Students want to take the Welcome America! stage to save their school

Sara Watkins and Greg Coleman want the mic at the Welcome America! festival. Rikard Larma/METRO
Sara Watkins and Greg Coleman want the mic at the Welcome America! festival. Credit: Rikard Larma/Metro

Sara Watkins wants America to know: Philadelphia schools need help.

Watkins, a 17-year-old junior at the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, wants to take the stage at the Wawa Welcome America! festival over the July 4 holiday and spread the word: “Save our schools!”

They aren’t a flash mob, and they don’t want to leave school early.

“We need parents, teachers, adults involved and we figure that if we go on stage, we can let people know what their children might lose,” said Watkins, a peaceful redhead from the far Northeast.

The school district is broke. As a whole, it runs a $300 million deficit and is pleading with the state for $120 million in aid and the city for $60 million along with $133 million in savings from contract negotiations with both union and non-union employees.

As a result of the lack of funding, district Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. proposed massive budget cuts.

Counselors, sports, librarians, school secretaries, music, after-school programs, classroom aides, school psychologists and nurses are all on the chopping block without more funding.

“I think the overall message is more or less we’re the future, so give us the tools to build it,” said Greg Coleman, 16, a CAPA junior.

Watkins outlined her speech. First, she would ask the audience: “Who here loves Questlove?”

“And of course the crowd would go nuts,” she said. “And I would say he [the Roots drummer] came from CAPA, and I go to CAPA. The Philadelphia high schools are able to produce such amazing talent. Such people that have changed our world, and by cutting our educational system, maybe we’re not going to have that same talent in 10 years.”

A city spokesman said they would need more information but they would speak with her.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Grimm choice: Tax fraud trial could dog NY…

Rep. Michael Grimm may be splitting his time between the campaign trail and a courtroom where he is due to face tax evasion charges.

Local

Met Opera, unions extend talks for 72 hours,…

Met Opera agreed to extend negotiations with its labor unions for 72 hours, preventing a threatened lockout, the organization said late Thursday.

Local

MAP: New York City street closures August 2…

Summer Streets, the NYC Triathlon, the Ecuadorian Parade and festivals will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend.

Local

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on 'Calvary' and his very…

Brendan Gleeson discusses how "Calvary" began over drinks and how his priest character is the opposite of the officer he played in "The Guard."

Movies

Interview: Chris O'Dowd does funny and serious in…

Chris O'Dowd talks about "Calvary," an Irish comedy-drama about a priest (Brendan Gleeson) under fire.

Movies

'Alive Inside' and 'Code Black' are documentaries with…

Two new documentaries — "Alive Inside" and "Code Black" — portray different issues but suffer from the same problem.

Music

Caught a Ghost catches a soul/rap vibe

Jesse Nolan says Caught a Ghost's sound aims for two things everybody likes: soul music and '90s rap.

MLB

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade…

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade deadline

College

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…