June 17, 2020 message from Mr. Dotoli

June 17, 2020 message from Mr. Dotoli


Dear Families and Students,

Congratulations for all your hard work (parents too!!) and achievement in the completion of Harlem Academy's 16th school year. Today is a special day, and I want to use these next paragraphs to share some details about what's going to happen and to thank the people on our outstanding team who are working tirelessly to make it happen.

Really, graduation started last night with our ninth annual dinner (on Zoom). Kia Turner (our middle school English teacher) gave an amazingly poignant and inspiring final message and then our teachers came through with a set of final commendations for each graduating student that truly captured the impact they have had on our community and will continue to have on the world. Special thanks to Tia Clemons, LaShonda Davis, Marieme Diouf, Eric James, Gwen Kingsberry, Audrey Thorne, Kia Turner, and Leah Weintraub for just an incredible job with all those messages, especially in the face of all your other work at the end of the year!

Moving Up Day- First thing this morning is moving up day, a great chance for returning students to meet new teachers and find out more about what we hope you accomplish over the summer and next year to keep learning, growing, and having fun. Details about anything you need to do for moving up should have come in emails from your teachers, probably not as much for rising seventh and eighth graders who have the same teachers in all middle school grades.

Yearbook- Today is also the day that everyone gets the new yearbook to view on a computer or tablet. Ms. Feliz will send each family an email at 12pm with directions for how to access your yearbook, and students will have from then until graduation starts at 3p to view and engage with the yearbook.  Not only will you see all the great photos from this year, but students will even be able to send and receive signatures, stickers, and video notes with classmates. It should be lots of fun!

I want to thank Mariah Bell (HA ‘13) for her amazing work in designing and developing this yearbook!!!  I also want to thank Marieme Diouf, Gwen Kingsberry, Audrey Thorne, Angela Ebron, Nataglia Feliz, Krizia Garcia, Tobias Everke (our school photographer), and the entire eighth grade for their contributions.
Graduation- Finally at 3pm, I hope that everyone will go to harlemacademy.org/graduation2020 for a link to the livestream of our graduation ceremony.  It includes two terrific slideshows (including many of you), wonderful introductions of each graduating eighth grader from one of their classmates, two great songs by our lower school chorus, and the live presentation of a diploma to each of our graduating students by one of their family members.  

I am so thankful to Nataglia Feliz (who has taken care of almost all of the logistics and technical work associated with this day), Leah Weintraub (who directed and supervised most of graduation), Chris Whittaker (the Fort Washington Collegiate Church music director who put together the two songs with our students), Muniba Ahmed (from the development team who worked incredibly hard on our three slideshows), and all of you who sent in those incredible contributions!  I'm also thankful for LaShonda Davis, Angela Ebron, Amelia Buchanan, Vanessa Scanfeld, Krizia Garcia, and all the teachers who all put in extra work to help make the day special for our students.

I'm sure I am leaving people out, for which I am so sorry. My main point of this message is to make sure parents and students have the information you need to have a great day today and to share another window into the way the whole team at Harlem Academy comes together for our students and our mission.

As always, please let me or your teachers know if you have questions.

Best wishes for the day and start of the summer.

I hope to see you soon.

With gratitude always,

Vinny/Mr. Dotoli