KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) - The voice.
The voice on the student-produced video that helped KalamazooCentral High School snare President Barack Obama as itscommencement speaker is strong, passionate, confident andcommitted.
Those attributes describe not just the voice but the talentedyoung man behind the voice, Kalamazoo Central senior Xavier Bolden.
"A lot of people have told me that it was very moving andtouching and a lot of people have cried because of the video,"Bolden told 24 Hour News 8.
But he's quick to share the credit, humbly admitting he was alast-minute addition. Bolden wasn't involved at all in the writingor the production of the video by dozens of students thatwon the national contest sponsored by the Department ofEducation.
He landed the gig on the first day of his poetry class.
"So, they gave us the poem and they chose me to say the poem,"he said. "And it just turned out to be great."
He has been actively involved in drama and the arts since hisdays at Woods Lake Magnet Elementary in Kalamazoo. Bolden plans toattend Western Michigan University, earning one of 12 openpositions from the 500 applicants in the school's theaterdepartment.
Like so many others, Bolden found hope in the Kalamazoo Promise, which was a huge factor in thepresident choosing to speak at Kalamazoo Central.
It's also a major motivator for students to finish highschool.
"A lot of people get discouraged halfway through, because theirparents will never be able to afford (college)," he said. "But herein Kalamazoo, that promise, it is helping my family. It's helpingtremendously."
He also said all the attention has sparked a movement atKalamazoo Central to strive for achievement and to never give up ona dream.
"This is one of those moments where you don't breathe," he said."But it's a good out-of-breath feeling."
24 Hour News 8's Tony Tagliavia contributed to this report.
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