Students give thanks
November 22nd, 2012
05:38 AM ET

Students give thanks

by Tomeka Jones, CNN

Editor's note: This post examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the CNN Student News community. Some comments have been edited for space or clarity.

(CNN) - Thanksgiving is more than a succulent turkey with all the fixings and a slice of sweet potato pie. At least that’s what some middle and high school students believe when it comes to a day of giving thanks. Many students shared with CNN that they’re most thankful for family, friends, and much more.

Read some of their heartfelt messages of gratitude:

Asia: I’m thankful that someone adopted me and that my sisters are able to get the proper TLC (tender loving care) that they need and I’m also thankful for my awesome civics teacher, Mr. Plyler.

Robert: I am thankful for my mom for keeping food on the table and keeping a roof over my head. I am also thankful for my father; he has passed away but he’s still here with me. I am grateful to have a caring mother and a loving father.

Angel: I have a lot of things to be thankful for. I'm thankful for everything that has entered my life, even the bad times. Without the bad things, something good after that would've never happened. I'm also thankful for my family and friends, they’re always there for me when I need them. And, for having life of music!

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Filed under: Character education • CNN Student News • Practice • Voices
Faith leaders sound off on role of church in public education
October 2nd, 2012
04:21 AM ET

Faith leaders sound off on role of church in public education

By Tomeka Jones, CNN

(CNN) - Dozens of faith leaders from across the country recently gathered to attend The Stand Up Education Policy Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, to talk education reform. The daylong conference was hosted by education organzations StudentsFirst, founded by Michelle Rhee and Stand Up, led by her husband, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. The purpose of the event was a call for action for clergy to take part in the national movement to transform public education.

CNN spoke with some prominent religious leaders in the African-American community to find out their views on the role faith institutions should play in public education.

Rev. DeForest Soaries, Jr., a senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey, laid out what he believes are three roles of the church in education.

"One is programs. Some churches have their own schools that would be on the programmatic level, after school programs and literacy programs. The second is political dealings with the various political forces that impact and control public schools: Making sure people run for school board, making sure people vote for school board, and monitor what's happening. And, the third is policy: Advocating for policies that enhance the likelihood of success."

According to Rev. Soaries, who was featured in CNN’s "Black in America: Almighty Debt", not every church will engage in all three roles but there’s a common theme for each religious institution and that is “to do something.”

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Filed under: education • Policy • Practice • Religion
May 11th, 2012
01:35 PM ET

Shaquille O'Neal talks about education

by Tomeka Jones, CNN

(CNN) Former NBA Superstar Shaquille O'Neal says, “If Shaq can do it, you can do it.” He’s spreading this message to today's youth after recently receiving his doctorate degree in education. In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, O'Neal sat down with CNN Student News to talk about his most inspirational teachers and his passion for education.

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Filed under: CNN Student News • Voices
May 7th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

DWTS contestants appreciate their lifelong 'stars'

by Tomeka Jones, CNN

Editor’s Note: Monday marks the start of Teacher Appreciation Week and some of the cast from “Dancing with the Stars” stepped away from the dance floor to help honor educators around the world.

CNN asked the stars to put the spotlight on their favorite and most inspirational teachers.  Here’s what they had to say:

Maria Menounos, TV Host, Extra: Mrs. Brunner actually taught me how to speak English so I always start there…

Roshon Fegan, Actor, "Shake it Up!": I'm going to have to give the biggest coach, teacher, mentor award to my father. He is a teacher in every way of life.

Chelsie Hightower, Professional Dancer: My mom is amazing. She's been through so, so much and she's always been so strong for her kids, and always been such a good mom.

Menounos: But, then there's Mrs. Dudley who taught me to love Shakespeare.

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Filed under: On air • Teacher Appreciation • Voices
April 30th, 2012
03:14 PM ET

Life as a military child: An interview with Erika Booth, Marine Corps Child of the Year

By Tomeka Jones, CNN

(CNN) April is the Month of the Military Child, which recognizes and salutes an estimated 1.9 million American children of military families.  Meet Erika Booth, the 2012 Marine Corps Child of the Year.  For the second year, Operation Homefront has awarded Military Child of the Year to young leaders, like Booth, from each branch of the military. The winners receive the honor for their resilience and community impact.

CNN Student News recently talked to Erika about her life as a military child.

CNN: What has life been life for you as a military child?

Erika Booth:  I've moved 5 times, been in 6 schools, lived in 8 houses.  I've actually really enjoyed being a military child just because I can say my dad fights for our country every day and that's his job and not everyone can say that.

CNN:  What would you say is the hardest part about being a military child?

Booth:  The hardest thing is the deployments, definitely; I've gone through 10 of them so I definitely know that is the hardest thing.   My dad has missed my first day of school since 8th grade and I'm a junior in high school now.  You just really have to know in your heart that they're going to come back and having family and friends really helps with that.  Military children are always more resilient to things.

CNN: Erika, would you be willing to discuss with us how health issues have affected your life personally?

Booth:  Having lupus has made me more responsible.  When I was diagnosed and I was in the hospital I hit a brick wall and I was like I can either choose to do something or I can sit at home and stop my life.  And I decided I need to keep going with my life it's not going to stop me.

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Filed under: Autism • High school • Military • Practice • Voices