me to do well in English and math, don’t ever doubt myself, always stay true to my goals,″ he said. ``He’s helped me out a lot.″

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