Good morning, Philadelphia. Do you remember being a freshman in high school? It's a time of change and uncertainty for many students, but it can also be a make-or-break year for future graduates. So, Philly schools are focusing on freshmen with new programs that will set them up for success until they don that cap and gown. Tragically, their peers in Texas are grieving after a gunman killed students and teachers at Santa Fe High School Friday in yet another American mass school shooting. The community is in mourning but the event has already renewed a debate over guns and school security.
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Starting high school is difficult enough for teens navigating a new school, new classmates and new subjects.
But for Philly students, a successful freshman year is also the key to earning a diploma four years later. And one third of all Philly high school students don't graduate on time.
So the Philadelphia School District is planning a $7.2 million investment in ninth grade academies next year. At Kensington High School, the focus on freshmen is already paying off.
In the United States about 12 percent of people are what's called food insecure. That means they lack enough food to lead a healthy life. In Philly, it's 21 percent.
So what's it like to be hungry? "It's pain in my belly," said one 11-year-old boy. Those who receive federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits often run out by the third week of the month. In North Philly, 25.9 percent of residents rely on SNAP.
Hospitals and charities are trying to help, but advocates say it's the rich and the federal government that need to step up.
Another community is in mourning today. On Friday a gunman opened fire at Santa Fe High School in Texas, killing eight students and two teachers and injuring 13 others.
What a peaceful way to start the week, @chuckseye. Om.
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