Leaders of a Fox Chase church may have had a change of heart regarding their effort to prevent the city from shutting down a private secondary school that the church opened last year to the surprise and dismay of neighbors.
With spring on the horizon, students tend to get a bit antsy while looking forward to the end of the school year. In Fox Chase, patience is also wearing thin among residents who don’t like a church-based high school in the neighborhood.
Three years ago, my son was accepted into Northeast High School’s Magnet Program. I didn’t know what to expect and was a bit apprehensive because it is the biggest high school in the city, and I worried that he would get lost in the shuffle. I sat in the auditorium at back to school night and listened to the principal, Ms. Carroll, talk about “her school” and “her kids.” She told us that we were welcome to walk into “her school,” unannounced and she would walk the halls with us. It was apparent to me that this woman had nothing to hide, no worries that her school wouldn’t be running up to par on any given day.
The Fox Chase United Methodist Church violated the city’s zoning code by opening its doors to a private Christian secondary school last fall, according to the leader of a neighborhood civic association.
Until recently, Cheltenham-based Gospel of Grace Ministries garnered perhaps its greatest notoriety on the basketball court when a team of teenagers from the tiny Christian congregation’s high school qualified for the state playoffs last March.
The rededication of a baseball field in honor of fallen Firefighter Daniel Sweeney at Fox Chase Recreation Center was just the start of long-term improvements at the sprawling city-operated playground, according to Councilman Brian O’Neill.