CYNY Opening Day

Chancellor Dennis Walcott, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Comptroller John C. Liu, Mark Walter, Executive Director of New York State Commission on National and Community Service, Hunter College President Jennifer Raab, Darlene Rodriguez, co-anchor “Today in New York”, members of our corporate community, advisory board, friends and family joined the City Year New York corps for our 9th Annual Opening Day ceremony. We would like to thank everyone who joined today’s event and hope you continue to support and attend City Year events throughout this year.

Some of the highlights from today’s Opening Day include:

Corporate Support: Comptroller Liu, joined by members of our team sponsors helped to swear in the 2011 – 2012 City Year corps, by reciting the City Year pledge. We would like to thank the Comptroller for sharing his thoughts today and to Alcoa, Bain & Company, Citizens Team, Credit Suisse, CSX, HSBC, and National Grid for leading this part of the program.

“While they seldom get the recognition they deserve, members of City Year play a crucial role in the success of our schools and communities. It is my honor to help swear in the new class of corps members as they dedicate the next year of their lives to promoting youth leadership, community involvement, and academic achievement among our City’s students.” -Comptroller John C. Liu, New York City

Not able to attend but announced today,the latest addition to our Team Sponsor Program, Microsoft, who signed on last night and will be sponsoring the Diplomas Now Team serving at Newtown High School.

Adding Perspective: Chancellor Walcott asked our corps member to not only set goals, but to set high goals for themselves and for the students they will serve in his schools. He realizes that turning around some of our most challenging schools cannot be done without a community working together.

“As Chancellor, the ability to have you in our schools is so important to us and for our students. The value that you bring to those schools is tremendous, just tremendous. I am a big believer in City Year, I am a big believer in what City Year represents. I believe that City Year should be in every one of our schools, because if we had folks like you in all of our schools, our schools will be a better place. But most importantly our students will be in a better place. And this is all about our students and how we make sure our students are graduating, and not just graduating, but graduating college and career ready.”  -Chancellor Dennis Walcott, NYC Department of Education

The idea of public service and giving your life to a cause greater than your own was shared by New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

“My life tells me that what you are doing now already tells us what you can and will contribute. We are all going to develop, we are all going to learn, we are all going to take different paths along the way and try different things, and some will work and some wont, but the most important point is that you have already distinguished yourself, as caring so deeply that you are ready to devote your life in this direction.” –Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, New York City

Thoughts from Washington: Senator Charles Schumer was unable to join us this morning because he was asked to stay in Washington and lead our country through these challenging economic times. Because of this last minute scheduling conflict he shared his thoughts with us:

“Nothing could be more American than programs like City Year New York that harness the energy and idealism of youth and puts them to work improving our schools and strengthening our communities. “City Year New York has a real record of results- smarter students, stronger schools, and safer streets – not to mention countless graduates who go on to do amazing things.” -Senator Charles Schumer 

As today’s event takes place, we at City Year are keeping a close eye on the decisions that are being made in Washington, that could impact future funding for the Corporation for National Community Service.  Mr. de Blasio also shared his thoughts and concerns about this subject.

“I know what’s happening in the national debate on National Service, and I hate to say that what’s going on in Washington is entirely missing the mark. Developing the next generation of leaders – there is no more fundamental mission for this country, and particularly leaders who are interested in education and the need to reach our youth. This is the entire future of this country.” -Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, New York City

#CYODAY in the Twitterverse: We also saw a great response to Opening Day online – thank you to all our friends and followers who contributed to today’s conversation.

Photo Credit: David Andrako