Category Archives: Edison High school

Northeasters Love Their Neighborhood – and Their Presidents

In Minneapolis it is a sad fact that most of the street names are logical, but boring.  Still, there are exceptions.  Streets in Southwest Minneapolis, for example, still bear the names of prominent citizens who built the city.  Some neighborhood street names are just plain quirky, often the remnants of the original landowners.  Northeast stands out as the most patriotic of all neighborhoods.  The Presidents’ Streets are legendary, an inspiration to most and a conundrum to those who aren’t up to speed on American history.

Writing in The Northeaster in 1988 Penny Jacobson describes in detail the story of how “many early settlers’ names disappeared from streets for the sake of uniformity.”  It’s a great story of how Northeast streets got their historic names.

Though street names have changed more than once over time, the “permanent” names of today’s Northeast neighborhood streets reflect a burst of Americanism surrounding World War I and welcoming the wave of immigrants coming to the community.  One way to learn the Presidents’ names was to walk the neighborhood itself.

Jacobson reminds residents that Tyler Street Northeast was once known as Clayton; Polk Street was Wilkin; Taylor Street used to be Cummings; Fillmore was known as Eastwood; Pierce was Brott; Buchanan was Wells; Lincoln was Maryland and Johnson was East.  The previous names, with the exception of Maryland and East, were those of property owners in the early era of Northeast development.

And so the street names of Northeast continue, Ulysses (as in Grant)  through McKinley,  until  it comes to Stinson Parkway.   James Stinson donated the land for Stinson Boulevard in 1885; naming rights for the Parkway are the responsibility of Minneapolis Parks and Recreation.

Sometime in the late 1930’s or early 1940’s the city fathers continued the re-naming of Northeast streets.  The Committee on Roads and Bridges recommended and the City Council approved, changing the name of “L” Street to Harding, “M” street to Coolidge, “O” Street to Hoover Street, and “P” Street to Delano.  Delano slipped in because there was already a Roosevelt Street and a Franklin Avenue.  (Delano, by the way, is just North of Hennepin and in proper historic sequence.)

All this comes to mind as Northeasters prepare for the fifth annual We Love Our President’s Walk scheduled for Saturday, February 16.   It’s a tradition!

Participants, walkers, bikers, even pets will gather at 10:00 a.m. at Edison High School (between Washington and Monroe).  The Northeast Urban 4-H Club will lead walkers up Central;  along the way they will stop at designated points to share trivia about the presidents.

After a stop for hoc chocolate at the Eastside Food Coop walkers will head East on 29th for a hot lunch and program featuring a trivia contest, drawing, prizes and a brief presentation.

What’s new this year at the President’s Walk will be some intrepid bikers and a focus on presidential pets.  There will also be presentation of the coveted 2013 Northeast Presidential Seal to the group with the most participants.  A shuttle bus will transport talkers back to the start of the Walk.

For more information or to volunteer to help with the Walk, contact David Warnest with Minneapolis Public Schools Community Education.  Reach him at 612 668 1515 or

For many Northeasters, the ones that call themselves Tommies, the 90th Anniversary of the opening of Edison High School evokes memories at classmates, football games, pranks, teachers, a collapsed roof and countless legends that will be rehashed at the Alumni Reunion set for early October.

For Northeast newbies, a term that embraces several decades, Edison is a handsome building, a site for great theater and music, home of outstanding athletes, and the alma mater of friends and neighbors.

Celebration of Edison’s 90 years offers Northeasters of every era and every age a chance to reflect on the role that Edison has and continues to play in history and daily life of every Northeaster.

Ninety years ago the people of Minneapolis, many of them newcomers to this country, were eager to demonstrate their patriotism.  The names of public buildings and streets in Northeast reflect that national pride and the community’s rich heritage of new Americans in search of a better life for themselves and their families.  1922 saw a Post-WWI mood that buried the horror the War and ushered in the Roaring 20’s – as well as the first students at Edison High School.

Inventor, marketer and pioneer Thomas Alva Edison epitomized the American way.  His genius reflected a unique blend of the finest American traits – creativity, persistence, market development that involved creating, then meeting, customer demand for his products. Edison, who held that he found his great pleasure “in the work that precedes what the world calls success” set a tone that blended hard work with a spirit of hope that would inspire the young learners attending the high school set on the site of Long John’s Pond between Jackson and Monroe.

In a 1927 article reviewing the first years of Edison High School, two juniors in Mrs. Edith Gillies’ magazine class (Mildred Anderson and Tyrus Hillway) reflected on their experiences.  They boast of Edison’s athletic prowess, including the 1923 cross-country championship as well as success in “all fields of competition: typing, athletics, music, literature, many more.”

They also praised students’ involvement in shaping the new school by landscaping, decorating the building and establishing an extensive library “one more monument of student creation. It has steadily grown larger, until now it has on its shelves 5,400 volumes with the greatest school fiction library in the city.”  In five years, the young journalists report,   “some twenty active clubs have sprung up and prospered since the school’s first year.

Writing in May 1933 issue of The Parent-Teacher Broadcaster, Calman Kish, President of the Edison Student Council, measured the early success of Edison with a critical eye: “To teach students to live, how to co-operate, how to prepare themselves to take their places in the world are an essential part of the program of Edison High School.”  Kish went on to note that “a few months after the school opened its doors, the system of student government was firmly established at Edison High School by Louis C. Cook, first and only principal of the school.”

Cooperation, civic engagement and preparation for life are the hallmarks of Edison’s heritage, essential in a learning environment that has embraced waves of immigrant learners.  It is nearly eighty years since young Calman Kish wrote “the emotional, passionate blood of Italy, the sensitive refinement of France, the practical genius of England, the scientific mind of Germany, the steadying and sturdy influence of Scandinavia, the musical talent of Russia and Austria, the gayety and jollity of Spain – all blended and molded in the melting pot of Edison High School into characteristics truly individual, truly American. From Turkey, Roumania, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Portugal, Finland – from thirty three nations have come the parents of the students of our school, the most cosmopolitan group to be found in all of the high schools of Minneapolis.” (1933)

Though Kish’s characterization is no doubt political passé, his observations are prescient.  In the more recent past Edison has opened its doors and shaped the lives of new waves of new Americans – from Serbia, Laos, Mexico, Ecuador, Somalia and dozens of other nations.

One lasting tribute to the power of “unity with diversity” is the mural that surrounds Edison’s auditorium.  For two years Edison art students worked to paint 32-in-square “stamps” that represent many of the cultures in Edison’s student population.  Edison students and visitors stop today to admire and interpret the meaning of those murals.

Another lasting tribute to the spirit of Edison is the accomplishments of Edison graduates.  Inspired by learning in an environment rich in diversity, the arts, and a “can do” spirit. Tommies are innovators.  Practiced in participatory decision-making, they are leaders in the neighborhood, the city and the state political arenas.  Proud of their American heritage, they have served their country in war and peace.  Introduced at an impressionable age to the arts, literature, music and lifelong learning habits, they are informed, engaged, contributing members of their communities – for many that community remains Northeast Minneapolis.


Live Northeast. Educate Northeast – Showcase November 12

Once again the schools of Northeast are collaborating to host the 6th annual Northeast School Showcase. It’s Saturday, November 12, 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. at Thomas Edison High School Community Gym, 700 22nd Avenue Northeast.

The showcase offers a one-stop look at how you can map out an awesome K-12 journal in a Northeast school – Pillsbury, Waite Park (for PK-5), Northeast (6-8), Sheridan (PK-8), March (K-8), Edison (9-12) and Emerson (PK-5 Spanish Immersion)

Free activities for parents and children.

The Showcase is sponsored by PEN (Public Education Northeast), a collaborative organization supporting Minneapolis Public Schools in Northeast. For more information visit or call Jenn Bennington 612 578 8616.

Dolly in Northeast — It’s So Nice to Have You Back Where You Belong!

Morris Park Players are celebrating their 100th production with one of America’s perennial favorites, Hello, Dolly! Beginning Friday, October 28, Dolly will strut her stuff on stage at the Edison High School Auditorium, 700 22nd Avenue Northeast. Performances continue through mid-November with 7:30 performances continuing on November 4,5,10,11 and 12 and 2:00 matinee performances on October 29 and November 6.

Though Morris Park Players have a long history in Minneapolis their move to Northeast is more recent. The troupe began as the Morris Park Father Singers in spring 1952. Over the years, the group transformed and expanded its repertoire, first changing in 1968 to the Morris Park Singers, and again in 1981 to its present name, Morris Park Players.

For many years Morris Park Players performed at Folwell Middle School in South Minneapolis. Over the past 55 years they have mounted some 100 productions, a fact they are celebrating with the ever ebullient Dolly!
The intent of the Morris Park Players is to provide quality musical theatre to the community as well as many opportunities for individuals to contribute and develop their talents. The move to Edison continues their partnership with the Minneapolis Public Schools and establishes their position “ in the midst of the vibrant arts community in ‘Nordeast’.
Tickets for Dolly are $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors. Groups of ten or more should call 612 724 8373. Tickets may be purchased online at – or find the Players on Facebook or Twitter. There’s a special Alumni Night and celebration of the 100th production on Friday evening, November 11 – details online.

How to Become a Tommie – November 15 at Edison

Once again Thomas Edison High School is throwing open its doors to the community.  “How to Become a Tommie” is the theme of the open house, designed for prospective students.  The open house is set for November 15, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. at Edison, 700 22nd Avenue NE.


Potential students are invited to meet staff, students, families and community members, to learn about the curriculum, community partnerships and scholarships.  There will be musical performances by Edison students, arts theatre performance by the Morris Park Players and a chance to meet Superintendent of Schools Bernadeia Johnson.

Those who can’t make the November 15 open house may check out the school at the Northeast showcase, representing all eastside Minneapolis Public Schools, Pre K-8, on Saturday, November 12, 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

For more information contact Pamela Vertina 612 668 1310.

Community to Explore Greening the Holland Neighborhood

Jackson Square Park in Northeast is absolutely the perfect site for intentional planning of the neighborhood’s green spaces.  On Thursday August 4 6:30-8:00 p.m. representatives of the City, Minneapolis Public Schools and Minneapolis Park & Rec will meet with Holland neighbors and others to discuss ideas for greening the landscape and improving water quality in the community.  One impetus for the discussion is the recent designation of the neighborhood school Thomas Edison High School, as a GREEN school.  Students, staff and teachers are at the ready to “green” the neighborhood!

Meeting attendees will want to take time to enjoy Jackson Square Park itself. The newest, and possibly the most notable, is “In Flux”, a spherical sculpture made of steel plates, sculptured glass and light.  The work builds on the connection between the arts community of which the park is an integral part, and the Holland neighborhood.  Surrounding the sculpture are benches and cast iron text excerpts generated during meetings with community residents and Edison High School art students during the artwork development.

Northeast Schools Plan an All-School Welcome Back to School 2011

School supplies and trendy new togs are flying off the shelves.  School calendars are flooding the shelves of every office supply store.  Everybody is talking State Fair.  And, yes, the days are getting shorter – if hotter.

It must be Back to School season.

Northeast schools have truly got their act together this year.  For the first time in history the Northeast schools will kick off the new school year together by inviting families to a community BBQ.  It’s at Thomas Edison High School, 3:00-7:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 25.  Edison High School will host an open house from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

The announcement for the collaborative event puts it on the line:  “As always, the ‘Northeast Community Celebrity Grill Meisters’ will push the grill to the limits.  We have learned there is heavy competition for the honor of preparing the cole slaw this year.  The inside scoop is that a citrus flavored cole slaw is the front runner.”  Collaboration and competition, all in the same inclusive gathering!

Thoughtful planners are aware that too many welcoming events create a burden for busy families with young learners dispersed through different schools.  Though planning a joint welcome takes time and energy, the single event makes life easier for families – and provides a chance for families from different schools in the neighborhood to meet, greet, and eat some of the fine food.

Thomas Edison High School is at 700 22nd Avenue NE, just West of Central.

Families should watch announcements from their child’s school for more details.

Prospective Edison Students and Families Meet with Principal Steinbach


Eighth graders choosing among their high school options can be assured of one thing – the red carpet is rolled for them at Thomas Edison High School.  If students and their families want to learn more, they are invited to join Principal Carla Steinbach for coffee, lunch and/or dinner.  These social gatherings offer a chance for entering freshmen and their families to get to know each other and to ask questions about Edison.


There are four opportunities to meet Dr. Steinbach.  Students and families are invited to attend as many as they would like.  The plans are these:


Thursday, June 16 – Dinner at Sen Yai Sen Lek from 4:30 p.m. – 6:00.

Wednesday, June 22 – Coffee at Eastside Food Co-op 8:30 a.m. – 10:00.

Lunch at Holy Land 12:30 – 2:00 p.m.

Thursday, June 23 – State of the School – District meeting with Principal Steinbach

Dinner will be provided at Firefighters Hall & Museum – 6:30 p.m.

This gathering is open to the public

Space for these events is limited.  Please RSVP by calling Julie at 612 290 3023 or email her at