“When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.” Those words, spoken by President John F. Kennedy in a tribute to poet Robert Frost, were part of the speech recited by Oratory Award winner Md Sayem Hossain at an Irish-American Heritage and Culture Committee event on April 28 at Brooklyn Borough Hall. Hossain, a student at the Manhattan Center for Science and Math HS, “touched on the essential interplay of power, poetry and the arts” central to the event’s theme — contributions of Irish-Americans to theater — said Tom Murphy, the Retired Teachers Chapter leader and the committee’s program chair. UFT Manhattan High School District Representative Alice O’Neil, an English teacher at Food and Finance HS, was named Irish Woman of the Year, and Irish culture advocate Hugh O’Lunney, the proprietor of O’Lunney’s restaurant in Times Square, was named Irish Man of the Year. The committee honored the Irish Arts Center as the Irish Organization of the Year and presented the Thomas J. Cuite Award to Queens City Councilman Daniel Dromm, the chair of the Council’s Education Committee. Art contest honorees included Victoria Pysher of LaGuardia HS in Manhattan and Suleila Clarke of PS 119 in Brooklyn. Murphy commended the award winners for “their approach to their Irish Heritage in the context of our pluralistic school system and city. These are values so much in demand in promoting tolerance and social justice.” The 5th-grade chorus from Brooklyn’s PS 222 performed at the event.
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Related Topics: Irish American Heritage