Tag Archives: High School

Thousands of Grover Cleveland supporters tell DOE to keep school open

| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Billy Rennison

More than 1,000 supporters packed Grover Cleveland High School’s auditorium to have their voices heard by Department of Education (DOE) officials. And as each of the more than 50 speakers stepped to the microphone, they made one thing clear — closing the school is not an option.

Grover Cleveland is one of 26 high schools on the list for Turnaround. Seven were removed from the original list of 33 on April 2.

If the Ridgewood school is turned around, it would close and reopen under a new name. The students at the school would be guaranteed a spot and half the teachers would be replaced.

“The students don’t want it, the parents don’t want it, the teachers don’t want it, the administrators don’t want it, our former principal doesn’t want it, our current principal doesn’t want it, only the DOE wants it,” said Russ Nitchman, a Grover Cleveland science teacher.

The DOE held a hearing at the school on Monday, April 2 to allow public comment on the proposed Turnaround.

“This evening is not a decision point,” said Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg. “We’re here to hear the voices of the community.”

Parents, students, teachers, former teachers and alumni all spoke, extolling the school’s place as their second home.

“It was Cleveland that helped give me a wide variety of experiences. I got to sing and dance, I wasn’t very good, I said I better be a politician,” said alumna and Assemblymember Cathy Nolan. “There were wonderful things here that gave me opportunity; opportunity to learn who I was.”

A steady stream of students stepped to the mic to relay stories of the teachers at the school changing their lives.

“The very staff that got us to this point is in jeopardy,” said Geline Canayon, a senior at the school and the student association president.

“Students are anxious and upset at the prospect of losing their favorite teacher, scrambling to get college recommendations before their teachers are forced out,” said Brian Gavin, the union rep at the school. “Concerned that during their all important senior and junior years they will have teachers that are inexperienced, don’t know them and their community leaving them unprepared for college and their careers.”

The fervent speakers’ zeal often carried them well past their two minute allotment during the more than three-and-a-half-hour meeting.

“It is time for Mayor Bloomberg to take his incompetent staff and get out of Ridgewood and leave the business of education to educators,” bellowed Arthur Goldstein, who came from Francis Lewis High School, where he is the school’s union rep to lend his support.

“I’m going to make a simple request, take Grover Cleveland off the list of turnaround schools,” said Senator Joseph Addabbo. “It’s not only an emotional request, it’s a fact based request.”

On its most recent DOE progress report Cleveland received a C, a year after earning a B. The graduation rate was 58 percent last year, seven points below the city wide average.

The high school was entered into the restart program in September which qualified it for School Improvement Grants (SIG), but because the UFT and DOE failed to come to an agreement on teacher evaluations, the money dried up and put Cleveland in line for Turnaround.

The restart model is meant for schools to receive support to improve and not be closed.

Had the two sides reached an agreement, the school would have continued its course in the restart program, a DOE spokesperson said.

“There is no educational justification for what the Department of Education is trying to do to you,” said Leo Casey, UFT vice president for high schools. “There is only one reason why such an educationally invalid step has been taken here, and that is because it serves the political agenda of Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg.”

As the hearing wound down at approximately 9:30 p.m. more than 100 supporters remained to make certain their comments were made public record.

“We teach our students that democracy works,” said teacher Donald Zigler. “Keep Cleveland open; the people have spoken.”

The final vote on the school’s future is scheduled for April 26.


Liu’s campaign treasurer busted in ‘straw donor’ scheme

| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Liu’s campaign treasurer busted in ‘straw donor’ scheme: feds

Embattled city Comptroller John Liu’s campaign treasurer was busted today on charges she helped funnel illegal political donations into the Queens Democrat’s war chest. Jia “Jenny” Hou conspired to help wealthy Liu backers evade a $4,950 limit on individual contributions by using “straw donors” to pass along their money, according to the feds. Hou, 25, was allegedly caught offering to reimburse a crooked donation during a series of computer “instant messages” on July 14, and allegedly instructed campaign volunteers on how to make the contributions look legit. Read More: New York Post


Third student dies from Ohio high school shooting

The death toll rose to three Tuesday in the shooting rampage in an Ohio high school cafeteria as schoolmates and townspeople grappled with the tragedy and wondered what could have set the teenage gunman off. The teenager under arrest in Monday’s attack, T.J. Lane, faced an afternoon hearing in juvenile court. Shaken residents offered condolences and prayers to the families of those killed and wounded at 1,100-student Chardon High School in suburban Cleveland. All three of the dead were students. Read More: New York Post


Waitress claims veteran NYPD detective took advantage of her at Washington Heights restaurant

A waitress says her boss gave her $200 to party with some cops, protested when one put the moves on her in a back room, and then got her underwear back the next day. The 36-year-old woman, whose allegations prompted the NYPD to assign four cops to desk duty, thinks a veteran detective took advantage of her at the Washington Heights restaurant where she worked. But she admits she can’t remember it – because she blacked out. Read More: Daily News


Manningham ups odds to ’50-50′ he stays with Giants

Mario Manningham last week, back home in Ohio, was quoted in the Youngstown News that he believes there’s a 75 percent chance he will leave the Giants in free agency and sign elsewhere. Tuesday morning, he refuted that claim. “I didn’t say that,’’ Manningham said on WFAN. “You know how rumors get spread, I didn’t say anything like that.’’ Manningham then increased the odds of him staying with the Giants. Read More: New York Post


Ex-Girl Scout finance director gets 3 to 9 years for swiping $310K

The former finance director for the Girl Scout Council of Greater New York was sentenced today to three to nine years behind bars after she failed to return a large chunk of the $310,000 she allegedly embezzled over the course of two years. “I apologize for the situation,” said Yaasmin Hooey, 35, during her sentencing hearing in Manhattan Supreme Court. Prosecutors said Hooey stole the money by cashing or depositing into her personal bank account a series of 65 checks written off the Girl Scouts’ payroll account. Read More: New York Post


Names Of NYPD First Responders Added To Cancer Study

The names of tens of thousands of New York City POlice Department uniformed officers and civilian members who worked at the World Trade Center are now at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Mayor Michael Bloomberg handed over the names of 39,921 people, along with their job title, age, race, and gender on Monday. This comes after the city initially refused to turn over the information, because of privacy concerns. Mount Sinai is treating the first responders. Read More: NY1

Playoff Tipoff: First round hardwood action

| smosco@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Steve Mosco

The Bayside Commodores (13-2) beat the John Adams Spartans (11-4) by a score of 61-41 in the first round of the Queens Borough Playoff Bracket. Though both teams traded blows with some intense back and forth action, Bayside had this game in the bag early. The Queens powerhouse started the contest with an 11-0 run and led at halftime 29-9. Bayside senior Uzonna Akazi led the Commodores to victory, leading all scorers with 23 points, while junior Brandon King contributed with 13 points of his own. Junior Vincent England added eight points and sophomore Daqauise Andrews led the team in assists with six to go along with six points and three rebounds. Senior Ryan Tomlin scored six points as well, while pulling down four rebounds. Senior Dillion Scurry led the team with six rebounds. For the Spartans, Markell French led the team with 13 points, while grabbing down six rebounds. Paul Johnson was second on the team with 12 points and junior Ahmed Kone scored six points while pulling down five rebounds. Senior Shane Hubbard was tied with French for second on the team with six rebounds and senior Yuhree Claude led the game with seven rebounds. Next up for the Commodores will be the Long Island City Bull Dogs.

The Bull Dogs (15-0) continued their winning ways, squeaking by the Beach Channel Dolphins (9-6) by a score of 45-43, advancing to the second round of the Queens Borough Playoffs. Senior Sadji Camara led the Bulldogs with 18 points and senior Arthur Santanna had a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds. Senior Kevin Green Jr. had eight points and seven rebounds while leading the team in assists with four.

The Benjamin Cardozo High School Judges blew out the High School for Construction Red Hawks by a score of 83-46. Tajay Henry led the team with a double-double, scoring 22 points while pulling down 13 rebounds. Junior Kyle Credle scored 13 points while leading the team with five assists. Junior Kendall Brown was third on the team with 11 points and senior Ryan Yearwood was one rebound shy of a double-double with 10 points. Junior Omar Williams scored 10 points as well. For the Red Hawks, senior Ehiavekhan Eromoselle led the team with a double-double, scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Senior Rudranauth Sewsankar had 10 points and seven rebounds. Junior Isaiah Henderson and Alexis Rincon each scored seven points. Next up for the judges will be the Campus Magnet Bull Dogs (12-3).

With additional reporting by Heather Zwillenberg

High School Basketball Roundup

| hzwillenberg@queenscourier.com

The Bayside Commodores lost a nail biter to the Benjamin Cardozo Judges by a score of 62-59. With the loss, the Commodores drop to 4-2 while the Judges improve to 4-1. For the Commodores, junior guard Austin Williams led all scorers with 17 points and junior Brandon King was second on the team with 13 points. Daqauise Andrews chipped in with 12 points, while senior Uzonna Akazi score nine points and led the team with five rebounds. Junior Cantrell Barker rounded out the Commodores’ scoring with eight points. For the Judges, senior Edwin Sainvil led the team with 16 points and eight assists. Junior Jermaine Lawrence was second on the team with 15 points while leading the team with 15 rebounds. Senior Tajay Henry scored 13 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Junior Omar Williams scored 10 points and dished out four assists. Junior Daniel Janel added eight points of his own. The Judges out rebounded the Commodores 40-11. Next up for the Commodores will be the Martin Van Buren Vee Bees (2-3).

The Vee Bees loss to the Beach Chanel Dolphins (4-2) by a score of 58-57. For the Vee Bees, senior Brandon Howard led the team in scoring with 24 points while grabbing eight rebounds. Senior Bruce Howard was second on the team with 10 points. Senior Chucks Obunse scored eight points and led the team in rebounds with 14. Senior Patrick Gustave scored six points and grabbed seven rebounds. For the Dolphins, senior Ismail Abdullah led the team with 24 points and seven rebounds. Senior Semaj Smith was second on the team with 15 points while pulling down four rebounds. Senior Jyshawn Allen added seven points. Next up for the Dolphins will be the Flushing Red Devils (0-6).

The Red Devils lost to the Thomas Edison Inventors (1-5) by a score of 64-61. For the Inventors, senior Deshawn Cann led all scorers with 33 points, more than double his season average of 14.83. Jaleel Charles had a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds and sophomore Orain Lawrence added eight points of his own. For the Red Devils, senior Dillon Bowen led the team with 14 points. Senior Richard Johnson was second on the team with 11 points and sophomore Papa Ekow Donkor had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Next up for the Inventors will be the Campus Magnet Bull Dogs (5-1).

The Bull Dogs, who lead the Queens AA Division, won their last game over the Forest Hills Rangers (3-3) by a score of 68-59, marking the Bull-Dogs’ fifth win in a row. Senior Samuel Durodola led the team with 18 points and eight rebounds and senior Grequan Carter had 15 points and six assists. Senior Tarik Raynor scored 13 points and grabbed five rebounds, while sophomore Noah Vickers scored 12 points and dished out five assists. For the Rangers, senior Arif Mehmetaj led the team with 19 points completing the double-double with 10 rebounds. Senior Shamoy Allen was second on the team with 18. Junior Benjamin Batash was third in scoring with 10 points and senior Damien Jackson fell two points shy of a double-double with eight points and 10 rebounds.

High School Football Roundup

| hzwillenberg@queenscourier.com


The Bayside Commodores improved to 6-0 with a 28-6 win over the James Madison Knights (4-2). The Commodores had a total of 243 yards with junior Julian Moody completing two out of four passing attempts for 62 yards and a touchdown. Junior George Wallace led the Commodores with 75 yards on the ground and a touchdown. Senior Timothy Capers rushed for 40 yards on 10 attempts and a touchdown, while senior Richard Vaughan added 32 yards on the ground on six attempts and scored a touchdown as well. Junior Daquan Williams rushed for 34 yards of his own. For the Knights, senior Berkay Dagbolen completed five of eight passes for 52 yards and two interceptions. Senior Adeyinka Anifowoshe led the Knights in rushing with 44 yards, while junior Corey Woods rushed for 14 yards on four attempts and scored the Knight’s lone touchdown. Next up for the Commodores will be the Jamaica Beavers (3-3).
The Beach Channel Dolphins fell to the August Martin Falcons (4-2) by a score of 24-14, their second loss in a row. The Dolphins won the battle in the passing game, with 162 of their 316 yards coming through the air – while the Falcons gained all but 18 of their 333 yards on the ground. For the Falcons, senior Ricky Dunbar, who had only 107 rushing yards all season coming into the game, had 180 yards rushing with two touchdowns on eight attempts. Senior Roger Cox added 105 yards of his own while scoring two touchdowns. On the defensive side of the ball, sophomore Layquane Ezeigwe was a star for the Falcons totaling eight tackles and three sacks. For the Dolphins, Breland Archbold completed 13 of 24 passing attempts for 162 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions. Sophomore Chris Reed led the Dolphins in rushing with 87 yards on 13 attempts and a touchdown. Next up for the Dolphins will be the Long Island City Bulldogs (2-4).
In their last game, the Bulldogs beat the Mott Haven Educational Campus Mavericks (2-4) by a score of 32-26. The Bulldogs has a total of 357 yards while the Mavericks gained 423 yards. For the Bulldogs, senior Ioannis Karakalpakidis completed three of five passing attempts for 77 yards and a touchdown. Senior Aimen Muflihi rushed for 130 yards on six attempts and a touchdown. Senior Cheyenne Dones rushed for 125 yards while scoring three touchdowns on 24 attempts. For the Mavericks, senior Abely Soto competed six out of 10 passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns. Soto also rushed for 100 yards on 11 attempts. Senior Joseph Garcia rushed for 95 yards on six attempts and a touchdown. Senior Jesus Anziani rushed for 60 yards and a touchdown on five attempts.
In the Championship Division, the John Adams Spartans (4-2) beat the Herbert H. Lehman Lions (2-4) by a score of 44-26. The Spartans had a total of 460 offensive yards while allowing 297 yards from the opposition. Senior Danny Perez completed three of six passes for 42 yards. On the ground senior Antoine Arnold led all rushers in the game with 206 yards and two touchdowns on 18 attempts. Senior Devven Baker rushed for 87 yards with two touchdowns on 13 attempts. Senior Shane Hubbard rushed for 83 yards and scored two touchdowns as well on six attempts. For the Lions, junior Corey Bright completed six out of 12 passes for 71 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Senior Davis White rushed for 203 yards on 32 attempts with a touchdown. Next up for the Spartans will be the New Dorp Centrals (0-6).

Around the Gridiron: Football Roundup

| smosco@queenscourier.com

Photo by Kathy Troina

In the Public School Athletic League, the Bayside Commodores (3-0) stayed undefeated with a victory over the Christopher Columbus High School Blue Steel (0-3) by a score of 26-6. The Commodores dominated on the offensive side of the ball with 436 total yards. Junior quarterback Julian Moody threw for 59 yards on six of nine attempts with an interception. On the ground, the Commodores rushed for 377 yards, with senior Richard Vaughan leading all with 188 yards on 14 attempts with a touchdown. Senior Timothy Capers had 110 yards of his own with two touchdowns. On the defensive side of the ball, Wendell O’Brien was the star, intercepting two passes including one pick-6. For the Blue Steel, senior Chevaugh Wilson scored the lone touchdown and rushed for 42 yards on three attempts. Next up for the Commodores will be the Springfield Garden Golden Eagles (0-3).

In their last game, the Golden Eagles lost to the Tilden Educational Campus Blue Devils by a score of 14-6. The Golden Eagles had a total of 110 yards, with all but 25 yards coming on the ground. Sophomore Jair Brown led the team with 33 yards rushing, while senior Isaiah Baptiste had 29 yards rushing on 11 attempts with a touchdown. For the Blue Devils, junior quarterback Shawn Brathwaite completed just three of nine passes, but he threw for 54 yards with two touchdowns.


The Beach Channel Dolphins beat the Lafayette Educational Complex Patriots by a score of 32-0. The Dolphins had a total of 224 offensive yards, while junior quarterback Breland Archbold struggled, completing just four out of 15 passes with one touchdown. On the ground, sophomore Diequan Underwood had 89 yards on eight attempts and a touchdown. Senior Javis Black rushed for 21 yards on four attempts and a touchdown. Underwood led the Dolphins on the defensive side as well, intercepting two passes and returning one for a touchdown. Next up for the Dolphins will be the James Madison Knights (3-0).

The John Adams Spartans (1-2) lost to the Tottenville Pirates (3-0) by a score of 49-6. The Spartans could not get going on either side of the ball. On offense, the team managed a total of 131 yards. Senior quarterback Danny Perez completed four out of 15 passing attempts for 45 yards and an interception. On the ground, senior Shane Hubbard rushed for 43 yards on three attempts. Hubbard also returned five kicks for 145 yards and a touchdown. For the Pirates, junior Augustus Edwards led the team with 100 yards on five attempts and three touchdowns. Next up for the Spartans will be the Franklin D. Roosevelt Cougars (0-3).

In the Catholic High School Football League of Metropolitan New York, the St. Francis Prep Terriers won their first game of the season, 39-15, over St. Peter’s of Staten Island. Senior quarterback Thomas Cani connected on eight of 17 passes for 88 yards and one rushing touchdown. Cani was a little wild however, tossing two interceptions. On the ground, junior Kadir Wisdom rushed for 81 yards on 10 carries – including a 60 yard run – with two touchdowns. Fellow senior running back Casey Beaudoin ran for 37 yards on nine carries with one touchdown. Prep’s defensive squad ran roughshod over their opponents, with senior Maurice Parker leading the team with 10 tackles, junior Ramel Joseph nabbing one interception for 61 yards and senior Jonathan Henderson grabbing two interceptions and one fumble recovery. Prep now heads to Aviator Sports Complex in Brooklyn to take on Xavier High School.