Julia Rooney, Class of 2001
"I was the weird Goth girl...a blonde Wednesday Adams, (From the Adams Family)until I came out of my shell."
F-A.com: You and your husband Rob, were one of Frankford's many high school sweethearts.
Julia: We met in choir in freshman year...1997. I was the weird Goth girl who befriended the popular guy. He was friends with everyone and involved in everything. Rob helped me come out of my shell and make friends.
F-A.com: What activities were you involved in at Frankford?
Julia: Jazz & Rock Orchestra, Choir and Drama.
F-A.com: What were your challenges?
Julia: Most people would not approach me, because they thought I was mean and stand-offish. I didn't smile. I looked like a blonde Wednesday Adams. (Adams Family) I wore shorts and platforms...and was chubby in the beginning. Other girls would make fun of me. I met Rob in choir in our freshman year. I started hanging out more and more with him, and pretty soon...the little things just didn't matter anymore. People's opinions of me didn't matter.
F-A.com: Who inspired you at Frankford?
Julia: Kim Bellar, who is still teaching there. She helped me in my music productions. She encouraged me to follow my dreams. I currently perform with the Holmesburg Star Players. I was recently in Beauty and the Beast. I played the mother and one of the townspeople. By day, I work as a hostess at the Hook and Reel, a Cajun Seafood Restaurant.
F-A. com: How did Frankford prepare you for the world?
Julia: I was in the Health Academy. Frankford helped me gain confidence, and also got me out of my shell.
F-A. com: How has Frankford changed since you attended?
Julia: The arts program is more prominent. The arts are very important in education. They round out the hum-drum of basic reading and arithmetic. I also love that they don't have uniforms. The kids are free to express themselves through their clothes.
They tried to make us wear uniforms, but the senior class had a walk-out, and it didn't happen. We also had a walk-out when they tried to underpay teachers. The class of 2001 made it known, when we didn't like something. We were very vocal.
F-A.com: What advice would you give current students?
Julia: Be yourself. Don't try to be fake and fit in with the crowd. It will only hurt you in the end. You’re not going to please everyone. Don’t hide your inner feelings. Someone’s always going to be there to talk to.
A few classmates committed suicide, a few years after graduation. We had some classmates who were afraid to come out. Be yourself. I didn't have that problem. I liked boys and girls. We had a Gay/Straight Alliance at Frankford.
Our son, who is a sophomore at Frankford, is a member of the straight alliance. I couldn't be more proud of him coming out of his shell. Our children are 16, 14 and 10.