November 14, 2003

Good Morning:

A New Orleans high school founded by two Tulane University faculty members has captured the attention of an Academy Award-winning director. On November 19 at 7 p.m., parents, teachers, students and supporters of the New Orleans Center for Science and Math will gather in Dixon Hall auditorium for the premiere of a movie featuring four of the school's graduates. The film was produced by Microsoft Corporation and directed by Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Jessica Yu.

Tulane faculty members Skip Dempesy and Paul Guth founded the New Orleans Center for Science and Math in 1991 to get kids interested in these subjects. Working out of a small office at the School of Medicine, the two professors and other Tulane colleagues developed a curriculum and secured building space in a local high school. They also got Tulane students to volunteer as tutors.

Today the school is thriving. Every school day more than 400 students from high schools throughout New Orleans attend half day classes there. The students study only math and science, returning to their "home" schools to study other subjects.

Students of the New Orleans Center for Science and Math represent a cross-section of New Orleans schools: 93 percent are African-American, 70 percent live at or below the poverty line and 65 percent are female. These are groups that have not traditionally excelled in math and science yet these students compete head-to-head with prep school students on national exams. Ninety percent pass the LEAP test on their first sitting and 90 percent go on to college.

The school is planning a Hollywood-style premiere at Dixon complete with searchlights, red carpet, steel drum music and the "movie stars" and their families arriving by limousine. I hope as many of you as possible can attend this wonderful celebration of academic achievement and superb example of the power of partnerships.

Have a great weekend,


Office of the President Emeritus, 1555 Poydras St, Suite 700, New Orleans, LA 70112 504-274-3638