Dozens gathered at Citizens Bank Park to encourage the city to #RingTheBellPHL for the first day of school, Aug. 27.
Overlooking right field, the Phillie Phanatic climbed to an upper deck of Citizens Bank Park last week to ring the stadium’s signature Liberty Bell.
Although it was a few hours before the first pitch against the Red Sox, the bell went berserk to remind the city of the first day of school, Aug. 27, as this is the first time the School District of Philadelphia is holding the start of classes before Labor Day for all students.
On Wednesday, Mayor Jim Kenney, superintendent Dr. William Hite, Phillies left fielder Rhys Hoskins and dozens of young students gathered at the major league ballpark to kick off the inaugural #RingTheBellPHL citywide campaign — an effort to get kids, teachers, parents, faith-based communities and businesses pumped for the new school year.
“We’re asking everyone across the city to ring a bell at 8 a.m. on Monday, Aug.27,” Hite said. “It can be a real bell. It can be a school bell. It can be a doorbell, a bike bell or a bell sound on your cell phone but anything to get our city buzzing about the start of school.”
Hite says the district has spent the summer preparing for the new school year, training teachers, conducting renovations and preparing facilities.
Also noteworthy this year, for the first time in nearly two decades, the school district will will be run by a local school board.
“We’re a brand new school board,” said board president Joyce Wilkerson. “After 17 years, the people of Philadelphia are stepping up to the the plate and going to bat for the children of Philadelphia.”
The district is eager to build upon the progress it has made in recent years and hopes, through the #RingTheBellPHL campaign, more community partners and the general public will lend helping hands to the district.
Kenney says the budget passed by city council in June has placed the city in a better financial position to continue to build upon the district’s recent progress.
The mayor also bestowed some advice to students and parents, including marking calendars, making travel plans, packing bags and pick outing out school outfits the night before.
“Attendance is the key for academic success,” Kenney said. “There is no substitute for consistency and being on time. This is especially true at the start of the year.”
He says students who attend classes regularly at the start of the year prove to have better chances of keeping up the attendance through the rest of the school year, as the Fightin’ Phils also echoed the mayor’s guidance.
“Relating it to baseball, if I’m not here each and every day, I will not be prepared when the game starts,” Hoskins said. “If I’m not here each and every day, I cannot help my team win. I cannot learn as much as I can in order for this organization and this team to be successful.”
At the conclusion of the conference, several Philadelphia public school students ran out onto The Yard — a children’s wiffle ball field located near right field. They practiced home runs and ran the bases, scoring hive fives with Hite, Hoskins, and of course, the Phanatic.
Students of all ages say they’re eager to commence the 2018–2019 school year.
One of the reasons I’m excited to ring the bell ,” said Khalid Abogourin, a senior at Philadelphia Virtual Academy. “Honestly, it’s ironic, but I’m entering my last year of high school, and so I really want to hustle through this year and get to college and work with the people who helped me really get to this point and really show off for them. So, let’s ring this bell, PHL.”