Though Edison High School is just a few blocks from where I live in Northeast Minneapolis, it has always been a bit of a mystery to me. I’ve never visited Edison and, though I know something about the Tommies and probably more about how the school got its name, I have actually never known an Edison student or parent of an Edison student. That speaks to the impact of school choice – my sons went to South, hung out with kids from all over the city, and thought of themselves as Minneapolis Public School students with no particular loyalty to the neighborhood or the neighborhood school. Our loss, I know now.
Everything changed when a friend suggested that I check out the reading promotion program at Edison. Because reading promotion is in my DNA I seized the opportunity to learn about the program. What I learned was about Edison High School!
What a wonderful community school. The building is a magnificent 1920-era structure about which I want to learn and write more. The faculty I met were overflowing with energy and enthusiasm for the work they are doing – much of it creative work through which young folks are learning all manner of skills and ways of serving other. The several reading programs I experienced were not just about skill-building for the teens but about sharing those skills and reading habits with younger kids (more later). I loved the photography program through which Edison students create their own yearbooks and produce magnificent self-portrait posters. A particular favorite for me was the hallway display of flags representing the nations from which Edison students and their families have immigrated – a profound reflection of the diversity the school represents.
Overall, the school has a feeling of love, care, commitment that I had to experience to understand. I’m a little sorry school is over for the year and the building is going to be closed for re-carpeting and other fix-up. I’ll be back with the first ring of the school bell when classes start again in for the new school year.
Meanwhile, I’ll be writing about the reading project and about the Edison High School Alumni Band which will be appearing in several summer parades and other venues. Though I have no official connection with Thomas Edison High School I am, suddenly and belatedly, inordinately proud that Edison is my neighborhood high school. Go Tommies!
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