Lost in the education system, two West Philly natives on what got them into — and out of — jail

Lost in the education system, two West Philly natives on what got them into — and out of — jail

Josh Glenn was first introduced to the world of drug dealing when he was 13. When he was working as a bagger at local grocery stores, someone from his West Philadelphia community approached him, asking if he would be interested in making “real money.” “There were no role models, no mentorship, we didn’t have anything in our community,” Glenn said. “The role models were people who were selling drugs, they would come up to me looking flashy, having good money and would try and get me to sell drugs.” Glenn was constantly approached and pressured to start dealing, eventually getting worn down. The police, Glenn said, would often target people in his community. In 2005, he was charged with aggravated assault with a weapon. He said that he didn’t commit the crime, but the police charged him based on a complaint, and he found himself in jail for the next 18 months. Glenn admitted that had a brief criminal drug history prior to...
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The overwhelming joy of graduation day

The overwhelming joy of graduation day

Each morning and each night I look at my journalism degree from Temple University, I remember the challenges I overcame to get it, including the fear of never receiving it at all. The overwhelming euphoria I felt when it finally arrived in the mail is something I still carry to this day. It can never really be replicated or taken away. In the beginning, I never saw myself attending college. I never saw it as the important factor it would become in my life. I grew up in and still live in North Philadelphia. A college graduate is something not often seen coming from a low income household or an impoverished neighborhood. I remember walking through my neighborhood on graduation day, a cool spring day, twiddling my fingers as my gown blew in the breeze. This would actually be my second degree. The first came from the Community College of Philadelphia just a few years prior. Though I was older, and some things...
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This new giving circle funds struggling Philly schools

This new giving circle funds struggling Philly schools

It was about a year and a half ago when Andy Toy read an article about a school in Germantown that was struggling with funds. The principal, Toy recalled, had only $34 and couldn’t afford to purchase many amenities for his students. However, within a few days of the article being published, the school received thousands of dollars in donations and the principal was able to move forward in buying the things that his school needed. That’s when the idea of the Philadelphia Public School Giving Circle (PPSGC) took hold. “To me the lightbulb kind of went off and was like, if we could get everybody out there and do the same thing, people would give because people are interested in giving,” said Toy, development and communications manager of Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Associations Coalition (SEAMAAC). “There is a big need out there.” With PPSGC, there is a strong focus on regular neighborhood public schools, especially those in low-income areas and have limited fundraising capacity within their communities,...
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Connecting young minds through code

Connecting young minds through code

Returning Home When Sylvester Mobley returned from Iraq he wanted to find a way to make a community impact in his city. He really didn’t know what that would be, but when he began to really look at the issues of diversity in technology, something became apparent. Most of the tech industry did not look like him or come from the same upbringing as he did. “When I was really looking into why it there was such a lack of diversity in the tech industry, one of the things I kept landing on was education,” Mobley said. Before joining the Army National Guard in 2006, Mobley was in the Air Force Reserves where he became a computer, network, cryptographic switching systems specialist. In this field of work some of Mobley’s responsibilities included setting up, troubleshooting and fixing computer systems. He also setup networks, servers and software among other things. Mobley had the technical training and experience, but he was also college educated. He attended Temple...
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School community gathers to condemn violence against student

School community gathers to condemn violence against student

Though the clouds hung heavy above the School District of Philadelphia headquarters at 440 Broad, students and teachers gathered in front of the building to rally in support of Benjamin Franklin High School student Brian Burney. Burney, a junior at Ben Franklin and member of the Philadelphia Student Union, said he was assaulted by a school police office while attempting to use the bathroom at his school. In a statement released by the union, the incident occurred when Burney left class to go use the restroom. He found that the bathrooms on the fourth and third floors were locked. On the third floor, Burney was told by school Police Officer Jeffrey Machiocha that he needed a pass in order to use the bathroom. An argument took place and Burney threw an orange against the wall. Soon after, Burney found himself in what the student union described as a choke-hold. However, School District spokesman Fernando Gallard told Philly.com that it was "clearly a restraining...
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At 17, Drexel Student Pushes Ahead

At 17, Drexel Student Pushes Ahead

When Zakiya James attended Woodrow Wilson High School in her native city of Washington D.C., she quickly exhausted the curriculum that was being offered to her there. Zakiya, 14 at the time, was not being challenged and her mother, Shawna Malone, could see that. Malone attempted to enroll her daughter into higher-level courses at Woodrow, but the administration was not open to the idea. Malone was told by counselors that she should be glad that Zakiya was making A's and didn't need to be in more challenging classes. Their thought, Malone said, was that more challenging classes could result in lower grades. Having attended Wilson herself, Malone knew that Zakiya was becoming bored and if she was not pushed more, she would become lazy and disinterested in school. "It made me realize that if I was really going to be concerned about my daughter's education, that I would have to take matters into my own hands," Malone said. "So when the school wasn't...
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Philly Grad Aims For New Chapter In Life

Philly Grad Aims For New Chapter In Life

It happened earlier this month when Shawn Jorden, 25, was handed his degrees in Psychology and Liberal Arts from the Community College of Philadelphia, a goal that he had initially thought was out of reach. Jorden attended Indiana University before attending CCP but because of the university's tuition and cost of living, he was forced to return to Philadelphia. At times he found himself homeless while working to complete his degree, relying on the kindness of friends and family for a place to live and work. "I really wasn't feeling it because I was at a four-year university and coming to a two-year institution, I was a little depressed about that," Jorden said. "So I did some research and decided that I needed some help but I wasn't sure what kind of help I needed." Jorden connected with The Center for Male Engagement at CCP and met Kevin Convington, who would later become his mentor as well as Derrick Perkins, the director of the...
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Students say state’s treatment of Philadelphia schools a form of violence

Students say state’s treatment of Philadelphia schools a form of violence

Students gathered at the School District's headquarters late Thursday afternoon to participate in a "die-in" to protest the grand jury decisions not to indict police officers in the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. They also honored the death of Laporshia Massey, a Philadelphia student who died last year after suffering an asthma attack in school, where no nurse was on duty. More than 100 students and supporters took to the steps of 440 N. Broad St. to demand justice for those lost and for the unequal system of education in the Philadelphia area. They held signs and chanted phrases like "Black lives matter" and “No justice, no peace,” which have become rallying cries of protesters in the wake of recent shooting deaths of unarmed Black men and boys by White police officers. Standing with her peers, Ruby Jane Anderson, a senior at Science Leadership Academy, said she wanted to highlight the kind of institutional violence enacted on African American students...
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Summer Teaching

Summer Teaching

Can't remember if I posted this or not, but I worked on the above video for the majority of the summer while assisting with Temple University's High School summer journalism program, otherwise known as Prime Movers and Shakers. It's led by Professor Maida Odom, former reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and one of my former professors. The goal of the summer program is to teach the students, who are from different Philadelphia area high schools, about journalism and the different aspects of the field in a few short weeks. At the end they produced a newspaper that is printed by the Philadelphia Daily News. This was my second time working with the program and this time my main responsibility was putting together a video of the students experience with the program. It's not the best, but I was proud in the fact that I was able to put this together after not working with FinalCut Pro for a a few...
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Global Conversations With: William Fedullo, Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association

Global Conversations With: William Fedullo, Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association

When William Fedullo was young, he remembers wanting to be a center fielder for the Philadelphia Phillies. Eventually, he realized that he might need a back-up plan. Besides baseball, Fedullo had enjoyed movies and television shows having to do with lawyers and felt that as a lawyer, he could change a lot of things that would not otherwise be changed. Fedullo now practices in the areas of medical malpractice, products liability, the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA), insurance bad faith, construction accidents, vehicle accidents and other areas of personal injury. This past January, Fedullo, who is a member of Global Philadelphia’s Board of Directors, became the 87th Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association. Next week, Fedullo and the Bar Association will take part in the World City Bar Leaders Conference, an international conference welcoming leaders of metropolitan bar associations around the world. What inspired you to become a lawyer? I remember “To Kill A Mockingbird” and a few other movies like that, which were...
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