The final month: GHS alumni president ‘sort of numb’ as closing day nears

For Vera Primus, the impending closure of Germantown High School still stings badly.

Primus, president of GHS’ alumni association, was easily the school’s fiercest advocate when the community learned the 99-year-old institution was on the chopping block.

She helped organize meetings, rallies and trips to School Reform Commission meetings before that body ultimately voted to close her alma mater.

Now, with just two weeks to go before the end of GHS’ final school year, Primus had a few words to share about the GHS experience:

“My memories of Germantown were scattered,” she said. “My memories as president of the alumni association have been more beneficial.

“As a child back in the 70s, and dealing with gang war and fighting and scared to walk down the Avenue trying to get home so you don’t get in trouble with the people or whatever.

“Compared to now, basically going back and trying to encourage the kids, which we did, and motivate them and support them and be there when no one else was there, or other people couldn’t be there, and support the staff of the school and watching the excitement on people’s faces and those that came out to be involved.

“The last three or four years under Margaret Mullen’s administration was a tremendous step-up for Germantown with all the challenges that they were given as far as academics and attendance. They did everything they were challenged to do.

“The disappointing part about it is that they were told if you bring up your grades, if your attendance improved, if the climate of the school improved and you get off the persistently dangerous list of high schools, we won’t bother you. And the kids did everything they were told to do, and did it well, and then everybody pulls their rugs from underneath their feet.

“Everything that has been told to us has been an untruth. Everything that we’ve heard has not been followed through with.

“It’s a just a different era in time and people just don’t care like they used to care.

“It’s just a big fog of blank. People are just totally emotionless about stuff. Everyone has something to say and everyone has a comment to make, but nobody shows up. I am sort of numb to a point.”

As the final day of Germantown High School’s 99-year history approaches — the Class of ’13 will don caps and gowns on June 19 — NewsWorks will present a series of stories including interviews with grads and former students.

To that end, we’re asking you to send your memories via email (subject line: My GHS Memories), the comments section or call (215) 351-1293.

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