Lake Balboa school honors Daniel Pearl

first_imgThe school program, outgoing magnet coordinator David Jay said, will ensure that students remember Pearl more for his work than for his murder. “It gives them a role model,” he said. “He had ideals and he remained true to them. He had courage in all that he did.” brent.hopkins@dailynews.com (818) 713-3738160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! LAKE BALBOA – Danny Pearl never wrote for his high school newspaper. When the reporter – murdered by terrorists while on assignment for the Wall Street Journal in Pakistan in 2002 – roamed the halls of Birmingham High School, there was no paper. Back in 1981, an English class was the closest thing the violin-playing teen could find to journalism. It was enough to get him hooked. His alma mater has changed dramatically over the years, adding a paper, a film studio and television production facility. On Wednesday, it took things one step further and renamed its entire magnet program the Daniel Pearl Journalism and Communications Magnet in his honor. “Danny’s name is not on a building as a gravestone,” said his mother, Ruth Pearl. “It’s a cornerstone, a marker for where new journalists can grow.” Birmingham’s magnet program dates back 14 years and boasts an enrollment of 500 students in writing, editing, film and animation classes. In addition to the name he lends to the coursework, Pearl’s legacy also serves as inspiration to the students. “He was tolerant and courageous,” said Emmanuel Ponce, 18, of Panorama City, a senior who works on the school’s television station. “He never gave up, never went back. He stood for bravery and I think that as students, we could all learn from that.” At the Wednesday morning ceremony, family and admirers remembered Pearl as a sensitive, empathetic chronicler of the ignored, forgotten and marginalized. He could, they recalled, make the most boring story pop with enthusiasm or coax a quote from the most reticent source. The son of an Israeli and an Iraqi Jew, Pearl traveled extensively in the Middle East, drawing on his background to spin tales of Iranian carpetmakers, the Queen of Sheba, and ultimately, terrorism. As he investigated alleged links between Al Qaeda and the Pakistani government, kidnappers calling themselves the National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty grabbed him. A week later, Feb. 1, 2002, they murdered him in an anti-Semitic propaganda video circulated on the Internet. last_img