Often called “The Country Campus for College Bound,” Lankenau High School is a magnet environmental science school that is geared toward getting its students into colleges.
In addition to boasting a 90 percent attendance rate, Lankenau students score nearly double on standardized tests compared to city counterparts. Ninety-five percent of students attend college.
All students who attend Lankenau are transported from their neighborhoods to the school, some coming as far as Franklin Mills and others waking up five in the morning in order to get to school on time.
“Lankenau is a really good school,” said sophomore Janommys Bodden. “Even though Lankenau is known for being a science school, there is so much to the school than just that. They school offers us various programs that helps us push the limit academically as well as help us grow personally. Many of us come from different areas in the city and some of us wake up early just to get here, but it’s really cool to be a part of school that has so many students dedicated to preparing for their future.”
In May, the U.S News and World Report released their “Best High Schools” state lists, listing sixteen School District of Philadelphia high schools among the honorees in Pennsylvania.
Only 4,877 of the highest-scoring schools were ranked and/or recognized. Lankenau was recognized as a bronze medal school, making the school among the top 23 percent of the nation’s public high schools, as well as placing among the top 26 percent of Pennsylvania public high schools.
Some of the extra-curricular activities and clubs at Lankenau include: Grade recovery, credit recovery, year book club, chess club, dance team, college access, mentally gifted, Youthworks, and student government.
The school also has a travel program. Through the program, students visited France, Quebec and Montreal. Last year, students went to Costa Rica. Students had the opportunity to experience the rain forest, volcanoes, and interact with students from a local school. Students also went on night hikes, horseback riding, and zip-lined.
“This program is a good way for students to experience another part of the world through an environmental science experience,” said French teacher and advisor of the program Thomas Wolfinger. “A lot of the things that they learn in the classroom come to life through these trips. Our students are getting an academic and cultural experience. Not everyone lives the same way we do in the U.S., so students get a chance to see and experience other cultures while breaking down barriers in the process. It’s a good way for our students to get the most out of their academic career while at Lankenau.”
Students at Lankenau have the opportunity to take AP coursework and exams. The AP participation rate at Lankenau High School is 34 percent. Three AP courses at Lankenau have an environmental science focus including rain garden, Envirothon, and recycling.
“Going to Lankenau has helped me realize my future career path,” said senior Demitrious Harriott. “I’m good at math and science, so after doing a little research I decided I wanted my major to be chemical engineering. I currently take three science classes. Those classes will help me further my career when I go off to college. I already got accepted into Penn State, but I also applied to Howard and Pittsburgh. This school really strives to help you reach your full potential and succeed.”
For eighth-grader Jorel Thomas attending Lankenau is about taking advantage of the classes and programs at the school.
“This school is the ultimate learning experience,” Thomas said. “Through our classes and programs, we don’t just learn from our teachers, but from each other. I want to become an actor, so my experience here will help enhance my craft in the long run. I plan on participating in drama class and taking full advantage of everything this school has to offer. I want to succeed, and this is one of top schools in the city to help me do that.”
Robotics will be the newest program implemented into the school. Lankenau will be teaming up with Devry University to start a robotics. Devry University Director of Community Outreach Emily McGill and the college’s professors will work with science teachers at Lankenau. Since this would be the first time the school is starting the club, they would not be participating in any competitions this year.
“Our students are the ones who have been pushing for a Robotics club,” said principal Karen Dean. “Our chemistry teacher Angeline Johns will be working with the professors at the college. We take pride in giving our students the best education. We always had a emphasis on the science field at this school, but by adding robotics students will have a greater opportunity to look at a career in science.”