Students at P.S. 380 John Wayne in Brooklyn jumped into action on Tuesday as hosts and participants in the celebration of this year's “Respect for All” award which honors schools for anti-bullying and tolerance programs.
“What’s exciting is that you get to see all the schools that really are about the students and it’s amazing how many people care,” said student Jose Gutierrez.
He was one of a small group chosen to help out at the event. Three of his classmates handed out packages of mints as honorees and city officials entered the auditorium for the ceremony. The mints had a sticker on them that read: “Make a Commit-‘Mint” Respect For All.”
Rookie photographers Briana Mendez and Melanie Fiallos took pictures alongside the City Council’s own professional photographer. “It’s very fun and while I take pictures I get to meet a lot of people,” said Fiallos.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn checked after each school’s photo opportunity to make sure the girls got their shot; they responded with a thumbs up.
Student Ljente Mason admitted to not knowing who the city officials were, but she appreciated the attention the event gave to her school.
“It makes me realize that the school I have been in all of this time really cares about me. It’s a healthy and safe environment for me to stay and I feel safe and secure here,” Mason said.
In addition to P.S. 380, other winners were P.S. 89 Cypress Hills, P.S. 119, J.H.S. 259, and Brooklyn International High School from Brooklyn. Staten Island was represented by P.S. 29 and Staten Island Technical High School. P.S. 153 and P.S. 59 in Manhattan and P.S. 69, P.S. 23 and Knowledge and Power Preparatory Academy International High School in the Bronx also won.
Queens led the boroughs, with 13 schools winning the award: P.S. 90, P.S. 186 P.S. 228, P.S. 69, P.S. 62, P.S. 149, P.S. 254, P.S. 154, P.S. 152, P.S. 97, P.S. 232, I.S. 141 and VOYAGES Preparatory.
Reporting by Daisy Rosario