By Vittoria Woodill

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s through high school halls where we only dare to dream. At the Philadelphia High School for Girls, young dreamers got the chance to meet a very special visitor who sought to make her day dreams a reality and go beyond where she was ever told.

“My mother once said to me, ‘It’s a man’s world, sweetie, and the sooner you learn that the better,” said Dr. Drew Gilpin Faust, president of Harvard University.

Faust went from sitting in a high school desk in Virginia to later heading one of the most prestigious university’s in the world, Harvard. She’s the first female president of the school to take that seat in 371 years.

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“At the time I went to high school there might have been one tenured woman on the Harvard faculty,” said Faust. “So in what universe would I have thought I could come into an institution where women weren’t even treated the same as students and weren’t part of the faculty, I would come in and be president of the whole thing it was unimaginable.”

Which is why in room 205 she shared her story of beating the odds at a time when they were against her, to a group whose time to succeed is now.

“My coming here is in part of an effort to say I notice you and I notice that you have talent, and I want my noticing that to reinforce that commitment to your own possibility and your own talent,” said Faust.

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“She shared some of her flame with us today,” said Amanda Smith, an 11th-grader at Girls High. “It was like, you know, when a candle is really low and then it just, you know, swooshes up again, that’s how I felt after hearing her. And to hear her talk about, yeah, it’s going to be hard but if you keep on pursuing what you want and you keep on having that same mindset, you’ll get where you want to be. It kind of lit up my fire again.”

One student in the assembly has envisioned herself going to the prestigious university. Jayla Gardner is senior class president at the high school who applied to Harvard.

Vittoria Woodill