January 12, 2009

January 12, 2009  

Dear LoMA Family,


I’m a devotee of the pomp and ceremony of major rites and rituals – graduations, the World Series, the Olympics and Presidential Inaugurations. Inaugurations can be good or bad depending on your feelings about the person taking office. My favorites moments have been been Maya Angelou’s poetry at Clinton’s inauguration and Kennedy’s inaugural address when he stated, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Now, I expect next week’s inauguration of President Obama to be the best yet.


When I started writing about the Obama campaign about a year ago, it was still just a dream that a majority of American voters would vote to break the color barrier to our nation’s highest office. There were so many times in my life that friends and I would bemoan our nation’s ignorance and prejudice for preventing so many qualified Black candidates from becoming president in my lifetime. Now, it is so nice to be proven wrong about our country’s racism. Obama is, of course, much more than simply a Black man. His diverse background represents the multiplicity of our country, and his intelligence, eloquence and temperament are exceptional for any nation. While he is taking over in a challenging time, I can think of no other president who takes office offering more hope.


To honor this historic event, I have invited all of LoMA’s families and partner organizations to join us in commemoration and celebration. At 10:15 next Tuesday, all classes will go down to our newly renovated auditorium ($500,000 of new lights, sound and curtains have recently been added due to the hard work and generosity of Council Member Gersen). We will begin with short performances by our musicians and dancers and then watch the songs, poems and speeches live from the capital. This will be a long ceremony, but I know that our students will be well behaved and enthusiastic. As the ceremony ends around 12:30, we will serve refreshments and cake back up in our school and end the day with an early dismissal. I generally dislike long assemblies and hate missing class time right before the end of the term and Regents, but given the historic nature of this inauguration, I want his to be a day we all remember all our lives.


On a more mundane note, the day after the inauguration will mark a new change at LoMA – the birth of our recycling program. Over the past six weeks, the science club has been working diligently on the first and only recycling program in the Seward Park Campus. Under the leadership of Mr. Fry and Alexander Roman Martinez, with spokespersons Christina Montez and Zhong Zheng, Jonathon Morales, Emma Horne and Arian Brinson have acquired and labeled about 30 recycling bins. Next week they will distribute these bins to all of our classrooms, and we will all begin sorting our garbage in order to preserve our environment. Like the inauguration, it is a sign of an improving world.


Looking forward to seeing you at our inauguration celebration,


John Wenk