“A life of wisdom consists of constantly letting go.” Francisco Varela
Nineteen-twelve was the beginning of
Westward expansion for Philadelphians.
Even then, the city of brotherly love had envy
Longing to regain whatever had been lost since independence was won.
The school district was not strong,
Too few schools for the growing number of youth who
Looked to education to move beyond
The status that denied them the American dream.
Progressives called out the people and power
Letting it be known that schools were sacred,
Almost temple like in their ability to promote
Wide arrays of skills.
There was book learning.
There was skills training.
There was training in the arts and physical abilities.
There was the school as the social and civic hub of the neighborhood it served.
Schools could be more than warehouses of indoctrination
If only the energy of the people and means of the powerful
Could come together
And transform education under this new vision.
Building West Philadelphia High School,
An imposing building meant to change lives,
Meant to realize education’s potential.
Philadelphia temporarily let go of its inferiority.
Philadelphia temporarily let go of limited thinking.
Philadelphia sought more and
Sought more for the betterment of all.
Photo Credit: Phillyhistory.org via Google Images