Officials celebrate Veritas Academy opening

Officials celebrate Veritas Academy opening
Photo by Bill Parry
By Bill Parry

A new era in education was ushered onto the campus of Flushing High School last Thursday as Veritas Academy held a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Local leaders and education officials joined Principal Cheryl Quartaro in welcoming the ninth-grade class and many of their parents.

Veritas Academy and the Queens High School for Language Studies are in their inaugural years. Both smaller high schools for gifted students are slated to co-habitate the campus with the larger Flushing High School, which has been plagued by poor performance for nearly a decade and is now being downsized over the next four years starting this past September. By 2016 the school’s population will decrease by nearly 900 students in the hopes of improving the school’s overall achievement. In 2012 the state Education Department identified Flushing as one of the lowest performing schools in New York.

The 125 students that make up the Veritas Academy’s ninth-grade paid rapt attention to a dozen speakers during the hour-long program.

State Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) spoke of the need to put away cellphones and get off Facebook and dedicate all efforts into hard work.

Later, the assemblyman explained, “I wasn’t speaking of these students specifically, but for all young people. It’s a generation of instant satisfaction and that is the fault of technology and culture.”

After the event, Quartaro said, “This student body is an absolute pleasure to work with and the parents are supportive and act like a team.”

Of the first three weeks at the Flushing High School campus, she said, “It’s been fantastic, it’s like we’ve been here forever.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.