McDonald's(R) Celebrates Academic Achievement, Names Winners of McDonald's All American Achievers(R) Program

7th and 8th Graders Honored With the Help of CSI: NY Actor Hill Harper

OAK BROOK, Ill., April 20 // PRNewswire // -- McDonald's is celebrating 7th and 8th graders who are excelling in academics and community service. The company named two students - one Durham, North Carolina, 8th grader and one Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 7th grader - as All American Achievers. The kids were selected from among the 20,000 7th- and 8th-grade classrooms in 1,900 schools nationwide invited to participate in the program.

The students' winning essays were graded by a panel of judges, including educators and actor and longtime education activist and CSI:NY actor Hill Harper. Designed as an in-school achievement program, some of the nation's brightest submitted exceptional testimonials that answered questions about the student's academic accomplishments, extracurricular activities and community citizenship.

As celebrity ambassador of the program, Harper assisted in grading the top essays and also provided copies of his best-selling books, Letters To A Young Brother and Letters To A Young Sister to all of the 7th and 8th graders at the two winning schools. Harper is thrilled with the level of both student and teacher participation in this year's program.

"I was amazed at the essays I read; these students are bright and focused about their future," Harper said. "As we head into a new era of change, this program definitely showcased the next generation of great leaders."

Rachel Jean-Baptiste of Coral Springs and Madeleine Sweitzer-Lamme of Durham will receive a $500 American Express gift card and a new laptop computer. The remaining 98 finalists, 49 from each grade, each receive a $250 gift card. The schools of the two winners, William Dandy Middle School and Rogers-Herr Year Round Middle School, each receive a $2,000 check and the teachers who submitted the winning essays also receive $500 for their classrooms.

Always committed to supporting education and academic achievement, McDonald's provides teachers Black History Facts, courtesy of American Legacy magazine, through the end of the 2008-09 school year on The facts are available for download, allowing teachers to integrate into their classroom curriculum.

"The All American Achievers program reflects not only McDonald's dedication to empowering youth in the African American community but also offers an unmatched opportunity to show gratitude to teachers who are often the unsung heroes," said Carol Sagers, Director of Marketing, McDonald's USA.

About McDonald's:

McDonald's USA, LLC, is the leading foodservice provider in the United States serving a variety of wholesome foods made from quality ingredients to millions of customers every day. More than 80 percent of McDonald's 14,000 U.S. restaurants are independently owned and operated by local franchisees.

(C) 2009 McDonald's

SOURCE McDonald's


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