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Frankford Friends Gets the Job Done

Lisa and Ben Handy

Lisa and Ben Handy watched the ribbon cutting at the new building at Frankford Friends School with more than curiosity last Saturday.  They stood holding the hand of their daughter Angelina, a 6 year old student at the school, knowing that the school had taken a giant leap ahead in improving the physical facilities.  It is not that they were dissatisfied, they praised it highly when I talked to them a few days later in their cozy living room in their house on Sellers Street in Frankford.

They moved into that house on the day Angelina was born and as many new parents do, began thinking about schools.  They had not become Quakers at that point and were not really aware that there was a Friends school only blocks away.  Things happen in life and they became aware of the Society of Friends as they were searching for a place of worship.  The Quakers seemed like it might be good fit and they paid a visit and it just felt right.  So when it was time for Angelina to start school they were willing to to what they thought was the best thing for her and aimed at Frankford Friends.

The tuition is a large hurdle for them but they believe it is well worth it.  The philosophy of the school fits in with their beliefs; a form of education which will develop an attitude of courageous indepen­dence, a readiness for responsibility, and a spiritual basis for life.  Ben and Lisa are now looking 8 years ahead and wish that Friends could have a high school running by the time the have to think about that.

The new building does present a contrast to the old.  On the one side is the meeting house, a wood frame clapboard structure.  Only feet away is the new building of glass and steel with a skin of warm toned clapboard style boards.  On the inside, it is big with classrooms in the back away from the street.  On the street side is an open space that could be a gym, auditorium or play space.  The ceiling soars high and the space is filled with light.

See the slide show below:

The building was dedicated in honor of Madge Trickey who was a vital part of the Meeting and school for many years.  You can read about her in this piece by Joe Hohenstein at this link.  Congratulations to Frankford Friends who got this project done the Quaker way.

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Phila. Sculptors “Catagenesis” Brings Renewal to the Globe Dye Works and Frankford!

Step inside and you feel it! The present takes you back to the past yet reminds us we must go forward. Frankford was home to many mills and manufactoring companies and one of the most noteworthy is the Globe Dye Works. Founded in 1865 as a dye factory for the area textile mills who produced cloth and yarn, the Greenwood family operated the Globe Dye Works until 2005. The Globe Development Group acquired this building in 2007 and has been hard at work reinventing this facility as a workplace and showplace for creative professionals in the city. Be sure to explore their website to learn much more –

The latest happening has been the opening of “Catagenesis”, sponsored by the Philadelphia Sculptors“Catagenesis” means that a concept is broken down so that it has a new beginning and progresses until it’s renewed. This idea was at the core of this project as the artists “repurposed, and ultimately transformed a former industrial structure into a place of growth and creativity” (from the Philadelphia Sculptors web site). Artists from Canada, Israel, the United States including the Globe’s resident artists will “repurpose” discarded Globe equipment and other left materials into an exhibition that will run from each weekend, Saturdays and Sundays from Noon until 5 P.M., September 9 through October 21.

We attended the opening (which featured a Wine and Cheese party) and walked throughout the ground floor and first floor through exhibitions and demonstrations marveling at the attendance and the sculptures. These sculptures are something you must experience – lights, movement, motion and “live” sculpture. Be sure to schedule time to visit “Catagenesis at the Globe Dye Works” located at 4500 Worth St. (Kinsey and Worth Sts.)  To give you a taste of what you can experience, watch the short video below.

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Red Carpet Rolled Our for First Day of Kindergarten

It was a big day for the five year olds at Edmunds on Tuesday, September 11th.  I should use the new name which is The Philadelphia Charter School for Arts and Sciences at H. R. Edmunds.  The kids entering kindergarten were welcomed to the school by the principal Susan Feola, and entered the building walking on a red carpet and under an archway of red and blue balloons.  It was quite a memorable occasion.

The school building looks great inside, fresh paint obvious all around. I’m looking forward to getting back there again this year.   Another great school in Northwood/Frankford can only enhance the neighborhood.

This is a short clip of the kids walking the red carpet.


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iPRAXIS looking for mentors to work with middle school students again this year

Following a successful 2011 year that culminated in a December Science Fair at the St Joachim annex of Northwood Academy Charter School, iPRAXIS is once again looking for volunteers to mentor middle school students.

Via the iPraxis website:

The mission of iPRAXIS is to open the doors of science and discovery to new generations through innovative educational programming.  iPRAXIS works to connect resources with under-served communities, allowing more opportunities in scientific enterprise for people of all backgrounds. iPRAXIS encourages the active participation in the sciences through advocacy and outreach.

Cordell stands next to his electrified field experiment from last year’s science fair

From Megan Hopkins-Doer, former Northwood Academy teacher and current iPRAXIS program director:

At iPRAXIS we are getting ready for the upcoming school year and so I am busy recruiting volunteers.  As such, I would love if the announcement for volunteers could be put into the Frankford Gazette.  This year, we plan on continuing to support the science program at Northwood Academy Charter school, as well as our other Philadelphia schools.

As background, we recruit volunteer STEM experts to go to our partner middle schools in Philadelphia to expose students to the STEM disciplines and increase their excitement for, and understanding of, science.   We work with several schools across Philadelphia, including Cook-Wissahickon.  This is a link detailing our impact over the years –

Last year we had 7 judges from various sources such as Temple and Penn graduate students, a Boeing engineer, and several judges from Thermo Fisher Scientific review and interview the students at Northwood’s Science Fair.  Then volunteers from GlaxoSmithKline and Temple came weekly to Northwood to mentor the winners from the Science Fair as they prepared to compete in Philadelphia city-wide Science Fair, GW Carver.  iPRAXIS also provided engineering experts to guide students in two afterschool engineering clubs: Future City competition and Junior Solar Sprint competition.  In addition, iPRAXIS brought six presenters to Northwood to provide presentations that supported the curriculum and expanded the students’ knowledge of potential careers.  At one of these presentations, John McNeil the CEO of the Eastern Regional Cancer Treatment Centers of America, and Dr. Richard Schmidt an oncologist, spoke to students about cancer and some of the treatment options.  At this presentation, Mr. McNeil and Dr. Schmidt were very impressed with the level of questions the students provided and encouraged by the response they received.

The school year is quickly approaching and so I am currently in the process of finding volunteers.   Our volunteers range from students from the region’s universities to PGW engineers to leading surgeons (such as Dr. George Spaeth of Wills Eye).   I have attached several flyers with different types of volunteering opportunities, but our biggest need is for mentors.  This year we will work with the following schools: Belmont Academy (W Phila), Cook-Wissahickon (Roxborough), Girard College (N Phila), Lea (W Phila), Martha Washington (W Phila), Memphis St Charter (Port Richmond), and Northwood Academy (Frankford).

[PDF] general scienteer flyer with school names – presenter

[PDF] general scienteer flyer with school names – afterschool mentor

[PDF] general scienteer flyer with school names – presenter

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Young Heroes Award 2012

left to right Mr and Mrs Ragsdale, uncle and aunt, younger brother Edmund Jr, mother Pamela Dawkins, Antoinette and father, Edmond Dawkins Sr.

The National Liberty Museum hosted the 12th Annual Young Heroes Award Ceremony on Thursday, August 9th. Twenty students from throughout southeastern PA and central NJ received the award which is presented to students in grades 1 through 12 and from any kind of school (public, charter or private).  Awardees were recognized for their service to community and school and showed leadership and the ability to make a change.

Frankford High School graduate Antoinette Dawkins received the award for the many volunteer hours she spent on projects throughout the Frankford neighborhood and the city.