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Among the 11 people who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom last week were three recipients involved in education and other youth-related work. President Clinton awarded the medals, the highest honor the nation bestows on civilians, at a ceremony in Washington.

The education-related honorees are:

  • David Hamburg, a psychiatrist and the president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York who has fought for children's rights and written about child development, building parental competence, and strengthening social-support networks. Mr. Hamburg is the author of Today's Children: Creating a Future for a Generation in Crisis.
  • Eugene Lang, who founded the New York City-based "I Have a Dream Foundation" in 1986 to give underprivileged youngsters a chance to attend college by providing financial assistance, mentoring, and tutoring.
  • Antonia Pantoja, the founder of aspira, a Washington-based organization that promotes education, leadership, training, and community service for Latino youths.

Alfredo Perez, the Los Angeles elementary school teacher who was shot in the head by a stray bullet in February, held a news conference last week and thanked the community for its prayers and support.

Mr. Perez was wounded as he sat in front of his 5th-grade class in the library at Figueroa Street Elementary School in South Central Los Angeles on Feb. 22. Police said the shooting stemmed from gang activity.

The incident drew national media attention, and Mr. Perez received words of support from President Clinton. Since then, the windows at the school have been replaced with bulletproof glass.

After the shooting, doctors weren't sure if Mr. Perez would live. Since his injury, he has been in rehabilitation, working to regain his speech and his ability to walk.

The news conference at the Martin Luther King Jr.-Drew Medical Center in Los Angeles as Mr. Perez was released from the hospital was his first public appearance since the incident.

-- ADRIENNE D. COLES [email protected]

Vol. 16, Issue 03

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