Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg surprises students at service project


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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg surprised students from the School for the Talented and Gifted and South Oak Cliff High School Collegiate Academy as they performed a service project over the weekend. Zuckerberg joined the students as they helped build a community garden in Oak Cliff.

“It was truly an unbelievable experience,” said Camryn Pope, a ninth-grader in the SOC collegiate academy. “Everyone just about lost their minds.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg poses with students from TAG and the SOC Collegiate Academy.

The students showed up to help build the community garden as part of a Day of Service in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. When they arrived, they learned a surprise guest would join them. Four big Lincoln SUVs then pulled up, and out walked Zuckerberg.

“I was surprised by how casual, friendly and down to earth he was,” said TAG student Tatyana Brown. “And then I remembered everything he has accomplished, and it was inspiring.”

“He was incredibly cool and relatable,” added fellow TAG student Ileana Valdez . “He is teaching the value of humility and serving others.”

All three students said that meeting Zuckerberg inspired them to pursue their dreams and career goals. They also credited their schools and programs for helping put them in a position to meet Zuckerberg and have a bright future.

As part of the SOC collegiate academy, Pope has the opportunity to earn up to 60 hours of college credit while still in high school.

“In addition to taking care of my first two years of college while still in high school, my collegiate academy stresses the importance of being involved in my community,” said Pope. “That’s why I showed up to volunteer.”

Meanwhile, Zuckerberg himself complimented the rigorous academics at TAG, which is one of the district’s magnet schools. In a Facebook post, he remarked how TAG is one of the best public high schools in the country and that every freshman at the school is required to take computer science.

The application period to attend a magnet school such as TAG or collegiate academy is open through Jan. 31. Applications are available here.


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