May 11, 2015 |
When the letter from the Gates Foundation landed on Lawndale Street in April, Virginia "Ginny" Dennis and her son Brandon started screaming. "Is Miss Ginny OK?" a neighbor asked as they stepped out of their Juniata Park rowhouse. "Because we heard her hollering. " More than OK. Miss Ginny's son had just been awarded a full scholarship to both college and graduate school. He's going to Harvard. At 17, Brandon Dixon is used to defying the odds. With the guidance of Dennis - a spirited, single mother who worked as a medical lab technician - he won a spot at Girard College in fifth grade and has received a free, college-prep education at the private school in Fairmount.
May 4, 2015 |
Stephen Girard trusted that Philadelphia officials would use his fortune and his detailed instructions to guide Girard College, the stone-walled, 43-acre boarding school for poor kids, after he died in 1831. They've been fighting about it ever since. Girard's may be "the most litigated will in history," Orphans' Court Judge Joseph O'Keefe noted last year, when he rejected the Board of Directors of City Trusts plan to close Girard's high school and dorms until it enlarges its endowment and improves its programs.
May 3, 2015 |
Now-aging firebrands who endured fear and pain to desegregate Girard College 50 years ago walked smiling past its imposing stone walls Friday. They were greeted on the steps of Founder's Hall by red-blazered students - mostly minorities - who applauded, then sang for the 10 so-called freedom fighters, whose efforts opened the school for the very kids who were honoring them. "We are your legacy," senior Brandon Dixon, a national scholarship winner bound for Harvard, told the one-time demonstrators, one of whom cried openly.
March 24, 2015 |
HATTIE MIMS found an unusual way to disarm a cop. She was demonstrating with Cecil B. Moore to force the integration of Girard College in 1966, and the police were taking some of the more rowdy protesters away. But when an officer came up to Hattie, apparently with every intent of putting her in handcuffs, she said, "I'll pray for you. " The cop went away - his blessing intact. Hattie Mims, a community and political activist and veteran of the civil-rights struggle of the 1960s, died March 11. She was 98 and lived for many years in West Philadelphia.
February 24, 2015 |
SABRINA ALLEN likes to say that she "bleeds basketball. " "Cut me open," she tells her Imhotep girls' basketball players, "that's all you are going to see is basketball. " The coach of the Panthers, in her sixth year, has turned the program into one of the most intense and consistent in the city. In other words, her players bleed basketball, too. And yesterday afternoon, Imhotep took home its second straight Public League championship by defeating Mastery Charter North, 61-33, at Saint Joseph's Hagan Arena.
January 9, 2015 |
KENNETH SALAAM yesterday recalled the May 1965 day when he joined others in protesting Girard College's policy of barring blacks from enrolling at the boarding school for disadvantaged boys. During seven months and 17 days of marching around the school's imposing stone wall, protesters were beaten, arrested and encouraged by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who stood on the back of a flatbed truck and predicted that the school's wall of segregation would fall like the biblical wall of Jericho, said Salaam, 65. In September 1968, the first four African-American boys were finally admitted to the tuition-free elementary and high school, whose student body is now predominantly black and coeducational.
January 9, 2015 |
For years, the Philadelphia-area celebration of Martin Luther King's Birthday has been a big, peaceful day of service driven by volunteers who fill backpacks, paint schools, and clean streets. Now, that tradition is poised to encounter a new and more assertive vision - a protest march that organizers say will bring 10,000 people to Center City, many propelled by the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island, N.Y. "While we recognize the importance of service, Dr. King was not assassinated because of his charity work.
December 28, 2014
BASKETBALL TROJAN HOLIDAY CLASSIC Wissahickon 56, Council Rock South 40: Ron Brundage scored 15 points to lead the host Trojans. Brandon Pace-Jerry added 13 points. Austin Thomas netted a game-high 17 points for the Golden Hawks. MARPLE NEWTOWN HOLIDAY TOURNAMENT Marple Newtown 82, Bishop Shanahan 70: Nick Giordano registered 35 points, including 22 points in a second half in which the host Tigers outscored the Eagles, 49-44. Jake McGee added 26 points and shot 8 for 8 from the foul line.
December 15, 2014 |
Jalynn Cage, 7, walked into Toyland and rubbed her hands together slowly, in delicious anticipation - 1,000 toys to choose from! In a moment, her arms were full, with a stuffed animal - "the biggest I could find" - a magic kit, and an arts-and-crafts set. The third grader from Edward T. Steel Elementary School in Philadelphia could barely see over her haul as she waited to pose with Santa. Behind her was Jaden Cooper, 6, a first grader at Girard College school, with a new basketball.
December 13, 2014 |
In the latest twist in the debate over the future of Girard College, the Board of Directors of City Trusts said Thursday that it would appeal an Orphans' Court decision barring the school from suspending its high school and boarding programs to save money. At the same time, the board pledged to operate the secondary program for four more years to ensure current eighth graders can graduate from the school in 2018-19. "Girard's financial challenges remain unresolved, and there is no doubt that they threaten the long-term survival of the school," board president Ronald R. Donatucci said in a statement.