ATLANTIC CITY — The new Pennsylvania Avenue School (PAS) is a long-awaited addition to the Atlantic City School System.

Until the 1990s, most of our school buildings had not been replaced since their original groundbreakings more than a century before. By the time I was a school-age girl, mainly in the 1960s, we had five elementary schools, two junior high schools and one high school in Atlantic City.

Eventually, the A.C. Board of Education decided to change the system so that all of our schools comprised grades K-8 and in 1995, the new high school was built.

Most students attending PAS have come from New Jersey Avenue School, one of the oldest in the city, which needed far too many repairs and had become a dark and dismal place for children and teachers alike. 

Still, they brightened its walls and hallways as best as they could to create an inspiring atmosphere for learning. Though others rated the school low-performing, the community often gave it a five out of five score. 

The new PAS has every possible latest technology and is bright, colorful and airy, amenities other schools in the city have had for some years now. With the same committed parents, teachers and administration in a new building, hopefully, everyone involved will soon be able to rate the school as a high-performing one.

Mikal’s Funeral Parlor

Not far from PAS, Mikal Abdullah, funeral home owner and community activist, opened his new doors in spring 2011. He had been at the location of the new PAS for almost 20 years and was overjoyed to move into his new place right up the street on Pennsylvania Avenue. The modern, tan stone building with beautiful green lettering has warm, comfortable interior furnishings.

Mikal has made such lasting impressions on people for his compassion and professionalism as a funeral parlor entrepreneur, as well as his activism and contributions to the local community. The City of Atlantic City is awarding Mr. Abdullah on Wednesday, Oct. 10. He is also being honored this month with an appreciation banquet for a lifetime of service on Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Linwood Country Club. Tickets are $70/ person; tables of 10 are also available. You can call Wali Abdullah at 609-377-7702 for more information.

Dante Hall

There’s nothing like collaboration to produce great events and Dante Hall witnessed some great concerts this past summer as a joint effort between the Chicken Bone Beach Historical Foundation and Stockton College, along with other sponsors.

Because of this effort, the jazz was jumping way past the usual first week in August when free summer concerts are performed at Kennedy Plaza on the Boardwalk. After that, Hispanic musicians, poets and artists filled the space with all sorts of rhymes and rhythms during September for Hispanic Heritage Month. 

This weekend, Oct. 12-14, Dante Hall will be the location of the Downbeach Film Festival’s Atlantic City Cinefest. One of the shorts featured at the festival is based on a book by local retired attorney, my friend and fellow poet, Michael Diamond.  

Michael has also written two other novels and prides himself on mixing historical facts with controversial environmental issues. The film based on his work is titled Pandora’s Box.    

Most single films are $5. You can purchase a one-day pass for $15 or a full-festival pass for $25. 

Click here for more details about the Atlantic City Cinefest

Turiya S.A. Raheem was born and raised in Atlantic City. Currently an English teacher at Atlantic Cape Community College, she loves to describe her neighborhood as “the other Atlantic City,” because it was not the casino-resort mecca most people know today. It was a place with a “cozy, down-home feeling” as she describes in her 2010 book, Growing Up in the Other Atlantic City: Wash’s and the Northside. 


Read more of 'The Other Atlantic City' columns by clicking here.

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