Chancellor Fariña Celebrates the 2015 Remarkable Graduates

  • Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2015 Updated: Mon Apr 23, 2018

102 Graduates and Their Families are Celebrated at Citi Field

NEW YORK – Chancellor Carmen Fariña and the New York Mets today hosted a reception at Citi Field to honor 102 high school graduates receiving the Remarkable Achievement Award. The award, now in its tenth year, celebrates graduates who have overcome obstacles to excel in their academics and extracurricular activities.

This year’s 102 exceptional graduates attended high school in all five boroughs – 25 in the Bronx, 35 in Brooklyn, 23 in Manhattan, 14 in Queens, and 5 in Staten Island. The graduates will be going on to a range of postsecondary education options. 

“It is my honor to recognize these students’ outstanding resilience and commitment to their education, and to share this wonderful day with their families,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “Their stories represent so many more – and these students stand as an inspiration to younger students, educators, and all New Yorkers.”

“The Mets are once again proud to host the Remarkable Achievement Awards at Citi Field,” said Jeff Wilpon, New York Mets Chief Operating Officer. “These students’ resilience, courage, and hard work in the face of adversity represent the best of New York and we look forward to continuing to celebrate and support the great students in New York City public schools for years to come.”

For the past decade, the Schools Chancellor has honored students who have overcome personal or academic challenges to earn their diplomas and continue to college. School leaders, college and guidance counselors are asked to select one student from their school to receive the Remarkable Achievement Award. A selection of these Remarkable Grads’ stories is below:

Elizabeth Huelitl Succeeded in School as a Young Mother 
As a young mother, Elizabeth has had to juggle her time and energy between academics and taking care of her three-year-old son. For most her age, this balancing wouldn’t be possible, but Elizabeth has thrived. 

“Elizabeth has set high standards, and has well-honed work ethic and an excellent sense of discipline and structure.  She has great maturity, passion for education and has demonstrated a thirst for learning,” said Jessica Torres, her college counselor at the Bronx’s High School of Computers and Technology. “She is an inspiration to many of the staff and her peers who have worked with her and watched her remain committed to her education while being a teen parent.”

Elizabeth has excelled as an intern for the school principal’s secretary, but her true passion is cooking – she plans on studying culinary arts and becoming a chef.

Ben Takanashi Thrived through PS 226’s Work Study Program
In a District 75 school, Ben has made the most of his academic career, participating in a range of curricular and extracurricular activities including a Work Study program sponsored by PS 226 in Manhattan. 

“He began his schooling with us in a small self-contained classroom setting. Within this setting, he learned self-regulation and effective communication skills, while consistently building his core content knowledge,” said Principal Rachelle Klainberg. “He also began to serve as an exceptional self-advocate, starring in a self-made video highlighting some of the ways in which he interacts within his world.”

Through the Work Study program, Ben has socialized through ongoing peer partnerships, found an interest in working in thrift stores through a job placement at Goodwill Industries, and has begun traveling each day between Stuyvesant and Pace University to work in the University library. Going forward, Ben will continue to develop his skills and passions as part of a supported employment program.

Mia Mance’s Grit and Focus Pushed Her to College
In her last years of high school, Mia was frequently uprooted and moved from home to home. Despite this challenge, Mia’s attendance actually increased and she put forth her best effort in and out of the classroom – diving into her schoolwork and being a member of the Double Dutch team, while working at McDonald’s after school to support herself.

“Through all of this adversity, Mia never outwardly complained about her situation,” said Nicole Alamu, assistant principal of Cambria Heights Academy in Queens. “She remained focused on making school her priority and worked towards bettering herself.”

Mia will be heading to Kingsborough Community College to continue her studies.

Bomposeh Tarawally: From Sierra Leone to the Honor Roll and College in the Bronx
Bomposeh came to 10th grade at the High School for Teaching and the Professions shortly after emigrating from Sierra Leone. In the face of culture shock and family difficulties, she excelled and finished high school ranked ninth in her class.

“She has achieved high grades and has found the inner strength and motivation to serve as a model student and a most respected peer among the student body,” said Assistant Principal Kamele McLaren. “She quickly made a successful transition in spite of cultural differences. “

Bomposeh will attend Bronx Community College, where she’ll major in Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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Contact:  Chancellor’s Press Office (212) 374-5141

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