By Bob Harris
Valedictorians achieve the highest grades in a graduating class, and they are often active students.
Hillcrest High School’s Fatima Z. Karim has a GPA of 4.0, is an immigrant reform advocate and has created the SOS Village Project in Morocco, which helps impoverished children.
In the Campus Complex, in Cambria Heights, Rosmary Reyes is graduating from the Business, Computer Applications & Entrepreneurship HS, is student government president and is graduating in three years.
In an interesting feat, Alexander Ramroop is the 2014 valedictorian of the Humanities and the Arts HS while his brother Matthew Ramroop is valedictorian for the Law, Government & Community Service HS. Both are receiving Advanced Regents-endorsed diplomas.
Valedictorian Chelsea Lawrence, of the Math, Science Research & Technology HS, has been on the school leadership team and will be attending the John Jay College of Criminal Justice with a $3,000 scholarship.
Shanelle Davis is the valedictorian from Benjamin Cardozo HS and will be attending Harvard University with the help of a number of scholarships. Cardozo students were the winners of $5,000 from Evergreen Packaging’s Made by Milk Carton Construction Contest. They built a scene from “Alice in Wonderland” using 1,250 recycled milk cartons.
Neha Shah is the valedictorian for the High School for Arts and Business in Elmhurst. She has taken College Now classes through Queensborough Community College and was in the school Rocket Club and, after volunteer work at Coler Hospital on Roosevelt Island, has decided to become a nurse.
The Francis Lewis HS JROTC flew to Normandy, France, to participate in the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landing. The 20-year-old program has won many contests and participated in many events, but this is its first overseas activity.
The Living Environment class at Pan American International HS, in Elmhurst, visited the Grange Roof Farm in Long Island City, which is run by the Brooklyn Grange. This is the largest rooftop garden in the world with more than 5 million pounds of soil.
William Cullen Bryant HS has become greener due to the construction of a rooftop garden. The project is a partnership between the Horticultural Society of New York, Global Kids and the school.
The Academy of Urban Planning, in Bushwick, Brooklyn, is designing posters and fliers for the local businesses in Glendale and Ridgewood. Art teacher Mr. Drozd noticed that the stores had handwritten signs. Last April, he instituted the sign-making as a real project for his three art classes. The businesses like the signs and the students like doing them. About 40 stores have asked for posters next term.
John Bowne HS has named its weightroom for retiring gym teacher Chris Englisis, who has been at the school for 18 years. Over the years he has given the school dozens of weightlifting machines. At a ceremony he received a plaque and a commemorative banner.
Thomas Edison Career and Technical Education HS has a fine reputation for preparing students for college. It has engineering, robotics, medical pharmaceutical, electrical installation, information technology and auto repair programs which have won many contests.
GOOD AND BAD NEWS: A recent report listed two Queens high schools as among the 10 best in New York state, but the information above tells of many fine students and schools in Queens, so one should look for the good things in all schools.
The city Department of Education should not be closing schools and throwing teachers into the cold but work to improve schools.