MS 101 boasts 23 students headed to specialized high schools

It’s been many years — maybe even never — since administrators at M.S. 101 on Lafayette Avenue recall having this many of their 8th graders get accepted to specialized high schools all over the city.

Twenty three kids will enroll in one of these elite schools next fall: Nine are going to the Bronx High School of Science, four to Brooklyn Technical High School, four to the High School for Math, Science and Engineering, three to Brooklyn Latin School, two to the High School of American Studies at Lehman College and two to Stuyvesant High School. Administrators at the school say their average is 17-19 students, and that 23 is very high.

Each of these students is excited for a different reason. “I’m going for academics, but I’ll play a bunch of sports, too,” said Stephanie Rivera. She has plans to do basketball, lacrosse, and volleyball — that’s a sport commitment all three seasons of the schoolyear — when she starts at the High School of American Studies, which is part of Lehman College in the Bronx. She played small forward on MS 101’s team, which won states this year in its division.

Emily Lavigna and Deborah Lang are just happy to be staying together. The two have been best friends since they were 4 years old, and though they aren’t excited about getting up at 6 a.m. for school next year, they’re thrilled to both be headed for Bronx Science. “We got so lucky,” said Deborah. Welton Huang and Lynnial Taylor, meanwhile, were not as lucky. “I wanted to go to Stuyvesant, but I didn’t get in,” said Welton. He’ll be going to Brooklyn Tech instead, and no one is very happy about it, including his best friend Lynnial.

“We’re splitting up, it’s a tragedy!” she said.

In order to qualify for a specialized high school, New York City 8th graders all take a challenging standardized test in November and await results with anticipation, and often anxiety.

“I figured for sure I’d fail, because I didn’t study,” said Christian Mondeavaro. “I had to guess on like five questions, but it worked out in the end.” Christian is headed to Bronx Science.

Some of these kids aren’t worried about sports or friendships, but already have eyes on the future, on their careers.

“I want to be an architect, I’m very serious about it,” said Matthew Brown, who will be going to MSE for that very reason. The school has a strong, renowned architecture program. “If I change my mind [about being an architect] my parents would kill me,” he joked.

All kidding aside, social anxiety might be more intimidating than parental pressure or academic stress. Anik Golder worries they’ll quickly go from top of the heap in middle school to bottom of the social ladder as high school freshman.

Seniors will be so big compared to me,” he reflected. “I might get hurt.”

Hopefully all 23 of these bright kids, along with the other high school freshmen across the city next year, will be able to find time somewhere in their busy schedules to have some fun.

Reach Daniel Roberts at (718) 742-3383 or

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