SJU Hosts Photo Exhibit Exploring Philadelphia Schools

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

PHILADELPHIA (April 15, 2008)—Hand an average teenager a camera and you can expect to get back a series of arm's length self-portraits suitable for posting on MySpace or Facebook. But give cameras to 15 motivated high school students from different areas in Philadelphia and you get a picture of the best and worst of what the city's school system has to offer. The project, called "Eyes on Education," is a collaboration between Good Schools Pennsylvania and the Washington, D.C.-based group Critical Exposure. The results of the project, a compelling gallery of student photography, will be on display at Saint Joseph's University's Francis A. Drexel Library through April 30.

"As both an educational and a Jesuit institution, Saint Joseph's is committed to service through faith and to the promotion of justice in our community," said Beth Ford of Saint Joseph's Campus Ministry. "The Critical Exposure photos challenge us to question the extreme disparity in resources faced by many of our Philadelphia area public schools."

Starting in January 2007, students from the Philadelphia-based Youth United for Change (YUC) began working with Critical Exposure. Students from Edison, Kensington Creative and Performing Arts, Mastbaum, Olney and Strawberry Mansion high schools were given 35 mm cameras and the opportunity to record what they thought was important for the public to know about their education. The photographers took pictures that portrayed a broad spectrum of good and bad in their schools, from new computer labs and favorite teachers to caged classrooms and empty libraries.

"The story I am trying to tell is that [we can] stand up for what we believe," said Odessa Ogletree, a tenth-grade student at Strawberry Mansion. "It starts with the youth.  For example, YUC has made some changes at Mansion to better the school, like get a new library that students need to do research, and get new windows so it won’t look like the school is not in good shape for learning."

For more information on the project, contact Victoria Karkov of Good Schools Pennsylvania at 215- 332-2700 or For more information on Saint Joseph's involvement, contact Beth Ford at 610-660-3124 or

Media Contact

 Jeffrey Martin, Office of University Communications, 610-660-3223,

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