94-year old alumn returns to P.S. 83

Kimberly Alcantara, 8, Michael Karim, 8, Robert Haxhari, 8, Brian Nguyen, 8, and Jazsity Lanzot, 9 welcome Rita Sullivan, class of 1928, back to P.S. 83. Photo by Victor Chu

P.S. 83 had a rare and wonderful opportunity, as a distinguished alumni came back to visit the institution responsible for her education.

On Wednesday, November 19, Rita Sullivan, class of 1928, returned to P.S. 83, located at 1840 Bogart Avenue, at the young age of 94.

Sullivan was full of excitement and spirit as third grade students greeted her, bringing her up to class 3-325. There the students gave a presentation to explain all the changes the school had gone through and how much it had grown over the years.

“I have had a lot of interesting things happen in my life,” said Sullivan, “and to see all these children here is just wonderful. It is unbelievable, I can’t even explain how I feel, I’m just so excited.”

The idea for the visit came from a school history lesson, when third grade teacher, Rosemary Mercora, realized her grandmother’s friend had graduated from the school. The school decided to invite Sullivan in to tour the facility and get to know the current students.

Councilman James Vacca was present at the event to honor Sullivan with a citation for her life achievements and dedication to the community.

“Ms. Sullivan is a history maker and one of the lady’s in our community who set the pace and continues to this day to make a contribution,” said Vacca, “That is why I present her with a certificate and citation to recognize Rita because her joining us today is very important.”

Sullivan grew up in the Bronx, in a house on Seymour Avenue that was built by her father. Though she did not always live in that house, she stayed in the neighborhood to raise impressive family of eight children.

“My mother has very strong community ties to the Bronx,” said Thomas Sullivan. “She was a pioneer and contributor to the community.”

Following the presentation, the third grade class and faculty brought Sullivan, along with some of her children and family friends, around the P.S.83 Annex and the first floor of the original building she attended, which will be celebrating its 83rd year.

“The staff and students at P.S. 83 were delighted to have Ms. Sullivan visit the school, it was a wonderful experience for the children,” said assistant principal Andrea Stein. “They were able to make a connection both with the past and to a lesson in human kindness.”

More from Around NYC