Monday, October 22, 2012

Saul HS in the News

The Inquirer has caught on to the talent as Saul High School and has recently run two great stories showcasing the great people and unique qualities of the school.
At Saul High, Talented Crop of Students, Saturday, October 20th
Here is an excerpt: "There's no other place like this," Bonaparte said of the Roxborough school, set on busy Henry Avenue with cars whizzing by.
True. At no other city school are there two farmers on staff. Nowhere else in the Philadelphia School District will you find students hauling 50-pound feed bags, driving tractors, harvesting eggplant, studying milk produced on site for bacteria, and caring for horses.
(It also has Pennsylvania's largest chapter of FFA, the organization formerly known as Future Farmers of America, and one of the biggest chapters in the country, FFA officials confirmed.)
One of a handful of agricultural high schools nationwide, Saul is one of the largest of its kind. It's long been a below-the-radar gem, a well-regarded city magnet school.
But lately, Saul has been on a roll.
Junior Isaiah Nelson, an aspiring botanist from West Oak Lane, recently won a state agriculture science fair and is headed to nationals - the first Saul student to do so.
And teacher Jessica McAtamney, who has helped develop a large community-supported agricultural (CSA) program at the school, just returned from the White House, where she was honored as a "Champion of Change" for her work with Saul students.”
The school offers multiple Advanced Placement courses, and 75 percent of its graduates go on to college. Last year's top student is attending Cornell University's agriculture school.…
The school, which requires strong grades for admission, has a diverse student body - 63 percent African American, 23 percent white, 12 percent Hispanic. Ten percent of its students require special-education services, and 62 percent are considered economically disadvantaged.

Many pupils travel on multiple buses for an hour or more a day to get to Saul. The school has an open campus, with students moving among buildings on both sides of Henry Avenue several times a day.
Saul students said they find themselves picking up bits of knowledge they never knew they would be acquiring such as: "You can feel it when a cow steps on your toe, even if you're wearing steel-toed boots," Bonaparte said. And: When the lettuce you grew at the school appears in your salad in the cafeteria, you feel a particular sense of pride. Also: Animals need to be fed and cared for, even when the weather is bad.
"I walked my sheep in the rain, hail, and snow," said senior Debbie Mayo.
The spotlight is nice, said McAtamney. And so is a renewed focus on urban agriculture.
"It's been happening at Saul for so long," McAtamney said. "But now it's hip, which is great for us."

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