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Column One: Students

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Like many urban centers, Cleveland is struggling with a host of economic and social ills. But a about four dozen students from area high schools have plans for improvement.

Speaking last month in the board room of one of the city's major corporations, the students outlined their vision for Cleveland by the end of the decade. Among other proposals, the students suggested creating recycling plants, recreation centers, and pedestrian malls.

Although the plans are unlikely to come to fruition, they do offer creative ideas, according to Pat Sweet, co-director of "Look Up To Cleveland," the five-year-old program that brought the students together.

Sponsored by the local chapter of the League of Women Voters and a business group, the program is aimed at helping nurture future leaders by encouraging them to set goals for the city.

Under the program, students from area schools study the city's history, culture, and economy, and work for six weeks to develop a "civic vision" for a neighborhood and the downtown core. Their plans address, among other areas, housing, industrial and commercial development, and recreation.

By becoming immersed in the city, program officials say, the students may develop a stake in improving it.

"We're hoping many come back and become the next generation of leaders," Ms. Sweet said.

To promote cultural awareness among Portuguese Americans, Lesley College has sponsored a writing contest for middle- and high-school students.

Under the program, students of Portuguese descent aged 10 to 18 submitted biographical essays, in Portuguese and English, about prominent Portuguese Americans.

Six winning entries, which were selected this spring, will be combined into a book that program officials say will help broaden students' awareness of Portuguese Americans' contributions to American society.

Some 1,000 talented Hispanic high-school seniors will receive college scholarships this year, under a program sponsored by the College Board.

Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Hispanic Scholar Awards Program is aimed at increasing Hispanics' access to college by rewarding academic achievement, according to College Board officials. Since it began in 1983, 7,200 students have received financial assistance under the program.

The 500 award winners receive $1,500 scholarships; another 500 students receive honorable-mention awards of $500 each.--rr

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