- The Washington Times - Friday, April 27, 2007

Students at Glassmanor Elementary School in Oxon Hill yesterday got to hear from the woman who puts the words in the mouth of the secretary of state as part of their school’s Career Day.

Janelle B. Carter, speechwriter for Condoleezza Rice, spoke to the Prince George’s County school students about opening their minds early to the full spectrum of career paths, citing her own experience.

“Think outside of the box. Don’t be afraid to change,” Miss Carter told fifth- and sixth-graders at an assembly yesterday. “Just because you want to do something now, that doesn’t mean you have to do it forever.”

Miss Carter, 35, originally from Moss Point, Miss., confessed her dream job as a child was to be a grocery clerk. While she hasn’t achieved that goal, she did land a job as speechwriter to one of the world’s most important people.

“I enjoy the thrill and the excitement,” she said. “I like the adrenaline rush even when everything’s crazy.”

Miss Carter showed the students pictures from her travels, including one from the Great Wall of China, and said, being from a small town, she never thought she would travel around the world.

After college, Miss Carter worked as a journalist with the Associated Press in Mississippi. After about two years she transferred to the District, where she covered city government.

Another job covering health policy on Capitol Hill fueled a desire to take a more active role in government, so Miss Carter turned to speechwriting.

Since starting work with Miss Rice last July, Miss Carter has written speeches for Sen. Elizabeth Dole, North Carolina Republican; former Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert, Illinois Republican; and former Secretary of Commerce Don Evans.

The message of the day from Miss Carter and Glassmanor principal Diane Jones was the importance of revision in the writing process, which many of the students took to heart.

“She gave us such good information about what she does,” said sixth-grader Idnia Ford, 12. “After I heard her say how she feels about writing, it gave me encouragement.”

Fellow sixth-grader Shacquello Napper, 11, who likes to write but dreams of being a quarterback on a professional football team, said Miss Carter’s speech opened another career path for him.

“I got interested because I like writing and traveling,” he said. “I’m interested in her job because I think I’ll be doing an important service for our country.”

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