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Illustration by David Goldin
Class Acts
  By Susan Lonkevich Illustration by David Goldin
 


“Don’t step on the flowers!” Jack Hunter W’60 calls out a gentle reminder to four young helpers to avoid squishing the petunias, marigolds and delphiniums that await planting behind the cafeteria at West Philadelphia’s Drew Elementary School.
    Taking a break from second grade, Tiffaney, Nilsa, Emmanuel and Xavier have grabbed child-sized shovels and slipped tiny green thumbs into oversized gardening gloves to work in the dirt alongside “Mister Jack,” a Philadelphia CPA, and several other adults, including “Mister Richard” Gibson W’60 and “Mister Jim” Mitchell C’60. They pull up weeds, do a little raking and squeal at the occasional worm.
    Alumni Weekend began a day early for about two dozen members of the Class of 1960, who met at Penn’s Civic House on May 18 and split up into smaller groups to plant flowers, read to kids at neighborhood elementary schools and help Habitat for Humanity repair an old house. For its 40th reunion, the Class decided to give something back to Penn by donating its time to the West Philadelphia community.
    “I was so glad to hear about this,” says Gibson, a Center City alumnus who admits to switching careers more often than he has shown up for Reunions. “Having been in grad school [studying psychotherapy] for a couple of years, I wasn’t really in the position to write a check as I would have liked to. But when I heard about the community-service day, I thought, what a great way to do some little thing for Penn.”

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