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Overcoming illness, breakdowns and lost bags in Ohio, Minor Threats chess team brings home some metal

Posted on 18 May 2015

Minor Threats Chess Club’s coach, Jason Bui, sent us an update on the latest achievements by his students, who recently returned from the Elementary National Championships in Nashville, Tenn. and also participated in other chess championships this spring. We wrote about the club and its fundraising efforts earlier this year. The Minor Threats Chess Club is based at Mitchell Elementary School and its members are West Philly schoolchildren in grades 3 through 8.

It has been a loooong month for the Minor Threats Chess Club. We spent a total of 16 out of 32 days on the road from April to May. We had three very long bus rides. We had our bags lost in Ohio (don’t worry, we got them back). We broke down along the side of the turnpike on the way back from Louisville (everyone got home safe and sound). We had sick kids and parents. The kids never complained.

Syair was sick on Sunday in Nashville. He threw up before his first round. He went in and won and then came out and still couldn’t eat, took a nap, went in and won the last round of the day. He won his first Nationals trophy that weekend.

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Derrick Moore, a 4th grader at Mitchell Elementary School, with a trophy. (Photo courtesy of Minor Threats Chess Club)

Junior High Nationals was Derrick’s first Nationals. He won his first individual trophy there.

The Philadelphia Chess Society (our super group consisting of Paul Robeson Chess Club, Minor Threats Chess Club, and Enon Connected Pawns) won 7 trophies at Elementary Nationals. Not bad for only having 13 kids playing.

These trips are amazing opportunities for our kids. They learn so much about the world, chess, and themselves. They get to see that there is a whole big world out there. They get to see that if they are brave and they are willing to work hard that nothing can hold them back.

I would not be able to take these kids on these trips without the support of people like you. THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!

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The Hacktory continues to inspire innovation in West Philly

Posted on 12 May 2015

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Those walking by the Science Center building on 37th and Market street can see colorful displays on the first floor windows, but little do most know that those colorful displays belong to an innovation tech camp called The Hacktory. The name was created to describe two goals the group set out to accomplish: find solutions and create products.

An early inception of the organization was created in 2007, which met on a monthly basis to celebrate do-it-yourself efforts in engineering and technology. Georgia Guthrie, The Hacktory’s executive director, began volunteering with the group right before it ran out of steam in 2009 but she was determined to keep it going in some sort of capacity.

Today, The Hacktory has three teachers and one teaching assistant. Currently one workshop is being offered, a micro controller programming class for Raspberry Pi. Past classes have covered topics such as building a bike bag, building a DIY arcade, intro to data mapping with map-making interface CatroDB and more.

The Hacktory also offers a weekly after-school program for 3rd to 5th graders (Kid’s Club), and enrollment has begun for its summer camp programs, which kick off on June 22. 
Continue Reading

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Blackwell aide, Southwest District Services under scrutiny; first lay principal at West Catholic and more in news roundup

Posted on 05 May 2015

Here’s a roundup of some of the latest news and events in the area.

First Lay Principal for West Catholic Preparatory High School

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James P. Gallagher

The Office of Catholic Education of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (OCE) has recently announced the appointment of Mr. James P. Gallagher as Principal of West Catholic Preparatory High School in West Philadelphia effective July 1st. He is the first lay principal in the 98-year-old history of the school. Mr. Gallagher’s appointment follows the January 2015 announcement that Sister Mary Bur, IHM, will retire at the end of the 2014-2015 academic year after 21 years as principal and 27 total years of service to the school.

Mr. Gallagher holds his Masters of Education Degree in Curriculum, Instruction, Technology, and Education from Temple University. He has taught for several years at Lingelbach Elementary School for the School District of Philadelphia and most recently has worked as an Instructor of Teaching Social Studies in the Elementary Classroom at Saint Joseph’s University.  Continue Reading

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Annual Easter Egg Hunts return this weekend

Posted on 31 March 2015

egg huntEaster is approaching fast, and many parents and guardians are looking for information about Easter egg hunts in the area. Annual egg hunts at places like Clark Park, St. Mary’s Church, Walnut St West Library and more will be held again this year. Details are below. If you know of any other local Easter egg hunts not included in the list please email us at editor@westphillylocal.com or post information in the comments section below.

 

SATURDAY, APRIL 4

10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Spring Egg Hunts at Walnut Street West Library (40th and Walnut)

Two egg hunts will be held behind the library: 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – Spring Egg Hunt for preschoolers. 1-2:30 p.m. – Spring Egg Hunt for kids ages 6 and up. The event is sponsored by the Friends of Walnut St West Library.

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11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Easter Egg Hunt at Clark Park (43rd and Chester)

Renewal Presbyterian Church is having its annual Easter Egg Hunt at Clark Park (next to the toddler playground) on Saturday, April 4. Families, friends and all neighbors are invited to join them for an egg hunt, crafts, and fun in the park! The egg hunt is for children ages 1-8 (please sign up at the beginning of the event). There will also be a raffle basket giveaway from local West Philly venues.

12:30 – 2 p.m.

Woodland Presbyterian Church Easter Egg Hunt (42nd and Pine)

1:00 p.m. – Registration
1:15 p.m. – Children 5 and under
1:30 p.m. – Children 6 and over

Free pretzels, crafts, children’s bibles, and treats.  Continue Reading

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Learn more about summer jobs, programs at Parks & Rec Fair this Wednesday

Posted on 24 March 2015

Philadelphia Parks and Recreation is hosting its first annual job and opportunity fair on Wednesday, March 25. The fair will include an information session on the summer employment opportunities at Parks and Recreation pools and camps. Parents and guardians can also learn more about summer camps offered by Parks and Rec.

Job opportunities are available for youth ages 14 and up. Summer camps are for ages 6 to 18.

The fair will be held at Christy Recreation Center, 728 South 55th Street, from 6 to 8 p.m. The info session is from 6:30 to 7 p.m.

For more information, visit the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation website.

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Free afterschool and paid summer programs for teens at Dornsife Center

Posted on 20 March 2015

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Photo courtesy Triskeles Programs.

Triskeles Programs, a non-profit organization teaching youth the skills needed to live a healthy life, as well as teamwork and leadership skills, is offering a few great free afterschool programs and a paid summer internship for local teens. The afterschool programs start on April 6, and summer internships in the Green Economy kick off on June 22. All programs are offered at the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships, 3509 Spring Garden Street. Here are more details:

      Free After school Classes in Cooking, Gardening, &  Environment Studies

What: Three programs are offered: The Cooking and Nutrition Program integrates activities such as recipe reading; study of food groups and nutritional guidelines; and menu planning and budgeting. The Urban Sustainability Program provides youth a hands-on introduction to the key environmental issues facing urban communities. The Urban Agriculture Program gives youth practical experiences in the basic concepts related to growing healthy organic food in urban settings.  Continue Reading

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