Thank you so much for the tremendous article highlighting the success of 10 exceptional Oakland teens. Congratulations to each and every one of the young people that were profiled by Marcus Thompson II. It’s important that Oaklanders who don’t have regular contact with teens are exposed to these sorts of stories that are being lived every day in our city.
    I’d also like to challenge you to highlight not only children who are beating the odds, but to tell Oaklanders about schools that are consistently producing exceptionally able students who are admitted into the best schools in the country year after year. What might one of those schools be—College Prep? Head Royce? Bishop O’Dowd? Try Thompson’s alma mater, Oakland Tech.
Kids who are fortunate enough to take advantage of the remarkable and free public educational programs at     Tech—most notably the Paidaea program (a rigorous multi-disciplinary humanities program that emphasizes critical thinking and open discussion of ideas), and the exceptional Engineering Academy—expect to get into almost any college or university they choose. This year is no exception.
    Three students from Tech will be heading to MIT this fall. Not many schools can say that. Other colleges and universities that accepted Tech students for fall 2007 include (among many others) Brown, Columbia, the University of Chicago, Reed, Bard, Swarthmore, Amherst, Michigan, Middlebury, Berkeley, UCLA, Cal Tech, UC Santa Cruz, Wesleyan, Pitzer, UC Davis, UC San Diego, on and on and on.
    This [spring] these Tech seniors … [had] to commit to one university or another. Thanks to their hard work and the excellent preparation they received at Oakland Tech, their biggest dilemma isn’t will they go to college, but which excellent college to choose.
Chris Vernon, Oakland


    As an Oakland resident of 40 years and a retired Oakland Unified School District teacher, I wish to thank you for the article “Beating the Odds” [May 2007]. It is refreshing to see something positive being said about OUSD students. I want you to know that these 10 are representative of many of Oakland’s students. This could be an ongoing feature. Thanks again.

Neil Kalouner, Oakland


    Somerset is a very nice restaurant, serving very good food. However, there was no mention in your recent Dining Out article [May 2007] about the noise level at this restaurant, which, unfortunately, is about a four- or five-bell level. When the noise is that loud, the pleasure of eating is greatly diminished. My party of four couldn’t eat and run fast enough. When you are paying a considerable amount of money for a good meal in a nice restaurant, raising your voice to be heard at your own table shouldn’t be part of the equation.
I’m wondering if my attitude about noisy restaurants is out of sync with today’s restaurant patrons. It seems that people are drawn to crowded, bustling restaurants. Perhaps that is why no mention was given to the noise level at Somerset. Perhaps that is why in your Dining Guide, you have many symbols but not one that represents noise level. Perhaps there are a few readers out there that share my sentiments and know of some nice quiet places to dine in the Oakland area. I’d love to know about them.
    Stephanie Smith, Oakland


The name of Crown Wok, the Chinese restaurant under the popular lounge Arsimona, was misidentified in the June issue in the article “The Lounge Life.” The restaurant is at 1019 Clay St., (510) 625-1005.

The address of Seoul Gam Tang was incorrectly listed in the June dining review, “Oakland Seoul Food,” which visited three Korean restaurants. The address is 3801 Telegraph Ave., (510) 597-9989.


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