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South Philly H.S. Students Take On School Violence With Theatre

(South Philadelphia High School seniors Patricia Sophal and Keara Hampton awaiting their turn on stage at the Wilma Theatre.  Credit: Pat Loeb)

(South Philadelphia High School seniors Patricia Sophal and Keara Hampton awaiting their turn on stage at the Wilma Theatre. Credit: Pat Loeb)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A group of students at South Philadelphia High School has taken an unusual approach to combatting the interracial violence that rocked the school two years ago: they wrote a play about it.

The play, an entry in the Philadelphia Young Playwrights festival, is getting its professional production this week at the Wilma Theater.

The play is called “We Write South Philly High,” but what the students really wanted to do was rewrite the story of the school (see previous stories).

Senior Keara Hampton (at right in photo) helped write the play and acts in it.

“I hope it would change kids’ views of how the Asians and blacks and different races and stuff come together, because my friends, we come together all the time; we’re mixed. And I hope that they would see what we see,” she said today.

Hampton tells her own harrowing story in the play — of being beaten when she went to the aid of an Asian student during a day of violence at the school in 2009.

“I never told anyone — it’s the first time I’m telling people.  No one ever knew this happened to me,” Hampton said.

The play doesn’t dwell on the incident, though.  There are many funny moments, too.

Young Playwrights CEO Glen Knapp says “We Write South Philly High” gives not just the writers but audiences a chance to explore the healing power of art, “how, with their creativity, their voices, they can make a difference, they can make a change.”

Reported by Pat Loeb, KYW Newsradio 1060

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