When Greg Wade, former president of the Philadelphia Home and School Council, allegedly made off with at least $60,000 in parent-raised funds, some of the fallout was felt by 10 graduating seniors.
The students, named as winners of $500 scholarships at a Home and School luncheon June 8 at the Crystal Tea Room atop the Wanamaker Building in Center City, didn't find the money waiting at their colleges when they enrolled in September.
"All we know is that the scholarship recipients were supposed to have the money sent to their colleges," Delores Solomon, the newly elected president of the parent-run council, said this week. "We're trying to rectify the situation as quickly as possible."
Solomon, who has two grandchildren at Northeast High, said that only three of the 10 scholarship winners from last year have received their scholarships.
All three are Central High School graduates. Those students have their scholarships, Solomon said, only because the Central Home and School Association was able to raise the money to make up for funds the Home and School Council no longer has.
A former Northeast High School student, who won one of the 10 $500 scholarships last year, said that she started her fall semester at Penn State Abington in September and went to the school's finance office, only to learn that the $500 scholarship had not been received.
"I had even saved the [luncheon] program to prove I'd won a scholarship," said the 18-year-old student, who asked that her name not be used for fear of retribution.
Wade, 53, of Dora Drive near Chalfont Drive, in the Millbrook section of Northeast Philadelphia, was arrested Nov. 10.
He was charged with 10 crimes, including theft by deception, receiving stolen property, forgery, writing bad checks and tampering with records. He faces a preliminary hearing on Jan. 6.
When the 18-year-old student checked again with her college finance office in October, she said, she was told that the $500 still had not been deposited.
"My books last semester cost about $200, and I was counting on that money to pay for books," she said.
The student said that when she learned that she had won a scholarship, "I got my hopes up. It was going to be a big help."
She said that she is working while going to school.
Lynne Dixon, a teacher at Northeast High School, said that she was angry that the money was stolen and that the students awarded scholarships have come up on the short end.
She said that four students from Northeast High had been awarded the $500 scholarships.
"This embezzlement affected a number of kids who are in college this year," Dixon said. "This was not taxpayers' dollars that was stolen. This was money raised by mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles to support the children. This was money raised by bake sales and ad sales."
Dixon, who has taught in Philadelphia public schools for 37 years, said that other Home and School Council members "are blameless."
"They worked so hard for every penny," Dixon said.
A statement released by the Philadelphia Home and School Council said of Wade's arrest: "It is with great regret that the PHSC acknowledges that there is an ongoing investigation of misappropriation of PHSC funds. Until the investigation is concluded, we are not able to comment on the matter." *