Back-to-school barbecue

The first-ever sixth-graders at Flushing’s I.S. 237 were welcomed with a tasty barbecue on September 6.
Assemblymember Ellen Young was present and met with students, parents and teachers, as health-conscious Principal Joseph Cantara served lean burgers on whole wheat buns and fruit juices.
The school, on Colden Street in Flushing, is the last in the borough to house grades 7-9. The new grade 6-8 format will give teachers one more year to work with individual students before they move on.
“The students had the option of leaving after the 8th grade to go on to a high school,” said Shirley Bryant, Parent Coordinator at I.S. 237. “Now we’ll have them for all three years.”
Cantara has headed I.S. 237 for 14 years and is only the third principal in 37 years. His stated goal is “trying to teach students the value of an education.”
“We try to teach young adolescents to like school and develop an appreciation for what they are doing,” he said.
Along with academics, I.S. 237 is proud to provide a gamut of stimulating youth programs. According to Bryant, these programs include basketball tournaments with trophies and certificates, theatre, Roundabout Theatre and plays that encourage student interaction.
“Parents are concerned that 6th graders are diving into a more structured environment that has to comply with New York State Board of Regents standards,” according to Bryant, “but the students don’t seem to be bothered by the change at all - they welcome it.
John Byas, President of I.S. 237’s evening program for 13 years, is ready to accept the new sixth graders.
“The evening program will offer computer instruction, English-as-a-Second-Language courses, basketball, and dance classes in order to keep students off the streets,” said Byas.

More from Around New York