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Parents, students and educators of Success Academy gathered with Congressman Gregory Meeks to celebrate the opening of Success Academy Ozone Park Middle School with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, October 4.
Space for the new school, which opened in August and serves 250 fifth and sixth graders from Success Academy Queens, was provided by the city in late May, after years of dogged advocacy by thousands of parents. and educators who received the support of elected officials. officials.
Representatives of Senator James Sanders Jr., Assembly Member Khaleel Anderson and City Councilor Adrienne Adams were in attendance for the event.
“Today we live in a global society. Our young people are no longer competing in their neighborhood, in their neighborhood, in their city, state or nation, ”Meeks said. “They have to be prepared to compete with people around the world, and we here in New York, especially in Queens County, have to make sure we benefit and include ourselves in this global society. This is a key issue that we have to face and you have to have the education to do it.
Meeks added, “It takes a team to make sure that you are educated in an institution that is also conducive to that learning. It also shows young people that you care. You care about their education. You care about their environment. When they grow up knowing that adults care about who and where they are, how they learn and what they do, it is something that transforms them.
The city agreed to supply the building, a former Catholic school located at 109-55 128th St., in May, as the temporary student roommate at IS 238 in Hollis was about to expire.
According to Success Academy, the new building required major works. Due to the last minute bid schedule at the end of May, SA’s renovation team was tasked with renovating the space from top to bottom, including all new electrical and plumbing systems, demolition, reconstruction , paint, tiling and flooring. – in just over two months.
Although Success Academy first requested space from the city in 2017, school officials said Mayor Bill de Blasio did not act until 2019, when parent advocacy groups continued. to demand responsibility and space for their children to learn.
In September 2019, over 4,000 activists came together to mobilize for equity in education in Roy Wilkins Park and began asking for help.
Over the next 18 months, they sent 19,000 emails and made over 2,300 phone calls to elected officials asking for their support. This included several press conferences, including one with more than 200 Southeast Queens fourth graders reportedly left without seats for the next school year.
Ahead of a tour of the new school, sixth-grader Ayden Brotherson said being in the building gave him personal satisfaction knowing he was part of the fight for a new school.
“I would like to thank the many people who were instrumental in preparing this new building for us, but also remind us that right now our brothers and sisters at Success Academy Far Rockaway are in a space battle that is theirs. clean, ”Brotherson said. . “Let’s all use this experience to remind ourselves that if we stand together, we can accomplish what may seem impossible. “