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Take Note: No rock, hard places; Language lineup

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A high school in northern California got into a little hot water this month over its "Hard Work Cafe"--a series of breakfasts to reward students for academic improvement.

The Hard Rock Cafe restaurant chain sent a letter to North Salinas High School threatening to sue the school because it was using a similar name and logo on T-shirts.

Since last October, the school has provided waffles, sausage, and orange juice to students who have improved their academic performance. The school also has distributed T-shirts to these higher achievers featuring a knockoff of the famous eatery's logo.

"We were just thinking it was an innocent little school thing," Kay Miranda, the assistant principal, said last week.

Jeff Wagner, the restaurant chain's spokesman, said the "cease and desist" letter was standard corporate procedure. "This was not meant to bully high school kids," he said, "but to deter profiteers that are trying to use a worldwide logo for their benefit."

Mr. Wagner added that while the school should not continue to print T-shirts mimicking the company logo, it could continue to use the catchy name. And to show there are no hard feelings, the corporation promised to send the hard-working students some complimentary Hard Rock Cafe T-shirts.

Cynthia Minton, the principal of the Blythe Academy of Languages, is a little overwhelmed.

Since the elementary school in Greenville, S.C., was converted last fall into a languages magnet school, parents have flooded the school's mailbox with applications to place their children in the 426-student school. Nearly half of the students now attending the school come from outside the local area, and there are about 40 children--some as young as 9 months--on waiting lists.

They are drawn to this magnet school, Ms. Minton said, because it's one of only two schools in South Carolina to offer daily instruction to every child in either French or Spanish.

"This is an exciting concept, but we didn't know the community would be so excited," said Ms. Minton, who noted that even two of U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley's grandchildren have their applications in the pile.

Ms. Minton said students will be admitted on a first-come, first-served basis.

--Jessica Portner

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