Central High School welcomes new history-making president. It’s the oldest school in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — Philadelphia is home to the second oldest high school in the country: Central High.

Action News reporter Maggie Kent is a proud member of Class 267. On Wednesday she returned to her alma mater, where the school is once again making history.

Before the 2022-2023 academic year, a new President will take the helm.

“You know, it’s like a big homecoming for me,” said Katharine Davis, president of Central High School.

She makes history by running the oldest high school in Philadelphia.

“I’m the first woman. I’m the first African American woman and I’m the first graduate of the school,” she says.

Katharine Davis, President of Central High School

Davis, from Northwest Philadelphia, is a member of the school’s 264th graduating class.

Central was founded in 1836 as an all-boys institution. Next year Central will celebrate its 40th anniversary as a co-ed high school.

About 2,500 children walk through the doors of the school every day.

Planning for so many students is painstaking work. Before the official start of the school year, incoming freshmen tour the building to learn how to get to each class on their schedule within the three-minute grace period before the late bell rings.


President Davis is charged with providing for the education, safety, and emotional well-being of students who travel from near and far.

“We have students from all corners of the city. Some students take the SEPTA up to two hours to get here,” says Davis.

Davis sits beneath her high school diploma and has fond memories of the past on her office shelf.

“This is a photo of me at Central for our homecoming game. I’m 14 years old and cheering for us to beat Northeast High School,” Davis recalled.

She is now focused on listening to the future: her students.

“While we have a lot of history, we’re also confident that we’re innovative,” Davis said. “We talk to students to find out what’s going well and what we can do better.”

In June 1965, semi-annual accounts were replaced by annual accounts. August 29 marks the 186th year of instruction at Central High School.

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https://6abc.com/central-high-school-philadelphia-new-president-katharine-davis/12162030/ Central High School welcomes new history-making president. It’s the oldest school in Philadelphia

Alley Einstein

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