A school is closing at the Piagentini & Jones campus, and its principal claims this year’s graduates are the cream of the crop.
I.S. 192 held its final graduation for its three remaining academies on Wednesday, June 24. It is being closed by the Department of Education. Two smaller schools will continue to operate on the campus and DOE has decided to add a third new middle school to the building in September.
Principal Janette Vargas was the final leader of I.S. 192, which has served Throggs Neck at 650 Hollywood Avenue since 1972. She took the reins in 2004.
The final graduation marks the end of: Kezner Academy for Science and Technology, Academy for Creative Arts, and the Journalism and Government Academy. The school will be remembered with a room honoring its history on the Piagentini & Jones campus.
“We are setting up a memory room in the building that will remember the history of I.S. 192 – from 1972 to 2009,” Vargas said. “It will be built around our theme: ‘The Finest.’”
The DOE closed the school, citing test scores lower than at other neighborhood schools, but according to Vargas this year’s graduating class rose to the challenges put forth by their teachers.
“The graduating class was the first group I.S. 192’s statistics going back to 1999 where the percentage of students scoring proficient in reading stayed at 52%,” Vargas stated. “When it comes to math, it was 62% across the board. Many times, I think the community underestimates us.”
She was impressed by their performance and ability to work with their teachers to accomplish educational goals.
“The students this year knew what needed to be done and did it to the highest standards,” Vargas said. “The teachers taught and the students responded and grew.”
Vargas said that the three graduations the school held for its different academies were a bittersweet experience.
Donna Marie Kinford, a teacher at I.S. 192 expressed the sentiments of a staff that she said had grown emotionally attached to the final class, at the Kezner Academy graduation, one of the three commencements held on June 24.
“I have seen you all grow so much,” Kinford said to the Kezner Academy graduating class of I.S. 192. “There has never been a class that I felt so attached to […] I know that there are students here who are going to make a name for themselves.”
Mott Hall Community School will be added to I.S. 192 on the Piagentini & Jones campus in September.