Freshly pressed slacks, shiny shoes and new backpacks filled with notebooks, sparkly pencils and erasers shaped liked superheroes-- Thursday, September 6, was the official first day of school for children attending New York City public schools.
In Bed-Stuy, like anywhere else, the first day of school is an exciting time for most kids, not only because they have advanced another grade level, but also beause it signals the promise of new-- new clothes, new teachers, new experiences, new friends...
And for the parents… relief!
At the entrance of Community Partnership Middle School (CPC), a charter school located at 114 Koscisuzko Street, Principal Keisha Rattray greeted 53 fifth-graders by their first names and shook their hands as they walked inside the building.
For CPC, Wednesday was the first day for its students. So, how did Principal Rattray memorize the names of her incoming class of firth-grade students in one day?
“I don’t know, I guess it’s just the teacher in me,” said Rattray, laughing. “I promised them I would know all of their names by Friday. And I will!”
Tenisha Tate’s son Devon, 9, is a fifth-grader starting at CPC for the first time. She said her son was nervous but that she was excited:
“I think this will be a good school for him,” said Tate. “I did research comparing public to this charter school; I compared the grades and looked at the schools the kids go to after graduating-- that was a big influence.
"The other school he was in, the children graduate and most go on to a huge school. His personality doesn’t fit that. He will get lost. So this school is smaller and the kids go to smaller high schools. He should excel.”
Dollie Harris and her two children Tenasha, 8, and Francisco, 6, were starting at P.S. 256, Benjamin Banneker School on Koscisuzko Street. Everyone, mom included, was excited to be starting a new academic year.
Francisco said his favorite subject was math, while his big sister Tenasha said, “I just like the fact I get to learn.”
Quashawn Rickenbackeo, 16, of Frances Perkins Academy, and Brandon Moore, 15, of The Urban Assembly of Music and Art, were rushing to the subway to get to school on time.
Both high schoolers said they were happy to be getting back into the swing of school again, because they missed their friends.
When asked what else they enjoyed about high school, Moore shrugged and said, “I just want to get through my 11th grade year.”