Class of 2015 Learn About Their Options at Eastern High 

February 14, 2011

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The Capitol Hill neighborhood has had a long and proud history with Eastern High School. And so has Deborah Jackson.

Jackson graduated from the school in 1985. Her mother also graduated from Eastern, and two of Jackson's children went there.

Now, it's her son Bernard Hannibal's turn to carry on the family tradition.

"I've been following the school and following the transition to the new principal to see if I can get him in here for the ninth grade," said Jackson, a Ward 8 resident. "The changes are wonderful. It's like the old Eastern is back."

Jackson joined more than 100 residents Feb. 5 at Eastern for an information session, where prospective students and their parents could learn more about the school's programming, ask questions of the school's planning principal, Rachel Skerritt, and tour the newly modernized building.

For Jackson, the school seemed to have everything she wanted: strong academics, including Advanced Placement courses and plans for the International Baccalaureate program. Hannibal, who attends the Capitol Hill campus of Center City Public Charter School, has an interest in the school's marching band and track team.

"This is it," said Jackson. "He's put applications in at other schools, but this is it."

Eastern will open in the 2011-2012 school year to a freshman class only, with 300 students. The schedule will include English, algebra or geometry, biology, world history, Spanish, physical education and the arts. Ninth graders also can choose to enroll in the school's Health and Medical Sciences Academy, which will offer courses in preparation for pre-med studies, nursing, pharmacy and emergency medical services.

When freshmen advance to the 10th grade, they can take electives including law, journalism and economics. Extracurricular programs will include athletics, arts and music.

Northeast resident Erica Hemsley said her 13-year-old daughter, Imani, hasn't decided on a career focus but wanted a high-quality high school closer to her home. Imani currently attends Hardy Middle School on the other side of town. Wilson High would be Imani's destination school next year and Hemsley wanted to see how Eastern would compare.

After planning Principal Skerritt's presentation, Hemsley said she liked what she heard.

"Overall, they're offering a lot of good things," she said. "I was really impressed and I like her [Skerritt] a lot."

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