On a School Night

"This is a wonderful day," Sylvia Sherman said over and over again. Sherman, Sherti Hendrix and Philip Russell were the first graduates of the Maya Angelou Public Charter School on Friday night.

The District school opened two years ago to help at-risk kids caught in the juvenile justice system. After years of skipping class, getting in trouble and not caring much about their future, all three straightened out, made the dean's list and will attend college this fall: Sherman at Spelman College in Atlanta, Hendrix at Bennett College in North Carolina, and Russell at Montgomery College in Takoma Park.

"It's a big turnaround from two years ago," said Russell, still wearing his red graduation gown despite the heat. "I knew I wanted better for myself."

After the commencement ceremony at Howard University, it was time to do some serious partying. The grads--along with friends, family, teachers, Principal David Domenici, Charter School Board Chairman Josephine Baker and Executive Director Nelson Smith--went back to their school, at 13th and V streets NW, for food, cool drinks, music and lots of smiling.

The students said it was the faculty who made the difference. "They've been more than teachers--they've been friends, brothers, sisters, mentors," Sherman enthused. But on this night, the real stars were the graduates.

"They are great role models," Baker said. "Here's where they were, and here's where they've been able to go when they were willing to hang in there."

Girl Power

In 1963 a teenage Bill Clinton came to Washington as part of Boys Nation. Wednesday night, 200 soon-to-be high school seniors--this year's representatives to Boys and Girls Nation--were honored at the Officers Club at Fort McNair, where Army Maj. Gen. Robert Ivany, left, greeted "senator" Kelli Watkins. But the real question: Was there a future president in the room? "I would not be surprised," said 17-year-old Courtney Kitchen, above right, with Angela Nielsen and Laura Caskey. "Washington has such a charm. It makes you want to be part of history."

Party Like It's 2999

What do you get when you combine crystal balls and lab coats? The World Future Society, and don't even bother asking about Y2K. The futurists gathered at Friday's wine and cheese bash at the Washington Hilton were so much more about the year 3000. Joanne Pransky, above, who works for a company that makes industrial robots and who calls herself the "world's first robotic psychiatrist," expects robots to become so integrated in our lives that we will "fight over who gets to keep them in a divorce." As for 1999: "Forget the conference," said special projects director Howard Didsbury Jr., near right, with Christos Athens. "This is the best party we've ever had."