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‘Goodbye to City Schools’ to premiere with launch of photo exhibition

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

by Naveed Ahsan

Videographer Amy Yeboah will be premiering her short documentary Goodbye to City Schools at West Philadelphia’s Scribe Video Center at 7 p.m. Wednesday after the launch of the Philadelphia School Closings Photo Collective’s exhibit. The 30-minute film was produced over the summer with the Notebook as part of Yeboah’s fellowship, which was sponsored by the Samuel S. Fels Fund.

The film focuses on four of the 24 public schools closed in June: Germantown High School, Bok Technical High School, Fairhill Elementary School, and University City High School. Yeboah, who holds two master’s degrees and a doctoral degree in African American studies from Temple University, filmed day-to-day life in the schools during their last weeks and interviewed principals, families, staff, and community members on the impact of their schools closing. Yeboah’s narrative focuses on the hardship of students and their families.

Regarding her film, Yeboah said: “You’ll see the faces of what school closing means: students’ faces, families’ faces. You’ll see hurt, you’ll see pain, you’ll see struggle, you’ll see frustration, you’ll see let-down and disappointment. You’ll see tears. You’ll see desks, you’ll see walls, you’ll see all these things that have been engulfed in two words: school closing.” Yeboah documented the last few hours of each school being open. Some of them had closing ceremonies.

A second short film by Yeboah called (Re)Inscribing Meaning, about the choices that African American families make regarding education, will also be shown.

The Philadelphia School Closings Photo Collective’s exhibit kicks off at 6 p.m. tomorrow and will run through Jan. 17 as part of Scribe’s Storyville series. Curated by collective member Katrina Ohstrom, the exhibit will showcase images taken in the spring of 2013 by local photographers, including Notebook photographer Harvey Finkle. The exhibition will feature about 30 images shot by 10 photographers.

The event is open to the public. Tickets are $5, but free for Scribe members.

Scribe Video Center
4212 Chestnut St., 3rd Floor
See map: Google Maps

Naveed Ahsan is an intern at the Notebook.