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WASHINGTON, DC -- It isn't every day the President of the United States mentions your name or holds you up as a standard of excellence. That happened for University of Georgiagraduate Lawrence Harris who was in Washington today to receive the praise.

The President was pushing efforts to develop public and private partnerships that will make college education more accessible to financially challenged students. "So we have a young man today named Lawrence Harris who knows this better than most," the President said. "Lawrence went to the University of Georgia and like a lot of first generation college students it wasn't easy for him."

The President highlighted Harris' struggles to get through college. "He had to take remedial classes, he had to work two part time jobs to make ends meet, at one point he had to leave school for a year while he helped support his mom and his baby brother," President Obama said.

Harris is a guidance counselor at Clarke Central High Schoolin Athens where he is helping students prepare for SAT's and getting into college. It is part of a program at UGA called the National College Advising Corps.

Dr. Robbie P. Hooker, Clarke Central High School Principal, said Harris helps the students and their parents find a college, even takes students on campus visits. "I think the impact that he's made here, others will aspire to do the things that he has done," Hooker said. "He has come back and given back to this community."

"He's made it his mission to help other young people like him graduate as a college advisor at Clarke Central High School in Athens, Georgia," Obama said.

Harris was asked to keep his visit to Washington, DC quiet until Thursday when the President made his speech. Dr. Hooker said the school will celebrate his visit Friday when Harris returns to the school.

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