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Khadijah: From a Homeless Shelter to Harvard

Khadijah Williams

Khadijah Williams

What kind of person usually comes to mind when you think of a Harvard student?

Probably someone who has studied and worked hard all of his or her life, and probably has at least some money and a place to call home. You probably wouldn’t think of someone who is homeless and attended 12 schools in 12 years, right?

I’d like to introduce you to Khadijah.

Khadijah grew up in homeless shelters. She did attend 12 schools in 12 years. And she did just graduate high school, and was accepted to Harvard University.

This is one of Khadijah’s scholarship application essays. Prepare to be inspired.

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Oprah’s Free Book and Top 25 Summer Book List

We all know of Oprah‘s insatiable appetite for books, and she rarely steers us into a bad one. This summer she’s got 25 books that she says you won’t be able to put down. The first of which is available totally free!heroic measures

For 48 hours beginning July 20, Oprah’s making available the new release “Heroic Measures” for free! That’s right, if you log-in to your Oprah.com account you’ll be able to download the book in its entirety via PDF. Author Jill Ciment tells the story of, as O Magazine describes, an elderly couple very much in love facing changing times.

After a lifetime together, 70-something Alex and his wife, Ruth, are still smitten—with each other (“He has loved her for so long that he can no longer distinguish between passion and familiarity”) and with their elderly dachshund, Dorothy. About to sell their Manhattan walk-up, the couple is caught up in crisis: Their dog is suddenly paralyzed, a truck jackknifes in a tunnel, news channels click into terrorist-hype overdrive. Read Jill Ciment’s Heroic Measures (Pantheon) for its painterly depictions of a rattled city, its deliciously biting satire of media and real estate madness, its tender knowledge of the creaturely ties that bind.

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Celebrity Commencement Speeches for the Class of 2009

In stadiums and auditoriums across the country, graduates are joining for the pomp and circumstance that grants them their hard-earned degrees.

President Obama at the Naval Academy commencement. via Chicago Tribune

President Obama at the Naval Academy commencement. via Chicago Tribune

Much like the hours spent in lecture halls, graduates must wait through just a couple more speeches before their caps are tossed to the air and their diplomas rightly earned. Every graduation has a guest speaker, some more memorable than others. For the class of 2009 at many notable colleges and universities, these famous commencement speakers are certain to be a memorable closing to their college careers.

President Barack Obama
The President spoke at Notre Dame, U.S. Naval Academy, and Arizona State University, where he implored the graduates to see our troubled economy as an opportunity, not a hurdle. “I know starting your career in troubled times is a challenge. But it is also a privilege. Because it is moments like these that force us to try harder, dig deeper, to discover gifts we never knew we had – to find the greatness that lies within each of us.”

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Will.I.Am Introduces I Am Scholarship on Oprah

The first recipients of the I Am Scholarship. (via Oprah.com)

The first recipients of the I Am Scholarship. (via Oprah.com)

Oprah is constantly encouraging us all to simply do what we can to help one another. Read to a child, help a neighbor with a ride, or donate money to a worthwhile cause — it all goes a long way in helping each other and our communities. When Grammy winner and Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.I.Am looked inside and asked what we could do, he decided to start a scholarship fund.

The I Am Scholarship was introduced on the May 5, 2009 episode of Oprah. He’d approached Oprah’s girlfriend Gayle King and let her know he wanted to send one kid to college, with some extra cash he’d made DJing. He wanted to help a student who had a similar background to him — growing up in the home of a single mom. Oprah’s team worked with Gayle to send him the names of four students who would meet and exceed his expectations. Read the rest of this entry »



“Work Hard. Be Nice.” Introduces America to KIPP

KIPP students at Ujima Village Academy in Baltimore.

KIPP students at Ujima Village Academy in Baltimore.

Have you met “the hardest-working kids in the country”? Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Bill Gates, Oprah and many others are counting themselves lucky for saying they have. They’re all big fans of the KIPP, Knowledge is Power Program, a low-income urban education program.

Justice Breyer met them by happenstance while heading in to his office one day while the students were on a somewhat disappointing field trip to Washington, D.C. After a teacher begged him to take a moment to say hello to them, he was intrigued when one student asked about his participation in the landmark case Miranda v. Arizona. Taken back, he said it was before his time, and became engaged. He’s been involved with KIPP ever since. Read the rest of this entry »



Amazon Kindle $50 Coupon

Last week, Oprah endorsed the Amazon Kindle as her new favorite thing. She cited the Kindle with “changing her life” and being “the wave of the future.” Oprah’s Favorite Things episodes are somewhat of a legend, she’s given away everything from gas grills and her favorite pajama bottoms, to facial creams and Blackberries. In the hundreds of items Oprah has put her “favorite” stamp on, she’s claiming the Amazon Kindle is her all-time fave. Read the rest of this entry »





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