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Morning Bell: Once homeless, student inspires others

Former Positive Tomorrows student David Berry is about to graduate from Classen School of Advanced Studies in Oklahoma City. He is shown interacting with current students in a Positive Tomorrows classroom on Monday, May 14, 2018. The inner city elementary school educates and assists homeless kids. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
Former Positive Tomorrows student David Berry is about to graduate from Classen School of Advanced Studies in Oklahoma City. He is shown interacting with current students in a Positive Tomorrows classroom on Monday, May 14, 2018. The inner city elementary school educates and assists homeless kids. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

Good Thursday morning! If you haven't read it already, check out Tim Willert's piece on a student who was formerly homeless, but is now returning to his former school to inspire students who are without a home. 

David Berry, 18, carries a message of hope every time he volunteers at Positive Tomorrows, a school for homeless children in Oklahoma City.

Berry, 18, a senior at Classen School of Advanced Studies, was once homeless just like the kids he mentors twice a week.

He was 10 when his parents got evicted and the family lived in a homeless shelter. During that time, his mother gave birth to a sister and his father committed a crime and was sent to prison.

"I remember longing for attention, and wanting to get away from what I felt was negative," he recalled Tuesday. "I remember sometimes passing on meals at Salvation Army and instead wanting to eat at Positive Tomorrows."

You can read the story here

I'm at the Education Writers Association national conference in Los Angeles and last night was the awards banquet. Jennifer Palmer of Oklahoma Watch was a finalist for best single topic story with her article on school seclusion rooms. It was a worthy finalist and you can read it here

Also at the EWA conference, Ed Allen, president of the AFT of Oklahoma City, was on a panel to discuss the Oklahoma teacher walkout. He talked about the challenge of union leadership clashing with a movement being staged on social media. 

“What we’ve learned is that unions don’t know how to talk to the folks on Facebook, and the folks on Facebook don't know how to talk to unions," Allen said. “Somehow unions have to figure out ... how we blend the strengths of social media and the organizational skills of unions to make a bigger stronger movement.”

North Carolina was the latest state to experience a teacher walkout. Downtown Raleigh filled Wednesday with thousands of teachers who marched in the morning and rallied in the afternoon rain as they demanded that lawmakers do more to raise teacher pay and education spending in North Carolina, reported the News & Observer

Students scramble for credits

Some students at McLoud High School are in a last minute scramble to finish all the credits they need to graduate, and they say they found out they didn't have the credits later than they should have, in some cases, in the past of couple weeks, reports KFOR

OKC teacher arrested

Oklahoma City police on Wednesday arrested an elementary school teacher on suspicion of sexual battery, The Oklahoman has learned.

Kiera Monique Smith, 34, is a teacher at Martin Luther King Elementary in northeast Oklahoma City. She was being held Wednesday in the Oklahoma County Jail on $5,000 bail, jail records show. Oklahoma City Public Schools issued a statement that said "district teams are fully cooperating with authorities."

Have a great Thursday! 

Related Photos
Former Positive Tomorrows student David  Berry is about to graduate from Classen School of Advanced Studies in Oklahoma City. He is shown interacting with current students in a Positive Tomorrows classroom on Monday,  May 14, 2018. The inner city elementary school educates and assists homeless kids.    Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

Former Positive Tomorrows student David Berry is about to graduate from Classen School of Advanced Studies in Oklahoma City. He is shown interacting with current students in a Positive Tomorrows classroom on Monday, May 14, 2018. The inner city elementary school educates and assists homeless...

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-f7ffc0c4e08e845d21d296e1902d835e.jpg" alt="Photo - Former Positive Tomorrows student David Berry is about to graduate from Classen School of Advanced Studies in Oklahoma City. He is shown interacting with current students in a Positive Tomorrows classroom on Monday, May 14, 2018. The inner city elementary school educates and assists homeless kids. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman" title="Former Positive Tomorrows student David Berry is about to graduate from Classen School of Advanced Studies in Oklahoma City. He is shown interacting with current students in a Positive Tomorrows classroom on Monday, May 14, 2018. The inner city elementary school educates and assists homeless kids. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Former Positive Tomorrows student David Berry is about to graduate from Classen School of Advanced Studies in Oklahoma City. He is shown interacting with current students in a Positive Tomorrows classroom on Monday, May 14, 2018. The inner city elementary school educates and assists homeless kids. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure>
Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the Oklahoma Gazette before joining The Oklahoman in 2016.... Read more ›

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