Tag Archives: P.S. 117

Briarwood’s P.S. 117 hosts flawless graduation following fears


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre


P.S. 117’s graduation ceremony on Wednesday made the grade.

Nearly 170 graduating fifth-graders were in danger of losing caps and gowns, yearbooks and a senior prom, which are usually sponsored by the Briarwood school’s PTA, because the Department of Education is investigating $30,000 missing from the accounts of the school’s Parent Teacher Association. While the investigation is ongoing, the organization is not allowed to fundraise and is barred from all financial dealings.

But after The Courier reported the situation, the Queens Chamber of Commerce and the Briarwood Latchkey Generation Facebook group combined to contribute $7,000 to save the school’s end of year ceremony and give the students the graduation experience they were expecting.

Last week, students enjoyed the senior prom and they will receive glossy yearbooks.

 

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EXCLUSIVE: P.S. 117 finds its heroes, $7K donated by community organizations


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre


 

P.S. 117 may not need to wait for Superman any longer to save graduation.

The Queens Chamber of Commerce and the Briarwood Latchkey Generation Facebook group stepped up to contribute about $7,000 together to help save the cash-strapped school.

Nearly 170 graduating fifth-graders were in danger of losing caps and gowns, yearbooks and a senior prom, which are usually sponsored by the school’s PTA, because the Department of Education is investigating $30,000 missing from the accounts of the school’s Parent Teacher Association. While the investigation is ongoing, the organization is not allowed to fundraise and is barred from all financial dealings.

At a school meeting on Monday, Jack Friedman, the executive director of the Chamber, and Nick Tomizawa, who represented the Facebook group made of Briarwood residents and alums of P.S. 117, announced the donations to a room full of parents and teachers.

“I feel ecstatic,” said Nicole Lopez, a parent from the school. “If I could go to the top of a mountain and scream, ‘Thank you,’ I would. I think it’ll get done in time for them to have a nice prom and ceremony.”

The money will pay for expenses for the senior items and dance. Parents are currently creating a list of needs, which they will present to principal Paula Cunningham for approval.

However, because of the short time the children may still not receive physical yearbooks. Instead, the school is considering CD yearbooks with class pictures, and getting autograph books for the children.

The members of the Briarwood Facebook group donated more than $1,000 through the crowdfunding site Giveforward.com.

The Chamber collected $6,000 in donations from Melrose Credit Union, New York Community Bank, TD Bank, Plaza College, Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association and Thermos & Thomiavia, PC.

The Chamber will hold a press conference to officially announce the donation on Friday.

 

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Parents of P.S. 117 students seeking donations to fund school’s graduation


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

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Parents at P.S. 117 in Briarwood are asking for donations so their children can have the full graduation experience. 

They started a crowd funding page on giveforward.com, hoping to raise about $4,500, which is needed so the nearly 170  graduating fifth-graders can receive caps and gowns, yearbooks and a senior prom.

The graduation items and senior dance are usually sponsored by the school’s PTA. However, because the Department of Education is investigating $30,000 missing from the accounts of the school’s PTA—which The Courier first reported earlier this month—the current PTA is barred from fundraising and any other financial dealings, officials said.

Parents are organizing the school dance and the buying of the yearbook, and caps and gowns by themselves. They have received more than $1,000 already.

To donate, click here.

 

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EXCLUSIVE: P.S. 117 PTA missing $30K, graduation ruined for students


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Nearly 170 graduating students of P.S. 117 in Briarwood may not receive their caps and gowns and may miss out on senior events at the end of their elementary school experience because $30,000 is missing from the accounts of the school’s PTA, The Courier has learned.

The Department of Education (DOE) has launched a probe into the missing money, and the current PTA is barred from fundraising and any other financial dealings, officials said.

Parents learned earlier this year there may not be a senior dance, a school yearbook or graduation regalia because those items were all funded by the now-penniless parent teacher organization.

“I feel hurt, because it’s not right that our kids don’t get these things,” said Nicole Lopez, a parent from Jamaica whose son, Justice, is in the graduating class. “Other kids got them and they take them for granted, but it’s a memory and memories last forever.”

Graduating seniors will receive T-shirts and go on a senior trip, for which parents are required to pay
$65 per child to offset costs. They will also have a graduation ceremony with awards, but without wearing traditional garbs.

The school’s principal, Paula Cunningham, refused to comment on the situation and directed calls to the DOE. The DOE confirmed the audit, but wouldn’t answer further questions.

“This  matter is currently under review  internally, we are  unable to  provide additional  information at  this time due to the pendency of the ongoing investigation,” a DOE spokesman wrote in an email.

During a recent meeting at the  school led by the  new PTA  leadership,  Cunningham  told   parents  that   her hands are  tied  in  the  situation, even  as  parents suggested  increasing senior dues  to cover  the nearly  $6,000 needed to make the  graduation special.

The  dance is  estimated to  cost about $2,000, the yearbook could be  about $1,650 and  caps  and  gowns would be $13.50 per student, or more  than $2,200 total, according to parents’ estimates.

“We  as  a building, as  a school, are  allowed to  have one  fundraiser for  the  entire year.  That  fundraiser was supposed to be for the entire school,” Cunningham said. “We  don’t  have  funds that  we  can  spend on  caps  and gowns. We  don’t  have  funds that  we  can  spend on  a prom. We sent  out  letters explaining that  the  PTA paid for things that  cost  a lot of money.”

Parents and  students are  outraged and  they  feel their kids  are  being  thrown under the  “school” bus  because not  much is being  done to remedy the  situation.

“I think [the  school is] being  selfish and  that  they just want to do what they  want, and  they  aren’t  thinking of the  kids,”  Lopez said.

Dozens of parents have  begun to hold weekly  senior committee meetings, sacrificing time  on  busy  weekday nights to  figure  out  how  raise  the  necessary money to create a yearbook and  senior dance.

But time is against them:  the “Moving Up Ceremony” is scheduled for June  25.

While  parents are  scrambling, kids  are  hoping they don’t  lose  out  of their  full graduation celebration after years  of hard work.

“I want to  be  able  to  remember fifth  grade,” Justice said,  “because it’s the  only  year [in elementary school] that  I’m actually going  to be able  to graduate.”

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Summer readers feted by Assemblymember Rory Lancman


| mchan@queenscourier.com

FATCAP LANCMAN READINGw

More than 50 young readers throughout Queens were awarded for their participation in this year’s New York State Assembly Summer Reading Challenge on Monday, October 24.

Assemblymember Rory Lancman presented award certificates to students who accumulated at least 40 days of reading throughout the summer, either independently or with their parents and guardians.

“A lot of the time my kids don’t want to read, but if I tell them that they’ll get something out of it, they have the incentive to do it,” said Lisa Ramos, mother of Lara and Eduardo of P.S. 117 in Briarwood.

Student readers from public schools in Jamaica, Flushing, Briarwood, Kew Gardens, Fresh Meadows and Richmond Hill attended the ceremony held in the Briarwood Library.