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BARD HIGH SCHOOL EARLY COLLEGE TO HOLD ITS THIRD COMMENCEMENT ON TUESDAY, JUNE 28 Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields to Deliver Commencement Address

Mark Primoff
NEW YORK, N.Y.— Bard High School Early College (BHSEC) will hold its third commencement ceremony on Tuesday, June 28, 2005, at the Cooper Union in New York City. At the commencement ceremony, Bard College President Leon Botstein will award associate in arts degrees in the liberal arts and sciences to 114 students. The class of 2005 represents the first graduating class to have entered BHSEC as ninth graders. Approximately 94 percent of the graduates have been accepted into four-year colleges and universities. The commencement program begins at 10 a.m. in the Great Hall at Cooper Union. The commencement address will be given by Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields, a longtime supporter and an outspoken activist for quality education in New York City’s public schools. Fields has enjoyed a successful career as an activist, social worker, and political leader. Her political and social interests include education, economic development, affordable housing, seniors’ issues, and health care. Over the last eight years, her projects as Manhattan borough president have led to the redevelopment of Frederick Douglass Boulevard; the funding and construction of a full-length Second Avenue subway; the commitment of millions of dollars for libraries, computer and science labs, and a safe playground in every school; the development of the West Side rail yards with affordable housing and open space; the creation of Manhattan’s first lead-safe house for families whose children have suffered severe lead poisoning; and the elimination of flaws in the Electronic Benefits Transfer program, affording greater accessibility for seniors and the disabled. From 1963—when, as a teenager, she marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Birmingham, Alabama—to 1999, when she filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education to request a federal investigation of New York City students’ failure to achieve statewide standards, she has taken an assertive position in the civil rights struggles that transformed our nation. One of her strongest commitments has been to ensure that all children have access to a quality education. Fields earned her undergraduate degree at Knoxville College and her master’s degree in social work from Indiana University. She moved to New York in 1971 and began her work with the Children’s Aid Society and also served as a consultant to the national board of the YWCA. In 1989, she became the first African American woman elected to the city council from Manhattan, where she served for two terms. She has served as Manhattan borough president since 1998. Founded on the belief that many young people are ready and eager to do serious college work at age 16, Bard High School Early College was created jointly by the New York City Department of Education and Bard College in June 2001 as an alternative to the traditional high school. It enables highly motivated students to move in four years from ninth grade through the first two years of college, earning the associate of arts (A.A.) degree as well as a high school diploma. Graduates are eligible to transfer BHSEC credits to four-year programs at colleges and universities throughout the United States. The early college program fulfills the general education requirements of most colleges and universities while teaching students critical thinking and writing skills and saving them up to two years of college tuition. Students from many different backgrounds who have a strong record of academic excellence and diverse interests benefit from BHSEC seminar classes, which emphasize discussion and writing as tools for gaining understanding. Using primary source materials and experimental data for research, students become equipped with the analytical skills needed to pursue their intellectual and artistic passions. BHSEC is open to all New York City residents who are entering the ninth grade. Admission is based on a transcript review, writing and math assessments, and an interview. Successful applicants typically have at least an 85 grade average. Tuition is free. # # # (6.9.05)

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This event was last updated on 07-01-2005