NEW ORLEANS — Actress Sandra Bullock was inducted Friday into a New Orleans high school's "Hall of Fame" after donating tens of thousands toward rebuilding the public school heavily flooded by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Bullock took the auditorium stage at Warren Easton High School to a standing ovation from about 300 people. She said she couldn't take all the credit for renovations after the school suffered $4 million in damages from nearly 10 feet of floodwater from the storm.
"I just write the checks," the actress said, adding she "rides the coattails of people who do amazing things."
Bullock's portrait _ drawn in crayon by her 5-year-old stepdaughter Sunny _ was added to a school hallway alongside dozens of portraits of alumni who went on to become famous musicians, sports stars, judges and doctors.
The exact amount of her donation hasn't been made public. But Bullock called it "the best investment I ever made."
In an interview, Bullock said she was "embarrassed" by the federal government's slow response after Katrina and felt compelled to help however she could.
Her donation helped fund scholarships, new band uniforms and renovations of the school auditorium. She said providing for new band uniforms was important because of New Orleans' rich music history. School graduates include jazz clarinetist Pete Fountain, also in the hall of fame.
"It's not just reading, writing and arithmetic," she said. "Where's the joy in life? In New Orleans, it's in music."
Bullock has visited the school many times since Katrina. Warren Easton, a predominantly black inner city school, dates its origins to 1844 as one of Louisiana's oldest public schools.
Bullock was joined Friday by her husband, celebrity motorcycle builder Jesse James, and James' daughter Sunny.
Besides charity work, Bullock has been busy with her movie career. Her romantic comedy "The Proposal," costarring Ryan Reynolds, is due in theaters in June.
She is producing and starring in the comedy "All About Steve," which is expected to be released later this year. And she is currently filming the drama "The Blind Side" in Atlanta.