I tip my hat to Diane Sawyer and ABC News for helping change the lives of these students. This is amazing!
ABC News Viewers Help Struggling Philadelphia High School
Dec. 12, 2013
Following our ABC News program on “Fear and Hope at Strawberry Mansion,” we wanted to share with our viewers ways to help the school. Click HERE for information.
Strawberry Mansion High School, located in a poor Philadelphia neighborhood with a high crime rate, was once considered one of the most dangerous schools in the country.
A school plagued by violence, it spent years on the state of Pennsylvania’s “Persistently Dangerous Schools” list.
In a special ABC News “Hidden America” report on the school that first aired in May, Diane Sawyer and ABC News producers followed the daily lives of the school’s students and faculty, including its new principal, during the 2012-2013 school year. ABC News went back in November for a follow-up to see how Strawberry Mansion was fairing in the new school year.
For the first time in six years, Strawberry Mansion High is no longer on the “Persistently Dangerous Schools” list.
After both specials aired, ABC viewers donated money that has helped breathe new life into Strawberry Mansion.
The generosity of ABC viewers have helped provide school uniforms, jackets for the school’s first football team, warm-up suits for the basketball team, school trips, PSAT and ACT prep classes, as well as scholarships for seniors heading off to college. Viewer donations also helped provide basic necessities that were missing at Strawberry Mansion, including books, notebooks and calculators.
After seeing the special, hip-hop artist Drake also donated a recording studio.
“Your special challenged viewers to move beyond the stereotypes about why children may fight. You showed the world that if they help, life can be better for these students,” Principal Linda Cliatt-Wayman wrote in a letter to ABC News.
“You created a way for my students’ talents to be shared with the world. You allowed the whole community to see that Mansion is a SCHOOL, not a place to hang out and await a too-common lifetime in poverty, but a place where dreams can begin,” Cliatt-Wayman continued. “Most of call, you helped give my students hope for a future. That may not seem like much, but in this community, it is everything.”