Noteworthy grads

September 8, 2016

Noteworthy graduates: Reno Wilson, actor and screenwriter

Reno Wilson is a renowned television actor, but he hasn’t forgotten the New York City public schools that nurtured his talent.

June 2, 2016

Noteworthy graduates: Martha Mooke, electro-acoustic violist

Martha Mooke has accompanied a dream team of famous musicians, but to this day, the acclaimed musical pioneer respects no one more than her Staten Island music teacher at IS 34, the late Leonard Ogren.

April 7, 2016

Noteworthy graduates: Howie Rose, sports broadcaster

Howie Rose calls radio broadcasts for the Mets on WOR and televised games for the New York Islanders on MSG Plus. His job, he says, is nothing less than a dream come true for a Queens kid who used to bring along his own tape player to Madison Square Garden to practice doing play-by-play from the last row during Ranger games.

February 4, 2016

Noteworthy graduates:Jonathan Kron, software engineer

To his great good fortune, Jonathan Kron discovered and was accepted into Townsend Harris HS, a mecca for smart oddballs, nerds and cut-ups. “It felt safe to be your uncool self and explore your passions and interests without being bullied or forced to conform,” says Kron.

December 3, 2015

Noteworthy graduates: Ayisha Irfan, policy analyst

On Sept. 11, 2001, Ayisha Irfan believed herself to be just another Brooklyn-born 13-year-old. “When I woke up the next morning, everything had changed dramatically,” says Irfan, now 27, and an analyst in charge of education, justice and policing for Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

October 1, 2015

Noteworthy graduates: Hari Kondabolu, comedian

An earnest and smart boy, Hari Kondabolu was blessed and cursed with the insatiable curiosity essential to a future writer and stand-up comic. “We were learning to think critically about the work of da Vinci and Chagall and Picasso and Klee, and we were in the third grade!” says Kondabolu of his experience at PS 69 in Jackson Heights.

July 10, 2015

Noteworthy graduates: Daniel Messina, hospital executive

Daniel J. Messina is an unabashed optimist, a fierce competitor who communicates in the tough-love, coach-talk of a lifelong athlete. Now the president and CEO of Richmond University Medical Center, Messina says his best school memories are from his time at New Dorp HS, where he may have shone more on the baseball field than behind a desk.

May 7, 2015

Noteworthy graduates: Andrea Hecht, public interest lawyer

Andrea Hecht is a senior counsel for the Law Department of New York City. In Family Court, Hecht represents custodial parents who live out of state in matters from establishing paternity to securing child support payments from a parent who lives in New York City. She also conducts presentations at schools and throughout the community on child support and family law issues. 

March 5, 2015

Noteworthy graduates: Gail Salem, real estate agent

Gail Salem, an actress-turned-top-realtor, was a daydreamer as a child. The first teacher to penetrate Salem’s fanciful fortress of make believe was Mrs. Leherer, her 3rd-grade teacher at PS 184 in Whitestone, Queens, in the 1960s.

January 8, 2015

Noteworthy graduates: Jani Decena-White, English professor

Everything Jani Decena-White, who teaches English at Hudson County Community College in New Jersey, needed to become an effective and inspiring educator, she learned in the fourth grade from Miss Harris, her teacher at PS 115 in Washington Heights.

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