PS 48 hosts a special guest

Natalie Lally

The students of PS 48 performing at the school’s 100th anniversary celebration.

Schools chancellor helps school celebrate century mark

Hunts Point’s historic PS 48 received an unexpected visitor on June 18, to help celebrate the school’s 100th anniversary.

Carmen Fariña, chancellor of the New York City’s Dept. of Education, accepted a special invitation to help ring in a century of learning at the Bronx’s oldest elementary school, otherwise known as the Joseph R. Drake School. Students and faculty gathered in the auditorium to hear the chancellor, but before she spoke, the school choir performed “This School,” a song composed by music and history consultant, John Sheridan, honoring the Bronx families who have attended the school over the generations.Onstage, the band and cheerleaders performed to help spread the good word about a place many here call “the best school in the universe.”

The school on Spofford Avenue was built in 1915, during an era in which Hunts Point was gradually transformed from a grassy woodlands into an urban neighborhood.

“The teachers encouraged us to try our best,” said Grace Owusui, a 5th grade student who announced the different acts throughout the ceremony. “We’ve been working on this for a week and a half.”

The school’s administrators followed the singing and dancing with a Powerpoint showing the glories of the school’s past, highlighting dramatic shifts in the neighborhood over the decades. The students who presented the slideshow down memory lane conjured the names of important local figures such as 19th-century local landowner Thomas Hunt, poet Joseph Rodman Drake, and Latin percussionist Tito Puente.

Students followed up, swaying and singing to”Eye of the Tiger” and “Uptown Funk,” as the audience applauded and rose from their seats to give the children a standing ovation. Chancellor Fariña said she was moved by the rousing greeting she’d received.

Natalie Lally

Schools chancellor Carmen Fariña at PS 48.

“I almost never come to ceremonies in schools, but I got a very special invitation to this one,” said Fariña. “This is a wonderful way to begin my morning.”

“There are a few budding actresses in this school,” she joked, and told the students, ”Kids, you inspire me.”

The school’s longtime principal, Roxanne Cardona, said it was a privilege for the school to host the Chancellor for the ceremony.

“It was really a collaborative effort and the children gave it their all,” said Cardona.”It was the best show in the universe!”

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