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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 25, 2010 / 12 Sivan 5770

Dreaming big on the Mississippi

By Wesley Pruden




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | HELENA, Ark. | Old times in the land of cotton are not quite forgotten, when this old town on the Mississippi River was lively and prosperous. Cotton was king, reigning over the richest soil this side of the River Nile. Now Helena presides over one of the nation's poorest counties.

Bringing back the good times, a fantasy not so long ago, won't be easy, but the community is taking baby steps on a long journey to prosperity. The past, like a long, sleepy summer's afternoon, hangs heavy in Helena. Seven men from Helena became Confederate generals, and from Graveyard Hill you can sometimes hear the ghosts of a fierce two-day battle for Helena and control of the river in July 1863. The traffic on the river mostly passes Helena by now, and boarded-up shop windows and vacant lots line the downtown streets. More than a third of Helena's residents live below the poverty level. Every schoolchild is enrolled in the discounted or free school lunch program, and for many it's the best meal of the day.

Helena's woes are not unique in the Delta, where the blues, after all, were born. (Helena, population 15,000, comes to life for a boisterous weekend in October with the Delta blues festival, which sometimes attracts 100,000 visitors.) The region has all but emptied of whites, who followed the blacks who struck out for St. Louis and Chicago and other places decades ago. The poorest of the poor, nearly all black, are left in towns deep in the embrace of poverty, despair and kudzu, only shells of what they once were.

But the times, they may be a-changing in Helena. A ray of hope arrived last week when the KIPP Delta Collegiate Charter School graduated its first high school class. The town turned out, and the governor came over from Little Rock to make the commencement address. And here's the beauty part: All 23 graduates will become "collegiate" in September, all on scholarships. Two graduates have been accepted at the U.S. Naval Academy. The valedictorian and the salutatorian won scholarships to Vanderbilt, others to Baylor, Notre Dame, Auburn, Emory, Florida, Ole Miss, Arkansas and a clutch of Arkansas colleges. Typically, more than half of Arkansas' high school graduates go on to college, but the state department of education says half of them must take remedial classes and only a third graduate.

Delta Collegiate was the dream of a young man from Massachusetts, 1,500 miles by highway and light-years culturally from the Delta, who was dispatched by the KIPP charter school movement a decade ago to start classes here for fifth-graders. Scott Shirey went door to door with his Yankee accent, persuading impoverished parents to send their kids to a new kind of public school, where they would get an authentic education if they would "work hard, be nice." This became the school motto.

KIPP classes, held from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., are not easy; they're not intended to be. Summer school classes are mandatory. Many parents, like the Helena business and professional men Mr. Shirey first went to for help, were skeptical. A college-preparatory education, the goal of the students in the 82 KIPP public charter schools nationwide, seemed a pipe dream for the parents, many only a generation removed from dead-end labor in the cotton fields. Mr. Shirey, with support from the Helena business and professional community, persisted.

His dream prevailed. "They said you couldn't do it," Gov. Mike Beebe told the graduating class. "They said you couldn't learn, you couldn't perform, that you couldn't grab your share of the American dream."

College acceptance and scholarship letters are posted on the walls of the elementary classroom, along with banners from various colleges, to instruct and inspire. "I think kids want to go to college," says Luke Van de Walle, principal of the high school, to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. "They might not know it's an option." One of his students thought he wanted to be an automobile mechanic, but he won a scholarship to the University of Central Arkansas and will study to be an engineer.

Nilyn Gamble is a first-grader at Delta Collegiate. She introduces herself proudly as "a member of the class of 2021, and I plan to major in art at Rhodes College in Memphis."

Rex Nelson, a former chairman of the Delta Regional Authority, a federal-state partnership to promote economic development, says of graduation day in Helena: "If there has been a more hopeful day than this one in the Delta in recent years, I'm not sure what it is."

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JWR contributor Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

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