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Giving back

Members of the grunge-rock band Pearl Jam recently donated $78,000 to support their hometown district, the Seattle public schools.

A foundation that supports the district, the Alliance for Education, launched the Stanford Book Fund last month as a way to let well-wishers show support for Superintendent John Stanford, who is battling leukemia.

Pearl Jam's five members, who have worked behind the scenes on other district projects, matched what was in the fund on April 17. Organizers have raised about $180,000 toward their goal of $500,000, which is about enough money to buy one book for each of the district's 47,000 students.

"We wanted to do something productive with this outpouring of feeling" after Mr. Stanford's hospitalization, said Chris Case, a spokeswoman for the district. "The whole community is saying, 'How can we help?'"

And Pearl Jam members are not the only heavy hitters to offer their support. Vice President Al Gore and America's Promise chairman Colin Powell--like Mr. Stanford, a retired U.S. Army general--have said they will support the book fund by appearing in public-service announcements on Seattle-area television stations, Ms. Case said.

Perfect date

David Showalter's prom date is definitely Ms. Wright--country singer Chely Wright that is.

 Chely Wright

Fed up with inquiries about his prom-date possibilities, the 18-year-old senior at Altoona High School in Altoona, Pa., decided he would ask the singer to his May 29 prom after seeing her on Country Music Television.

 David Showalter

He wrote a letter to her fan club, and the 27-year-old songstress, who reads all of her fan mail, said yes. Mr. Showalter received her answer through the school's guidance office.

"He's a fan and she was really touched by his letter," said Wes Vause, Ms. Wright's publicist.

Mr. Showalter plans to escort Ms. Wright to dinner and to the Lakemont Casino, were the prom is being held, with a few friends and their dates. They will join about 700 of the school's 2,300 students. "I'm very excited about the evening," Mr. Showalter said.


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