Written by Cory Twibell Friday, 06 August 2010 00:00
Project GRAD recently reaped the benefits of its hard work and dedication as Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano announced a grant of $75,000 to the program on July 27 at the Cradle of Aviation in Garden City.
“We look to continue to support this program, even in these challenging times, it’s important to invest in our youth, our future generation, our future leaders,” said Mangano.
After approximately 50 soon to be ninth-graders finished their four-week program at the “magnet academy” at the Cradle, Project GRAD participants and partners came together in an effort to reflect on past achievements and recognize efforts for the future, not only from students, but supporters as well.
“The students sitting here today are proof that this is an investment that’s well thought out and well received and certainly deserving of our support in Nassau County and that’s why it’s my honor to join with Legislator Troiano and provide you with an additional grant this year,” Mangano said.
Project GRAD’s summer progam received support from Bethpage Federal Credit Union, JP Morgan Chase, Newsday, National Grid and Nassau County.
Kim Arias, vice president of Project GRAD, said, “I’d like to thank the county executive for making a difference in the lives of our students and I’d like to thank him for investing in a model that works.”
Under the coordination of Westbury School District Science Chairperson Brumsic Brandon, Project GRAD students entering ninth and 10th grade have been able to participate in summer programs at the Cradle of Aviation and Farmingdale State College, respectively.
“I think that this is one of the most exciting summers for Westbury’s Project GRAD partnership. The activities and the curriculum this summer have been very challenging for the students in preparation for high school,” said Superintendent Dr. Constance Clark-Snead.
“[Project GRAD] benefits me because it will prepare me for what’s coming in ninth-grade, I will know more because I’ll have had a head start,” said student Brandon Brathwaite.
Mangano described the program as a “comprehensive approach to community development and investment” and a “wonderful partnership” between all involved parties.
“We should work to continue together with organizations to use the very scarce dollars efficiently, wisely to produce verifiable results and that’s exactly what this program has accomplished,” added Mangano.
Before introducing Legislator Troiano, Mangano cited Benjamin Franklin, an educator with a similar approach to the learning process.
“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest,” Mangano said.
“County Executive Mangano is not concerned about party lines, he’s concerned about the people, and that’s what it’s all about,” said Troiano.
Students from Project GRAD later demonstrated their very own space-shuttle replicas, as they dropped egg-wielding contraptions from orbit (or the top floor of the Cradle) down to a landing zone to see if the eggs could survive the descent.
“I especially like aeronautics, because we get to do a lot of experiments. Like today, we are dropping eggs and trying to get them not to crack, and it ties in with astronauts and how to get them not to experience certain things while they are in space,” said student Danielle Ramsey, who plans to pursue higher education and aspires to become an anesthesiologist.
Only a handful of eggs safely arrived at their destination, but Project GRAD advocates are confident all of their eggs (students, in this case) will go on to land in college and beyond in the near future.