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The Madison Record

Phillip meets peers, Condoleezza Rice at ‘Invest in a Girl’

Avery Phillip, at right, represented James Clemens High School at the "Invest in a Girl" conference. Phillip renewed a friendship with fellow delegate Grace Newcombe, at left. (CONTRIBUTED)
Avery Phillip, at right, represented James Clemens High School at the “Invest in a Girl” conference. Phillip renewed a friendship with fellow delegate Grace Newcombe, at left. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Avery Phillip represented James Clemens High School at the annual “Invest in a Girl” conference and was motivated by former U.S. cabinet secretary, Dr. Condoleezza Rice.

Sponsored by Girls Inc., the event at the Von Braun Center on Oct. 28 introduced high school girls to successful women who can be role models along the girls’ career paths.

“Dr. Rice’s speech was extremely inspiring,” Phillip said about the Birmingham native and former U.S. Secretary of State. “One topic that really stuck out was all of the experiences because of her profession.”

Phillip listened to Rice’s memories of playing piano with Yo-Yo Ma. “That was all because, when she was in high school and college, she made schoolwork her first priority. That is what made her so successful,” Phillip, a senior, said.

“Being able to listen to someone that has had and continues to make such a positive impact on our country was such an amazing opportunity,” Phillip said. “I am extremely blessed.”

Coincidentally, Avery’s father Les Phillip, also had met Rice and was similarly impressed. “I remember my father telling me about his experience in meeting Condoleezza Rice. He said the same things (as I did),” Avery Phillip said.

Phillip described Rice as “extremely personable. She never made me feel inferior. I honestly was not expecting someone as prestigious as herself to be so sincere and down to earth.”

James Clemens counselor RosaIyn Smith recommended Phillip for “Invest in a Girl” for Phillip’ desire to become a lawyer, her involvement in extracurricular activities at school and her volunteering in the community.

“Avery has good executive abilities, confidence and ambition. As a young woman about to enter college, I felt this opportunity would be encouraging and inspirational with real-world experiences in preparation for her future,” Smith said.

With her conference peers, Phillip also enjoyed an ‘ice-breaker’ at Springhill Suites and dinner at Mellow Mushroom in Providence.

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