January 10, 2008 — Vol. 43, No. 22
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Story on head wraps a public service for afflicted readers

I am grateful for Daniela Caride’s article on Imani McFarlane’s recent workshop at Egleston Square Library (“African head wraps to uplift the spirit,” Jan. 3, 2008). There are many women among the Banner’s readership who suffer from hair loss caused by diseases like cancer and lupus and/or heredity. The beautiful wraps described in the article elevate self-esteem. As a result of this article, many more people are now aware of this Afro-centric alternative to wigs and weaves.

Beverly Soares
Executive Director
Women Of Courage

Hub students can get help getting into boarding schools

I was interested to read the Banner’s recent article about local boarding schools (“Schools mull free ride for students in need,” Dec. 6, 2007). Most families, it is true, are unaware that boarding school is an option for their children, yet as Brian Mickelson’s article brought forth, schools do have significant financial aid to offer qualified students. And with college attendance rates of close to 100 percent — not to mention the plethora of on-campus offerings, from sports to arts to cultural events — these schools should be considered by more families.

For far too long, prestigious boarding schools have been the realm of the privileged. Now, they want to open their doors to more diverse students, and some of us in the community are committed to helping urban students through these portals.

For 17 years now, I have worked with talented Boston students through The Steppingstone Foundation, a local nonprofit that prepares motivated students for the rigors of top college preparatory schools in the Boston area.

As Mickelson’s article noted, it’s one thing for a boarding school to offer financial aid to families; it’s another thing for them to identify and retain talented, qualified applicants. Is this because urban students are less capable than those from communities that traditionally send their children to boarding school? Absolutely not. But some students and families need a little extra preparation, as well as support, to ensure their success in competitive schools. Indeed, the boarding schools are committed to helping those with less opportunity, and at the same time making their campuses examples of the benefits of diversity and excellence that will drive success in the future.

Families should seek boarding school opportunities if they think that it is right for their circumstance. At the same time, families should avail themselves of the programs that organizations like Steppingstone offer, so that their children can make the most of the wonderful experience that boarding schools can offer.

Michael Danziger
The Steppingstone Foundation

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