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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The secrets to success can't always be categorized, and I was eager, when I had the opportunity, to sit down with a young person with an inspiring story who could offer a little different perspective.

Talking with American Idol winner Scotty McCreery this summer, I was struck by how elated he was to offer some advice to young readers, and how much time he spent that day chatting with a little girl who seemed to be his biggest fan.

He said the most important secret to success - no matter what you want to be - is to do your research: If you want to be a singer, study it. I read books, I read Internet blogs, I read all kinds of stuff before I even auditioned for Idol to know what I was getting into.

As for accomplishing goals: You ve just got to have that extra drive in you.

As a reporter, I am excited and eager to get out into your neighborhoods and uncover the success stories of young achievers like Scotty. With this blog, I encourage readers to let me know about organizations or young individuals with inspiring stories. Email me at youngachievers@charlotteobserver.com or call 704-358-6043.

In the meantime, continue to look for inspiring stories at www.charlotteobserver.com/youngachievers.


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