This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
by Aaron Moselle for NewsWorks
Tears trickled down the cheeks of more than a couple of players on Martin Luther King High School’s football team after Friday night’s opening-game loss to Simon Gratz High School.
A few days later, though, the team on the rise was all smiles as it tackled its next challenge: a half-day Outward Bound session in Roxborough.
For head coach Ed Dunn, Tuesday’s team-building activities came at the perfect time.
"Football gets so intense," he said. "Sometimes these guys just need some time to kind of relax and bond in a non-super-competitive situation, become friends."
Part of an ongoing effort
Since school let out in June, MLK staffers have worked hard to help ensure that the entire student body is as unified this school year as Dunn’s squad has become.
Nearly half of King’s 1,000 students will be former Germantown High School students, triggering fears for some that neighborhood clashes will erupt inside the school’s West Oak Lane hallways.
Most of this year’s 55-player football team went to Germantown, one of 24 schools that closed this summer as part of the District’s facilities master plan.
Tuesday’s activities, orchestrated by the Philadelphia Outward Bound School, are part of the effort to unify the students.
MLK has also tapped about 30 students to be school ambassadors tasked with setting a positive tone for classmates.
Dunn said he thinks his team can contribute to the cause by showing others that GHS and MLK students can get along just fine.