Raleigh youth program gets children thinking about college

Posted March 21, 2011 5:40 p.m. EDT
Updated March 21, 2011 6:08 p.m. EDT

— Students enrolled in a leadership program named for an 8-year-old honorary Raleigh police officer toured the University of North Carolina campus in Chapel Hill Monday.

Officer Graham Witherspoon, who started the leadership academy, said he wants the middle schoolers to start thinking about college.

The program memorializes William Bunn, who was made an honorary officer before he died of cancer in July.

The William Bunn Preparatory School of Leadership, which consists of 10 students from Moore Square Middle School, meets with Witherspoon twice a week for academic and leadership activities.

Witherspoon and Bunn shared a special friendship since meeting last April, and Witherspoon developed the program to honor the boy.

"I knew when I met William (that) I wanted to take young men and give them the same opportunities that my parents gave me and the same focus and drive and motivation," Witherspoon said.

Witherspoon hopes to enroll more children in the program next year.

Bunn always wanted to be a police officer, and the Raleigh police department granted him that wish about three weeks before his death. He was the city's first honorary officer and was buried with full police honors, including a flyover by a police helicopter.

Bunn proudly carried his police badge with him everywhere he went and wore his police uniform in his casket.