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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Oprah gives $1.5 million to Ron Clark Academy

Ho Ho HO-prah!

Ho Ho HO-prah!

Oprah Winfrey has sent The Ron Clark Academy some kind of stocking stuffer this Christmas: $1.5 million.

The southeast Atlanta school alerted Buzz moments ago that Winfrey sent the donation after learning the school was having trouble raising money, and told Clark she hoped the contribution would inspire others to follow her lead.

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Receptionist Renita Mosley shouted when she opened the mail and discovered this check. NOTE: This photo has been altered slightly, to render bank account numbers illegible.

In true RCA style, the school celebrated with an impromptu rally in the lobby, where shouts and laughter filled the room and happy tears flowed.

“We work so hard to provide scholarships for students of all academic backgrounds and to share our successful teaching methods with the world,” co-founder Kim Beardon said. “We are incredibly thankful for Ms. Winfrey’s support.”

Along with the check, Winfrey included a note praising the school for its work with students and with teachers from elsewhere.

“Keep it coming!” she raved.

Ron Clark is one energetic guy

Ron Clark is one energetic guy

Winfrey, who has announced she’ll end her popular daytime show in 2011, has played Santa for the school before. Last December Ron Clark, received a card from her on Christmas Eve that contained a check for $365,000. The two met in 2001 when Clark was named as Disney’s American Teacher of the Year.

Ron Clark and his future benefactress

Ron Clark and his future benefactress

Clark has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show to talk about his methods and about his book, The Essential 55.   Proceeds from the book were used to start the private, nonprofit school that serves students from various socio-economic and academic backgrounds. RCA has an annual operating budget of $2.8 million and plans to expand the campus by adding a cafeteria, gym and performing arts theater, and relies on community support.

- Jennifer Brett, jbrett@ajc.com

55 comments Add your comment

MYopinion

December 17th, 2009
7:26 am

I want to see how many Atlantans – particularly those who considered themselves wealthy, accomplished, and elite – follow in Ms. Winfrey’s lead and donate to the school. I just donated. I’m challenging others to do the same.

https://app.etapestry.com/hosted/RonClarkAcademy/OnlineDonation.html

Trent

December 17th, 2009
8:02 am

Way to go Oprah!! Tis the season to give and help others.

Rich

December 17th, 2009
8:05 am

I can’t stand her.

Peter Gozinya

December 17th, 2009
8:07 am

I think instead of always counting ont he wealthy, the locals who this school is supporting should pitch in. OK, make a sacrifice for once in your life instead of standing with your hand out as usual waiting for the wealthy or the government to bail you out. There are plenty of you. Put down the cigerettes, the wine and walk away from the TV long enough to help yourselves!

Greg

December 17th, 2009
8:08 am

I saw Ron Clark on Oprah and was extremely impressed by his passion for teaching & creative methods. Donating to this school was excellent choice on Oprah’s part.

Spread the Wealth!

December 17th, 2009
8:12 am

Good for RCA, but it’s a little unfortunate Ms. Winfrey doesn’t have a more comprehensive view of the good being done by many groups in the Atlanta area. Project Grad, GPEE, Path Academy, KIPP Ways, KIPP South Fulton and others have all been doing excellent work for the last ten years without fanfare or luck of national self-promotion.

Ignorance is Abhorrent

December 17th, 2009
8:16 am

Peter, you’re a schmuck. What indication do you have that the constituent families of this school do not support it? This story certainly doesn’t say anything about that, so your comment is completely uncalled for.

Jennifer Brett

December 17th, 2009
8:23 am

Peter, RCA does rely on local community support. In March 2008, the first gala to support the school, chaired by philanthropist Melanie Boltax, was held at the InterContinental Hotel. The folks who attended, paying $250 per person, were local Atlanta residents. Just recently, the school teamed up with local businesses that volunteered to renovate a few students’ rooms. And, members of the Junior League of Atlanta have volunteered their time working in the school’s library.

Traci Cares

December 17th, 2009
8:27 am

Thank you Oprah.

While the televion media is focused on who slept with whom. The real news – GOOD News – does not make the opening story. I had no idea this school was seeking funds.

If you ever have a conversation with a kid who attends this school, you will be amazed at how articulate, well mannered and BRIGHT these children are.

Ron Clark has set the expectation, the academic standard and these kids respond.

$1.5 million —–WOW — com’on Atlanta we can indeed match this — let’s get going.

She

December 17th, 2009
8:41 am

Rich, I can’t stand a HATER

Rich

December 17th, 2009
8:49 am

I didn’t say I hated her….dumbass!

itamazesme

December 17th, 2009
8:49 am

This is wonderful, and I hope that others follow her lead. Peter: No one said anything about counting on the wealthy to do anything. He is a well known teacher and has connections, if those connections decide to help him out because they know what he is accomplishing, then great. This school hosts events and has fund raisers and the parents have to do volunteer hours. It is obvious that you are not aware of this school and how it operates. So to play off your words, put down the hatred, the under-lying racism, and the ignorance, and pick up a book by Ron Clark or about Ron Clark or google what this school is and what it does. ‘

@Spread the wealth – I agree with you – it would be nice to see funds go to other schools who are excelling on a smaller level.

@Rich – you may not be able to stand her – but she tries to do good things for people…so Sit!!

Rich

December 17th, 2009
8:54 am

FU…don’t tell me to sit

blady

December 17th, 2009
8:55 am

Kudos to RCA and to Oprah!

itamazesme

December 17th, 2009
8:56 am

@ Rich – You posted your opinion, I posted mine. I hope and pray that your day and life gets better – it has to be hard being mean and nasty and full of negativity…

Jessica

December 17th, 2009
9:29 am

Thanks and kudos to Oprah fo supporting such a worthy school.

WOW...

December 17th, 2009
9:43 am

Wow is all I have to say for all the people who have to trash this school and Oprah. I have meet Ron Clark in person several times and is a great speaker and has a great story. I work for large wireless company here in Atlanta that has contruibted to his school and we have had the kids here in our office. He has a great plan and helping change the culture here in Atlanta with helping the kids stay off the streets like most of Atlanta Kids get sucked into. We have to have some change in this city to better everyone.

@Spread the wealth – I agree with you – it would be nice to see the news report on the real people who need help and not all the Thugs we have in this city stealing and killing people around town.

He needs to have a rally to raise money at Peidmont park to help raise money ! Every bit helps people $5 can go along way these days.

ronnie

December 17th, 2009
9:55 am

Enter your comments here

Happy Teacher

December 17th, 2009
10:06 am

Though I applaud Ron Clark and his school, it is really not a sustainable model for other cities, districts and states to emulate, and I wish Oprah would invest in a model that can work in other places.

Ricky Steele

December 17th, 2009
10:07 am

If you have not been to the school or seen the impact it is happening with our students, you should not criticize the program.

Needless to say, I should have proof read my earlier comment:

Correct: If you have not been to the school or seen the impact the school is having on our students, you should not criticize the program.

G.

December 17th, 2009
10:16 am

Hey Rich, You must be one of the closet haters that does not see good in anything done by a person of color. The donation is nothing but a plus for the kids. Are you still angry because Ms. Winfrey gave the President’s campaign a jump start? We are seeing fall-out from all angles since he has won. Get a alife and move on! Ron Clark has done WONDERS!!!!

Jodi

December 17th, 2009
10:27 am

Good for RCA…I know a few people that attend his school!

People should not blame Oprah for HER decision to give RCA that donation. The other smaller schools like KIPP should reach out to people on that same level Bill Gates, Tyler Perry, Arthur Blank, etc. if they are struggling. Oprah isnt the only person with money?!?!?

ClemsonNeil

December 17th, 2009
11:10 am

So does this mean we get to see the kids raps, sing, and dance again?

Maybe they’ll do a song praising Oprah.

mamaj

December 17th, 2009
11:18 am

Rich, you really need to chill. You can’t stand her because of what?…she’s Black, she’s rich. she gave money to a school…what? Just like the President, I am glad that they are aware of people like you, but still feel the need to do good towards EVERYONE. Any of us should be so lucky, as to be the recipient of one of her gifts, OR Bill Gates, or any rich folk. Stop looking at the color of a person, because you don’t know her personally, and your opinions of her should be formed only by what you see her do…and that is a lot.

mamaj

December 17th, 2009
11:21 am

@ ClemsonNeil–Who would you suggest the kids sing a song praising?

Rich

December 17th, 2009
11:24 am

I love Ron Clark!

itamazesme

December 17th, 2009
11:28 am

@ClemsonNeil – WOW – it is a sad day when negativity is shown towards children who are benefitting tremendously from someone’s efforts. I pray your eyes are opened to new ways of learning and embracing difference.

mamaj

December 17th, 2009
11:28 am

I should have known that it was impossible for anyone like Oprah to give a gift, the recipients be thankful, and we all get on with our lives. The need for a blog, to invite the hateful people with nothing to do but spew hate toward others for no reason, was just too good. Though I feel that Bill Gates and some others, do good for people of all walks of life, all the time, a similar story about them giving, would not have merited a blog, so why one with Oprah’s giving?…huh? I thought so.

Wishing RCA well.

December 17th, 2009
12:08 pm

For all of you that see color in everything and want to paint a race negatively…Get over it. Typically when someone spends their time tearing down others they have their own failure they are hiding. Peter Gozinya you need to get out and meet someone out side of your “hooded” circle. Most people are trying to move on from these types of comments join the movement…Anger and bitterness shortens your life..

itamazesme

December 17th, 2009
12:20 pm

@Wishing RCA wel….Beautifully put!

Rich

December 17th, 2009
12:27 pm

I said nothing about her race and you all went off. So who’s the racist? You all make this blog what it is.

Struggling to understand

December 17th, 2009
12:34 pm

People can call it negative if they elect to do so, however, I have a problem with children singing and dancing all the time as if they can not learn in any other manner. Second, if we are looking at the whole picture, tell me why his methods are copyrighted and in these struggling times, there is a huge fee to attend any of his workshops? If we truly desire to see “disadvantaged” kids excel academically, why is Mr. Clark keeping all of his “techniques” and “methodologies” under lock and key? JUST ASKING!!!

The Truth

December 17th, 2009
12:53 pm

There wouldn’t be a need for RCA if parents were more involved with their local schools instead of using them as daycare services. And that issues transcends race as I’ve witnessed it at schools across the East Coast. Amazing how teaching the fundamentals of learning that enabled generations to grow up into productive members of society somehow no longer work. The math hasn’t changed, reading hasn’t changed, but parenting skills and parental involvement/concern? Hmmmmm…..

RCA Parent

December 17th, 2009
1:05 pm

@Struggling to understand…he charges fees for the teacher workshops because that is one of the ways he raises funds to pay for student scholarships. 99% of the students at the school are on scholarship.

Swhite

December 17th, 2009
1:12 pm

As a parent of RCA, let me attempt to disspell some of the unknowledge. They don’t “sing and dance” all of the time. Some of his teaching methods involves “music and movement” but isn’t that how WE ALL STARTED IN PRESCHOOL? Secondly, the parents of RCA pay tuition based on income. We also fundraise to assist in activities that we do for our children. Most importantly, if there was not such an emphasis being placed on test results and teachers were actually ENCOURAGED TO TEACH, there wouldn’t be a need for schools like RCA. At the end of the day, we all want our children to be challenged, encouraged to become global thinkers and leaders. If this is where we choose to send our kids, so be it! The only issue I have is that when people like “Rich” talk, you have no credible knowledge base from which you speak.
Thanks to Oprah and all of the donors that assist in making RCA and schools like it models from which our children can be the best that they can be!

M Anthony

December 17th, 2009
1:34 pm

I have never understood why people think they have a right to dictate what and where someone elects to give their money for or to. I guess they feel entilted to Oprah’s money for some reason.

First Hand

December 17th, 2009
1:34 pm

I have had the opportunity to visit Ron Clark Academy on many occasions and have seen first hand the impact he is having on his students and on visiting educators from around the United States and from around the world. He is hardly keeping his techniques under lock and key. I have seen him working tirelessly and passionately to spread his methods and you can’t expect that he can do that for free. As accurately pointed out above, the funds go to support the school and students. It’s not like Ron Clark is making money on this. He literally works 7 days a week, 360+ days per year. He may take Christmas off, but knowing him, he will probably be involved in some activity serving his students and their families. What’s his motivation? Pure love and a solid belief that any child can succeed when given the attention, the discipline, and motivation to do so. Come on people! Show some charity, especially this time of year.

smoochies

December 17th, 2009
2:44 pm

It’s great that Oprah and whoever else wants to donate can do so to this school. I don’t have any issue with RCA. My question is why can’t the public school be in the same category as RCA and private schools? Why do you have to spend thousands of dollars for your children to get a quality education? Seems a little backwards to me. All schools should be functioning at the level of RCA. No one is talking about how we are 49th in school rankings.

raheem

December 17th, 2009
2:45 pm

ALL I HAVE TO SAY IS ELE EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY

homenowwhat

December 17th, 2009
4:18 pm

oprah winfrey is the biggist modern day uncle tom that lived in any time era ! it’s blacks like her, michael jackson, tiger woods that don’t really support their own race of people. there is nothing wrong in helping any one that really need help. but, oprah need to remember and think back to her home grounds from where she came from before she started to earn all of her millions of dollars. who need more help then the kids that are force to deal with gangs and extremely poor public education ! just like oprah wasted over forty million dollars in a school in africa only to have those africans turn around and make her look like a big dumb fool. she could had used that same money and given it to the homeless kids. there is still today many needed familys to help get homeless children into a home and off deadly streets. God did not give orpah that money to be used for her personel choices. now she have join a secret order demonic group to serve satan the devil. the curse is on oprah head. she never talk’s about her own mother and now very little is ever spoken about her own father. the main person she now notice is gail and a large percentage of white people. it’s nice that gail is still oprah trusted friend. orpah should honor God and her parents. so she had a bad situation; so what. we all have negative and positive situations. that life, she need to get over it. there are always two sides to every given story to be told. the real truth will come out on God’s judgement day. so oprah need to show more love for the black people that live in the needed area’s of the united states inner cities of this america. what orpah really need to do is to start up a program to help young people that have been force to join gangs in order to stay alive. there are a lot of kids that would never risk their life in joining gangs if they would only have a safe and secure place to turn to for safety. a lot of young poor kids have no place to turn to but a gang. due to the fact, there are a lot of foster kids, kids that family only collect their checks and the kids receive nothings out of their support government issue monthly income. so, yes orpah what about your own african american black under educated kids ! the system have fail them. so i want to know what are you rich blacks going to do in help saving their lives before it’s too late !! please tell us orpah winfrey.

Matchtuff

December 17th, 2009
4:24 pm

Homenowwhat is crazy. Let him/her give their money to whom they want to and leave Oprah alone

Heyhomenowwhat

December 17th, 2009
4:30 pm

you are crazy and need some education don’t you. You are obviously a worshiper of some evil because it is not god that you worship. God wants to help others and that is what Oprah is doing. its her dam money and she can do with it what she wants. That is her right! Also please learn to write correctly. When a word needs an “s” on it or an “ing” please use it and don’t act like your a great writer when you can not punctuate!

expose

December 17th, 2009
4:40 pm

IF I WITESS ANOTHER DUMB RICH BLACK PERSON ON A HIGH EGO. I WILL VOMIT ! ONE THING I CAN SAY. WHITE PEOPLE HAVE MASTER THE SKILLS TO PLAY A EGO TRIPPIN RICH BLACK PERSON ALL THE TIME. HOW MANY MORE RICH BLACK PEOPLE LIKE OPRAH WINFREY STILL ARE TAKING THE HIGH RISK OF BEING DESTROYED AND CONTROL BY THE SYSTEM MONEYS ? IT SEEM LIKE THE PRACTICE OF THE PLANTATION NEVER LEFT AMERICA, JUST CHANGE THE PROGRAM OF MIND CONTROL VS MODERN DAY SLAVERY. THIS BLACK WOMAN HAVE WORKED SO HAD AND HAVE GIVEN SO MANY MILLIONS OF GIFTS AND DONATIONS TO SO MANY WHITES JUST TO PAY THEM TO KEEP OPRAH AHEAD OF HER OWN SELF DESTRUCTIVE GAME. NOW SHE HAVE ADDED ANOTHER WHITE MASTER CALLED ” RON CLARK ACADEMY .” I WONDER, HOW LONG WILL THAT SATANIC IMAGE THAT ORPAH WINFREY WORSHIP WILL ALLOW HER TO LAST. THERE HIT LIST IS ON ! LESS THEN FOUR MONTHS WITH IN ONE YEAR- 2009, MICHAL JACKSON TO A FALL, TIGER WOODS TAKEN A FALL. WHO NEXT ? THEY WILL BLEED OPRAH WINFREY DRY BEFORE IT’S ALL OVER WITH. PLUS HER WEALTH IS A CONTROING ASSET UNDER LOCK AND KEY. MASION-ETC.

[...] debating education over at The Buzz today. One of the things that makes Ron Clark Academy stand out: A sllide (and now $1.5 million from [...]

Mangel

December 17th, 2009
4:46 pm

Rich, it seems you have a BIG problem regarding Ms. Winfred donating H E R money. You don’t have a RIGHT to dictate, WHO, WHAT, WHERE, etc., she gives her money. All I want to say is:
PUT UP OR SHUT UP. Have you heard the SONG: YOU CAN’T BEAT GOD GIVING, THE MORE YOU GIVE THE MORE HE GIVES YOU. Apparently, Ms. Winfred is doing EXACTLY what the Bible
say; MALACHI 3: 9-10. TRY IT. Her giving has nothing to do with RACE.

Mangel

December 17th, 2009
4:55 pm

EXPOSE: You can tell HOW IGNORANT a person is, WHEN THEY OPEN THEIR M O U T H.
gET YOUR WEBSTER DICTIONARY and look up how to spell the word that begins with the letter
( W ). Don’t hate a person for what they have/got. The old saying is: IF YOU CAN’T SAY SOMETHING GOOD ABOUT A PERSON, DON’T SAY ANYTHING. REMEMBER, “ever idol word
you will have to give account one day”.

B. Killebrew

December 17th, 2009
5:23 pm

“Though I applaud Ron Clark and his school, it is really not a sustainable model for other cities, districts and states to emulate, and I wish Oprah would invest in a model that can work in other places”

Happy Teacher…we agree on something!

HOMENOWWHAT

December 17th, 2009
5:45 pm

I CAN SEE YOU REALLY DON’T KNOW THE BIBLE TRUTH AND HAVE BEEN MISLEADED- MATTHEW CHAPTER 24. PEOPLE ARE LOVERS OF MONEY AND REBELLIOUS AGAINST GOD COMMANDMENTS. WHEN YOU HAVE MONEY, YOU HAVE LOTS OF WORLDLY FRIENDS. THIS PRESENT SYSTEM OF THINGS ARE ABOUT TO BE DESTROYED BY JEHOVAH GOD WHEN HE WILL SEND HIS SON JESUS CHRIST BACK THIS SECOND TIME IN THE FLESH. NO I AM NO PHONEY AND CLAIMING TO BE SOMETHING THAT I AM NOT NOR CHOOSE TO BE. ONE THING I DO KNOW THAT YOU ALREADY CLAIM TO NOT KNOW. THAT IS GOD PROPHECIES OF THE THINGS THAT ARE HERE AND ALL THINGS TO COME ON THIS WORLD. I GUESS YOU ALSO REFUSE TO ACCEPT THE ONE WORLD ORDER. GOD HAVE WARNED US ALL OF THE DANGER IF ANY ONE THAT WILL ACCEPT THE MARK OF THE BEAST IN ORDER TO BEABLE TO BUY OR SELL. LIKE I SAID, EVERY THING UNDER THE SUN BELONG TO OUR CREATOR- GOD. THIS PRESENT SYSTEM IS THE KINGDOM OF SATAN THE DEVIL. SATAN ALSO GIVE GIFTS TO DESTROY MANY !!! PEOPLE FAIL TO REALIZE YOU CAN NOT SERVE BOTH MASTERS. YOU WILL LOVE ONE AND HATE THE OTHER. THAT IS WHY THE COMMENTER REACTED IN THE EXPECTED MANNER IN WHICH THEY DO. GOD SAY; YOU WILL KNOW THEM BY THEIR WORK. SO READ AND STUDY YOUR HOLY BIBLE AND THEN TELL GOD THAT HIS TRUTH ARE ALL LIES. NO, I DID NOT WRITE THAT IT WAS WRONG TO HELP ANY BODY. BUT BEFORE YOU CAN REACH OUT TO HELP OTHERS. REMEMBER THE COMMANDMENT- WE ARE TO LOVE OUR NEIGHBOURS AS YOU LOVE YOUR SELF ! GOD DID NOT SAY BUY THE PUBLIC FOR RATINGS ! OR JUST SUPPORT MAJOR PROGRAMS FOR WHITE PEOPLE. WE ARE TO HELP ALL PEOPLE NO MATTER IF THEY CAN WRITE, READ, SEE, BLIND, ETC..! WE ARE TO DILIGENTLY KEEP ALL GOD’S COMMANDMENTS-EXODUS CHAPTER 20. A MAN CAN WIN THE WORLD BUT LOSE HIS SOUL TO THE WORLD. READ- LEVITICUS 26, EPHESIANS 6, MATTHEW 24, REVELATION CHAPTERS 6, 9, 13, 19. ALSO, FIND OUT FOR YOUR SELF THE REAL TRUTH. OPRAH WINFREY IS A ILLUMINATI- FREE MASON MEMBER -SATANIC. THEIR FAITH IS IN THE DARK POWER OF SATAN THE DEVIL. IT IS SAID WITH OUT ANY INTERVENTION NEEDED BY JESUS CHRIST. MY QUESTION, HOW ELSE DID OPRAH WINFREY GAIN SO MUCH POWER AND CONTROL ALONG WITH HER WEALTH ? OPRAH WINFREY MONEY IS BECOMING A CURSE IN HER LIFE. THAT CURSE IS PEOPLE ACCEPTING HER FOR WHAT SHE CAN GIVE AND BENEFIT FROM HER WEALTH. IT SADLY HAPPEN TO MICHAEL JACKSON AND SO MANY OTHER PEOPLE. IF PEOPLE COULD MAKE A GOD OUT OF OPRAH WINFREY THEY WOULD, JUST ANOTHER TRICK AND TWISTED LIE OF THE DEVIL.

MATTIC

December 17th, 2009
6:46 pm

RICH, YOU ARE SO RIGHT. MY QUESTION IS, IF THIS GUY CALLED RON CLARK SCHOOL IS SO OUT STANDING TO COLLECT 1.5 MILLION DOLLARS FROM OPRAH HER SELF. THEN WHY HAVE NOT THE UNITED STATE GOVERNMENT AND ALL OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS NOT VOTE ON MAKING THE POORLY RATED PUBLIC EDUCATIONAL FREE SYSTEM A TEST TRAIL TO LEARN AND PROVE JUST HOW GOOD RON CLARK SCHOOL REALLY WORKS. I AM SURE RON CLARK WOULD EARN MORE THEN ANY 1.5 MILLION DOLLARS IF THE GOVERNMENT WOULD BUY INTO HIS EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM THAT WOULD BENEFIT ALL KIDS FROM ALL BACK GROUNDS AND THE MANY DIFFERENT RACES.

57878

December 17th, 2009
8:12 pm