Business Leaders Respond to Tenn. Students Letters

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Students at an inner city school in Memphis, Tenn. recently got the attention of several high- powered business executives when they petitioned them to help meet the needs of their struggling school.

As part of a homework assignment, a fifth grade class at Sherwood Elementary wrote letters to the CEOs and CFOs of major corporations in the U.S. explaining what it was like attend to school in inner city Memphis.

The purpose of the assignment was to demonstrate that you have to do more than just ask for something.

"They had to do more than just ask for things, they had to justify and only ask for things that help the entire school," Boyd told ABC News.

Several weeks after sending their letters, the students - who never expected to hear back from the business leaders - began receiving responses.

First, the kids received thousands of new textbooks.

"I walked in the library and I saw so many books just stacked up on one big table and I was really astonished," student Isaac Ramirez said.

In addition, Hewlett Packard gave the school three new computer labs. A local sporting goods manufacturer donated $30,000 worth of gym equipment.

Also, Turner Construction -- the company that built the new Yankee Stadium -- is now building the school a $50,000 playground.

"We thought it was incumbent upon us to try and help this one school that was reaching out for help," Turner CEO Peter Davoren said. "We thought it was really important to do that on a small scale -- it would have just as much impact as the scale of Yankee Stadium."

"I felt amazed that a guy, a guy who is the leader of a major company would respond back to my letter," said fifth grader Tristan, who had written about his school's need for a place where students could exercise.

"When I read the letter, it reminded me of the fact that I have a fifth grader of my own, named Thomas," Davoren told ABC News. "It was very articulate, it was written very, very well."

The students were amazed at the responses to their letters and said that they are thankful that so many people care about their school.  

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