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Welcome Home to Holmes

Phillandra Smith Holmes felt like home. This year was my first time attending the AACTE Holmes Scholar Summer Policy Institute and this was also the first year my university was participating in the program.

As one of the two inaugural scholars for Syracuse University, I did not know what to expect. I don’t think either of us did. I knew we were going to Capitol Hill at some point; that was clear to me. I received an outline of the days’ events and sessions, but I still felt like I lacked a point of reference for what I would encounter. To say that I had some trepidation is to put it lightly, but I tried not to let that dampen my excitement. What I did not expect however, were the feelings of validation, empowerment and sense of belonging I walked away with or the relational connections I made over the few days. I am not sure anyone could have prepared me for that. But my gratitude to my university and AACTE for this experience is immense.

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