A Back-to-School Parade welcomed students back to P.S. 114 Ryder Elementary on Thursday, September 8th, the official opening day for New York City public schools.
Students lined up in the schoolyard at 1077 Remsen Avenue, where they were assigned to their new classes, met their teachers and reconnected with classmates. Carrying class signs, teachers led their students, K-5, along the parade route to the school’s entrance, which was decorated with brightly-colored balloons. A DJ played upbeat music, and the kids were greeted by the organizer of the parade, performing arts and music teacher Natasha West, who announced each class before they entered the building, ready to take on a new school year.
Everyone was excited to return to full-time, in–person learning after the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to switch to remote learning for the past two years.
Principal Latina Tention declared a new motto on the first day of the “normal” school year – “Embrace the Shake.” The term comes from a student named Phil Hansen who had a tremor in his hand due to permanent nerve damage, causing him to scribble when he tried to draw. The student thought he would never amount to anything, but his teachers supported him, and, after visiting a neurologist, his doctor encouraged him to “embrace the shake.” Hansen adjusted his artistic style and went on to become a famous artist and inspirational speaker, a wonderful example of turning a struggle into a strength.
As each child learns differently, Principal Tention wants to motivate and encourage all her students to be confident in spite of any adversity or struggles they may be facing. She believes that we should focus on what each child can do, not on what they cannot do – to embrace every single child and their differences.
Although only K-5 students marched in last week’s parade, P.S. 114 has classes for students, 3-K to 5th grade.
As we look ahead to the 2022-2023 school year, let’s all Embrace the Shake!