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    Higher Education Student Goes the Extra Mile to Inspire Others to Reach for the Sky

    For the past four years, Thornton has served as an educational/teen director at the Oprah Winfrey Boys and Girls Club in Kosciusko, Mississippi. There he is responsible for running a number of programs such as college prep, budgeting, CareerLaunch®, Passport to Manhood, and SMART (Skills Mastery and Resistance Training) Girls. According to Thornton, his degree and pursuit of education helps him “inspire my students to reach for the sky. It represents what hard work can do for you.” Working with teenagers has always suited his personality; he believes that “this is what I need to do in life.”

    Thornton serves as a role model and father-figure to many of the teens he works with. He is also responsible for helping several young people attend college. While attending a special breakfast for the Boys and Girls Club, the presenter asked the youth if they had any role models and why. To Thornton’s surprise, many of the students stood up and said, “Mr. Thornton, because he works hard, cares about us, and he motivates us to do our best even when we don’t want to do any better.” Moments like these confirm that Thornton has chosen the right career.

    Working in the field of public service means a lot to Thornton. “You get to give back and help someone else succeed in life,” he says. Although Thornton no longer has a mentor, he serves as a mentor to many young people. To those who wish to mentor young students he advises, “never give up on a student who wants help. Go the extra mile.”

    Ron Thornton completed his undergraduate degree in legal studies and is currently working on his master’s degree in higher education at Kaplan University. He has made a career out of going the extra mile to help teens achieve their goals. His service to his community has impacted many lives, and with more education he will be able to impact even more lives in the future.

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