The students of P.S. 89 received a special treat on Monday, January 12, as Congressman Joseph Crowley paid a visit to read the students’ letters to President elect Barack Obama, made possible through the Building Educated Leaders for Life program.
BELL is a non-profit organization that runs an afterschool and summer program that comes in to city schools to tutor a select group of exceptional students they refer to as ‘BELL scholars,’ in literacy and mathematics.
“BELL has been in partnership with P.S. 89 for over 5 years, and were selected because of the positive relationship we have with the school,” said deputy regional director for BELL, Dolly H. Dalmau.
A total of 220 students from P.S. 89, located 980 Mace Avenue, benefit from this program, which meets Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 2:30 until 5:30 p.m.
New themes and assignments are used to engage the children in their learning, including the most recent themed project, ‘Mr. President, Your Story is My Story.” For this the children were asked to compose a personal letter to Obama.
“They wrote letters to the president elect asking his advise, stating how they feel about his election, and how he has inspired them,” said Dalmau. “It really shows you the power of writing and how important it is for them to write things that are positive and on their minds.”
All the students’ letters were organized and complied into a binder to present to Crowley to read and deliver to Obama.
Crowley took the time out to sit with a select group of BELL scholars’ chosen for the meeting to discuss their letters and any questions or thoughts they may have.
“We have one of the highest afterschool ratings in the city in terms of afterschool programs,” said principal Ronald Rivera. “It was great to have Congressman Crowley visit. The way he interacted with the kids, he’s a people person, he is knowledgeable about their issues, and I thought it was a marvelous presentation and a good exchange.”