Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Pottstown Students 'Pay it Forward' With Pizza

Photo by David Woodley
Pottstown High School students read messages posted by those who helped to feed the homeless through Rosa's Pizza in Philadelphia.

Blogger's Note: The following was written by Pottstown High School Management Information Systems teacher David Woodley and re-printed here with his permission.

On Friday, in Philadelphia, I had a moment. A moment I wanted to share with everyone.

After touring the Linc, we went to Center City for lunch. Upon arrival, students had the options of going to the Reading Terminal Market or Rosa’s Fresh Pizza for lunch.

Rosa’s Fresh Pizza is a one-of-a-kind pizza shop. Mason Wartman, the owner of Rosa’s, left his job on Wall Street to start this $1-a-slice pizza shop in Philadelphia. Pizza slices for only a dollar isn't the only thing Rosa’s offers its customers. 

It also offers them the chance to donate slices of pizza for the homeless population of Philadelphia. If a customer decides to buy a slice of pizza to donate, they pay $1 and they place a post-it note on the wall with an inspirational message. 

Photo by David Woodley
Pottstown student Maverick Somich reads through some of
the messages 
left by those helping feed the homeless at Rosa's Pizza.
When a homeless individual enters, they approach the counter and ask for a slice of pizza “off the wall”. The homeless individual then receives a free slice of pizza paid for by a good Samaritan. On Friday, those good Samaritans were our students.

Upon entering, students were overwhelmed with the number of post-it notes that were on the walls, each representing a donated slice of pizza. I attached a picture of the restaurant so that you could see the amount of post-it notes on the wall. 

Students were educated on the theme and purpose (Pay It Forward!) of the pizza shop and were informed that they did not have to feel obligated to donate if they did not want to.

As each student ordered, the number of donated slices continued to grow. 

All students that entered the pizza shop that day donated at least one slice of pizza. One student donated five slices while another student donated nine slices. 

On Friday, our students donated over 30 slices of pizza for the homeless of Philadelphia. 

Photo by David Woodley
Pottstown student Thomas Scharneck writes
his own message after buying future slice 
of pizza for a homeless person
As I stood back and watched, I couldn't do anything but smile.

As students continued to order, homeless individuals came into Rosa’s. As those individuals ordered, I called some of the students over to where I was standing so that they could see their good-deed in action. It left them with a good feeling and a smile on their face!

While eating, Thomas Scharneck and Chase McKain told me that they would be right back and they wanted to see if the homeless man sitting down the block knew about Rosa’s. 

They even took two slices of pizza that they purchased for the man. 

I followed close behind them as they talked with the homeless man who was well aware of Rosa’s and thanked them for the offer but he had already had pizza today. 

He asked that they share the news and the pizza with another individual who may not know about Rosa’s and that is exactly what they did. 

Seeing two students take the initiative to spread the word about Rosa’s after visiting was very cool to see. 

"I thought it was a great way to give back to the people who need it the most. It was an experience I'll never forget, and a great way to pay it forward," said Scharneck, who is a junior.

Some of the most important lessons cannot be taught in a classroom with a textbook.

"It was a wonderful way for us to realize how great we have it and be grateful for what we have. It was a great opportunity to give back to people who really need some help," said senior DJ Kurtz.

"It was a nice experience to feel like I was giving back, especially because I knew it was being used for the hungry and not to buy drugs," senior Anthony Gazzillo said.

"Rosa's Fresh Pizza gives everyday people a way to make a direct impact on the life of someone in need," said 12th grader Anthony Oglesby.

Students that were on our field trip are currently enrolled in one of the following classes: Management Information Systems, Web Design, Computer Applications and Career Explorations(I and II) or Economics.

The field trip included a tour of Lincoln Financial Field and the Art Institute of Philadelphia along with a Philadelphia Phillies night game against the Washington Nationals. 

The field trip was organized by Rebecca Heiser, Career and Technology teacher and chaperoned by Steve Anspach, Economics teacher and myself.


  1. Spell check please

  2. I was simply amazed at the architecture of this absolutely beautiful venue!! The environment for events in NYC was unbelievable. I was fortunate enough to visit a place like this, we found awesome things one after another after another.