By Isabela Supovitz-Aznar
How far would you go to get a good education at a school you love? At SLA, it can take hours.
Because SLA is a school with city-wide admissions, students hail from every zip code in the city– and many of them have intensely long commutes to get to and from the school some of which can be dangerous.
Some students spend over an hour on their way to and from school, and the commute can be complicated. For Sophomore Nick Murray, it takes “40-45 minutes to get to school by bus.”
He values the choice he made, although there are risks.
“The commute is worth it because I love the school, but I once was on the bus and a guy was getting jumped in front of me. Luckily it got stopped.”
Many students have an equally long commute in the evenings; some do not get home until 7 or 8 PM, which can be dangerous because it is after rush hour, and the streets are dark.
Some students have experienced violence in the subways first hand, and have been scared enough to consider arming themselves–which goes against school district policy about weapons.
Junior Samantha Zeisloft who lives in Roxborough, has a troubling story from one commute home. “I once was on the bus going home, and a woman who had a baby in a stroller with her got in a fight with some guy in front of me. She literally pushed the baby’s stroller out of the way and continued yelling at the guy on the bus. There were a couple pushes and shoves, and my friend who was with me got hit by the woman accidentally, it’s not what you’d expect on a ride home from school.”
Zeisloft didn’t feel that she was personally in danger during the ride, but was concerned. “I’d definitely say it’s important to be aware when things like this happen so that no one gets hurt.”
SLA students continue to make the commute, however, because they are committed to a good education and a good school. They willing to endure possibly dangerous situations and long rides home on the subway in order to continue their education.
Sometimes, the commute can put a strain of family relationships.
“My parents try and get me to come home early because they don’t want me at risk since it’s been getting dark out fast,” said Sophomore Jamie Murphy, who lives in Sharon Hill.
The administration at SLA is aware of these challenges, and aknowledges the fact that kids have a difficult time getting home on some days. They try to help the students at SLA by being cautious.
Program Coordinator Jeremy Spry organizes internships for students, but sometimes comes across issues organizing them because of safety. “One of the biggest concerns for me is students getting to and from their internships safely because students have internships all over the city, and sometimes not in the best areas.”
Spry noted that ”especially in the winter, when it gets dark out sooner, it can be a little sketchy and parents get concerned, which is understandable but unfortunatly limits opportunities for students.”