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Pressure Cooker

Opening this weekend at the Ritz at the Bourse is “Pressure Cooker” a documentary filmed at Frankford High School.  City Paper has a good review today.  Also if you attend this weekend you can meet the film makers and subjects of the film.

Pressure Cooker

There has been a lot of comment on the Wilma Stephenson manner in working with the kids in the film. I met her at Frankford a few months ago. The Frankford Business and Professional Association had a meeting at Frankford and had lunch prepared and served by the students of the Culinary Academy. Mrs Stevenson was no more demanding than my first sergeant in the air Force. She has standards and the students have to meet them. That is what we should expect from a good teacher.

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Coming Up in Frankford

  • Grand Army of the Republic Museum Open HouseNext Week In Frankford
    When-Sun, June 7, 12pm – 5pm
    Where-4278 Griscom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19124 (map)
    Description-Presentation at 1:30 PM: Civil War Navy Bob Hanrahan
  • Historical Society of Frankford
    When-Sun, June 7, 1pm – 4pm
    Where-1507 Orthodox St., Philadelphia, PA 19124 (map)
    Description-ANTIQUES APPRAISAL FAIR with Barry Slosberg, ASA, ISA, CAI. “Antiques Roadshow” meets Northeast Philadelphia. Have your family heirlooms appraised for $7 per item (maximum 3 items)
  • Historical Society of Frankford program
    When-Tue, June 9, 7:30pm – 9:00pm
    Where-1507 Orthodox St., Philadelphia, PA 19124 (map)
    Description-Salad, Dessert Social. Bring a salad or dessert to share. 7:30 pm — Presentation & Display: “Philadelphia Flag Day Association Historical Flags and Banners”.
    When-Fri, June 12, 3pm – 6pm
    Where-1900 ORTHODOX STREET, PHILADELPHIA, PA 19124 (Lot with Black Walnut Tree upon it) (map)

    Description-The Lewis family will host their 2nd Annual Alex’s Lemonade Stand as part of the National Lemonade Days weekend on beginning Friday, June 12th, 13th, 14th, 2009 from 3pm-6pm, 1900 Orthodox Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Frankford Section of the City of Philadelphia).

  • Northwood Civic Association Meeting
    When-Tue, June 16, 7pm – 8pm
    Where-St. James Lutheran Church, at Castor Avenue and Pratt Street. (map)
  • Frankford Festival
    When-Sat, June 20, 11am – 4pm
    Where-Overington Park, Leiper St. and Orthodox St. (map)
    Descriptio-nMoonbounce, Dunk Tank (Featuring Representative Tony J. Payton, District 179 as the target) Petting zoo Rock Climbing Wall (Army National Guard) Face painting contest (St. James Church) T-shirt stamping and painting contest Northeast Philly Idol contest Gardening Demonstration (Frankford Garden Club) Gardening Hands-on activity Flea Market – Friends of Overington Park
  • Super multi family multi block yard sale
    When-Sat, June 20, 8am – 3pm
    Where-4600 block od Griscom St Arrott to Orthodox and 1500 block Overington St. (map)
    Description-Super multi family multi block yard sales spots available! Fee: free for residents of block or $5.00 donation requested to benefit Overington House Inc. for non resident spacees first come first serve. Special features: 50-50 raffle, FCDC Festival at Overington Park going on at Lieper and Orthodox on this date, hack sack demonstration, face painting, close to El, Arrott St terminal, voter registration table, business card exchange table, free item table and more things will be added by then. Items for sale include new and used items, clothing, shoes, appliances, plants, used furniture, toys, books and other variety of items. Any other blocks interested in joining in feel free!
  • Gambrel’s Wet & Wild Summer Splash Off
    When-Fri, June 26, 12pm – 4pm
    Where-Gambrel Recreation Center, 1900 Wakeling St. Phila. PA 19124 (map)
    Description-Office of Councilwoman Maria D. Quinones Sanchez & Gambrel’s Advisory Council invites you to Gambrel’s Wet & Wild Summer Splash Off Councilwoman Sanchez and other community residents celebrate the Grand Opening of Gambrel’s brand new Playground and Spray Park! Food, Fun and Games for Everyone! See what activities and programs your recreation center has in your community. Highlights – ribon cutting of Playground & Spray Park – Face painting – Potato Sack Race For more information call Jason Dawkins at 267-992-0729
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Frankford High School Culinary Academy


A few weeks ago the Frankford Business and Professional Association had a meeting at Frankford High and we had lunch courtesy of the Culinary Academy.  I had heard about this part of Frankford before but had not had the up close and personal look see.  The students put on an impressive meal.

This week in the Northeast Times, John Loftus writes about the Academy and the movie that has been making the rounds of the film festivals.  Titled Pressure Cooker, it will open June 12 at the Ritz Bourse theater in Center City.  The film was shot during the 2006-97 school year and was done much like a reality TV show.  It captures the action as the students learn what it takes to work in the restaurant business.

Most impressive was their no nonesense teacher, Wilma Stephenson.

In the movie, Stephenson asks new students if they’ve heard about her. As they raise their hands, she tells them whatever they heard, it’s 500 times worse.

And she get amazing results.   This is a triumph in an urban school.

This year’s graduates have tallied $672,000 in scholarships, Stephenson said. According to the movie’s publicity material, 53 of her students have received more than $3 million in scholarships to attend culinary schools as well as four-year and community colleges.

Watch for the movie when it comes and a DVD is soon to follow.

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Frankford High’s new principal visits Northwood Civic

Ed Koch, the new principal,  also spoke briefly at the Frankford CDC board meeting before going over to St. James.

Plans were in the works for Koch, a 34-year veteran of the School District of Philadelphia, to become principal at the high school.

When he arrived for the visit, he saw students hanging outside.

“I thought they were there to valet park,” he said.

Inside, he saw students roaming the hallways like they were at a mall.

“I thought I was at Macy’s and missed a sale,” he said.

Read the entire story on the Northeast Times.