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And a group of filmmakers from James Madison University and the University of Virginia are making sure the world knows about it.

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The Abaarso School of Science and Technology , an intermediate and secondary academy in northwest Somalia, sent its first students to study at American colleges in The efforts of the school, launched by former hedge fund founder Jonathan Starr, is the subject of the upcoming documentary, Abaarso working title , produced by U. The three filmmakers, all Northern Virginia natives, will travel to Somalia this month to complete the filming of the project. They hope to release the documentary in Starr, the subject of numerous articles, including a feature in Emory University magazine , closed his quarter-billion dollar hedge fund in and moved to Somalia to open the school.

Decades of civil unrest, war and terrorism have crippled the country. It is a breeding ground for at-risk youth.


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The school was created to provide promising Somali students access to something that could elevate them out of turmoil, and possibly change the future of the country: an education. In , Abaarso sent its first student to America for a one-year fellowship at Worcester Academy. A handful of them received admission and scholarships to American universities.

Midnight in Chattanooga The game, the team and the dream behind the rise of JMU FB

Today, 29 Abaarso students are studying at boarding schools and universities in the United States, including Amherst, Georgetown and Carnegie Mellon. The campus—a meter-bymeter hilltop rectangle in the middle of the desert—has grown into a community of around students and 15 faculty and staff. Still, the odds are stacked against Abaarso students. They are submitting grades from a school no one knows, taking standardized tests written in another language.

Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. During a five-year stretch in the middle of the decade, the James Madison Dukes emerged as one of the elite programs in FCS football. Behind a confident coach and an established recruiting pipeline, the Dukes steamrolled their way to four playoff appearances, one national championship and a record from The origins of this run, however, began much earlier - During a five-year stretch in the middle of the decade, the James Madison Dukes emerged as one of the elite programs in FCS football.

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The origins of this run, however, began much earlier - in critical moments and decisions made during a long rebuilding effort. Madison football had most recently been marked by poor attendance, young players, mediocrity and tragedy when the season opened. And yet there also existed a foundation of camaraderie, purpose and talent - the building blocks of a successful program. As the '04 season got underway, the backdrop of an embattled coach, a quarterback controversy and a family in pain gave way to thrilling plays, comeback victories, and a historic run that changed the future of the program.

In Midnight in Chattanooga, James Irwin examines the disparity between the pre- and post-championship landscapes of JMU football, giving readers an exclusive look at the pivotal season - and game - that catapulted the Dukes to the upper levels of the FCS arms race. Fortunate to cover the Dukes throughout the season, Irwin weaves through a powerful story of a group of men on the doorstep of their first championship, the friendships they developed, the tragedies they overcame, and the community that embraced them. Get A Copy.

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