Alumni helps give students a fresh start at Overbrook High School

WEST PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Volunteers at a school in West Philadelphia hope a fresh coat of paint will give students a fresh start for the new school year.

Overbrook High School, built in 1926, has a special nick name.

Principal Yvette Jackson tells us, "It is the 'Castle on the Hill.' And they're definitely treating it that way."

It takes a lot of elbow grease to maintain this castle, which officials say is home to about 650 students.

That's why members of the Class of 1994 came in to sit down with the school's new principal.

Nazaarah Sabree from the Class of 1994 says, "She said we need to come in, there's a lot of improvements that need to be done, how can you guys help us? We put the word out on Facebook, we had a walk-through on August 13th, and we had 100 people at the walk through."

Organizers say about 100 volunteers are helping with the cleanup, ranging from the Class of 1965 to current Overbrook students.

The principal says the fact that alums are doing all the work teaches a big lesson about Overbrook pride.

"It's beautiful. I'm from Philadelphia myself, and to see this community, to see the alumni come together to bring supplies and just to do this work - it's overwhelming," Jackson said.

They spent the day painting, sweeping, and scrubbing. Known for famous graduates like Will Smith and Wilt Chamberlain, these alums hope Overbrook will produce even more successful grads with their help.

Elva Overton from the Class of 1975 says, "We just want to know that we're here for them to support them. Everybody doesn't have that at home like we do - like we had at that time. So we want to make sure we afford all opportunities available. We want to just give back."

Glenda Custalow, also from the Class of 1975, tells us, "If you're coming into something that's bright and sunny and full of hope and full of joy and full of - woo! Then your outlook is joyful."

The real work begins on September 8th when students head back to class.
Copyright © 2019 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.