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Soledad O'Brien inspires students and teachers at Maplewood High School

UPDATE: If you missed the Chill 'n' Chat with Soledad O'Brien at Maplewood High School, watch the whole thing right here, courtesy of Maplewood and Humcrush Productions: [youtube=""]


PREVIOUSLY: Despite plane trouble that kept her from visiting during the school year, Soledad O'Brien made good on her promise and brought a message of perseverance to Maplewood High School last week.

The award winning and internationally respected journalist joined Mayor Karl Dean and News Channel 5's Aundrea Cline-Thomas on stage for an in-depth conversation about her life, her career and her views on education.

The Tennessean was there and had this to report:

To O'Brien, there are many obstacles students, educators and schools face — poverty being a major example — that require creative solutions in addition to hard work to meet individual needs and improve education systems overall.

"We have to figure out a way to run those two trains at the same time, where you're serving the students you have, but also where everybody is sort of on board — it's got to go in a certain direction," she said.

Maplewood has much recent experience in overcoming obstacles and creating solutions. When Woodard came on as principal, graduation rates and access to college were major issues — in 2011, graduates collectively had $91,000 in scholarships. This year, that figure was up to $3.3 million.

Read the full story on the Tennessean website.

Big thanks to Ms. O'Brien for coming, the Maplewood faculty for putting it all together and to Mayor Dean and Aundrea Cline-Thomas for participating!