Former Trenton High School Athlete Returns for Soccer/Football Camp Amidst 5-Alarm Fire Days Later

The Trenton community was left devastated after a historical landmark, Junior High School #1, burned down on Monday, May 15, 2023. This building held great significance to many residents, Dan Penix included. Penix, a Trenton Central High School graduate and former standout athlete, had returned to his hometown just two days prior to mentor local youth during a Spring soccer training session.

This training program, called “Sports Builds Character”, was organized by the TMA Center, a nonprofit organization co-sponsored by the Philadelphia Eagles. Penix participated in this program as a coach and mentor, hoping to inspire the youth of Trenton to reach their own athletic potential. During this training session, Penix shared how he, too, grew up in Trenton and even attended Junior High School #1, the school that later became the Martin Luther King Jr. School. He expressed how nostalgic it was to see the school, despite its current vacant state.

Unfortunately, just two days after sharing his memories, Penix received news that the school had been engulfed in flames. Emergency calls were placed at approximately 2:15 pm on Monday, May 15th, as the building burned throughout the entire day. By the end of the ordeal, a 5-alarm fire had ensnared the once-great structure.

Penix was left shocked by the destruction of such a significant piece of Trenton’s history, as were many of his fellow residents. Chester Jones, the founder and CEO of the TMA Center, lamented that Junior High School #1 had been in an incredibly dilapidated condition for almost two decades. Jones believes that the destruction of the building should spark a movement towards immediate improvements within the Trenton community.

Dan Penix, for his part, expressed sadness and shock about the loss of Junior High School #1. He considers himself a proud member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated with the core value of service for humanity. Penix hopes that the Trenton community can come together to create a safer environment that positively contributes to the development of young people.

As Trenton residents mourn the loss of this historical landmark, it remains to be seen how the community will come together to rebuild and create a brighter future for its youth. However, by telling his own story and contributing to mentoring efforts, Dan Penix is doing his part in ensuring that Trenton’s youth continue to be inspired, even in the wake of disaster.

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