Posts tagged "Pomp and Circumstance"
June 14, 2013
The secretary general of the United Nations joins luminaries in media, the arts, and public service as speakers at city graduation ceremonies this month.
Ban Ki-Moon will speak June 24 at Democracy Prep Charter High School, which is graduating its first class this year. Recruiting the graduation speaker was a feather in the cap for Seth Andrew, the charter network’s founding director, who is stepping down at the end of the month.
Among the many Ray Kelly, the city’s police commissioner, and Salvatore Cassano, the fire department commissioner, are each speaking at high schools with a focus on public safety. A Baltimore Ravens football player will speak at a Manhattan school that serves many transfer students. And in a coup that is likely to excite teachers, Jad Abumrad, host of NPR’s “Radiolab,” is speaking June 24 at Lyons Community School in Brooklyn. (more…)
June 28, 2012
For two high schools that filled a large auditorium at Queens College yesterday for their graduation ceremonies, the festivities were bittersweet.
Long Island City High School and Flushing High School are among 24 city schools graduating their final cohorts before closing and reopening this summer.
Students who were enrolled in the schools this year and didn’t graduate will continue to attend them. But their schools will have new names and many new teachers, in accordance with the rules of a federal school reform model called turnaround.
On Wednesday, the room reverberated not with chants but with applause — this time, to honor their newly-minted alumni. Yet the impending closures were not far from the minds of the graduation speakers, a mix of alumni, principals and top students, some who immigrated to the United States shortly before beginning high school.
“It is sad to know we are the last graduating class of Long Island City High School, but it is also an honor,” Xi Xi Hu, Long Island City High School’s valedictorian, said in her speech. (more…)
June 27, 2012
In May 2009, the Department of Education launched a new initiative, NYC21C, to remake the American high school using technology. Then-Chancellor Joel Klein made the announcement at the NYC iSchool, then completing its first year, and praised its students and co-principals, Alisa Berger and Mary Moss.
Now, all of those people have moved on.
Klein left the Department of Education in November 2010 and now earns more than $4 million a year running the education division of a multinational corporation. Moss left last year when her family moved to North Carolina. Berger’s family is relocating to Massachusetts this summer.
And on Monday, members of the school’s inaugural class graduated in an afternoon ceremony, featuring a speech by Klein, held at the Ethical Culture Society on the Upper West Side. This fall, they’ll enroll at colleges and universities up and down the East Coast.
“Our greatest hope is that you love college, that you discover something you love learning about, that what you love to do is something that makes the world better, even in small ways, and that you find fulfillment in your life,” said Moss, who returned to see the school’s first students graduate. Of the 100 students who entered the selective school in 2008, 94 graduated on time.
“I ask that you go and do — that you take what you’ve learned at the iSchool to transform the colleges you attend and create communities for yourselves the way that you have created the iSchool,” Berger told the graduates. (more…)
June 26, 2012
Classes had already ended for the year at International High School when President Obama announced that he would pull back on deporting undocumented youth, but Principal Nedda DeCastro made sure to deliver the news to her students anyway. She cut out a newspaper article and brought it to the school’s prom, where it quickly circulated on the dance floor.
The celebration continued Monday at the school’s graduation ceremony, when English teacher Suzannah Taylor told the 50 graduates, “Class of 2012, you live here too and don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.”
It was a lesson that many International students have not always gotten. The school caters specifically to young immigrants who are still learning the English language, and many of them are undocumented. The school’s unique profile gained national attention when it was portrayed in “The New Kids,” a book that tracked a year in the life of immigrant students at the school. (more…)
June 25, 2012
Faculty and students at the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School believe in the Scandinavian saying: There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.
For four years, members of the class of 2012 endured classes in the rain, snow, and sleet as they learned the ins and outs of marine biology and ship engineering through sailing and diving in the New York Harbor.
But that didn’t stop a severe thunderstorm from interrupting their graduation Friday, which was held outside the small public high school’s campus on Governors Island.
When lightning struck yards from where the ceremony was being held, Principal Nate Dudley helped direct an evacuation of the area. Students, teachers, and families fled to shelter in a tunnel in a nearby building, crying young siblings in tow, then waded through ankle-deep puddles to the school’s dining hall. They quickly dismantled tables that had been set for a senior banquet, and the ceremony resumed where it left off, in the middle of the valedictorian Cesar Gutierrez’s speech.
Dudley said that efficiency and resiliency represents the Harbor School. ”We roll with whatever happens to make our programs work,” he said.
Dudley, too, was graduating, after overseeing the school since it opened in Bushwick in 2003. This summer he is leaving Harbor School to become a deputy leader in one of the networks that the Department of Education runs to support schools. He’ll also continue working toward a doctorate in education leadership at Seton Hall University. (more…)
June 20, 2012
Local politicians, stars of the stage, and a high-profile shoe designer will fete city graduates at commencement ceremonies over the next week.
The annual roster of graduation speakers includes three Broadway stars who themselves graduated from city public schools, according to a list the Department of Education distributed today. (The list is posted below. Fill us in on what’s missing.)
Lin-Manuel Miranda, author of “In The Heights,” will speak at Washington Heights in the neighborhood his Tony Award-winning play features, Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School. Jeannette Bayardelle, a Bronx native who graduated from Fiorella LaGuardia High School for Art and Music & the Performing Arts and has appeared in “Hair” and “The Color Purple,” will speak at M.S. 296 in the South Bronx. And Telly Leung, who vaulted onto the television show “Glee” last year after getting his start in Stuyvesant High School’s theater productions, will be speaking at his alma mater.
The graduation speaker with the most packed schedule is, as always, the city chancellor. Dennis Walcott will be speaking at 16 schools that span the range of options the city offers. Walcott will appear at elementary, middle, and high schools; selective schools and ones that accept students who have flunked out before; schools that prepare graduates for work as well as college; and one charter school in Harlem. At Truman High School, one of the few remaining large schools in the Bronx, Walcott will share the stage with Steven Madden, the founder and former CEO of the shoe company that bears his name. (Kenneth Cole, a competitor of Steven Madden, isn’t on the list.)
The city did not include information about the graduation ceremonies for any of the schools set to be renamed and reconstituted as part of a controversial “turnaround” process. But several of the schools have recruited high-profile speakers for their last graduating class before the changes. (more…)
December 14, 2011
When William Taveras approached the Washington Bridge Post Office on West 180th Street, college applications in hand, with whoops and applause from hundreds of classmates in the background, it was a step toward a goal he set five years ago.
As a member of the first class of sixth-graders at the Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School, Taversas said he often heard founding principal Brett Kimmel tell students his main objective was to get everyone into college.
Kimmel brought Taveras’s cohort a few steps closer to that goal today, when all 76 seniors marched the three blocks from their Upper Manhattan school to the post office that would mail their transcripts and applications to universities.
Each student was required to apply to CUNY and SUNY colleges, and some said they were applying to other schools as well. WHEELS — which lists “high-dose” tutoring as one of its strategies to build college readiness — required each student to apply to a minimum of six colleges. (more…)
June 29, 2011
The 89-year-old nave of Riverside Church reverberated with Bulldog spirit on Monday, as Manhattan’s Washington Irving High School held its graduation exercises.
The graduates, who filled the vast space with a unified toss of their caps at the ceremony’s conclusion, represented just a fraction of the students who started at Washington Irving four years ago. While graduation data for this year’s class is not yet available, last year Washington Irving’s 4-year graduation rate was just 55 percent, which was an increase from 2009, when its rate was the lowest in the city among traditional high schools. The city has dramatically reduced the school’s size in recent years in an effort to turn performance around.
But the school’s struggles barely registered at graduation, where a handful of top students were recognized for their achievements. (more…)
June 23, 2011
Donette Newyear, student body president at the Bronx School for Law and Finance, scored a coup when Chancellor Dennis Walcott accepted her invitation to speak at the school’s graduation today.
But the main attraction might as well have been graduating senior Karina Melendez, who overcame cancer, homelessness, and years in foster care to rise to the top of her class at Law and Finance.
GothamSchools profiled Melendez last year when she was one of five students nationally to win a prestigious scholarship that covers four years at any college.
Today, Melendez graduated as the school’s co-salutorian, and in the fall, she heads to Columbia University.
The master of ceremonies, Richard Kavesh, a teacher who was once mayor of Nyack, N.Y., called Melendez one of the most remarkable students he’d ever encountered. (more…)
June 17, 2011
Elected officials and Department of Education deputies are the most common graduation speakers at city schools this year.
Novelists will take the stages of two elite schools known for their prowess in math and science, according to a list of graduation speakers the DOE has distributed. (The list is posted below.) E.L. Doctorow will speak at Bronx High School of Science, which he attended, and Stuyvesant graduates will hear from alumnus Gary Shteyngart.
The graduation speaker with the most packed schedule is Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, who is scheduled to speak at 15 schools over eight days. The schools include his alma mater, Francis Lewis High School; a school for students with severe disabilities; transfer schools; and two low-performing high schools that aren’t set for closure, Boys and Girls High School in Brooklyn and Washington Irving High School in Manhattan.
Notably absent from the list: Ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner, who had been set to speak at his alma mater, Brooklyn Technical High School, before resigning amid scandal this week. The New York Times reports that Public Advocate Bill deBlasio will replace Weiner at Brooklyn Tech. DeBlasio is also the featured speaker at MS 51, a selective middle school in his own neighborhood of Park Slope.
The city also released statistics about high schools’ top graduates:
For the Class of 2011, there are 375 valedictorians. Of these students, 65 percent are female, 49 percent speak a language other than English at home and 66 percent are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.