Tag: ABC News

Struggling Philadelphia High School Strawberry Mansion Hires Music Teacher, Starts Using Recording Studio Donated Last Year by Drake

Drake with students from Strawberry Mansion High School (Photo: ABC News)
Drake with students from Strawberry Mansion High School (Photo: ABC News)

The students at Strawberry Mansion High School, once considered one of the most dangerous schools in the country, have started using the school’s brand new recording studio donated by rapper Drake after a music teacher was finally hired.

Located in a poor Philadelphia neighborhood with a high crime rate, Strawberry Mansion is a school plagued by violence. It once spent six years on the state of Pennsylvania’s “Persistently Dangerous Schools” list.

In a special ABC News “Hidden America” report on the school that first aired in May 2013, Diane Sawyer and ABC News producers followed the daily lives of the school’s students and faculty, including its then-new principal, during the 2012-2013 school year. ABC News then went back in September 2013 to follow Strawberry Mansion at the start of the new 2013-2014 school year for a second special that aired in December 2013.

Click to see ABC News video of this story here.

Grammy award-winning hip-hop artist Drake was so moved by the ABC News specials, especially after learning that budget cuts had left the school without a music teacher, that he donated $75,000 to Strawberry Mansion for a new recording studio.

But even though members of Drake’s crew finished the studio last summer, Principal Linda Cliatt-Wayman told ABC News that budget issues and the school’s violent history made it hard to find a music instructor.

So the studio, which included new keyboards and other equipment, as well as sound booths, sat unused for months.

Finally, Ben Diamond arrived in February to take on the role as a part-time music teacher who would teach studio production, but even then, Wayman said student interest was low at first.

It wasn’t until she used the school’s PA system to broadcast the first student-produced song to come out of the new recording studio that Wayman said students became interested. Now 91 students have signed up for the studio production class, she said.

“Music has a way of bringing people together,” Wayman told ABC News via email. “That is what I want the music to do for my kids, bring them all together to find the special gifts that lay dormant inside of them. I want them to get distracted on their positive attributes to help them create within and around them. They all love music. That is the one thing they all have in common.

“For me, the opening of the studio is more than about music,” Wayman added. “It is about making and keeping a promise to students who are constantly disappointed, pleasing them, making them happy and getting them to see that they must finish what they start [and] work hard to bring dreams into reality.”

In addition to Drake, other ABC News viewers donated money to Strawberry Mansion after the 2013 specials aired. Their generosity helped provide school uniforms, jackets for the school’s first football team, warm-up suits for the basketball team, school trips, PSAT and ACT prep classes, as well as scholarships for seniors heading off to college. Viewer donations also helped provide basic necessities that were missing at Strawberry Mansion, including books, notebooks and calculators.

article by Claire Weinraub and Lauren Effron via abcnews.go.com

Byron Pitts to Replace Dan Abrams on “Nightline” Anchor Team

Byron Pitts Replace Dan Abrams on

ABC News has tapped chief national correspondent Byron Pitts to replace Dan Abrams as one of “Nightline’s” three co-anchors.

Abrams will remain the Alphabet’s chief legal analyst, but ABC News president James Goldston said in a memo issued Thursday that Abrams intends to return to full-time work on his Abrams Media Network digital business. Pitts has been chief national correspondent since 2013.

“Byron is a truly passionate storyteller and deep thinker about the critical issues of our time, as his work from Soweto to Ferguson makes clear,” Goldston wrote.

article by Cynthia Littleton via Variety.com

Political Powerhouse Donna Brazile Donates Her Papers to Louisiana State University

Donna_Brazile_1Donna Brazile, a key Democratic political strategist, author, and journalist has announced that she has donated her papers to the Special Collections Unit of the Louisiana State University Libraries. Brazile is a 1981 graduate of the university.

The collection includes 32 boxes of materials. Included in the archives are photographs, correspondence, drafts of speeches, memoranda, campaign management and research files, and memorabilia.

Brazile currently serves as vice chair for voter registration and participation at the Democratic National Committee. Previously, she was interim chair of the DNC and chaired its Voting Rights Institute. In 2000, Brazile was the campaign manager for the presidential bid of Al Gore. She has taught in the women’s studies program at Georgetown University, the University of Maryland-College Park, and the Institute of Politics at Harvard University.

Brazile is a nationally syndicated columnist and a political commentator for ABC News and CNN. She is the author of Cooking With Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics (Simon and Schuster, 2004).

article via jbhe.com

Robin Roberts Returns To ‘Good Morning America’ Full Time

It seems like only yesterday that we bid farewell to Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America,” but it’s been a full year. The beautiful and inspiring anchor is set to make her full time comeback! Roberts came back to the show earlier this year, but is now back five days a week!  “The day after Labor Day, I’ll be back to a five-day a week schedule,” Roberts explained. “I’m looking forward to it. I want to get back to my full life.”

Roberts revealed, “I’m really at peace now. I’m not as frightened. I feel 90 percent of myself again, and that’s a great feeling.” September 20th marks a full year since Roberts’ bone marrow transplant and she’s apparently feeling closer to her old self!

Recently getting back from a Maui vacation with a close group of friends, Roberts used that time to renew and reflect and called the trip meaningful. “To be able to feel stronger and a little more active, it’s great to feel that way again,” Roberts said of her trip.  Roberts kept a photo of Maui up in her hospital room as motivation to get well. And it did the trick because we get to see her beautiful face every weekday morning.  Welcome back Robin!

article by Danielle Young via blackamericaweb.com

Juror B29 Says Zimmerman Got Away With Murder, Owes Martin’s Parents Apology


ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The second juror to speak publicly about George Zimmerman‘s trial tells ABC News that she feels the neighborhood watch volunteer got away with murder for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin. But she says there wasn’t enough evidence to convict him under Florida law.  

Juror B29 told Robin Roberts in an interview made public Thursday that she favored convicting Zimmerman of second-degree murder when deliberations began. But by the second day of deliberating, she realized there wasn’t enough proof to convict Zimmerman of a crime.  Juror B29 is the second juror to go public with what went on during deliberations earlier this month. She allowed her face to be seen and used her first name, Maddy, unlike JurorB37 who was interviewed on CNN last week with her face obscured.

article by via blackamericaweb.com