Excerpts from a Portland City Club presentation on May 30 featuring five winners in the 2003 Multnomah Education Service District Academic All-Stars Competition:

'At Jefferson, the dance program has been amazing to me. Just having students who come to school every day so they can dance. They don't want to go to any of their other classes maybe, but they come to school so they can dance. And it's beautiful.'

Ñ Jill Curtis, Jefferson High School graduate and 2002 Academic All-Star for Language Arts, on the importance of arts in the public schools

'I always feel like there is a great deal of compassion that comes along with community service. And it's unfortunate because you can't learn that compassion from a worksheet or a textbook.'

Ñ Jovencio de la Paz, a junior at Centennial High School and 2003 Academic All-Star for Visual Arts, on the benefits of community service

'As a general rule, I'd say that I've found that those who get involved outside of school are the same students who stay involved inside of school.'

Ñ Alice Jones, Grant High School graduate and 2003

Academic All-Star for Language Arts, on the impact that community service has on academic accomplishment