Mayor Michael Nutter got a treat when he marked the opening of the 2012-13 academic year with a visit to Little Flower High School.
Nutter, 55, attended the former Transfiguration of Our Lord Grammar School in West Philadelphia, where his seventh-grade teacher was Sister Maureen James, who is now a library assistant at Little Flower.
The mayor, in an address to LF’s 665 students in the school auditorium, said it was Sister Maureen who steered him to St. Joseph’s Prep for his high school years.
Nutter credits the Prep with putting him on the path to a successful professional career and urged the LF students to enjoy their four years at their school.
“You will look back very, very fondly on your high school years,” he said.
Nutter told the teenagers that more employers will want to locate their businesses in Philadelphia if the city increases its high school graduation rate and keeps more of its college graduates in town.
The mayor encouraged the students who go away to college to bring their diplomas back to the city.
“Come right back to Philadelphia. We need your talent. We need your brainpower,” he said.
The students sung their alma mater and presented Nutter with a Little Flower folding chair.
Though the school is located at 10th and Lycoming streets, most of the students come from the Northeast.
Student government members led Nutter on a tour of the school, taking him to the library and chemistry, art, music and marketing/media classes.
The school leaders are president Ebony Ukogu (graduate of Maternity BVM in Bustleton), vice president Caitlyn Coleman (Resurrection of Our Lord in Rhawnhurst), treasurer Laura Farrell (St. Martin of Tours in Oxford Circle) and secretary Melissa Waskiewicz (St. George in Port Richmond).
“We’re the jewel of Hunting Park,” Sister Donna Shallo, Little Flower’s president, said in explaining the lure of the school.
Nutter posed for a picture with members of the senior class. The otherwise all-girls school includes four boys from China, including two in the senior class.
The mayor was joined on his Sept. 11 visit by Carol Cary, superintendent of Archdiocese of Philadelphia secondary schools, and Edward Hanway, chairman of the Faith in the Future Foundation.The foundation recently assumed strategic and operational management of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s 17 high schools and four schools of special education. It is providing $1,000 scholarships this year to 55 students in each of the 17 high schools. ••EndFragment