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Celebrating ‘an equitable education for all’

United Way event showcases the importance of public schools
New York Teacher
Celebrating  ‘an equitable education for all’
Erica Berger

The march over the Brooklyn Bridge begins.

Celebrating ‘an equitable education for all’
Erica Berger

A Queens student high-fives a robot.

Celebrating ‘an equitable education for all’
Erica Berger

Students from schools with dance programs entertained festivalgoers.

UFT members were among the thousands of educators, parents and students who turned out on Oct. 13 for a day of celebration of public schools organized by United Way of New York City.

“I’m here because public schools are the only way forward for an equitable education for all,” said Raphael Tomkin, a special education teacher and chapter leader at PS 333 in Manhattan.

A Teachers Recognition Breakfast hosted by United Way and the UFT was followed by United Way’s March United for Public Schools, a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to demonstrate the importance of public education.

After the march, participants gathered at Brooklyn Borough Hall for the children’s “Future Festival,” which included student musicians and dancers, Big Apple Circus performers, a bubble garden, face-painting, a reading tent and more.

“Each day at school, I look forward to a young student going from ‘I can’t. Help me,’ to ‘Look at me! I did it,’” said Teresa Bello, a pre-K special education teacher at PS 185 in Manhattan who was among the public school educators honored at the breakfast organized by UFT Vice President for Elementary Schools Karen Alford.

Recognizing teachers “adds legitimacy to what we do,” said DéNeil Pollock-Campbell, a teacher and the chapter leader at PS 299 in Brooklyn. “This job is not easy.”

Also honored were Kiana Curry of PS 369 in the Bronx, Maxine Grant of PS 40 in Brooklyn, substitute James Ellowitz, Lorena Izzo of the Academy of Finance and Enterprise in Queens and Esti Ross, the community school director at Gotham Professional Arts Academy in Brooklyn.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew said the “beauty of our wonderful school system” is how teachers and parents come together every day to embrace challenges. He thanked the community partners at the event, saying, “We are never going to get this to work unless we all partner together.”

Schools, he said, are “the center of every community.”

Samantha DeBlasi visited the children’s festival with her daughter, Sofia, a 4th-grader at PS 222 in Brooklyn, who participated in a fitness-promoting activity and a demonstration about making healthy food choices. Sofia also learned about how organizations such as the Girl Scouts empower girls and young women. “These are all great messages,” DeBlasi said.

“We came out today because we’d like her to get more involved and to show support for causes such as public education,” DeBlasi added. “Public schools have a diverse student body,” and “are an example of what New York is made of.”

Celebrating ‘an equitable education for all’
Erica Berger

Face painting was a favorite activity.

Celebrating ‘an equitable education for all’
Erica Berger

A Brooklyn student makes a giant bubble.

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Marchers hold signs on Brooklyn Bridge including man on stilts

UFT members, students and other education activists celebrate New York City public schools and demonstrate their support for public education during the United Way’s “March United for Public Schools” across the Brooklyn Bridge on Oct. 13.

Erica Berger
Image
Marchers shown from behind descend Brooklyn Bridgee
Marchers cross the Brooklyn Bridge to reach Brooklyn Borough Hall and join the “Future Festival,” which celebrated public education through student performances and activities including a bubble garden, face-painting, a reading tent and more.
Erica Berger
Image
Members pose with man on stilts

Big Apple Circus performer “Mr. Fish” towers over (from left) Martha Murray, the chapter leader at PS 109 in Brooklyn; Dana Jefferson; Nicholas Cruz, the UFT parent-community liaison; and Zacarias River, a recent UFT retiree.

Erica Berger
Image
Members pose in front of a student band on stage

Enjoying the event together are (from left) UFT Parent-Community Liaison Nicholas Cruz; UFT District 3 Representative Elizabeth Espert; Lorine Romero, a paraprofessional delegate at PS 76 in Manhattan; Teresa Bello, a teacher at PS 185 in Manhattan and recipient of the pre-K award at the Teachers Recognition Ceremony; Trina James, a paraprofessional representative at PS 180 in Manhattan; Diana Watson, a paraprofessional and chapter leader at PS 25 in Brooklyn; and Raphael Tomkin, a teacher and chapter leader at PS 333 in Manhattan.

Erica Berger
Image
Kids drawing with markers on paper

Students explore their art using the oversized drawing boards at the “Future Festival” at Brooklyn Borough Hall.

Erica Berger
Image
Parents and children listen sitting on bean bag chairs

Parents and children listen to a story in the Scholastic reading tent.

Erica Berger
Image
Girl creates an enormous bubble

Summer, whose mom Sharay Williams teaches at PS 677 in Brooklyn, enjoys playing in the bubble garden.

Erica Berger
Image
Student dancers wearing purple finish on stage

Students from the Dancing Classrooms program, which seeks to empower students and to help them develop important social skills through dance, perform onstage.

Erica Berger
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Image
Marchers hold signs on Brooklyn Bridge including man on stilts

UFT members, students and other education activists celebrate New York City public schools and demonstrate their support for public education during the United Way’s “March United for Public Schools” across the Brooklyn Bridge on Oct. 13.

Erica Berger
Image
Marchers shown from behind descend Brooklyn Bridgee
Marchers cross the Brooklyn Bridge to reach Brooklyn Borough Hall and join the “Future Festival,” which celebrated public education through student performances and activities including a bubble garden, face-painting, a reading tent and more.
Erica Berger
Image
Members pose with man on stilts

Big Apple Circus performer “Mr. Fish” towers over (from left) Martha Murray, the chapter leader at PS 109 in Brooklyn; Dana Jefferson; Nicholas Cruz, the UFT parent-community liaison; and Zacarias River, a recent UFT retiree.

Erica Berger
Image
Members pose in front of a student band on stage

Enjoying the event together are (from left) UFT Parent-Community Liaison Nicholas Cruz; UFT District 3 Representative Elizabeth Espert; Lorine Romero, a paraprofessional delegate at PS 76 in Manhattan; Teresa Bello, a teacher at PS 185 in Manhattan and recipient of the pre-K award at the Teachers Recognition Ceremony; Trina James, a paraprofessional representative at PS 180 in Manhattan; Diana Watson, a paraprofessional and chapter leader at PS 25 in Brooklyn; and Raphael Tomkin, a teacher and chapter leader at PS 333 in Manhattan.

Erica Berger
Image
Kids drawing with markers on paper

Students explore their art using the oversized drawing boards at the “Future Festival” at Brooklyn Borough Hall.

Erica Berger
Image
Parents and children listen sitting on bean bag chairs

Parents and children listen to a story in the Scholastic reading tent.

Erica Berger
Image
Girl creates an enormous bubble

Summer, whose mom Sharay Williams teaches at PS 677 in Brooklyn, enjoys playing in the bubble garden.

Erica Berger
Image
Student dancers wearing purple finish on stage

Students from the Dancing Classrooms program, which seeks to empower students and to help them develop important social skills through dance, perform onstage.

Erica Berger
Related Topics: Public School Proud