News and Speeches

Chancellor Fariña Celebrates the 2014 Remarkable Graduates

06/10/2014

New York Mets Host 107 Students for 8th Annual Celebration at Citi Field

NEW YORK— Chancellor Carmen Fariña and the New York Mets today hosted a reception at Citi Field to honor 107 high school graduates who beat tremendous odds to receive this year’s Remarkable Achievement Award.

“Each of these students has an incredible story that should serve as an inspiration for all New Yorkers. Behind each of these stories is a great teacher, and I thank all the educators who have helped these students reach this tremendous milestone in their education career,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. Congratulations to each of these students for showing such incredible tenacity and resilience. A very promising future, which they have already begun, awaits each and every one of them.”

“The Mets are delighted to welcome these wonderful students and their families to Citi Field for an evening celebrating their amazin’ achievements,” said Jeff Wilpon, New York Mets Chief Operating Officer. “We are proud of their accomplishments and hope their determination will inspire others who are facing challenging situations.”

For the last nine years, the Schools Chancellor has honored students who have overcome personal or academic challenges to earn their diplomas and continue to college. Each high school principal selects one student from his or her school to receive the Remarkable Achievement Award. A selection of their stories is below:

Nothing Could Stop Lenaesha Cheatham on her Path to College

In August 2011, while attending a back to school party, Lanaesha Cheatham was inadvertently caught in the crossfire of a gang-related altercation and was shot in the back. The incident left her paralyzed from the waist down and forced her to miss several months of her freshman year of high school.

She returned to school with a positive attitude, and with the help of her family and friends and the teachers at the High School of Fashion Industries, Lanaesha was able to thrive. At school, she never misses class and has become active in a variety of extracurricular activities.

“My situation has made me stronger and wiser on so many different levels,” said Lanaesha. “I know I am going to keep rolling—I’m fabulous.”

After college, Lanaesha wants to become involved in media, and she hopes to one day use her wealth to open a physical therapy center to help other people in wheel chairs. She is looking forward to learning more about fashion and media at the Borough of Manhattan Community College next year.

With College in Sight, Jeremy Seow Illustrates that Autism is Not a Constraint

When Jeremy first arrived at P.S. 226 in Manhattan, he was a shy young man with autism who rarely spoke in class. In middle school, however, Jeremy was placed in the school’s first inclusion class where he made new friends and worked tirelessly to succeed.

After middle school, guidance counselors and school staff helped Jeremy participate in an inclusion program at Millennium High School. While there, he worked with ceaseless determination and was able to enroll in Regents-level classes. School staff also helped enroll Jeremy in an Individualized Educational Program (IEP) driven path at Pace University that has helped him develop the skillsets necessary for independence and success.

“I've seen Jeremy grow and succeed over the years,” said Rachelle Kleinberg, principal of P.S. 226. “He refuses to give up, even when things become difficult or frustrating, and maintains confidence in himself, his abilities, and those around him who are there to provide support.”

When he graduates, Jeremy will have Regents credits, a huge accomplishment for any student coming from a special education environment. He hopes to study science at Borough of Manhattan Community College and one day work at the Museum of Natural History.

Jeremy encourages his peers to stay positive and focused. “I worked really hard to get here,” he said. “Never give up on trying to get what you want in life.”

Twins Karina and Yeison Estrella’s Will and Determination Pushed Them to Success

Twins Karina and Yeison Estrella immigrated to New York with their siblings from the Dominican Republic just before 6th grade. When they enrolled in Newcomers High School in Queens, they spoke very little English and were homeless and constantly moving between transition homes.

At Newcomers, both worked hard to pursue their academic goals while simultaneously having to learn English. Their teachers worked to ensure they were able to understand the material. Along with their success in school, Yeison and Estrella immersed themselves in a variety of afterschool and athletic activities.

“I worked hard because I came here for a better future, and I wanted to give my mom a better life,” said Karina.

“I knew education was the key to achieving my dreams, so I made sure I was always in class, did my homework, and asked teachers for help if I needed it,” said Yeison.

Both siblings will be attending LaGuardia Community College in the fall as they continue to pursue their dreams. Yeison wants one day to join the NYPD and become one of New York’s finest. Karina is hoping to pursue a career in nursing.