Barbara Bush's impact felt at Third Ward Houston school

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Barbara Bush's impact felt at Third Ward Houston school (KTRK)

There's a unique beat at Yellowstone Academy, a Christian private school in the heart of Houston's historic Third Ward. Among the visitors who have graced the halls was Barbara Bush.

The connection between her literacy foundation and the academy started when she spoke at one of the school's fundraiser luncheons.

"She met the children there singing in the choir and we got a phone call a few weeks later saying that she wanted to hold an essay contest. And that she wanted to hold it with Yellowstone Academy, and we didn't hesitate to jump on that," said founding executive director for Yellowstone Academy, Kim Hansen.

Bush told them the sky is the limit and learning to read well is the key to help them reach their goals. So she asked each student to write an essay about what they want to be when they grow up. The school still has copies of those essays from 2009.

Timmion Chambers, a fourth-grader at the time, started his essay saying, "I first realized I wanted to be a scientist when I turned 9 years old. I want to be one because I can get to make electricity, fix computers and, find a cure for cancer."

As you can imagine, Bush's arrival made quite an impression.

"They were thrilled with the Secret Service. The young kids in particular were very interested in that," said Hansen.

Chambers won the fourth grade essay contest. Today, he's a freshman at Lamar University in Beaumont.

"I only found out that my essay won once she announced it," recalled Chambers. "I remember how I was nervous and surprised because that was my very first time winning something. After that day, I was really determined to succeed. I will never forget meeting Mrs. Bush."

He is still interested in science and is working towards a degree on the forensics side of criminal justice.

"They just have wonderful memories and how it made them feel so important," said Hansen.

It was one day for Mrs. Bush, but the legacy of her visit lives on years later.
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