Syracuse University

If you think public schools are failing, you haven't met these kids

If you think public schools are failing, you haven't met these kids

Some of the students arrived early.

As much as 30 minutes early.

This was a big deal, and you could tell the eighth-graders shuffling into the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario were proud and maybe a little nervous, because the price of success was having to make a speech.

They came with their parents, who left work to be a part of this.

“Welcome, folks. Come on in, and thanks for coming today,” Ontario Rotarian Don Driftmier said to Daniela Balvaneda, 13, of Oaks Middle School. She was with her parents, Carlos and Blanca, and her grandmother, Gloria, all of them spiffed up for the occasion.

“One of the important things for us is that we...

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