Walcott visits Eagle Academy on first day of new school year

City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott (r.) speaks to students at the Eagle Academy for Young Men on the first day of class. Photo by Nat Valentine
TimesLedger Newspapers
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like TimesLedger on Facebook.

City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott made a stop at a unique school in southeast Queens last week as he toured the five boroughs for the first day of school.

The schools big-wig was greeted by a class of uniformed students at the Eagle Academy for Young Men, at 171-10 Linden Blvd. in St. Albans, Sept. 6 when they moved into their new home, the former Allen Christian School on Linden Boulevard.

The academy is a public school with the mission of closing the achievement gap for young men of color. It was founded by the Eagle Academy Foundation, which also established schools in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Newark and also acts as a fund-raising partner.

“When we opened our first school in 2004, the graduation rate for young black and Latino men was 32 percent,” said foundation President and CEO David Banks. “It’s 52 percent now. That’s [still] a crisis.”

“A lot of people think that if you’re a young man of color, you aren’t capable of academic achievement,” he added. “We’re disproving that.”

When the foundation opened its Queens school with 85 sixth-grade students in 2010, it was located in the same building with IS 59 in Springfield Gardens.

The school now has about 250 young men in Grades 6, 7 and 8 and plans to grow to almost 600 students as it adds Grades 9 through 12.

The school had been looking for a new home last year when the city Department of Education struck a deal with the Allen school, which was closing due to financial difficulties.

The city School Construction Authority renovated the building’s gymnasium/­auditorium and 15 classrooms in preparation for the start of the school year, and it plans to complete a second phase of 15 additional classrooms, a science laboratory, band music room and new locker rooms for the 2013 school year.

Walcott said Eagle represented one of the “many choices” the DOE offers to parents as he toured the newly renovated building.

Principal Kenyatta Reid led Walcott to a classroom full of young men dressed in gray pants, blue shirts and striped ties with a golden eagle emblazoned on them.

“You have the unique distinction of being the first high school graduates of this school,” Walcott said. “You will be the leaders.”

The tour went through a science lab and an art room with a peek into the classrooms that would be ready next year before ending in the auditorium.

Anthony Lang, an eighth-grader from South Jamaica, said the new building was “way more high-tech and cleaner” than the last one.

“We had to share a building with another school, so we didn’t have a lot of space,” he said. “We have more opportunities than we had before.”

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4574.

Updated 3:50 am, September 13, 2012
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like TimesLedger on Facebook.

Reader feedback

queens mom says:
Its mission is for closing the achievement gap for young men of color. So is this a public school just for black children? Isn't that discriminatory? If there was a school with a mission just for white children the community would be protesting. Can't have it both ways.
Sept. 13, 2012, 9:34 pm
Bridget from Queens says:
The mission is for closing the achievement gap... so no its actually posing a solution to the discriminatory school system that is already in place... It is giving inner city children (statistically children of color) a better chance so they can compete in a global market.
Sept. 19, 2012, 8:07 am

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.


Do you know a hero of Queens? Nominate a person who has made a difference for the Queens Impact Awards.
Community News Group

Don’t miss out!

Stay in touch with the stories people are talking about in your neighborhood:

Optional: Help us tailor our newsletters to you!