The future starts now for Davenport high school students. More than 1,000 juniors pack the RiverCenter on Tuesday. That's where they're learning about "The Next Big Thing."
"I have no idea of what I want to do for school when I get older," said Ana Kugler, 17, a junior at Davenport Central. "Listening to their inspiring stories is really moving."
That's why three doctors from New Jersey are spending time in Iowa. They overcame hardship and adversity. Now, they're showing these teens how to reach for the top.
"If you know that you come from a disadvantaged background where money is going to be an issue, thinking about these things your freshman or sophomore year in high school you can actually do something about it by performing well," said Dr. George Jenkins.
Whatever these youngsters do, it includes making education a passport to the future. The A's they earn today will lead to being the boss tomorrow.
Hosted by the Eastern Iowa Community College District, students also participated in a variety of workshops and group sessions during the day.
"It really gives you a reality check," said Darren Stringfellow, 18, Davenport West. "It lets you see where you need to go, and it puts the big picture in front of you."
Even with another year of high school, these students are discovering that it's never too early to think about the future. It's a future that takes planning, patience and pride.
Sequan Gatlin, 17, is inspired by the presentation. The Davenport Central junior stayed late to meet the doctors.
"I come from a similar situation as some of the guys speaking," he said. "It helps me to be encouraged by perserverance."
It's a diagnosis from the doctors that they'll remember forever.