October 16, 1997 in Nation/World

First Lady Visits Brazil Schoolchildren

Stan Lehman Associated Press

For Hillary Rodham Clinton, Brazil was beautiful but mostly a blur. Less than 48 hours there wasn’t enough.

Stopping Wednesday at the Antonio Manoel Alves de Lima public school in the poor outskirts of Sao Paulo, the first lady won cheers from some 600 schoolchildren when she described Brazil as “one of the most beautiful and important countries in the world.”

The school is one of four taking part in a teacher education program organized by the Quality of Education Institute, which is sponsored by the American Chamber of Commerce in Sao Paulo.

The program, designed to improve basic education in math and the Portuguese language, is an adopt-a-school project in which private enterprises contribute know-how and funds. Some 6,500 students and more than 100 teachers benefit from the program, which costs about $100 per student per year.

While police describe the school’s neighborhood as one of the most violent in the city, school officials say student performance has increased dramatically while dropout and failure rates have plummeted.

“I am very impressed with the results. … You are learning so much more than before,” Clinton said.

For the ponytailed and giggling Karen Kallegian, 10, Clinton’s visit was to be treasured. “This is really exciting. I’m going to meet one of the most important people in the world,” she said.

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