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Compton School Would Duplicate

December 08, 1985

The Los Angeles Times recently printed an article regarding a proposal to build a Marva Collins school in Compton (Southeast/Long Beach sections, Nov. 7).

At 10101 S. Broadway in Watts, a school similar to the proposed Marva Collins school in Compton already exists. In fact, it has been existing for 14 years. And when I say existing, I mean barely getting by; struggling, if you will, especially in the past four years.

I'm talking about Sheenway School and Culture Center. Like the proposed Marva Collins school, Sheenway has always been independent and nonprofit--surviving solely on tuition and private donations. It is the finest, high-quality educational center this area will ever see and it's threatened with going down the tubes.

It is ludicrous to think that a community that already has an educational experience already developed, already paid for, already equipped--has ignored the pleas of Sheenway for four years and now plans to build a similar school from the ground up.

For 14 years, Sheenway has survived because its executive director will not let the dream of her late father die. Dr. Herbert Sheen not only practiced medicine but dedicated his life to developing an educational program that would offer every child an exposure to life and cultures not available to them in public schools. His daughter, Dolores Sheen Blunt, has had a continuous uphill battle to keep the school afloat.

How is it that a community which professes to want to "change the ghetto into the best neighborhood in Compton," refuses to recognize that this type of educational foundation has been laid and is a proven survivor under the worst of conditions?

Why not pour these additional monies into expanding upon the Sheenway programs? By offering adult education curriculum in addition to special education programs, the Sheenway dream of being able to enrich the life of every deprived human being in the ghetto could be reality. Why not focus these outside efforts by developers, politicians and community leaders on a seed (Sheenway) that has already been planted but desperately needs nourishment?

--CAROLYN MOLLOY

Santa Ana

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