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Clinton, Oprah, cash
Charitable Wheaton North student gets big surprises Friday
By James Fuller | Daily Herald Staff

Wheaton's Kendall Ciesemier was rewarded for her charitable efforts with a surprise visit from former President Bill Clinton and a trip to "The Oprah Winfrey Show" Friday. The show premieres Tuesday.

 

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Published: 9/1/2007 12:33 AM | Updated: 9/1/2007 3:47 PM

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Oprah Winfrey usually is associated with "The Color Purple."

But Wheaton's Kendall Ciesemier may always link the television star to the color green -- as in money.

The unsuspecting Wheaton North High School freshman went to school Friday expecting nothing more exciting than a morning assembly.

What she didn't realize was, the assembly, featuring former President Bill Clinton was in her honor.

Clinton gave a speech about how proud he was of Wheaton North for its active work with charities, before calling a stunned Ciesemier up on stage, said sophomore Shannon Malahy, a sophomore.

The students gave Ciesemier a thundering standing ovation.

"She almost fainted, I think," Malahy said.

Three years ago, Ciesemier established Kids Caring 4 Kids, a non-profit group that raises money for AIDS orphans in Africa. To date, she's raised $100,000.

After the assembly, Clinton whisked Ciesemier off to tape an episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" spotlighting the orphans' plight.

Ciesemier got the idea for Kids Caring 4 Kids from a previous Winfrey show.

While Clinton spoke of his charitable work and forthcoming book called, "Giving," Ciesemier talked about her charity, announcing her ultimate goal is to raise $1 million for the orphans.

During a commercial break, Clinton received a message which he shared with Ciesemier on the air: An anonymous person had just donated $500,000 to her charity.

When will it air?

"The Oprah Winfrey Show" featuring Wheaton North freshman Kendall Ciesemier and former President Bill Clinton airs at 9 a.m. Tuesday on ABC 7.

• For information on Kids Caring 4 Kids go to www.kidscaring4kids.org

• Daily Herald staff writer Jack Komperda contributed to this report.