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‘Choice Bus’ Brings Stark Message To High School Students in Kensington

(The "Choice Bus," outside Kensington Business High School.  Credit: Mike DeNardo)

(The “Choice Bus,” outside Kensington Business High School. 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 half school bus, half prison cell.  And today it presented a choice to students at the Kensington Business High School who got on board.

Students board the bus to see a video explaining the choice — choose school and make money, or drop out and risk jail time.

“You’ve been told a million times:  stay in school,” the narrator begins.

Kensington Business High School principal Dr. Eileen Weissman says the program then strengthens that basic pitch with facts, figures… and more.

“When they step on this bus, they get to see that you can make a million dollars more in a lifetime if you continue with your education, whether it’s college or preparation for a career,” notes Dr. Weissman.

After the video, a curtain is pulled back to reveal a mock jail cell, complete with bunk beds and a stainless steel sink and toilet (photo below).

Iletzy Melendez, a junior at Kensington Business, says the “Choice Bus” reinforced her decision to get an education.

“I chose to go to school because I want to make something of my life,” she says.  “I don’t want to just not go to school and be on the streets.  I want to make money and I want to be successful.”

(The choice presented by the Choice Bus is between staying in school and possibly ending up in a jail cell.  Photo by Mike DeNardo)

(The choice presented by the Choice Bus is between staying in school and possibly ending up in a jail cell. Photo by Mike DeNardo)

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Fellow junior Greg Torres also got the message.

“I don’t want to end up in prison,” he said.  “Waking up it’s like, I don’t want to come to school, but then again it’s like, I don’t want to end up in prison.  If I drop out of school, that’s most likely where I’ll end up being.”

The bus, which visits schools around the country, is operated by the Alabama-based Mattie C. Stewart Foundation.


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