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RESCHEDULED: Soledad O’Brien to address Maplewood students

*****UPDATE: Rescheduled for June 13, 2014 at 2:00 p.m.*****

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Maplewood High School is bringing in a powerful speaker to inspire students. Award-winning journalist, news anchor and documentary filmmaker Soledad O’Brien is coming to Maplewood High School Friday, June 13 to meet and speak with students.

In the midst of a transformation that one faculty member called “a perpetual pursuit toward excellence,” Maplewood students have made significant gains in the last two years under the leadership of Dr. Ron Woodard and his faculty. Dr. Woodard believes in driving success through inspiration, and he says O’Brien will give students plenty of inspiration.

“We were inspired by her work, her work ethic and her story,” said Dr. Ron Woodard. “We thirst for success, and her vision aligns perfectly with ours.”

O’Brien will speak to a group of students on the theme “Overcoming Adversity to Beat the Odds.” Joining her on stage will be a student who understands that phrase more than most. LaTiara Jarvis, from the Maplewood Academy of Sports Medicine and Wellness, has suffered through three house fires since starting at Maplewood but kept at her studies and is ready to graduate with a full-ride to Belmont University waiting for her.

“Ms. O’Brien understands urban education. She gets it, and she is a champion for children,” said Dr. Woodard. “It’s gratifying to have someone who has studied and looked at urban education and poverty on a national level visit Maplewood. We are extremely honored to have her come and inspire our students.”

Maplewood has overcome adversity of its own since Dr. Woodard came to the school, moving from “Target” status to “Satisfactory” under the district’s Academic Performance Framework. Last year the school’s graduation rate rose six percentage points and this year students earned more than $3 million in scholarships.

O’Brien’s visit is the latest iteration of the inspiration, encouragement and recognition of results that form the backbone of Maplewood’s philosophy. The school routinely holds celebrations to reward school-wide performance, including a massive student cookout last fall with Back Yard Burgers .

This year, Maplewood hosted another high-profile visitor when Congressman Jim Cooper came to see the school’s solar energy work through the Academy of Energy and Power.

Seating for the event will be limited, but around 150 tickets are available at this link.