SparkNotes: Thomas Edison: Final Contributions

The school, Thomas Alva Edison High School, had the highest casualty rate during the Vietnam War of any high school in the United States – a fact that’s confirmed by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (the nonprofit that built the Vietnam Wall), and has been recognized by local, state and federal government officials.

A summary of Final Contributions in 's Thomas Edison

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In 1979, the school became co-ed, and the demographics shifted – the student population was 71 percent Latino this past school year, according to data from the Philadelphia school district. In 1988, Edison High School was moved to a more modern building two miles to the north, across from a large Catholic cemetery in the Juniata Park neighborhood. It became a combined high school and vocational center and was renamed the Thomas Alva Edison High School/John C. Fareira Skill Center.

Learn more about the past and greatness that is Thomas Edison.

Now -- 50 years since the war -- efforts to memorialize the “Edison 64” are stronger than ever. A local author is writing a book about the school, a few veterans are trying to obtain a posthumous award for one of the 64 former students who died. And more veterans – graduates of Edison who survived Vietnam or others who served alongside the 64, like Viscusi – are making the trip to Philadelphia.


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There’s some discrepancy between the school’s tally of the dead and what’s officially recognized. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund acknowledges 54 former students of Edison High School were killed in Vietnam. Over time, though, the school added more names of former students who returned from the war but died of injuries sustained there.

Edison Awards™ - Honoring Innovations and Innovators

The Edison Awards are named after (1847-1931) whose extraordinary new product development methods garnered him 1,093 U.S. patents and made him a household name across the world. Edison pioneered five industries which transformed our world, including the incandescent electric light and the system of electrical power, the phonograph and recorded sound, the telephone transmitter, the storage battery, as well as movies and the motion-picture camera.

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