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News Release

Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
3003 N. Charles Street, Suite 100
Baltimore, Maryland 21218-3843
Phone: (410) 516-7160 / Fax (410) 516-5251

May 6, 1999
Leslie Rice, lnr@jhu.edu

Editor's Note: To learn about the Bright Star student in your area, please call Leslie Rice at 410-516-7160.

Teen Role Models to Be Honored

Maryland's Tomorrow, a statewide dropout prevention program, will honor a group of Maryland high school students, who went from being at-risk to becoming motivated role models with exciting futures.

The 1999 Bright Stars Award program will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 12, at Martin's West, 6817 Dogwood Road in Baltimore. A total of 24 students, one from every Maryland school district, will be honored during the ceremony.

During her ninth grade at Northern High School in Baltimore City, Charlene Gentry seemed bent on self-destruction. She had behavioral problems, failed six out of eight classes and was absent from school 48 days. Despite attempts to intervene by Maryland's Tomorrow counselors, she refused to attend summer school. She was especially angry at life when she had to repeat ninth grade.

But with persistent attention and support from those counselors, Gentry began to want to succeed. She began attending Saturday school, made up her failed classes and improved her grades. This February, she had enough credits to place her in eleventh grade with her original classmates. She now has a B-average.

All the Bright Star students have overcome personal obstacles, often despite overwhelming hardships. Of the students, 19 are graduating seniors, all of whom plan to pursue their education.

Maryland's Tomorrow, now in its 11th year, is a dropout prevention program that operates in each of the state's 24 school jurisdictions. Currently, it serves some 6,500 at-risk teenagers in 76 schools. It is a five-year program that offers tutoring, counseling, work experiences and motivation and leadership services for students identified at the end of eighth grade as being especially at-risk of dropping out of high school. Students in the Maryland's Tomorrow program have a statewide drop-out rate of 4.9 percent. Maryland's Tomorrow is sponsored by the Maryland State Department of Education, The Johns Hopkins University, private industry councils and local departments of education.

"Much of the program is based on common sense," said Marion Pines, senior fellow at Hopkins' Institute for Policy Studies and founder of Maryland's Tomorrow. "It provides a consistent relationship with a caring adult who helps them get through a very confusing period in life. It's also a partnership with the business community, which offers mentorships and a sense a relevancy to learning and extra help in developing basic skills."

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