New Orleans Man Chosen as CNN Hero of 2009

CNN (tv network)ElectionsTed TurnerElton JohnWhoopi GoldbergColin PowellKirk Cameron

A New Orleans man is among the 10 people who are being honored as a CNN Hero for 2009.

Derrick Tabb, the founder of Roots of Music, a free year-round music education and academic mentoring program for middle school children in New Orleans, was chosen from a field of about 9,000 submissions from 75 countries.

The "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" event returns for its third year to spotlight ordinary citizens whose extraordinary deeds are making a difference in their communities and beyond. A Blue Ribbon Panel including Sir Elton John, Whoopi Goldberg, Kirk Cameron, Gen. Colin Powell, Ted Turner, and Shakira (just to name a few) selected this year's Top 10 CNN Heroes, of which Mr. Tabb is one of those selected.

Tabb will receive a $25,000 award for his organization, Roots of Music, then the public will have the opportunity to go online to vote for one of these 10 honorees to become the CNN Hero of the Year. A direct link to Tabb's voting page is available here.

The name of the Hero of the Year will be revealed on CNN Thanksgiving night as part of an all-star tribute to all 10 heroes. The CNN Hero of the Year will also receive an additional grand prize of $100,000 for his/her organization.

Mr. Tabb's Roots of Music program caters to nearly 100 children in New Orleans, providing free transportation and tutoring so the students maintain nothing less than a 2.5 grade point average. Roots of Music is a free program for its enrollees but holds a mandatory attendance policy and currently has a waiting list of 400 kids. The program touts a 95 percent attendance rate, among other accomplishments, including an 85-percent record for enrolled students earning one letter grade higher overall, over the previous school year.

"Mr. Tabb exemplifies the community-driven, homegrown reforms, which have been so vital to the progress of New Orleans, post-Katrina," said New Orleans City Council President Arnie Fielkow. "I am honored to celebrate his acknowledgement by the esteemed panel, composed of people from around the world, and CNN. I know the $25,000 grant will be a huge boost to this program and I hope that Mr. Tabb prevails in the final competition to become CNN's 2009 Hero of the Year."

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