Ella Fitzgerald Academy Dedication September 2022
Yonkers Board of Education Trustees voted unanimously to rename Scholastic Academy for Academic Excellence, formerly School 18, the Ella Fitzgerald Academy, honoring the significant and far-reaching contributions of “The First Lady of Song.” At a dedication ceremony on September 29, 2022, a plaque was unveiled commemorating the June 2022 Board of Education resolution renaming the school.
Rev. Steve Lopez, President, Yonkers Board of Education said, “The goal of the Trustees in renaming schools is to foster an inclusive climate that embraces diversity, promotes equity and social justice. We celebrate the lives and accomplishments of Yonkers residents past and present. Generations of students will learn about Ella Fitzgerald whose legacy will inspire their love for the Arts, learning and courage.”
The dedication ceremony was attended by Board of Education President Rev. Steve Lopez and Trustees Sheila Greenwald and Rosemarie P. Linton, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Edwin M. Quezada, City of Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, NYS Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, NYS Assembly Member Nader Sayegh, and City of Yonkers Council Members Tasha Diaz, John Rubbo, Corazon Pineda-Isaac and Shanae Williams.
Ray Brown, Jr., Ella Fitzgerald’s son, sent a message to students, family and staff that was read by Rev. Steve Lopez. Ray Brown, Jr. quoted his mother saying “It isn’t where you came from, it’s where you’re going that counts.”
Ella Fitzgerald lived and went to Yonkers Schools 10 and 18, currently known as the Scholastic Academy for Academic Excellence. The tenets of Ella Fitzgerald Academy will build on Dr. Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences: Linguistic, Logical/Mathematical, Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Musical, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, and Naturalist, to maximize the potential of every student who enters the school.
“Our Yonkers learning community celebrates and embraces the magnificent diversity of the students and families we serve,” noted Dr. Edwin M. Quezada, Superintendent of Schools. “It’s energizing to work with Trustees and a Mayor who appreciate the value in renaming schools after outstanding individuals who will serve as tangible role models for our students. Ella Fitzgerald attended this school; she looks like our students and came from the same struggles many of our children and families face today. The school’s educational programs will guide our students as they uncover their talents, their potential contributions to society and understand their self-worth.”
City of Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano added, “Ella Fitzgerald’s life and career inspired so many, and now, will inspire a new generation of young people who come from similar beginnings here in Yonkers. Renaming this school in honor of Ella reflects our City’s commitment to celebrating our own and encouraging all to rise up in academics, the arts and beyond.”
“When Ella Fitzgerald attended School 18, her life course was only just taking shape,” said New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. “I am sure she would be so proud, as we all are, that this school is now the Ella Fitzgerald Academy. The Ella Fitzgerald Academy will serve as a true testament to her legacy, as a place where students can embody her passion for the arts, her altruism, and her determination to succeed despite the challenges she faced. Here, students will be inspired to create their own futures, as Ella Fitzgerald did.”
New York State Assemblyman Nader Sayegh said, "As a former student from grades K to 6 at School 18, a graduate of school 18, a long-time Yonkers School Administrator and former School Board President, it was personally touching to me that the school was renamed in honor of Ella Fitzgerald. That she walked the halls and sang in the classrooms at the Ella Fitzgerald Academy will serve to inspire students there for years to come."