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The Boston Globe


May 8, 2011

An early education in the meaning of ‘no’

In school lottery, living close simply isn’t enough

Sawyer Bowen-Flynn is a lifelong resident of the North End, an expert navigator of its busy sidewalks, a connoisseur of its Italian bakeries. But one neighborhood landmark is this 4-year-old’s anchor: the red brick schoolhouse across from her front door.

Since she learned to talk, Sawyer has called the playground at the Eliot K-8 School “my park.” Last summer, when city streets grew steamy, she watered the flowers at the school to keep them from dying. When she kneels on her living room couch and looks out the windows, she sometimes spies her friends in their classrooms. “There’s Isabella!” she’ll exclaim, banging on the glass and waving.

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