The 9th Annual Texas Hold 'Em Poker Tournament at the Dream Downtown.
On Wednesday, June 3, 2015, Storefront Academy Harlem held its 9th Annual Texas Hold 'Em Poker Tournament at Dream Downtown Hotel. The evening, co-sponsored by Royal Bank of Canada, was a tremendous success, and raised over $130,000 to benefit the school. The tournament's winner received a Rolex Explorer II Men's Watch.
The benefit began with a cocktail reception in the Dream's Rooftop Lounge, PH-D, overlooking the New York City skyline. The guests then transitioned to The Gallery, the Dream's state of the art ballroom, where the poker tournament commenced. Storefront Trustee Jeffrey Muti emceed the tournament, motivating player and dealers. For the first hour of the game, players who had losing hands were allowed to buy back into the game, additionally benefiting the school.
The event also featured a silent auction. Guests bid on luxury auction items and experiences, including an Italian castle dream vacation, a Day Hiking Adventure with Discovery Outdoors, a bowling party at BowlMor, and a custom suit by Alan David Custom.
Chairing the tournament were Storefront Trustees Jeffrey Muti, Robert T. Rylee III, and Amy Wu Silverman, along with Jonathan Palmer and Maurice Nicholson.
All of Storefront Academy Harlem's graduates go on to attend high-performing and often prestigious high schools. For many years, Storefront Academy has partnered with longstanding community organizations who share our belief that a great high school education will lead to long-term success.
Every fall, Storefront Academy introduces our middle school families to the incredible array of high school placement possibilities beyond our campus on 129th Street. In addition to sharing the benefits of boarding high schools, private day schools, parochial schools and the number of high-performing public high schools, our dedicated Director of High School Placement also introduces our community partners, many of whom help provide scholarships, enroll students in pipeline programs, and can even provide additional test preparation and training beyond what students already receive at Storefront Academy.
These partners value their relationship with Storefront Academy as much as we value the incredible support they provide to our middle school students. This year, partnerships included the Harlem Educational Activities Fund, The TEAK Fellowship, A Better Chance, The Oliver Scholars, Student Sponsor Partners, and the Boys' Club of New York.
It takes a village to raise a child, and at Storefront Academy, we rely on strong partnerships and support to make every student's success possible.
Once a student goes on to higher education, Storefront Academy is dedicated to keeping our alumni in touch, in formed, and involved in our school's community. Check out our new Storefront Academy Harlem Alumni Connection page on Facebook.
After an exhaustive and thorough search, we are proud to announce that Lisette Nieves has been named the principal of the new Storefront Academy South Bronx, opening this fall.
Lisette Nieves, Storefront Academy South Bronx Principal
Ms. Nieves is a lifelong Bronx resident, and began her career as a public school teacher in the South Bronx. Since her time as a second grade teacher, Ms. Nieves has dedicated her career to education and youth development, and recently held several senior positions with BronxWorks, including Department Director of Children and Youth Programs. Prior to BronxWorks, Ms. Nieves was Deputy Director of Education at The Valley, Inc.
"I'm very excited to be joining the Storefront Academy team as founding principal of the South Bronx campus," Ms. Nieves said. "My connection to the community is very strong, and I have a vested interest in seeing the school succeed."
At Storefront Academy South Bronx, Ms. Nieves will work closely with Executive Director Elisa Istueta and Storefront Academy Harlem Principal Alexis Thomason to assure that the proven strategies and methods for educating urban youth used at the Harlem campus are successfully replicated.
Ms. Nieves graduated from Wesleyan University, received her Master's Degree of Education at Harvard University, and received her not-for-profit management certificate from Columbia University Business School.
Storefront Academy Harlem's 8th Graders have been accepted into some of the most competitive and prestigious high schools in the area. Everyone in the SAH community is incredibly proud of these accomplished scholars. Here is a list of the schools the students of the Class of 2015 have been accepted to:
Church Farm School
Emma Willard School
The Stony Brook School
York Preparatory School
Leman Preparatory School
Winston Preparatory School
Cardinal Hayes High School
Cardinal Spellman High School
St. George Academy
Monsignor Scanlan High School
Sacred Heart High School
Notre Dame School
St. Jean Baptiste High School
St. Vincent Ferrer High School
Cristo Rey High School
Xaverian High School
Fordham Preparatory School
Urban Assembly Gateway School for Technology
High School for Dual Language and Asian Studies
The Cinema School
Manhattan Village Academy
Vanguard High School
The American Sign Language and English E=Secondary School
Thurgood Marshall Academy for Learning and Social Change
High School for Law, Advocacy and Community Justice
Harry S. Truman High School
Urban Assembly School for Global Commerce
High School for Computers and Technology
Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics
On Thursday, April 16, Storefront Academy Harlem hosted the annual spring gala, A Night for Changing Lives, at 583 Park Avenue. The gala honored our longtime partner Morgan Stanley, and was emceed by FOX 5 NY reporter Mike Woods.
The evening celebrated the accomplishments of Storefront Academy Harlem's alumni and the school's educational model, which cultivates intellect and character in equal measure. Current SAH students were on hand to speak to guests about the school's academic programs and extra-curricular activities, and alumnus Kevin Moncrief ('11) was the night's featured speaker. Presently a senior at Xavier High School, Kevin will be attending The United States Military Academy at West Point in the fall. He started at Storefront Academy in preschool, and credits his experience at the school as the foundation for his success.
The evening began with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, followed by a gourmet dinner, and was capped off by one of the highlights of the evening, a live auction featuring Christie's auctioneer Robbie Gordy. This year's auction featured many exciting items including a week long stay at a luxury Paris apartment, a tasting for four at the renowned restaurant, Le Bernardin, and an internship at reality TV production company Ish Entertainment.
This year's gala also featured an online auction (visit the Charity Buzz online auction here), with items including tickets and a meet-and-greet at Live with Kelly and Michael, box seats to the American Ballet Theatre's production of Giselle, dinner and an overnight stay at the Standard Highline NYC, and a meet-and-greet with Rosanna Scotto of Good Day NY.
"My pride of being a young, black female in this society was rooted in Storefront Academy's accomplishment of creating a safe community, in which all cultural backgrounds are embraced and respected," said SAH alum Simone Hunter-Hobson ('12).
Simone, a junior at Milton Academy in Massachusetts, came to our school when she was in the second grade, and she felt at home right away. "The Storefront Academy community warmly welcomed me with open arms."
"Every day at Storefront Academy was a new learning experience for me," Simone said. "Eighth grade was one of the most important years; I began to develop a strong sense of my self-identity." Simone continued, "I remember an assignment where each student had to memorize an excerpt from How It Feels to Be Colored Me by Zora Neale Hurston. Being naive and not having to critically think about my blackness as a distinctive trait in the American society., I initially did not perceive Hurston's story as valuable or relative to my life. However, once I performed this excerpt in front of my classmates, the story became meaningful to me. Hurston's asserting her blackness as a cherished gift inspired me to not allow society or the media to degrade my black identity."
Simone was recently awarded a Silver Key Designation in the national 2015 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for her poem, Dehumanization. "I wanted to connect the tragedies of slavery to the tragedies of modern day racial discrimination, to highlight the oppression that African-Americans experience in American society today," Simone said. She was given the prize at the awards ceremony on March 7, held at the Boston Museum of Fine Art.
Simone at the Scholastic Art and Writing Award Ceremony
"I honestly did not think I was going to win," Simone said. "I feared that my poem was too radical and wouldn't be well received, but my mother told me to have faith and believe in myself. I am very humbled and honored to be recognized for my work, especially for a topic that I am very passionate about."
Simone is excelling at Milton Academy, achieving top grades in all her classes. "Being at Milton has caused me to step out of my comfort zone; I am a bolder person and I am not shy to speak up for my beliefs."
Simone has ambitions to match her passions. She plans on attending college and law school. She said, "I plan to use my future law career as a tool towards fighting for social equality in America and in the world. I plan on changing the world for the better."
SAH 7th and 8th Grade Student Artists
On Wednesday, March 11, 2015, Storefront Academy Harlem held the Annual Student Art Exhibit and Cocktail Reception, hosted and sponsored by our partners at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP. The evening, presented by the Men's and Women's Mentoring groups of SAH, featured paintings, foil relief works and sculpture, created by SAH 7th and 8th graders, under the guidance of Art Teacher La Tosha Rowry.
The student artists were on hand to describe the inspiration for their works, and the art was for sale to benefit the school. The event was a wonderful blend of students, parents, faculty, board members, staff, volunteers and supporters, all coming together to celebrate the creativity of our students.
SAH Student Artists with Their Work
To see more photos from the Student Art Exhibit and Cocktail Reception, please click here to visit our Facebook photo album.
"I learned a lot at Storefront Academy," Robert (Noah) Perez, said. "I was taught about diversity, challenges I might face in high school, and how it's up to me whether I succeed or fail."
Robert graduated from Storefront Academy Harlem in 2013, and is a sophomore at Cardinal Hayes High School. "Storefront Academy helped me build upon my natural leadership skills," said Robert, "and showed me right from wrong in and out of class."
Robert Perez, SAH Class of 2013
He's excelling academically at Cardinal Hayes, building on the scholastic skills and determination he learned at Storefront Academy Harlem. "I am doing very well in school," Robert said. "All my teachers see me as a very influential student."
Robert's ambition is to play professional soccer. He's well on his way, since he's already a starter on the varsity team at CHHS, playing right back defender. He developed his love for soccer while at Storefront Academy. He was captain of the SAH Soccer Team for two years, honing not only his physical ability, but also work ethic and dedication. "My last year we didn't win the championships like we wanted, but I did get to play in the Asphalt Green All-Star Game, and I scored the winning penalty kick!"
After high school, Robert has his sights set on playing soccer at a division one college, while majoring in business with a minor in engineering. Playing professional soccer is the aim, but Robert also wants a degree so he can start his own company.
"If I could give some advice to younger students," Robert said, "it would be to stay focused and don't take for granted anything you learn in school. Everything they teach you in your classes will be necessary to further your goals."
Storefront Academy Harlem is proud to announce that Alexis Thomason has been named the new Principal.
SAH Principal Alexis Thomason
Ms. Thomason came to SAH as Director of High School Placement and Admissions and has acted as interim principal since the beginning of the 2014-15 school year. Prior to joining Storefront Academy Harlem, Ms. Thomason spent nearly a decade as an educational leader, most recently working as Dean of Students with the Success Charter Network, where she also taught new teachers as an adjunct graduate professor Touro College. Ms. Thomason has also held positions with The Christopher School and Harlem Day Charter School.
"I am proud and deeply humbled to have been appointed Storefront Academy Harlem's Principal," Ms. Thomason said. "As a child growing up in East Harlem, I witnessed extraordinary struggles every day. Thanks to my mother, education has always been a driving force in my life, and I credit the educational opportunities I was given to the success I have today. I look forward to continuing to work with Storefront Academy's dedicated faculty and staff to provide an exceptional education to students from Harlem and the Bronx, preparing them for bright futures."
At Storefront Academy Harlem, Ms. Thomason will continue to work closely with Executive Director Elisa Istueta and senior leadership on continuing the school's legacy of academic excellence. She will also partner with the principal of Storefront Academy South Bronx, opening in fall of 2015, ensuring a successful replication of the Storefront Academy Harlem model at this new charter school.
"Alexis has proven to be an invaluable member of the Storefront Academy team," said Executive Director Elisa Istueta, "and her incredible leadership abilities are matched by her dedication to our students and families, and her desire to guarantee that every child has the tools he or she needs to succeed."
Ms. Thomason graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Management from Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College, and holds a Master degree in Educational Psychology from the Steinhardt School of Education at NYU.
Storefront Academy Harlem is fortunate to have amazing teachers. Our optimized student/teacher ratio, and the collaboration in lower grade classrooms by a head teacher and an assistant, is critical to our students' success. Storefront Academy's first grade students are taught by Keeli Davis (Head Teacher, Grade 1) and Monique Modeste (Assistant Teacher, Grade 1). Here they discuss teaching, collaboration, and their hopes for their students.
SAH first grade teachers Monique Modeste and Keeli Davis
Ms. Keeli: "Monique and I met the week before school started and I could tell immediately that we would get along well. Monique has a lot of experience working with small groups in reading and writing, which is so important. We both have a strong work ethic and expect a lot out of our students."
Ms. Monique: "When Keeli and I came together, we immediately began asking each other questions to establish a rapport. We learned that we had many things in common and concluded that this school year would be fun and interesting as we got to know each other and the students.
"Student to teacher ratio is important for student success because students can get the extra help and attention they need. Students can be pulled out for reinforcement, or broken down into smaller groups if more than one teacher is present in the classroom."
SAH first graders
Ms. Keeli: "Monique and I are communicating constantly on long-term planning as well as the layout of the day. I am a teacher who will change lessons, sometimes last minute, based on student need or circumstance. Luckily, we've developed a 'thinking out loud' strategy so that each of us is always tuned in to the goings on in the classroom."
Ms. Monique: "Ms. Keeli and I believe that students should be in a safe environment and given ample opportunities to learn through discovery by hands-on experiences. Parent involvement also contributes to the wellness of a child. Informing parents about what takes place in the class, as well as inviting them into the classroom is very important. Giving parents tools to help their child at home also aides in student success."
Ms. Monique and Ms. Keeli work as a team in the classroom.
Ms. Keeli: "Our first graders are READERS! Many of them entered first grade a bit apprehensive about their reading. Monique and I devoted a significant portion of our schedule to reading instruction, to allow our students the chance to 'catch up.' After a few months, I now look around the room and see students laughing to themselves at a funny part in a book, using the voice of a character and just engaging with their books in a thoughtful way. I'm so proud of them.
"We want our students to be responsible for their own learning, to feel a desire to succeed not only academically, but socially. I hope to inspire my first graders to not only learn for the accolades, but to learn for the sake of learning."
Ms. Monique: "I hope that each student achieves academic and social success. I want them to be self-motivated individuals. I want them to be people who take control of their learning and develop a love for learning as they get older. I want them to be upstanding citizens in the school and their community."