Friday, June 22, 2018

LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT MY KIDS ;)



June 22, 2018


It finally happened. (No, we all knew they were going to graduate) Today there was an unresolvable conflict. Nicholas graduated from the Harbor school on Governors Island at 11:30 in the morning and Sabrina's graduation from LaGuardia began at 12:30 and David Geffen Hall in Lincoln Center. I went with my mother-in-law to Lincoln Center and my wife (who actually made it to an 8 AM work meeting) watch Nicholas graduate on Governors Island. Then Stephanie and Nicholas met us at Lincoln Center so we all can go out to lunch together.

I'm glad my wife beat me to it and raised a water glass for a toast at lunch because I was thinking about it all morning.

I was worried that if I raise the glass and started to talk I would totally lose my mind. Four years ago I couldn't lift my hands off the arms of my wheelchair. I literally couldn't wrap my mind around actually holding a glass. I remember watching people do it and I didn't know how they did it.

I didn't want to make a toast that was about me on their graduation day. I just want to let them know how glad I am that I didn't die four years ago.


Updated for Sabrina May 12th 2018

Yesterday was exciting but it turned out only to be a warm-up for today. Yesterday I got to see Sabrina's senior showcase at her high school. To the left is a wide shot of the whole thing and you can click here for an album containing all the images.

But today was really exciting. Today one of Sabrina's pieces was on exhibit in a Brooklyn gallery. To the right is the flyer for the event. Yep, that's Sabrina's work! Check it out. Today through June 9th. What About Us? Sponsored by ArtsConnection and the Dedalus Foundation. 254 36 Street between second and third avenues in Sunset Park Industry City, Brooklyn.  https://teens.artsconnection.org/tct/




Pride is an understatement. So many people were congratulating her, thanking her for a painting and for the description that went with it.









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Alright, I got my hand out of the splint and I could use a computer mouse again. So before I start talking about my accomplishments, let me tell you about my kids.

You may or may not know that I have twins who are now high school seniors. And wow, has high school changed a lot in New York City in the past 30 years. I went to Sheepshead Bay high school because it was the school closest to my home. It was the 70s. We sat on radiators because there weren't enough desks. The teachers and security guards were our drug dealers. Being mugged in the hallway on the way to the bathroom was taken for granted. I survived. Four years ago my kids got to choose which high school they would go to. It was a frustrating process but the outcome was wonderful.

My daughter is winding down her experience at LaGuardia high school. Officially called The
Fiorello H. Laguardia High School Of Music Art and Performing Arts, unofficially called "the school they made the movie Fame about". It is also the school people think when they receive their Tony, Oscar or Grammy. She's not in the drama or vocal departments Her program is art. And she made this self-portrait. It was part of an art exchange program. She got to see a performance of Dear Evan Hansen and the star of the show got to have her art hanging in his dressing room.

When my kids was still in fifth grade I got my first paid gig helping organize a running race. It happened to be on New York's Governors Island. A New York City public high school just opened on the island and the kids were the bulk of the volunteers at the race. Part of my job was to supervise them and I was kinda nervous because I wasn't used to dealing with teenagers, my kids were only eight years old. But they were amazing. They all were on the super early ferryboat and did everything they had to do from filling water cops and keeping them from blowing into the harbor to picking up the ones that didn't make it to the garbage pails. My kids was still three years away from choosing high schools but I asked these Harbor School students what they thought of their high school. "My kids are still in fifth grade but should they go to the school?" Their enthusiasm was remarkable. They jumped up and down telling me how excited they would be if my kids would join them. And that attending their school was the greatest decision we ever made.

So for the next 2 1/2 years I kept the idea of choosing the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School as a choice for my kids. And it turned out to be an excellent fit for Nicholas. Because he attended the Harbor school he got a chance to present his work at the New York City science and engineering fair. He can do it better than me but let me try to explain what his project is about..
http://nycsef.cuny.edu/
Using the scientific method he has been experimenting with different types and different shapes of concrete that can be used to build the seawall that surrounds New York City. He has been supervising the people who pilot and maintain small boats that his scuba team traveled on to place samples of concrete around the perimeter of Manhattan Island. Using underwater cameras or by retrieving the samples he has been determining which samples of concrete will attract the most sea life and last the longest.(I know you can't read Nicholas's poster board here is a link to the document on Google drive so you can zoom in.) So, he is basically trying to figure out how to improve the perimeter of Manhattan Island so that more sea life will be attracted to it. The sea life will help clean the water. (Nicholas, please improve my description of your life's work in the comment section below)


We are waiting for all the acceptances/offers and then decisions get made. But, wow check out this email one of my kids just got,

Dear xxxxxx,
Following the recent tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, students across the country have rallied together to advocate for change in gun control policies in an effort to prevent future mass shootings. Some high schools have stated that students who peacefully demonstrate through walkouts and other non-violent forms of protest may face discipline and even possible suspension.


We want to remind our prospective students and our current community that xxxxxx was founded on the belief that courageous public discourse fosters a just and thriving world. With that in mind, Xxxxx will not rescind admissions offers to prospective students who face discipline for peaceable protest. As is our practice, we would ask that students let us know if they have been found responsible for a disciplinary violation.  However, to reiterate, given that thoughtful dialogue and civil, civic discourse are central to our institution, disciplinary violations for peaceful demonstrations or walkouts will not jeopardize a student’s admission to Xxxxx
.

Best,

XXXXXX
Vice President of Enrollment Services and Dean of Admissions


Needless to say the school is in New York City

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