P.S. 71’s middle school academy will send a pair of young men to the Bronx High School of Science and a trio of young women to other specialized public high schools in the fall. The academy is only four years old and graduated its first class of eighth graders in 2008; none were accepted to Bronx Science, one of the best high schools in NYC.
“I knew I wanted to go to Bronx Science [months ago],” Nicholas Cerini said.
Each year, some 26,000 students take the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test. Only 700 are admitted to Bronx Science. Although the high school is located in Bedford Park, few students from the Bronx attend. Cerini and Edward Diaz-Gomez made the cut.
“I think it’s going to be competitive,” Diaz-Gomez said. “Everyone [at Bronx Science] is smart. It’s going to be fun.”
The academy offered a test prep course in September and October; Cerini participated. He whizzed through the test in October. Students who take the test rank the high schools they’d like to attend. Cerini listed only one, Bronx Science.
“Science is his love,” said Nicholas’ mother, Grace Cerini. “He won first place at the science fair. He won the top science award at graduation.”
The test prep course helped, Grace said. The academy will offer the course to 2009-2010 eighth graders this summer. Nicholas, who plays soccer and the guitar, visited Bronx Science in the fall. He toured sparkling classrooms and state-of-the-art science labs, then vowed to return.
Grace thanked the teachers at P.S. 71 and the academy who inspired Nicholas to pursue science and math. He wants to study physics and chemistry at Bronx Science, and is looking forward to the high school’s relaxed dress code. Nicholas wore a uniform at P.S. 71 and the academy.
“I need to buy new clothes,” he said.
Grace and husband John didn’t push Nicholas to study science; they’re surprised and pleased. As for the future, Nicholas has mentioned NASA.
“I’m sure he’ll go far,” Grace said. “Anything that he wants to do, he’ll be able to do at Bronx Science.”
Nicholas thought the math portion of the test was difficult but the English portion was a breeze. He didn’t take any chances.
“I prayed a lot,” Nicholas said.
Diaz-Gomez and Nicholas are best friends; both live in Pelham Bay. Diaz-Gomez is also a math and science buff. He performs karate and looks after four younger brothers.
“We‘re proud of him,” Edward’s mother, Brenda Gomez said. “He’s the oldest and so mature. I hardly check his work.”
Edward is glad he’ll have a pal at Bronx Science. He hopes to study biology; Edward likes to examine plants and animals. Perhaps he’ll end up at the Bronx Zoo.
P.S. 71 academy students Cristina Iannarino, Victoria Fichter and Sarah Palacios were also accepted to specialized high schools – Brooklyn Tech and the High School for American Studies at Lehman College.
“We’re tremendously proud,” P.S. 71 principal Lance Cooper said. “We wish them the best.”