ABC’s Diane Sawyer Returns to Strawberry Mansion in Philadelphia, Finding New Reasons to Hope at What Was Considered One of the Most Dangerous High Schools in the U.S.

By Alyssa Bernstein

Dec 3, 2013 11:55am

Reports to Air Wednesday, December 4 on “World News with Diane Sawyer” and on a Special Edition of “Nightline”

Diane Sawyer is returning to Strawberry Mansion after a revealing look last spring about what it’s like to teach, to learn and to try to gain a foothold in life at what was then one of the most dangerous high schools in America.  Since Sawyer’s report aired Strawberry Mansion, under the unwavering guidance of principal Linda Cliatt-Wayman and an impassioned group of teachers, has been removed from the list of most dangerous schools for the first time in six years.  Sawyer returns to document the impact of Wayman’s powerful message of hope and the students who have inspired global leaders, celebrities and millions of viewers nationwide.

The follow up report airs Wednesday, December 4 on “World News with Diane Sawyer” at 6:30 p.m., ET on the ABC Television Network and locally in Philadelphia on WPVI-TV. A special edition of “Nightline” dedicated to this story will air later that night at 12:35 a.m., ET.

Last spring Sawyer and her team found 435 high school students, 94 security cameras, 6 school police officers and 2 metal detectors at Strawberry Mansion in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – a place where students are reminded to leave their weapons at home.

Although in some ways the school is still close to the edge as students and teachers face brutal fights and major budget cutbacks, a new school year has brought new reason to hope at Strawberry Mansion.  Support for Strawberry Mansion’s principal, teachers and students flooded the school after ABC News brought viewers an up-close look at life there.  The generosity of viewers has helped breathe new life into the school, funding 13 college scholarships for last year’s seniors and more for this year’s graduating class, plus student uniforms, books and calculators.  Grammy Award-winning rap superstar Drake was inspired to donate money to build a recording studio at Strawberry Mansion and met with students, surprising them while on his worldwide tour.  And for the first time in its 62-year history, the school has fielded a football team, offering students new opportunities for leadership, team building and camaraderie. This season the team went undefeated, delivering on Wayman’s enduring belief that the school still has a great deal to offer students and the community and a new reason to be proud to be a Mansion Knight.

“Hidden America” is a division-wide series of reports aimed at shining a light on the people, places and stories of struggle and hope that are not well known or apparent to many Americans. The reports also spotlight the creative and innovative things some extraordinary Americans are doing to help people in their communities. This long-term commitment grows from Diane Sawyer’s remarkable and award-winning “Hidden America” documentaries on Camden, Appalachia and Pine Ridge. More on the reports that have aired this year here: http://abcn.ws/TuPv15.

Claire Weinraub is the Senior Producer for the “Hidden America” series.

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 – ABC –

 

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