Last Day of School Ceremony

The last day of school is always exciting at BFS. It is true that my son gets up every morning looking forward to going here, but the final day has its’ own level of excitement. Parents, students, graduates and friends all turn out for this festive event where the yearbooks are given out individually to every student and staff member. Every book is accompanied by a short, and insightful description of the person it is given to, and the audience supports it with thunderous applause. It is very touching to see how people who were outsiders at the beginning of the year, have been accepted into the community. Since my photo journalistic approach was well recieved, I thought I might try it again. I took a lot of pictures. My process was to hold the camera any which way. Older students shy from the camera so it is hard to get them off guard. Sometimes I hold the camera in the air, over my shoulder or thrust it into a crowd of children. I seem to take better photos when i don’t know what I am doing.

The atmosphere was full of excitement as the room tried to settle down. Everyone needed to find a seat and there was much shifting and yelling at the beginning. Then the teachers gathered in a line at the front and began to snap their fingers in rhythm. Soon the whole room began to clap in beat and we were ready to begin.

One of the newest students, Ava recieves her first yearbook. As she is mostly camera shy, this is a rare photo.

Above is Ariel and Sequoia, a former student. and then there is Aaron Epplebaum, one of this years graduates. For several weeks last year, Aaron would taunt me with requests for me to buy him some French Fries. It was an endless joke. Finally I said that I would buy him some fries only after he graduated. That got him quiet for almost two years. I fulfilled that request with a bag of fries from Nathans at Coney Island the other day. I wish I could have done better, but it was what was handy. He has thanked me several times for those fries and I think I have made a life long friend. This way if I have any legal troubles, I have someone to call to bail me out.

Katherine, Dina, and Emily

Described as the student most likely to be mistaken as a staff member, David Johnston. I have written about David in the past calling him Doogie Howser when he did an internship with a pediatrician in a hospital ward. He has been with BFS from its’ beginning and I have a great deal of confidence in him.

Aram Toos, who was described as a “cynical optimist.”

He sings, he dances, and he plays lots of practical jokes. Future television star Ben Schendler-Terry.

This is the typical shot of any teenage girl. They are always running from the camera. Can someone explain this to me?

I got this picture of Mercedes Stewart as I told her she needed to practice taking pictures for when she becomes the Executive Vice President of a major corporation, to which she nodded her head in exuberant affirmation.

This is the most exciting part of the day. Lenny Schiller, one of our Board members and a vintage car collector, comes every year on the last day with his vintage Good Humor truck dressed in the appropriate uniform. He said he got stopped twice on his way over from people wanting to buy ice cream. This is a great treat that the children look forward to every year. Lenny boasts the largest collection of vintage vehicles in Brooklyn. A New York Times article about him is still online.

Trains, Trains Trains!! He loves trains. He knows more about trains than the presiding president of the Amtrak Corporation. No kidding.

Finally I got Nathan to stand still for a portrait shot. His mom, Kate, has told me that he went from being an unhappy child in Public School last year to a totally happy child this year. When one of the grandparents expressed doubt about him being at BFS, saying “well, he is happy,” to which Kate replied “does anything else matter?”

Lining up for ice cream

Of course I have to get my own son in here. Aspiring artist, designer and prankster. He will be attending the Pratt Summer Design program as well as a one week stint at Camp Wa Wa Segowea. Other than that I will have to lock him in his room from 9-5 throughout the summer so that we can get some work done.

This is the photo that caps it off. The youngest member of the BFS community. Another school year over and done.


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