Hanging on the wall of a small meeting room inside of P.S. 110 is a photograph of the graduating class of 1929. Bright eyed young women and men stare in the direction of the camera to commemorate a rite of passage in their academic career. What kind of lives would unfold for these students after this moment are stories I cannot retell.
History tells us that in the following October, Wall Street’s stock market crashed to mark the beginning of The Great Depression. It is hard to imagine that these hopeful young faces would not feel distress from the lack of job security that would soon spread through both the neighborhood and nation.
Some 86 years later the world that the students of P.S. 110 find themselves in is quite different than those pictured in the photograph. Students have swapped out blazers and ties for hoodies and colorful printed tees. And what would the students of 1929 think of the Greenpoint’s faded industrial landscape and rising luxury apartments?
No matter the differences, a similar uncertainty exists as to what the future will hold for the class of 2015; or if we jump forward another 86 years to the class of 2101. And beginning to address this issue on how to best ready our children for the unknowable future is the least we can do as educators, parents and members of the community do to ensure that whatever world our students inherit they will be resilient, as they become the leaders of the next generation.
This fall a team of teachers and administrators have begun purposely confronting this issue by incorporating sustainability, which they define as, “making responsible choices to lead a healthy, happy, and balanced lifestyle within our community, today and into the future,” into culture, infrastructure and curriculum of the school. As the school’s new full-time Sustainability Coach, I am inspired on a daily basis by the work of the staff and students. And I look forward to joining the Greenpoint community as they continue to take steps towards a more resilient future.