editorialpicture1On Saturday, January 26th, Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School celebrates 40 years since its foundation with an all day symposium and gala. What began as a small experiment of building an organic educational practice has since become a pedagogical model for reflection and emulation.  From its inception, the school’s educational program was framed on the philosophical foundation of self-determination, the methodology of self-actualization, and the ethics of self-sufficiency.  Contrary to the predominant societal motto of “Live and let live,” this is best expressed in the words of our great poet, Consuelo Lee Corretjer: “Live and help to live.”

Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School (PACHS) began its operation in 1972 in a dingy church basement located at 2048 West Augusta with 12 students and no budget, at a time when the dropout rate among Puerto Rican youth in the public schools was an appalling 72.9%.  First named the Puerto Rican High School, it later took on the name of Rafael Cancel Miranda, the Puerto Rican national hero who was then a political prisoner, before its final renaming for El Maestro, Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos. After one year it moved to a rental space at St. Aloysius School at 1520 North Claremont with nearly 60 students.  Three years later it would occupy its own building at 1671 North Claremont, and in 2003 it moved to its present location at 2739-41 West Division on Paseo Boricua.  These moves were informed by encroaching gentrification that has displaced the Puerto Rican presence in West Town and Humboldt Park.

Que Ondee Sola is proud to dedicate this issue to the 40th anniversary of the founding of this unique educational experience of the Puerto Rican diaspora.  PACHS is the only school in the US with a curriculum focused on Puerto Rican culture, while continuing innovative learning practices—for example the emergent program in urban agriculture— which speak to the future of any educational model.  Without a doubt, Pedro Albizu Campos High School has remained true to its precepts, which the Brazilian educator Paulo Freire articulated in his book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed.   

In this issue you will find reflections of this incredible educational experiment from scholars, students, teachers, administrators, community activists, and founders of the school.  From these the reader will be able to surmise how the school has engaged students and community in a Freirian “dialogistical” process.  Its innovative vision projects into the future an education premised on a holistic approach, based on a social ecology model, in a school that has indeed served as a “sanctuary” for generations of our youth.




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