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Philadelphia’s Performing Arts High School Celebrates 30th Anniversary

(Theresa Casper Nelson greets founding CAPA principal Dr. John Vannoni at Friday's Broad and Spruce Sts. ceremony.  Credit: Mike DeNardo)

(Theresa Casper Nelson greets founding CAPA principal Dr. John Vannoni at Friday’s Broad and Spruce Sts. ceremony. Credit: Mike DeNardo)

Mike DeNardo Mike DeNardo
Mike DeNardo, a veteran of KYW Newsradio for more than 25 years,...
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By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s a Philadelphia high school that has given us Boyz II Men, QuestLove, and Tony Luke.

And alumni of the High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (“CAPA”) were celebrating a milestone today.

“Some of us write, some of us draw.  I can’t dance, but a lot of other people can,” says Theresa Casper Nelson of the CAPA Alumni Association.

CAPA alumni gathered today in front of the Atlantic Building, at Broad and Spruce Streets, where the school began in 1978.

Back then, the classrooms were divided by chalkboards, says founding principal Dr. John Vannoni.

“(It was) the first day of a very long adventure,” he recalls, “with work going on around us all the time, turning offices into studios.”

Nelson also remembers the humble beginnings.

“They had to be creative in order to be creative,” she tells KYW Newsradio.

A mayoral proclamation read at the sidewalk ceremony honored the 30th anniversary of the school’s first full four-year graduating class, in 1982.

CAPA has been housed since 1997 at the old Ridgway Library, at Broad and Christian Streets.

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