Once every June for the better part of the last century, hundreds of seniors have crowded the front lawn of John Adams High School, dressed in gowns with mortarboards atop their heads. Each one left grasping a diploma — the culmination of four years of hard work and dedication.
This year, however, graduation had a much different tone. Never again would students sit on the lawn in blue and white gowns and receive diplomas from John Adams High School. When the class of 2012 walked out onto Rockaway Boulevard on Tuesday morning, the 75-year-old high school vanished into history.
By the time the city held its public hearing on closing John Adams High School in Ozone Park last week, everyone —the Department of Education officials, students, teachers, and parents —knew what to expect.
The DOE knew it needed to station a big, bouncer-like security guard near the microphone to escort people away if their often- impassioned speeches ran too long. The students knew there would be hundreds of their peers there, waving colorful homemade signs and chanting slogans urging Mayor Bloomberg to reverse his decision to close the school and reopen it with up to half the teachers replaced, a new name and potentially another principal.
Nine Queens high schools are expected to land millions of dollars in federal aid after city officials and the United Federation of Teachers reached an agreement last week that changes the way educators are evaluated at schools the state has labeled as struggling institutions.
The agreement, which was announced Friday, was needed in order for the city to remain in a federal grant program that could bring up to $65 million to 33 city schools that the state categorized as “persistently low-achieving.”
Thousands of residents packed the front lawn of John Adams High School on Monday to celebrate the graduation of a class that has faced more than the normal triumphs and trials that inevitably accompany adolescence.
Just a little more than a month ago, students and administrators were worried the city could close down the Ozone Park school because the state had placed the institution on its “persistently low-achieving list.” However, city officials announced in mid-May they would not shutter one of Queens’ largest high schools, and graduates said they were thrilled they would have an alma mater to where they could return.
Principal Grace Zwillenberg and JetBlue CFO Ed Barnes at the John Adams High School graduation on Monday.
John Adams High School Principal Grace Zwillenberg, back left, said the school’s Model United Nations team, pictured here, is one example of the institution’s success.
This Monday afternoon at John Adams High School in Ozone Park, groups of students crowded around Principal Grace Zwillenberg, telling her tidbits about their days — the essays they are writing for class, the documentaries they are making on their Model United Nations club, the trials and tribulations that come with being a teenager trying to figure out exactly how they fit into this world.
That scene is a snapshot of what school officials say routinely happens there — enthusiastic students being supported by teachers and administrators who put in long hours to see their pupils, many of whom face such challenges as homelessness or being new immigrants who speak little English, graduate and go on to college or successful careers.
Schools Chancellor Cathie Black continued her tour of city schools with a visit to John Adams High School in Ozone Park on Monday.
Queens Chronicle Publisher Mark Weidler sent the John Adams High School Class of 2010 into their futures with a rousing speech last Friday that combined youthful optimism with sage advice on what he’s learned since graduating from the school 23 years ago.
With a stable of elusive returners and bruising running backs reminiscent of those from the powerhouse John Adams High School teams of yesteryear, the Spartans reclaimed the city championship on Sunday.
Unruly students causing problems in Ozone Park when schools let out was a concern addressed at last Thursday’s meeting of the 106th Precinct Community Council.
The John Adams High School graduate who died four years ago in an AirTrain accident will be forever remembered at his alma mater, thanks to a new electric sign raised outside its main entrance in his honor last week.
Dr. Kathleen Cashin, superintendent for Region 5 of the New York City Department of Education, outlined a plan for a John Adams High School Jump Start Academy, a separate school for 500 freshmen, Tuesday night at a meeting of the Howard Beach Civic Forum.
When an alumnus of John Adams High School was killed while test-driving the AirTrain in late 2002, the extended “Adams Family” grieved alongside the victim’s closest relatives. Now the school wants to create a vibrant reminder for the students with help from a local civic association.