Two ‘Cool Girls’ Beat the Odds

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“You still have all this stuff?”

Erica Gibson, a 32-year-old computer application developer consultant, cannot believe that Joan Thomas — her childhood mentor — had brought so many pieces of memorabilia with her to their latest lunch get-together. Splayed out on the table were Gibson’s old report cards, SAT scores, high school prom photos and college graduation pamphlets.

Gibson was astonished when she looked at some of her now decades-old grades. “I got a ‘D’ in conduct?” she uttered.

Thomas handed her former mentee a written assignment that Gibson had typed when she was 15. Between them was a pamphlet, which appeared to be from the early 1990s. Inside was a photograph — nearly a quarter-century old now — of Gibson embracing her lifelong mentor. “Something wonderful is taking shape,” the front of the brochure read.

Thomas, 56, has known Gibson since she was just 9 years old. Now the president of her own communications firm, Thomas recalled the chain of events that connected her — a former broadcast journalist for CNN — with the young woman from Decatur, Ga. 

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