2008-10-23 / Top Stories

BP Helps Launch Speakers Series At New Local High School

By Neil S. Friedman

Byron Lewis, Chairman & CEO, UniWorld Group and Markowitz surrounded by students at the High School for Innovation in Advertising and Media and Principal Michelena (second from left, back row).         Kathryn KirkByron Lewis, Chairman & CEO, UniWorld Group and Markowitz surrounded by students at the High School for Innovation in Advertising and Media and Principal Michelena (second from left, back row). Kathryn Kirk Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz stopped by the High School for Innovation in Advertising and Media on the Canarsie High School campus last week to introduce Byron Lewis, Chairman & CEO of UniWorld Group, and launch a speakers series made up of top advertising professionals who will address the more than 80 students in the inaugural freshman class.

The opening of the school last month fulfilled a longtime goal of the borough president to provide specialized instruction to students pursuing careers in the advertising industry, especially minorities who currently represent only a small fraction of the advertising field.

When it was announced last February that the I.A.M. High School would open this fall, it completed plans for the restructuring of Canarsie High School that had been earmarked for phasing out. The school now operates with two other small high schools — the High School for Medical Professions and the Urban Action Academy — at the 1600 Rockaway Parkway site. Last December, the DOE announced that Canarsie High School would be phased out at the end of the 2007-08 school year. That news came five weeks after the secondary school received a grade of "F" in the first citywide schools progress reports and one year after the DOE announced two other local high schools — South Shore and Tilden — were also being reorganized.

Four new, smaller schools are operating at South Shore and three at Tilden.

Markowitz specifically mentioned the I.A.M. school in his State of the Borough speech last winter and pointed out that it was the first ever public high school dedicated to Advertising and Media. His office has committed over $2 million towards the creation of the new school.

"The advertising mecca of the world has always been just a subway ride from Brooklyn, but unfortunately that career track has long bypassed our black and Latino communities. In fact, the buying power of African-Americans is expected to exceed a trillion dollars over the next several years, yet they represent less than five percent of the advertising industry workforce," Markowitz said last February. "This school will go a long way in preparing our very talented and creative communities of color for exciting and very lucrative careers in advertising and marketing."

The borough president's office committed more than $2 million in capital to the creation of the school. For more information, visit www.advhigh.com.

Adaleza Michelena is the I.A.M. principal and spearheads the project with the support and encouragement of members of Advertising Week's Board of Directors, the Brooklyn Borough President's office, New Visions for Public Schools, and an advisory board of advertising and media experts, led by Rick Boyko, Director of the VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University) Adcenter, one of the country's premier advertising programs.

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