Milestone day for Lindenwood P.S 232

Tears of joy – and some of sadness – flowed on Monday, June 22 as the first ever eighth grade class graduated from the Walter Ward School, P.S. 232 in Lindenwood.

“It was a great day for the kids, but it was bittersweet,” said Assistant Principal Aileen Leibman, who began her career at P.S. 232 when the graduates were in kindergarten. “You hope that what you’ve tried to teach and instill in them has taken root. It tugs on the heartstrings. I knew them before I had my own children.”

Three years ago the school, which was grades K through five, expanded to include grades six, seven and eight.

“Students used to graduate and go to M.S. 202, but a lot of parents like to keep their kids here,” said Kevin Collins, Assistant Principal. “For a small school, we get a lot done.”

P.S. 232, under the stewardship of Principal Lisa Josephson, focuses on building “well-rounded individuals.” It has about 880 students, 75 of which marched to “Pomp and Circumstance” on Monday.

The valedictorian, Shearyar Khan, scored 100 on his math regents.

“I remember him and his sister came into kindergarten not speaking English,” said Leibman. “To see that growth is such a blessing, [especially] for me to be part of it.”

Leibman told The Courier with pride that one-third of the eighth graders took the earth science and integrated algebra regents – and all passed.

“The class has done well for themselves in their time here.”

One student was offered a full scholarship to Christ the King Regional High School, but declined.

“There were lots of tears to go around,” said Collins. “Hopefully we’re sending them [the graduates] off to do bigger and better things. Hopefully they got a good sense of community here.”

P.S. 232 is a “core knowledge school,” meaning, according to Collins, that students are taught reading and writing with a background in history, culture and geography.

“We integrate all subject areas so the kids get a strong background,” he said.

Additionally, the upper grades receive Spanish instruction, but, through the Astre Program, younger advanced students who test can also learn Spanish.

With basketball, cheerleading, volleyball and wrestling, Collins said that, through the creativity of the teachers, “a lot of after-school activities were worked into the school day.”

“I’m definitely going to miss it,” said Rebeccia Beneduce, 14, who will attend the Law, Government and Community Service High School in Cambria Heights come September. “I’m happy, but of course I was sad – I’m leaving my friends and the teachers, who were amazing.”

“There were tons of hugs,” said an emotional Leibman. “It makes you feel good.”