Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

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January 7, 2013

Column: THE CAREER PLANNING ACADEMY: Before she died, hard-boiled educator Dr. Edith Marie "Mimi" Pewitt raised troubled young minds and transformed the lives of many Fort Worth ISD students

FORT WORTH —

As an educator, Dr. Edith Pewitt elevated the minds of many high school teenagers teaching chemistry, biology, physics and physical science. But it was during her tenure as principal of the former Career Planning Academy that she literally transformed their lives.

Dr. Edith Marie "Mimi" Pewitt died Dec. 21 at the age of 86. There was a obituary about her published last month, but it did not mention the time she spent as the principal of the Career Planning Academy, a now-defunct Fort Worth alternative school.

It's a shame that it left out that part of Dr. Pewitt's life. She was brilliant, empathetic, and tough as nails. And she never — EVER — gave up on her students.

You wouldn't have been able to tell the impact this educator made by looking at her school in its heyday. CPA was located on 1.4 acres of property — 59,130 square feet of land — on East Vickory, off Vickory Boulevard and nearly adjacent to Interstate 30 in Fort Worth.

Let's clarify how small that is: Fort Worth's Paschal High School currently is 1,084,100 square feet of land on 24.8875 acres, according to the Tarrant County Appraisal District.

Despite its diminutive size, the school housed an auditorium, cafeteria, principal's office and several upstairs and downstairs classrooms. High schoolers of all ages and some middle schoolers were allowed to attend. There was a care center for disadvantaged kids that housed students and bussed them to the school. I met a good friend of mine, Danny, because he was a guest of that center.

Many students were assigned to CPA kind of a "last stop before the REALLY rough alternative school." (I forget the name of that particular Fort Worth ISD school.)

Contrary to its name, the Career Planning Academy was not a trade school — at least not while I was there. It was a basic high school and upper-level middle school, if very small.

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