Alumnae Association appreciates Lorraine Rena Perloff Brill

Lorraine Rena (Perloff) Brill, Thank You!

On Oct. 21, 2017, beloved wife of the late Martin Brill; loving mother of Joni (Todd) Brill Dashoff, Ilene (Martin Klinger) Brill and David Brill; adored grandmother of Jared and Alan Dashoff passed. Services were held on Wednesday, October 25th at Goldsteins’ Rosenberg’s Raphael-Sacks, where we united to share appreciation of an unforgettable presence on our Alumnae Association Board.

A Life Well Lived

Lorraine worked as a children’s librarian for the Free Library of Philadelphia and was thus a lifelong proponent of libraries and their importance in the lives of children. She had a keen understanding of the importance of civic activism in a democratic society and could be counted on as a regular presence and speaker at community meetings in her neighborhood and at City Council meetings at City Hall. As a loyal Girls’ High alumna and parent of two alumnae, Lorraine provided many eloquent tributes and hours of work on by-laws, board nominations, school events and our annual meeting/luncheon to her years on the Alumnae Association Board of Directors.

We’ll Miss You, Lorraine

She was intense in her loyalty not just to our school, but to her class.  Lorraine provided a key corrective to one of the stories recorded in the 1998 Sesquicentennial video history of Girls’ High: 1925. The film covered the beginning of the traditional senior class overnight trip to Washington DC. However, what was generally unknown and seldom shared was a shameful aspect of that otherwise happy adventure.  As was commonplace at the time, Girls’ High conceded to our nation’s capital’s tradition of segregation, which was carried out by the nations capital’s “public” accommodations.

Girls High United

As we interviewed graduates and staff for our documentary, focusing on school life, friendships and aspirations, one alumna from a class in the 1930’s, Flora Lisi, requested additional time to recount the story of a united group of friends riding the train together to DC. Once they arrived at the station, they were divided into two groups: white girls headed to the Hotel Roosevelt and Black girls to the Colored Y.  For Flora, it was a life-changing moment that set her on a path to fight for social justice. For the school, it was simply another routine the video team believed continued until 1952 with an alternate senior class trip to New York City. “Nay!” said Lorraine Perloff Brill, class of June 1946, in a shout. “Our classes (January and June 1946) refused to participate in any support of racial segregation, so we went to the Poconos instead.”

Lorraine, the source for this point of pride, was not credited in the video, but its truth certainly was.  It changed our perspective on the amusing photo of a normally dignified faculty member taking an at bat on a mountain field softball game. Thank you, Lorraine!

Contributions in her memory may be made to The Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation or The Alumnae Association of The Philadelphia High School for Girls.

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