(Head of School Bob Vitalo shares his thoughts with the Berkeley Carroll community in "Vital Words" communications from time to time.)
As we close the school year I want to recognize and celebrate the efforts of our teachers and students as they reflect on the world around them in order to build a global perspective.
Recently third graders, as part of their immigration study, attended a naturalization ceremony at a Federal Courthouse and witnessed firsthand the joy felt by individuals upon becoming an American citizen. This spring our fourth graders bravely distributed posters to neighborhood stores that would welcome immigrants and refugees.
Throughout the month of May, our 11th Graders led walking tours to all neighborhoods of our city highlighting issues such as gentrification and economic inequality. Our sixth grade launched their “Humans of New York” project and promoted special causes of their choosing through advocacy work.
Several seniors wrote, filmed and directed documentaries, one of which was entitled Breaking Down The Wall: New York's Forgotten People, and profiled New Yorkers who support the presidency of Donald Trump. And all year, the World Affairs Breakfast Club took on the most challenging issues of the day and promoted provocative debate.
At this year’s Commencement we were treated to stirring words from José Antonio Vargas, a journalist, filmmaker, and immigrant rights worker who shared his journey as an undocumented person in our country. While he has won a Pulitzer Prize for journalism, he is not eligible for a United States passport. And while he is cast by the government as an outsider in our country, he passionately encourages all of us to work hard to listen to those who have different views and to make connections on a human level.
It is always our aim to move our students outside of themselves in order to identify those commonalities that unite us as Americans, humans, and inhabitants of this earth.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all of our teachers who pour their heart and soul into their work with our students; their efforts make our school thrive. Also I want to highlight the work of our Board of Trustees who work tirelessly behind the scenes to provide the necessary resources for us to produce our excellent program. We have been so ably led by Lydia Denworth for the past three years; we are grateful for her dedication and support. Berkeley Carroll is fortunate that Joe Polizzotto, present Chair of the Development Committee and father of an alumna, moves into the role of the Chair and we are confident that he will do an outstanding job.
These are challenging times in our world because of deep divisions over major issues. It is imperative that we have the strength, and the courage, to engage in civil discourse which hopefully results in agreement but often times will mean honest disagreement. We need to learn that it is only by working to see others that we can truly know ourselves.
Thank you for all of your support this year and we hope you have an energizing and enjoyable summer.
Robert D. Vitalo