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December 12, 2001


Emory's Department of Medicine Adopts and Gives to Local High School This Holiday Season

Emory University's Department of Medicine plans to give, teach and learn a lot this holiday season. The Department scaled back its annual faculty party this year so it could give money and holiday spirit to Clarkston High School in DeKalb County. A holiday celebration will take place this Thursday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m. at Clarkston High School. A reception will get underway at 6 p.m.

"Each December, we look forward to adopting a school in hopes our modest gift will help enhance programs and missions of that particular school,"says Wayne Alexander, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chairman of Emory's Department of Medicine. "This is our first year to partner with a high school and the diversity of Clarkston High's student body and its dynamic reputation really piqued our interest."

Clarkston High School is made up of students from 54 countries. Those students speak some 47 different languages. "Despite their multi-cultural backgrounds, students put aside their differences and live and learn in a peaceful environment at Clarkston," says Neil Shulman, M.D., associate professor of medicine, Emory University School of Medicine and event coordinator. "We feel we can really learn a great amount from this outstanding group of students. Whether Jewish, Christian, Hindu or Muslim, these kids all get along in their school. So why can't the rest of the world? We hope they can help us better understand the need for tolerance and acceptance in our society."

A portion of the money Emory will give to Clarkston High will fund an evening holiday party, complete with refreshments and entertainment. A portion of the money will help finance a documentary detailing the school's diversity. Clips of the documentary will be aired at this Thursday's program, along with band, choral and individual performances.

The majority of the donation will go towards the building of an outdoor classroom and other enhancement projects at the school. School officials say they are clearing space for the classroom now and expect construction to get underway in the spring of 2002. The new outdoor classroom is projected to hold 65 to 70 students and will be used by a number of different teachers and students.

And Emory is throwing in an added bonus for students considering a future career as a doctor, nurse or researcher. During Thursday's reception, foreign-born medical students and residents from Emory University's School of Medicine will spend time talking with and teaching Clarkston High students about the field of medicine.

"Since students attending Clarkston are literally from all over the world, we thought giving them a night to visit with these young doctors, who are also from various backgrounds, might provide examples of how much hard work and dedication pays off," Dr. Alexander points out. "We hope the Clarkston High students will see these young doctors as role models. We also want these students to know that Emory is very welcoming to people of any origin."

Dr. Shulman hopes other Emory University departments will adopt schools during the holidays in the future. "It's an excellent way to show we're committed to our surrounding community and it's a great way to help our citizens grow and develop."

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