By Paul Kurtz
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Former students at the recently closed Germantown High School got a look at their new school and new classmates today.
The annual BLOC (“Building Leaders in Our Community”) party was launched at Martin Luther King High in 2011 shortly after the school was designated a “promise academy” — targetted for turnaround — by the School District of Philadelphia. The outdoor festival gives students, faculty, and neighbors a chance to get acquainted while learning what’s in store for the upcoming school year.
But today’s event featured a large number of newbies. More than 300 students have transferred from Germantown High (a longtime rival of MLK), which shut down at the end of the 2012-2013 school year (see related story).
Naturally, some of the refugees, including sophomore Tayesha Smith, are nervous, “because a lot of the people here don’t like each other. So it’s going to be kind of hard to find people to hang out with without upsetting someone else.”
For athletes, like these two football players, the transition has been a little easier — they’ve been working out together for a couple of weeks.
“It’s kind of different, going from being King’s rival to playing with them,” said one. “But at the end of the day we’re here to play football, so it’s not really a conflict.”
“It’s going good,” said the other. “We’re all bonding as a team, as a family.”
Principal William Wade says the “merger,” as the school district characterizes it, has gone very well so far.