Capable of Greatness

On paper, Strawberry Mansion High School, a hulking building in one of Philadelphia’s poorest and most violent neighborhoods, is failing: dismal test scores, high staff turnover, plummeting enrollment. Mansion already survived a closure attempt in 2013, but school district officials proposed phasing out the traditional high school program in 2018. Instead, following community outcry, they agreed to give Mansion a new principal and another chance to transform itself. Amid tragedy, triumph and a still-uncertain future, “What this year has shown us is that Mansion is capable of greatness,” principal Brian McCracken said.