Diana Barnes, whose son Ryan just graduated from eighth grade from Isaac E. Young Middle School in New Rochelle, said in an email to Astorino's office and the media that she, students and other parents at the school were not notified of the program before the deadline lapsed.
Called the ACE program, Astorino Challenge in Education, awarded Westchester students in grades six through 12 - who had A averages and/or perfect attendance - season passes to Playland. A total of 347 students signed up for the program in its second year, more than double the number from last year.
"My son & 3 others have Perfect Attendance for 3yrs in a row; they received an award for such, along with being on the Honor Roll for 3yrs in a row," wrote Barnes, adding that she is surprised parents at the school were not notified.
Barnes and her son currently reside in a homeless shelter, she said, so missing out on the prize is particularly hard because she is unable to reward Ryan with things. She helped Ryan start a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for his high school expenses; he wants to become a scientist and will start at Mt. St. Michael Academy in the fall on an academic scholarship, according to his mother.
Below is Diana Barnes' email to Astorino's office:
Hello I’m a parent to a child that both attended & graduated from Isaac E. Young Middle School in New Rochelle, Class of 2014.
I’m writing to inform you that neither I nor other parents were informed of the "ACE" project - Astorino Challenge in Education. My son & 3 others have Perfect Attendance for 3yrs in a row; they received an award for such, along with being on the Honor Roll for 3yrs in a row.
I don’t know what the procedure is for notification to the students but there was none given to our students or school for that matter, my son’s guidance counselor Mrs. Rhett is on top of her business, so again I find it surprising we were not informed of this.
I do understand the deadline has passed to register and to receive the season passes, but it’s a shame that so many other deserving and hardworking students did not get recognized in this manner for their achievements & accomplishments. As parents we play an important role in our students/kids ability to meet these requirements.
I’m reassured by the fact that my son set this goal for himself and achieved it, regardless of the “prize”.
My request is to make awareness of the Challenge better for all students, not just the ones showcased on the news.
FYI: My son & I reside in a homeless shelter & as a parent in this situation it’s very difficult to reward my son with anything, let alone this type of reward. Our family has been interviewed for our housing agency’s annual report , we are the subject to bring light to the fact that in spite of our situation my son is the exception to the studies and statistics of what a homeless child can accomplish, our agency is CHI /Community Housing Innovations, in White Plains.
The following are the awards my son received this year at both graduation and awards day, Ryan Barnes.
- · Perfect Attendance for 3yrs
- · Mathematics / Math 8
- · Foreign Language / French 1B
- · Three (3) year Honor Roll
- · National Junior Honor Society Exceptional Service Award
- · School/Team Service Awards / Team Two
- · President’s Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence
- · William “Brud” Flowers Award
- · New York State Attorney General Triple C Award
He is currently doing community service at Hope Community Services here in New Rochelle as part of his requirement for Mt. St. Michael Academy where he will attend HS in the fall; he received a full academic scholarship. He also is a member of the Strive Leadership Academy via the New Rochelle Youth Bureau, where he had the opportunity to meet & interview the Mayor, Noam Bramson, he also took a picture with him after graduation.
I don’t know about you, but this kid deserved a Season Pass to Playland, along with his fellow students who achieved the same level of success he has.
We are currently running a fundraiser to assist us with school expenses, so as you can see we are not above doing the hard work to get where we need to be. www.gofundme.com/RyanTheScientist
Thanks & Much Appreciated.
Diana Barnes, Proud Parent to Ryan Barnes