Out & About

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The New York Sun

If the future rests in their hands, we’ll be in good shape. The students who have been placed in elite public and private schools through A Better Chance seem dead set on community service, scholastic achievement, and creative expression. Those honored at the national nonprofit’s annual awards luncheon Friday included two young women who are the only blacks in their class: Jessica Adomako of Brooklyn, who just completed her freshman year at Ridgefield High School, and Denesia Parris of East Orange, N.J., who plans to attend Johns Hopkins University in the fall after graduating from the Hudson School. Traveling from Los Angeles was Nisha Vasan, a student at the Cate School who describes herself as a “fixer.” Another honoree was Houston native Diana Villa, who has spent school vacations working at a homeless shelter in Asheville, N.C. Ms. Villa said the Baylor School’s cafeteria food was better than the poached salmon served to guests at the Waldorf-Astoria. (Her favorite school meal is a made-to-order omelet.) The event raised $750,000, with a nice boost from guests who purchased $100 balloons at the event. The grown-up role models brought to the podium as honorees were the president of Hunter College, Jennifer Raab, who had her mother, Lillian Raab, in the audience; the singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman, who attended the Wooster School in Danbury, Conn., through A Better Chance, and the chief executive of Saks Incorporated, Stephen Sadove, who matched all the balloon sale proceeds. The leaders of A Better Chance, chairman Bernard Beal and president Sandra Timmons, are working to expand the number of students in the program by adding new schools and going into new territories.


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