By Juan Soto
It was not your typical morning school bell ring at IS 9 in Springfield Gardens Monday.
There was something unusual.
Parents, neighbors, community activists, clergy and elected officials gathered at the school to rally in favor of the children and their education.
“We were there to encourage the students and to let them know that if they work hard, they can become whatever they want,” said the Rev. Corey Terry, of the Southeast Queens Our Brothers Guardians, a mentoring nonprofit.
“Children were surprised to see us there,” said Terry, “but they were very happy about it.”
The early morning rally took place as kids from the school were entering the building to get to their classrooms.
IS 59, at 132-55 Ridgedale St., began to share building space with a Success Academy charter school this academic year.
U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) led the rally and said it was “unfair” that children at the same building do not have the same “learning conditions.”
The congressman said, “This sends a bad message to kids.”
Meeks pointed out, for example, that some students at the building have facilities with air conditioning while others do not.
“This is just a terrible message,” added Meeks.
“We will work hard to make sure all students have the same means,” said Terry.
But the congressman said that as the kids were walking into the classrooms, “they were shaking our hands, saying ‘Good morning.’ They were happy.”
Meeks said the main goal of the rally was to let the children know “that they can be all they want to be.” He was glad, he pointed out, to see “many men from the community there, supporting the kids.”
“We want to make sure our kids know that we are there for them,” said Meeks, who, in cooperation with Our Brothers Guardians, “adopted” IS 59 two years ago to prove that communities and their organizations “have the capacity to help revitalize local schools.”
Among the elected officials at the rally were state Assemblyman William Scarborough (D-Jamaica) and City Councilmen I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans) and Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton).
“There is no better way than having men from the community get together to support our children,” said Miller. “The men who came out pledge their support to their kids and wives, and to the community in general,” added the councilman.
A little after kids entered the school, the rally was over but the support will continue throughout the school year.
“We were here and we will continue to be here to help our kids,” said Miller. “This was a good, positive event.”
Reach reporter Juan Soto by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.