New high school in Jamaica has high hopes


| mchan@queenscourier.com |

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan.
THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan.

Assemblymember William Scarborough help cut the ribbon during Jamaica Gateway to the Sciences High School’s celebration.

During its official ribbon-cutting ceremony, Jamaica Gateway to the Sciences High School celebrated the start of a successful — and first — school year.

“It seems that we’re going to be having a lot of ‘firsts’ here at Jamaica Gateway,” said Gail Robergeau, the school’s community associate. “We’re here and we’re small, but we’re growing. We look forward to doing great things.”

In September, the school became the newest and fifth addition to the Jamaica High School campus building, located at 167-01 Gothic Drive.

Since then, Principal Caren Birchwood-Taylor said the school’s current 224 students received their first marking period report cards, and the majority of them passed with flying colors.

“The first marking period was encouraging,” she said. “But there is need for improvement, especially for those who did not pass all their classes, so we are really focusing on them right now. The first few months have been hectic, but I feel energized, too, because I’ve seen so many successes.”

Assemblymember William Scarborough — the keynote speaker and self-described “product of Queens” — joined a small group of students, parents and school officials to help cut the ribbon on Thursday, November 17.

“We all have a role to play. We are all striving for the best education for our children. I’m happy to be at such a site where such a focus is put on science and math because we know those are the areas that will be highly needed in the future,” he said.

According to school officials, Jamaica Gateway to the Sciences is targeted at students seeking to explore the sciences and mathematics, especially those interested in medicine and its related fields. Through mandatory internships and community service, Jamaica Gateway students have a leg up over competition, officials say.

The school is also one of seven schools in Queens that’s part of the Gateway Institute for Pre-College Education — a nationally recognized leader in preparing low-income and minority high school students for college and the pursuit of health and science-related careers.

“These kids are looking at us to pave the way for them. They’re smart, they’re eager. They’re good kids. They come up to me and they tell me they want internships at hospitals, they want to volunteer and they want to be surgeons,” Robergeau said.