Kisha Algood’s Brilliant Speech Denouncing the City’s Plans to Close 3 West Side Schools to Build Luxury Housing
Public School 199 has been catering to the Upper West Side community for several decades. Erected in 1963 it has seen generations of families enter its doors. District 75 caters to the special needs population, this valuable population has been catered by 199 for years. I was blessed to enter this school as a kindergartener. I was a shy, sweet, and supportive little girl that had a disability. When people talk to me, they assume my disability is physical but it isn’t. Socially I struggled making friends but I was persistent in talking to those who would listen. In 4th grade I was diagnosed with a specific learning disability and placed in special education classes. A specific learning disability is a disorder in one or more of the central nervous system processes involved in perceiving, understanding and/or using concepts through verbal language or nonverbal means. In other words my disability impeded my mathematical skills. I had to use a calculator but I always wished that I was able to do math homework without getting frustrated.
I also had occupational and physical therapy. My occupational therapist was Ireta London and my physical therapist was Elizabeth Crawford. I had these sessions on alternative days. When I wasn’t in therapy I had speech. Both these services were instrumental in my success at 199. Then I met an angel that was also a paraprofessional, her name is Nancy Youngman. I met her when I entered the 5th grade. She worked alongside my teacher for a few weeks before moving to a different classroom. She is one of those people who care deeply about the students she takes care of every year. My second angel and mom was Ms. Danielle Cione. Miss Cione was everything to us, and a special inspiration to me. The memories I had in 5-304 will always be in my heart.
Next I entered a school that was a vision in the eyes of an educational leader that would guide, nurture, and support us through our journey. It hurts not to say her name because she is an integral part of my success. The vision was given two floors within the current building that an elementary school resides in. That elementary school is PS 191. These two schools had conflicts in the past due to difference of opinion but they are a prime example of how two schools can work together to educate the future. A side note is that the building was built in 1955 and was a pre-kindergarten to grade two school, and in 2003 became a Pre-K through 8 school. Also known as The Amsterdam School, it serves the families of the neighboring projects. These children deserve a fair and equal education just like everyone else. A known fact is the government is planning on how many more cells to build because they don’t believe that the neighborhood in which the school is located will survive , how sad is that. For the next three years a family formed. From the love and respect we had for our peers to the love and guidance from our teachers, our school soared. Academically and visually I struggled but my teachers had nothing but open arms and encouragement for me. Two angels stepped forward and they are Miss Linda Troncoso and Miss Angelica Moran. These two shining stars taught math as a team. They were two teachers everyone wished they had. We shared in their joy and were there to help when they stumbled. Now these two females are mothers and are happy, and that’s all we wanted for them. I know we didn’t have a lot of money when we started, but money is a means but dedication and heart can’t be bought. Fast Forward 10 years and now they are a Magnet School , reaching above and beyond to educate young minds, This school may mean nothing to educational officials but it means the world to the community it has served for decades