First day at new, rebuilt school - Philadelphia News

September 4, 2008 3:34:52 PM PDT
It was a special first-day back to school for some West Philadelphia kids whose school burned down and had to be completely rebuilt. It was a familiar first day of school ritual for 10 year-old Allure, her 8-year-old brother Aleem, and 13-year-old uncle Tyrell.

The burns children dressed and had breakfast together, but today was different. They returned to a newly built Barry school. The bright, air conditioned building at 59th and Race Streets was constructed after a fire destroyed the old one in 2006.

So instead of being bussed to other schools, the more than 500 neighborhood children walked to the new Barry. They were greeted by Mayor Michael Nutter and embraced by Superintendent Arlene Ackerman.

"It's a new beginning. It's a chance to start all over again, to dream, to set new goals," Superintendent Ackerman said.

The Burns children are all good students. 8th grader Tyell, loves art & music, 3rd grader and master speller, Aleem is on the honor roll. 5th grader Allure, also an honor roll student, dreams of being a pediatrician and feeds the dream with a passion for math reading and learning in general.

"I'm hoping I'll learn new things that I didn't learn last year," Allure said.

The youngest, 3-year-old Sumayyah, can hardly wait to start pre-kindergarten at Barry next week.

"This is the beginning of them doing good, graduating high school going to college and doing all the things they want to do in their life," Alma Burns said.

For now, they'll focus on today by doing their best in school.

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