Alfred E. Smith High is a career and technical school. Students at Smith study automotive technology, construction and architecture; most snag union jobs after graduation.
So is Smith all work and no play? Hardly. On Monday, June 8, the school held an exuberant field day. Students competed in football, volleyball, soccer, tug-of-war, kickball, baseball, table tennis, handball, chess, dominos, Double Dutch and more. Jose Mercedes, 16, participated in the first competition of the day, a relay race.
“I hope the school keeps [the field day] going,” Mercedes said. “It is good to relax and stay in shape.”
In September, at the start of the school year, principal Rene Cassanova asked Smith sophomores, juniors and seniors to reflect on the 2007-2008 school year. Smith is located at Morris Avenue and E. 151st Street.
“Students at the school want to build a community,” Cassanova said. “That’s why we decided to hold a field day.”
Smith freshman belong to the Gateway unit. Smith sophomores, juniors and seniors belong to either the Bronx Automotive Technology unit (BAT) or the School of Academics and Construction Skills/Pre-Engineering Architectural Drafting (SACS/PEADS). On June 8, the three units went toe to toe. Gil Jenkins, a senior from Webster Avenue and E. 170th Street who belongs to SACS/PEADS, serenaded the school body. He performed “We Are the Champions.”
“The field day is awesome,” Jenkins said before taking the microphone.
Jenkins is headed to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Manhattan. He hopes to end up on Broadway.
“We want to build a positive atmosphere at Smith,” Cassanova said. “If we do, it will translate to academic achievement.”
The field day was a chance for students to see teachers outside of the classroom, happy and carefree. It was a chance for teachers to see students excel on the track and at the chessboard. A number of students campaigned to make June 8 “senior skip day” but the field was packed. Assistant Principal Rafael Guzman stood on the corner of E. 151st Street, steering latecomers to Smith.
“The field day is going to be fun,” Guzman, who graduated from Smith in 1985, said.
According to Guzman, many of the students who graduate from Smith today step into $60,000 a year. The Smith science club directed a recycling raffle during field day; a Smith student, Samuel Jeremiah, won the 2009 state HVAC competition.