Pennington Street Block Party! Get to Know our Downtown Students
April 8, 2015
By Cristina Manos
Within the walls of 48 E. Pennington Street there exists 21,000 square feet, spread across three floors, all being used by City High School, Downtown’s premier charter school. It’s hard to imagine while looking at it from the sidewalk on Pennington how much space, activity, creativity, education and fun is going on inside that building.
Most recently, City High has added a middle school, Paulo Freire Freedom School, and is now home to grades six through 12. City High has also acquired an additional 10,000 square feet next door, which will be renovated and converted and will bring the size of City High to 30,000 square feet.
A great way to introduce yourself to this most unique school is to attend the 7th Annual Pennington Street Block Party taking place on Friday, April 17, from 4 to 7pm. The stretch of Pennington between Stone and Scott will be blocked off and filled with food and fun including performances, demonstrations and friendly contests.
The block party is held every year in celebration of Global Youth Service Day. It’s a chance for the community to experience the ideas, activities, capabilities, creativity and under-the-radar activism of our local teens.
“We take school out onto the street one day a year and say ‘this is what kids can do.’ And part of what we encourage kids to do always, as part of their school, is to engage with the community. What do young people think? What do old people think? It’s intergenerational engagement,” Principal and Executive Director Carrie Brennan says.
Community partners and local vendors engage in the Pennington Street Block Party and the event offers local food, musical performances, interactive booths, small theatre, teaching demos, art exhibits, carnival games, live art demonstrations and student gardening activities in the newly re-designed alley. The University of Arizona architecture studio class has been working on setting up the community garden in the renovated alley, and the block party will be the kick-off for seed planting.
City High is 11 years old. “City High School is all about Downtown. The goal is to have schooling for teenagers be integral to the world around them. We like the whole multi-sector experience that you get Downtown,” Brennan says. “We also challenge academics so that our students are headed for college.”
City High is a free charter school that serves all zip codes. The student body is diverse and it is intentionally a small so that teachers can truly get to know students and mentor them effectively. The staff at City High School makes it a priority to tap into a student’s potential and can help a student realize what their talents and passions are. Every student is realized as a leader. This type of relationship between staff and student body helps to ensure that students don’t have a generic high school experience or “fall through the cracks.”
The Pennington Block Party is a perfect opportunity for the Downtown community to show off the talents, skills and ideas of the diverse student population that thrives within the walls of City High School. Local and Downtown vendors will also get a chance to join in the fun and show their stuff along with Tucson’s teens.
Teenagers are an important part of any community. Downtown is proud to support and encourage these young adults to continue to contribute to Tucson’s diverse culture by building a sense of community straight from the hearts and minds of City High School.