Members of the community and local elected officials gathered on Monday to celebrate the inaugural year of the new Maspeth High School building.
“I feel a wonderful spirit in this building,” Queens Borough President Helen Marshall said. “This school will teach many minds how to work and how to plan for the future.”
City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) hosted the event in the school’s amphitheater, where dozens of guests took in speeches and performances.
Many speakers praised Principal Khurshid Abdul-Mutakabbir’s approach to education, which was described as having a “back to basics feel” by City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans).
“I believe we are on our way to excellence,” Abdul-Mutakabbir said. “The building is a wonderful facility. It is everything you’d want in a school. We are finally happy that the ribbon has been cut.”
In addition to Maspeth High School, the building also holds the significantly smaller John F. Kennedy Junior School for special education students.
Abdul-Mutakabbir referred to the junior school’s Principal Beth Rudolph as a trusted colleague and partner, without whom Maspeth High School would not be the school it is today.
State Senator Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) said he considers the Maspeth High School building as a place that will benefit both students and the community as a whole.
“This school is a jewel of Maspeth but more than that, it lays the groundwork for Maspeth’s future,” he said.
The school, which opened in 2011, originally shared space with the Queens Metropolitan High School while the building was being erected. The new building, located on 74th Street., has only been in commission for five months.
Though still in its infancy, many speakers rejoiced in a new school for Maspeth, an area notorious for overcrowded schools.
“I have been through this process with my own children,” Dmytro Fedkowskyj the Queens representative for the Panel for Education Policy, said. “I know what it’s like to try to find a high school with no overcrowding, which, in Queens, is nearly impossible.”
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott was also in attendance, mingling with students and other attendees before making a brief statement.
“This is a gorgeous morning,” he said, “a beautiful morning to celebrate this school. This represents the vision of a 21st-century school where our children can receive a 21st- century education.”
After the ribbon was cut and all of the speeches had been given, the ceremony concluded with student performances, including a number from the string orchestra, a recitation of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, a Bollywood-fusion dance number and a performance of the famous balcony scene from “Romeo and Juliet.”
Guests were then invited to take a tour of the school building with faculty and staff.