Hello, devoted readers of The Inquirer Morning Newsletter.
First: The Milton Hershey School’s generous support for low-income students can come with high stakes, students say.
Then: Philly’s Asian community is even more on edge after recent assaults.
And: On Friday, Philadelphia’s indoor mask restrictions end.
The Milton Hershey School is unlike almost any other in the country: It’s funded by the profits from the sale of Hershey chocolate and candies. It educates about 2,100 low-income students, pre-K through high school. It spends lavishly on its students. And it’s free. But the institution has struggled for decades to reconcile its runaway financial growth with its mission to “break the cycle of poverty” and has faced criticisms that it is not spending enough of its wealth on helping more children in need.
The school’s generous promise to pay for college also comes with high stakes. Before students can tap into the money, they have to take out $2,500 per year in federal student loans. If they graduate, the school will pay off those loans. But if they don’t, they must pay the money back themselves, which leaves some students saddled with debt.
To seek to understand the school’s endeavors, we analyzed Hershey financial records; reviewed court documents; talked to state officials, education experts, and child-care providers; and interviewed more than 50 former students. What happens after graduation? Decidedly mixed results.
Hear from the students in our report on how the school has had an impact on their lives beyond the classroom.
Philadelphia’s Asian community has been living with heightened uncertainty over the last few weeks after two recent attacks — one that left a Chinese American takeout restaurant owner dead after a punch in the head that knocked him unconscious, and the other in which a high school student was randomly beaten while walking with his grandmother.
Community advocates say they believe the victims were targeted because they are of Asian descent. While no racist words were said during the assaults, the attacks come at a time of rising violence against Asians.
Mingchu Pearl Huynh, president of the Northeast Philadelphia Chinese Association and a friend of the boy’s grandmother, said she’s afraid to walk in the city. “It can happen to any one of us,” she said. “... We are all scared.”
Read on for reporter Julie Shaw’s story to hear from members of the community on the spike in violence.
Helpful COVID-19 Resources
What you need to know today
Philadelphia’s remaining mask requirements will end Friday for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, with a few exceptions, though the unvaccinated are advised to keep masking. Also ending is the 11 p.m. last call for restaurants.
Philly and Montgomery Counties are falling behind the state when it comes to vaccinations.
Personal data from coronavirus contact tracing calls in Pennsylvania are still online despite assurances the information had been secured.
It’s a boardroom rebellion at PSERS. Six trustees are pushing to oust the two top leaders at Pa.’s largest pension fund.
Call it New Jersey Identity politics: Jersey voters this fall will choose whether to reelect Gov. Phil Murphy or follow the historic trend of picking a Republican to lead the state.
More than 20 faculty, alumni, and graduate students urged Pa. state university board members to oppose or postpone a plan to merge six of their universities into two new entities at a public hearing Wednesday.
Breast cancer patients face the physical and emotional toll of insurance denials that complicate recovery.
A Pa. court says a commission erred in ordering a Bucks County district’s team to stop using imagery stereotyping Native Americans.
Through your eyes | #OurPhilly
Can’t help but ship this kind of love for Philly. Thanks for sharing.
Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout-out!
🐈 Post pandemic pet-frenzy, animal shelters are seeing an uptick now.
🥖🧀 🥩 When was the cheesesteak invented? And, dare we ask, are you ordering it right? It’s our signature dish. This is your ultimate guide to the Philly cheesesteak.
🕵️♀️ Speaking of sandwiches, if you’re like Mare, nothing can stop you from sinking your teeth into a good hoagie. Not even alienating your ex while driving or shattered glass. Today, at a new Wawa, it’s Mare of Easttown Day, and the first 100 customers get free coffee and a free Wawa Delco tee.
“I am hearing from educated Afghan women and professionals that they are desperate to leave, although few countries will grant them visas. They fear a coming civil war and a Taliban takeover in the coming months. One Kabul businesswoman told me: ‘I am waiting for the truck to hit me, and the only question is how badly I’ll be wounded or whether I will die,’ " columnist Trudy Rubin writes that the U.S. exit from Afghanistan spells doom for translators unless President Joe Biden intervenes.
In the name of inclusive spaces built to last, columnist Helen Ubiñas writes that she has concerns about Philadelphia’s only rec center for people with disabilities closing, and advocates are watching.
Community College of Philadelphia should be free so that young people can drive us toward a more equitable future, Student Government Association of Community College of Philadelphia president Ahmad Mitchell and AFT Local 2026 treasurer Jamie Zigarelli write.
What we’re reading
Your Daily Dose of | Escape
Summer is upon us, and the Poconos is just two hours away from Philly. Our comprehensive Poconos guide will tell you where to hike, boat, race cars, browse art at a museum, keep the kids entertained, and just about everything else you might want to do on your getaway.