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Outpouring of public support helps gifted L.A. student go to Oxford

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Photo: Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times


Some stories make you want to cry and stand up and cheer — all at the same time. Crenshaw High School junior Sharron Pearson’s determination to go to a summer program at Oxford University and  the overwhelming financial support she has received from the public is just such a story. To say Pearson is bright is almost an understatement. She has a 4.2 grade-point average and is enrolled in a Los Angeles magnet program for gifted students.

As is the case for many families these days, money is tight. Her father said they could not afford the summer program at Oxford, but 17-year-old Pearson applied anyway. She got accepted with a scholarship. Yet, weeks before the first class on July 5, Pearson and her supporters were scrambling to raise $2,500 for airfare to London and to cover her other expenses.

Then an article about Pearson’s plight appeared on the Los Angeles Times website Tuesday, April 21 and the public came to the rescue. A special fund for Pearson was inundated with offers from as many as a thousand people, according to a follow up story today on the Times website.

A Crenshaw school official had said the fundraising would stop after the goal of $2,500 was met. I think the extra donations should go into the special fund for future needs. Pearson has high aspirations and the extra money will ease the burden on her family and help her reach her goals.  

After months of reports about billions of U.S. taxpayer bailout dollars going to arrogant Wall Street firms and financial institutions who’ve paid out millions in bonuses to their employees, it’s good to hear a story like Sharron Pearson’s where money is being well spent.

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