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Students of the Capital Children Museum's Options Public Charter School Graduate from GSA's Summer Learning Program Alma Powell keynotes, says to students, 'You are the masters of your fate'

GSA #9431

August 7, 1997
Contact: Hap Connors
Connie Wehmann
(202) 501-1231


WASHINGTON -- At a ceremony this morning, Alma Powell, wife of Gen. Colin Powell, and David J. Barram, Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration, presented graduation certificates to students of the Capital Children Museum's Options Public Charter School, who completed a model summer program titled "Spend Time with America's Youth" (STAY).

Eight young women - between the ages of 11 and 15 - received certificates for their participation in the program, which was created by GSA and the Department of Interior as a model learning program to serve students of the Options Public Charter School - the adopted school of GSA's central office in Washington, DC - in response to President Clinton's Summit for America's Future held in April. Earlier this year, GSA contributed surplus federal computers to the school's computer lab as part of the President's "computers-to-schools" initiative.

The students met with mentors and guest speakers three days a week for six weeks. Sessions in computer programming, writing and language skills were key components of the program. Weekly field trips to historic and culturally significant places in the Washington area were also part of the program.

"You are the masters of your fate," Powell, who is Chairman of the National Council of the "Best Friends" Foundation, told the students in remarks at the ceremony. "You must dream big dreams and then work for them. And remember, you have people - like the mentors you had this summer - who are ready to help make those dreams happen."

Barram, who volunteered as a mentor, said the program had three objectives:

� to provide strong, consistent role models to foster personal development and increase self-esteem;
� to improve communications and interpersonal skills; and
� to instill a desire for learning.

He said that a critical part of the STAY program was its design as a "village of support" comprised of mentors, GSA program managers and technical specialists, interns, tutors, parents and the Options School staff.

Barram said that positive feedback from the parents, students and school officials has encouraged GSA officials to extend the program through the fall semester.