NYC launches ‘campus revival’ program to upgrade neglected school buildings

NYC launches ‘campus revival’ program to upgrade neglected school buildings

For years, students and staff at Bushwick Leaders High School for Academic Excellence in Brooklyn had a recurring complaint about their aging school building: There were no working water fountains.

Staff and students tried in vain to get them fixed, and Principal Enrique Garcia resorted to stockpiling bottled water to hand out to thirsty students. Seventeen-year-old senior Gabrielle Smith felt compelled to act after a friend passed out on a sweltering day because of dehydration.

“That was the turning point for me and my mom. She was like, ‘I need to bring this issue up, I need to do something,’” Smith recalled.

Her mom, Florence Knights, brought the problem to East Brooklyn Congregations, the four-decade-old network of faith-based community organizations that helped found the school. Leaders from that group got the attention of First Deputy Chancellor Dan Weisberg, who came to the school to meet with families and staff in spring 2022.

“The day after he met with us, water and AC units were brought into our school,” Smith recalled.

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