Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bazillionaire donates lotsa cash to Atlanta kids school

Just when I think Oprah's gone and gotten on my tits again, she goes and does something amazing.

I caught Oprah's TV show today - it was entitled, "Resilient Spirits" (originally aired March 1, 2007) and told stories of people who experienced some pretty major adversity and bounced back to also achieve some pretty major success in their lives.

One of the people she profiled was NFL player Isaiah Kacyvenski of the Seattle Seahawks who grew up in poverty and abuse only to get a football scholarship to Harvard and gain a place on the team in Seattle which went to Super Bowl XL.

By the way, as a Canadian and as a non-fan of football (in any country) - until I looked it up - I was seriously wondering if XL was a reference to a Super Bowl of the "Extra Large" variety.

As for Oprah getting on my tits, I guess like any of us she just can't help but be herself - but DAMN is she ever irritating to watch sometimes. She kept Oprah-fying her pronunciation of the word "Harvard" as she interviewed Kacyvenski. And by 'Oprah-fying' I mean bastardizing and annoying the hell out of viewers like me. I guess she thinks she's being folksy or something when she does that, but in the end it simply gives me a headache like the kind you get from drinking a Slurpee too fast.

No doubt she's a kind and wise soul, but clearly there's a good reason that she is regularly parodied by sharp comedians like Debra Wilson on Mad TV. Talk about easy targets!

But today there's news in Us Magazine of the self-mitigation of all her nerdiness with some really amazing generosity:

Oprah Winfrey sent a surprise Christmas present to an inner-city Atlanta school: a $365,000 check!

An educator named Ron Clark almost didn't notice the whopping check, which was included in a letter from the talk show host. Clark opened the private academy in 2007 in one of the poorest neighborhoods of South Atlanta. Most students rely on private donations to pay the $14,000-per-year tuition.

"We teach school all day and fundraise at night," Clark told the Associated Press. "To have an unsolicited gift come like that is incredible."

Clark says the donation will pay for 26 students to attend the 80-student middle school for one year.

In her letter, Winfrey calls Clark a role model and says he's making a "profound difference...[with] your passion for teaching."

The check came from the Oprah Winfrey Foundation, which handed out $4 million to educational programs in 2008.

Meanwhile, Winfrey is gearing up for Barack Obama's January 20 Inauguration.

"Oprah is doing her show live from the Kennedy Center that week and flying her staff in for it. It's going to be a huge production," an insider tells the New York Post.

The big-time supporter also plans to co-host a party with BFF Gayle King after Obama is sworn in, the paper reports.

Wow. Kinda makes me wish for a moment I was an employee of Harpo Productions! It'd be rather swell to get to go to the Obama Inauguration, wouldn't it? What an unbelieveable moment in history that ceremony will become for not only those who are actually in attendance, but for the USA and the whole world ultimately.

$365,000 is quite a whopping sum! Over the course of a year, that's a grand a day for kids to go to school. Not too shabby there, Oprah. Not too shabby at all.

I have to wonder why a private academy was considered viable in a poor urban neighbourhood, but whatever the reason it's become a success so there you have it.

I also have to wonder why Steadman seems to never be mentioned in the press anymore. I mean, she's throwing a party with Gayle, but where's the Stead-meister in all of this?

Lastly, if you wanna see a pretty cool photo of how some people reacted today to Oprah Winfrey's gift to the school, check out this page on (which also has a little blurb on what I think is Oprah and Steadman's most recent public appearance together back in September in case you're interested in a little bit of celebrity romance at the moment).

I think this story is a great way to wrap up 2008 on Gimme Never Gets and look forward to 2009. Wherever you are, whoever you are ... have a healthy, happy New Year!

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