EDITORIAL: Diversity shines at York Tech

York Dispatch
Students dance to B-Tropical during a York County School of Technology assembly celebrating Diversity Week, Thursday, May 4, 2017. The assembly included testimonials from students about their experiences as immigrants, attempting suicide, and race issues.  John A. Pavoncello photo
  • Appell Center opens its doors for Community Day Celebration.
  • Playful Sidewalks Initiative adds a dash of colorful interaction for city pedestrians.

Thumbs Up: To York County School of Technology’s Diversity Showcase assembly, which came a half year after a white power video from the school went viral.

You remember that video — students carrying a Trump/Pence yard sign and someone yelling “white power.”

The video gave the impression racism was going unchecked at the school. But the school quickly hired its first equity coordinator, Carla Christopher and began chipping away at that perception.

This assembly furthered the notion that the school has been responsive.

“We have kids from the ‘burbs to the most challenged parts of York City. That’s diversity,” said Christopher.

Students came forward to talk about  issues including race and immigration — and they shared personal stories. Some students cried when learning of some of their classmates' struggles.

Live music followed, and the gymnasium floor crowded with dancing students.

York Tech: 'We've come a long way'

We love to see the flag of diversity waved in the face of racism and York Tech waved it boldly. But battling racism in any context, is a work in progress.

“It’s a start, and by no means is the journey finished,” Christopher said. “But this shows that we’ve come a long way.”

Thumbs Up: Louis Appell Jr. would have loved most what was happening at the Strand and Capitol theaters this weekend.

The performing arts center was celebrating its name change with a series of entertaining and creative events as part of its Community Day Celebration.

He would have enjoyed watching a performance by Greater York Dance. And seeing children play a violin for the first time at the event’s instrument petting zoo.

He’d have loved seeing children making crafts and learning about stage make-up. He’d be amused as people got to see the theaters wings while taking a tour.

By most accounts, there was one thing at which he may have bristled: The complex has been named after his family — the Appell Center for the Performing Arts. Many say he was simply too modest.

Newly named Appell Center hosts community day

The Appell family saved the York landmark from destruction in the 1970s and have been supporters since that time.

"From what I know of him, he was always keeping a behind-the-scenes presence," said one attendee of the community celebration.

The low-key philanthropist died in June  2016.

And just maybe he did see it all this weekend.

Thumbs Up: If you take a walk around York City in the coming weeks you might find yourself ambling on some artwork.

That’s because the Playful Sidewalks Initiative is bringing murals to the city’s pedestrian thoroughfares.

York City’s Bring on Play to launch the initiative was launched with the help of grant money.

Designs by fourteen artists were given the green light to get the project started last weekend. Many of the designs were interactive, like a pond scene with "stepping stones," inviting a pedestrian to play along.

The grant money was used, in part, to pay the artists for their work.

Playful Sidewalks Initiative

Coordinator Rita Whitney of Prime Art Supply said weather has been a factor but  she estimated fourteen murals would be completed in two weekends.

That’s a pretty quick turnaround for some permanent artistic additions to our city.