Philadelphia's acclaimed Girard Academic Music Program (GAMP) has found a hero to save its budget woes and ultimately its future. The school's principal of 16 years, Dr. Angelo Milicia, has decided to step down and avail of an early retirement to save the school $180,000 that would save the jobs of two music teachers and replenish GAMP's operations budget.
"Here's a man who makes a sacrifice for the students that he loves. That's amazing...You can't get any better than that."
- Ja'Sonia Hinton, GAMP fresh graduate of Batch 2011, as told to Valerie Russ of the Philadelphia Inquirer
GAMP is a unique magnet secondary school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania first established in 1974. It started as a music-centered academic program within the Stephan Girard School in South Philadelphia that eventually evolved into an independent institution with all of its students from grades 5 to 12 as "music majors."
Milicia, 62, spent 17 years as a teacher and 24 years as a principal in the South Philadelphia school district where GAMP belongs. He understands the scarcity of public funds for schools especially for a specialized school like GAMP. This academic year alone, the budget for the school district was cut up to 28% forcing some programs to be streamlined and some Advanced Placement Courses to be dropped.
Now, how's that for a graceful exit?