The final month: Last principal in Germantown High history addresses graduating seniors

 Alexis Greaves took over as Germantown High School's acting principal in April. He will be the school's last. (Aaron Moselle/WHYY)

Alexis Greaves took over as Germantown High School's acting principal in April. He will be the school's last. (Aaron Moselle/WHYY)

Germantown High School’s Acting Principal Alexis Greaves took over for predecessor Margaret Mullen-Bavwidinsi in April after she retired from the Philadelphia School District.

His time with the school was brief — he started in September as the school’s vice principal — but impactful.

Here’s what Greaves had to say during a Monday night event honoring GHS’ final senior class, which took place two days before the school’s final graduation:

“Class of 2013, it has been my privilege to serve you,” he said. “We wanted to present to the community of Germantown their graduates. This is our gift to you because you have been a gift to us.

“This ‘Great Walk’ is to symbolize this walk, this journey that they’ve taken for the past 12 years. Seniors, look around, that walk that you’ve taken for the past 12 years has not been alone. Someone has walked with you. You might not have seen them, but someone has walked with you.

“Understand that education is a lifelong pursuit. You have to commit yourself to your education no matter what you do. I say to all of you, thank you again and never ever forget.”

In addition to Greaves, others with ties to GHS have shared their thoughts about this school in its final week.

From the Class of ’61

Linda Dubin Garfield, a printmaker and blogger, wrote to share her thoughts about her time at the Germantown mainstay.

“My days at GHS were the best. I loved every minute,” she wrote. “I was on the Committee of Ten, was active in lots of extracurricular activities, loved the teachers and the kids. I worked hard and appreciated the education I got there.

“I especially appreciated the opportunity to mix with people from different backgrounds from me and learn that people are more alike than different. I find power in diversity and have appreciated it my whole adult life thanks to Germantown High!”

From a Class of ’64 hoops titleist

We also heard back from Joseph Paige, who shared his GHS recollections for a “Final Month” post last week. He forwarded a message that he got from his cousin Jesse Childers, an Ohio resident who played on GHS’ memorable city-league championship basketball team.

“Germantown was the desired school to attend, even at my time of attending,” Childers wrote. “My greatest memories were when I was good enough to play varsity basketball for Coach Bill Nelson. The best coach and person I ever played basketball for.

“We had a team that had played together for three years. Most of the players were equal in talent and we were a team due to the leadership of Coach Nelson and that team went on to secure the only basketball championship I believe Germantown High School ever had.

“All of us were friends on and off the court. So, I would say Germantown offered a group of young men an opportunity to become team players and go on to win The City Basketball Championship in 1964 … a major event that expresses Germantown and its students’ willingness to come together. That was a big time for the community and the school.”

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

We still want to hear from graduates and former or current students who wish to share their favorite memories from their time at the 99-year-old building.

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

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