2017-10-04 / Front Page

Ribbon Cutting Celebrates Woodside’s PS 11’s New Wing

By Dan Miller and Joyce Vetere Milowski

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the shiny, bright and new school, PS11 in Woodside Queens. Joining PS11Q principal Elizabeth Pena-Jorge were Assembly member Michael Gianaris, Majority Leader of the New York City Council Jimmy Van Bramer, Michael Morrisey, NYC DOE Queens Borough Director Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, Dr. Philip Composto, Superintendent District 30Q
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the shiny, bright and new school, PS11 in Woodside Queens. Joining PS11Q principal Elizabeth Pena-Jorge were Assembly member Michael Gianaris, Majority Leader of the New York City Council Jimmy Van Bramer, Michael Morrisey, NYC DOE Queens Borough Director Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, Dr. Philip Composto, Superintendent District 30Q On a beautiful Friday morning, September 29, more than 100 guests and visitor including  more than two dozen former students and staff filled the entrance area at brand new PS11 in Woodside, to see the magnificent new shiny school building and witness the ribbon cutting ceremony that would make it official.

Elected Officials who came to the school that morning including Assembly Members Michael Gianaris and Cathy Nolan, City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer.

District Superintendent Dr. Philip Composto and School Construction Authority Official Loraine Grillo were also joined by dozens of former school supervisors and administrators, teachers and students. We had a chance to speak with a former student who attended the old PS 11 in the 1950’s and was amazed how the new building looked so beautiful compared to the old PS11 she attended.

The formal ceremony that would end with a spectacular ribbon cutting photo op for those present began with welcome speeches by three students, Charlie Bichler, Timothy Mora and Annie Phommavongsa. The pledge led by students Charlie Ross, Seemat Sadique and Anna Solar.  

PS11 principal Ms. Elizabeth Pena-Jorge, who is considered a rock star at the school, then spoke. ”The project to build an extension for an expanding student population is this beautifully constructed school, known as PS11 in Woodside.”  Ms.Pena-Jorge thanked a lot of people including the local elected officials Assemblyman Gianaris, Council member Van Bramer and Assembly member Kathy Nolan and singled out School Construction Authority executive Loraine Grillo for her support over the many years it took for this project to come to fruition. She thanked her predecessor principals who started the ball rolling many years ago first for a new building and then for an extension, with the Woodside community bulging at its’ seems.

But the biggest personal thank you went to council member and majority leader Jimmy Van Bramer who took the ball and helped the school score a touchdown by coordinating all of the necessary partners needed to make the dream of getting a bright, shiny new school building built.

Students from classes 301 and 302 were led by the schools’ music specialist Dr. Soon-eng Chao.  Dr. Chao has a PH.D. in Music and has been complimented for inspiring the students to take up instruments and to sing to support and compliment their academic learning.

UFT Delegate, Patricia Schultz stole the show with her passionate speech. After her welcoming everyone “for coming to this auspicious ribbon cutting ceremony on behalf of the school’s UFT chapter members.” Our UFT members are pleased to be an integral part of our dynamic Woodside/Sunnyside community, and we thank our families for the opportunity to prepare your children for a successful, engaging and satisfying future.” She went on, “We are happy to be finally united under one roof and we lok forward to providing a world class education for all of our students. “ Ms. Schultz expressed a sentiment that was shared by everyone who entered the new PS 11 that day. “So… when I walked into our new building on September 5th., I looked all around, and everywhere I looked, I thought 3 words… shiny, bright and new. I went down to the cafeteria, and back up this beautiful staircase, up into my classroom on the third floor, and again I was in awe of how shiny, bright and new everything looked! The on the first day of school, I looked at my students, and as always on that first day, I thought, Oh, they look so shiny, bright and  new. As we walked through the school, I saw my students in happiness and wonderment as they gazed all around at how shiny, bright and new everything was…So let’s welcome the shiny, bright and new of PS11, and of our students, now and into the future.”

Next, Co-PTA president Mindy Bichler-Green(her partner Jesse Ross was not present) spoke and thanked everyone who took part in having the new building built. “Our amazing administration who fought for this building, even those who are no longer at PS11 to enjoy it.” She went on thank all the parents and students for their sacrifices and patience while the new building was under construction. :To all the 5th and 6th grade students who have been co-located at PS361 over the past 2 years, To all the classes who were doubled up in classrooms three years ago. To all the current third graders, who as kindergarteners were sent on a bus to Astoria every day, thank you.  It was rough but we got through it. I know my daughter Poppy was bussed as well.” Ms. Bichler-Greene went on to highlight some of the bright, shiny, new additions to the new building. We have beautiful new classrooms, an amazing science room, fabulous art rooms, a state of the art cafeteria.” She concluded with these impassionate words, “There is an indescribable sense of family, community and warmth within these walls. Our children are made to feel challenged, safe and loved. Now they will have enough space and the facilities to thrive. Thank you for this magnificent new home.”

Assembly member Cathy Nolan joined the festivities in the shiny, bright, new cafeteria where a buffet breakfast was available. She was seen congratulating PS 11 principal Elizabeth Pena-Jorge, assistant principal Tracy Sullivan, parent coordinator Linda Schuler, Queens Borough Director of Office of Intergovernmental Affairs for the DOE, Michael Morrisey.

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