In our technological world, it can be rare to find a positive corner of social media, but some Pennsbury alumni have done just that. The Pennsbury alumni Facebook page (PHS) was started in December 2020, and has blossomed into a steadfast community.
I talked to Brian Brown, class of 1984, who is one of the administrators of the page. The other moderators are Darryl Moyle ‘84 (who founded the page), Carole Mendenhall ‘88, Jennifer Lowe Grant ‘07, and Diane Fritsch Cochrane, a retired Pennsbury teacher.
Brian said they’ve become “like a family.” Brian explained that it originally started as a prayer page for a childhood friend, Scott Stenerson, who was ill.
Unfortunately, Scott eventually passed away, but the response was so immense – 2,000 people joined in the first week – that Brian and Darryl decided to leave the page up and as Brain put it, “something very wonderful happened along the way.”
The page now has over 6,200 members, ranging from people who graduated in the 1960s to more recent alumni. They get the word out about alumni events and current Pennsbury happenings. Brian also does spotlights on famous Pennsbury alumni.
Some people he has interviewed include Troy Vincent, former football player for the Eagles and current Executive Vice President of Football Operations for the NFL, actor Richard Kind, and CBS political analyst Robert Costa.
While the group has evolved over the past two years, Brian emphasized that Scott’s memory still keeps them grounded. “Scott was a very positive person. He wanted everybody to be happy,” and the page embodies a spirit of connection, helping to reunite friends who never thought they’d see each other again. Seeing people from different states or who haven’t seen each other in over 50 years reconnect has been very rewarding for Brian and his fellow administrators.
The page also provides a space to meet new people, a quality that for Brian, led to the “the best thing that’s ever happened” to him. “I met my fiance on there, and we’re getting married in April,” he told me.
Brian posts a daily “good morning” where he picks out beautiful, calming pictures and shares a message of kindness to start everyone’s day. His fiance “started seeing my good morning posts…she started liking them and that’s how we actually started speaking to each other…next thing we know we exchanged numbers and finally met and the rest is history.”
The PHS alumni group is refreshing among the negative depths of social media. “It’s been such a positive, great experience that you can actually have something like this on the Internet,” Brian said, and he explained that they have community rules to make sure nobody gets made fun of or harassed. While sometimes, “We’ve had people complaining about the district, teachers, and whatnot….There’s other pages on Facebook for that.” In the end, it comes back to Scott’s legacy. “We do it in memory of Scott,” Brain reiterated, “and keep it positive and keep it going, and it’s been working really well.”
To anyone who wants to start a page for their own school, Brain’s advice is this: Keep it positive, focus on what your audience wants, and keep the current district developments in mind. Ultimately, the goal is connection.
Brian said that if the Pennsbury page can bring a smile to a person’s face, then that’s enough for him. And if you’re a Pennsbury alumni, come join the Facebook group! Brian wants to reach as many Pennsbury alumni as possible.
If you join the page you’ll have the opportunity to connect with old classmates and make new friends. Who knows, you might just meet your future spouse.
PHOTO CAP: Brian Brown with the Pennsbury Falcon