May 25, 2011 Edition

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NYC trip is experience of a lifetime

Shantelle Prater
Staff Writer

The bright lights and high-glam society of New York City have always appealed to me. Thoughts of Carrie Bradshaw's glamorous lifestyle screamed "New York City," but as they say, seeing is believing.

When I stepped off the plane at LaGuardia International Airport in Queens, I knew I was in for something special. A former member of Hoxie High School's Traveling Classroom, I had visited cities such as Chicago and Washington, D.C., but I knew nothing would compare to "The Big Apple."

Immediately, New York City and its five boroughs welcomed me with open arms. The city's significant impact and power in global commerce, finance, media, culture, art, fashion, research, technology, education and entertainment were present everywhere I looked.

Historical sights such as Lady Liberty, Alexander Hamilton's grave and John Lennon's Imagine Mosaic filled me with pride at the accomplishments of our nation, while pieces such as Vincent van Gogh's painting "Starry Night" made me realize just how significant one person can be to the world.

The sight of Ground Zero was a very moving and powerful experience. Standing there, looking at where the twin towers once stood, made me realize just how precious life can be.

Time Square's bright lights and hectic lifestyle overwhelmed me, as tourists and New Yorkers crowded the streets. The sights were unbelievable to me and filled me with awe.

Venturing through Times Square made me realize just how much I have taken for granted living in a small town, like safely and easily crossing a street, or looking up at the sky and seeing stars at night. Even at midnight, the streets of New York were as bright as day.

Every turn of the head provided a new sight, and the city offered something for everyone. Modern vivaciousness filled the streets, while history lingered in the air.

I was surprised to find that the known "New York attitude" didn't exist, as far as my experiences went. Perhaps it was my sweet, southern accent that warmed strangers' hearts, but everyone seemed very polite.

I am so thankful Carrie Mae Snapp, the founder of TCR, allowed me to accompany her and the others on the trip. It was the experience of a lifetime and one I hope to never forget.

Now that I have settled back into my every-day schedule, I realize just how much the world can offer a person and that anything is possible with a little hard work. NYC was everything I expected it to be and so much more. Although the big apple gave me wonderful memories and a great story to tell, I'm very much content in my little house in the country.

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