Year in Review 2012: Rescue

Community groups, corporations and children showed their
humanitarian sides by saving schools, spreading an important message or raising funds
for a worthy cause.

By Lauren Hertzler

Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Dec. 27, 2012

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In 2012, community efforts kept spirits high as South Philadelphians remembered the importance of helping others, whether it be for those affected by Hurricane Sandy or their very own neighbors faced with a tragic house fire.

From rallying for education to building new homes for single parents to raising scholarship money for students in Haiti, area residents had their work cut out for them while boasting passion and a shared belief for a better future for the city, the nation and the world.


Ten Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School, 2600 S. Broad St., students were selected to perform at the Merriam Theater in the nationally touring “Wizard of Oz.” The casting company reached out the Marconi institution to cast some of the Munchkin roles.

St. Richard School became St. Pio Regional Catholic School after ardent community supporters and personnel rallied to keep its doors from closing.

A three-part series focused on the overwhelming changes affecting area Catholic schools. The Blue Ribbon Commission, an Archdiocese of Philadelphia-appointed entity, announced closings and mergers of nine of South Philly’s 10 elementary sites due to declining enrollment and the increased presence of charter schools. Its report proposed Annunciation B.V.M., 1148 Wharton St., would merge with St. Nicholas of Tolentine School, 913 Pierce St., at the latter site; St. Gabriel School, 2917 Dickinson St., would join St. Thomas Aquinas, 1719 Morris St., also at the latter location; and Epiphany of Our Lord, 1248 Jackson St., Holy Spirit, 1845 Hartranft St., Our Lady of Mount Carmel, 2329 S. Third St., Sacred Heart of Jesus, 1329 E. Moyamensing Ave., and St. Richard, 1826 Pollock St., would move to the shuttered Stella Maris building, 814 Bigler St. However, students, teachers and parents protested against the merging of schools. 


Debt and dwindling funds impacted many senior citizens at the Samuel S. Fels South Philadelphia Community Center, 2407 S. Broad St., when its overseer, Caring People Alliance, put it up for sale. The Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School discussed plans to purchase the site, spawning conflicting reactions.

The Philadelphia City Planning Commission’s Lower South District plan release vouched to intensify life and leisure for citizens, employees and visitors. Among the many proposed courses of action were adding a shopping center, revitalizing vacant buildings, improving traffic and attracting vendors to Pattison Avenue. 

Former Eagle Asante Samuel helped to revamp a home for a Grays Ferry matriarch.

Four-time Pro Bowl selection Asante Samuel, now an Atlanta Falcons cornerback, revamped a property on the 1400 block of South Marston Street to aid the first local venture for his Bring It Home Single Moms Foundation. Rasheeda Manning, a mother of two formerly of the 3000 block of Dickinson Street, occupied the Grays Ferry house shortly after.

February came to a close with news that some area schools had won their cases to remain open. St. Gabriel and St. Thomas Aquinas did not merge while the five-school merger was split into two locations, with St. Richard and Holy Spirit combining at the former’s location, later becoming St. Pio Regional Catholic School; and Our Lady of Mount Carmel uniting with Sacred Heart of Jesus at Epiphany of Our Lord School, later becoming Our Lady of Hope Regional Catholic School. Annunciation and St. Nicholas still were slated to join, later forming St. Anthony of Padua Regional Catholic School.


Horace Furness High School, 1900 S. Third St., and South Philadelphia High School, 2101 S. Broad St., students ventured from their traditional classrooms and studied energy-efficient philosophy at the Sustainability Workshop at The Navy Yard Quarters A, 1413 Langley Ave.

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