2003-11-27 / Front Page

"Most Beautiful School in Brooklyn" Formally Opens

By Neil S. Friedman
"Most Beautiful School in Brooklyn" Formally Opens

"Most Beautiful School in Brooklyn" Formally Opens

Participatiing in the ribbon cutting are (l. to r.) State Senator John Sampson, Region 6 Superintendent Gloria Buckery, Principal Joel Rubenfeld, Community School Board 18 President Abu Abu and Assemblyman Nick Perry.                           Photos by Neil S. FriedmanParticipatiing in the ribbon cutting are (l. to r.) State Senator John Sampson, Region 6 Superintendent Gloria Buckery, Principal Joel Rubenfeld, Community School Board 18 President Abu Abu and Assemblyman Nick Perry. Photos by Neil S. Friedman

By Neil S. Friedman

More than ten weeks after the newest school in Brooklyn opened it doors to students and staff, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to formally acknowledge Public School/ Intermediate School 66.

Over 100 hundred guests, including elected officials, parents and educators, gathered in the school’s first-floor auditorium as Principal Joel Rubenfeld hosted an indoor ceremony before cutting a red ribbon at the school’s entrance.

Among the dozen guest speakers were Region 6 Superintendent Gloria Buckery, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, State Senator John Sampson, Assembly Members Frank Seddio and Nick Perry, and District 18 School Board President Abu A.Q. Abu.


At dusk, the setting sun beams the various colors of this mural, above the entrance to P.S./I.S. 66 on East 96 Street, onto the floor inside the school.At dusk, the setting sun beams the various colors of this mural, above the entrance to P.S./I.S. 66 on East 96 Street, onto the floor inside the school.

Talking to the principal before the ceremony began, Markowitz said, "This is the most beautiful school in Brooklyn." Rubenfeld thanked him and smiled.

In his welcoming remarks, Rubenfeld said that one of the primary goals is "to teach or children to be good, productive citizens." He noted the variety of students attending the combined elementary and intermediate school — kindergarten through eighth grade — represent children who previously attended many of the district’s other 17 schools.

"The building is made up of mortar and bricks, but the heart and soul of our school are the students and staff," Rubenfeld said.

Markowitz stated, "My wish is that in the years to come every student in Brooklyn has the opportunity to attend a school like this."

Erica-Kim Sheriff, who heads the school’s Dance/Drama program, said she was glad to be at the school because "it has lots of things not available in other schools. This helps develop a sense of community and makes students and staff aware about maintaining its cleanliness and freshness."

Several students participating in the ceremony also echoed that outlook. One said that he looks forward to coming to the new school everyday, saying it makes him "feel good and makes me want to learn."

One of the highlights of the new school is a colorful glass mural over the entrance on East 93 Street. Artist Lee Bozgold, who said the idea for the design "was crystallized when the school’s Arts Coordinator handed him an official District 18 report during a visit to the unfinished building. I noticed the stationery included a logo of a lighthouse. As soon as I saw it, the rest just fell into place."

The heart of the mural is a beacon. Scenes of the seaside community, including a harbor and bungalows that used to dot the area, surround it.

The school, which opened on September 8, has a 480-student population. As students in the lower grades are promoted, the school will eventually reach its 900-student capacity.

The three-story, $50 million dollar state-of-the-art school at 845 East 96 Street, near Foster Avenue, is District 18’s first new school in 25 years. It provides 45 modern classrooms, a state-of-the-art computer-linked library, a science lab, a computer lab, a music and dance studio, an ultra-modern kitchen and cafeteria and gymnasium. On the grounds is an outdoor playground with a tennis court, a basketball court and a softball field.

In remembering the history of the site where P.S./I.S. 66 is erected, Assemblyman Seddio, who was raised in Canarsie, said, "This land was once a farm where vegetables grew. Now education is flourishing here."

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