On June 30, 2016, Innovation proudly awarded high school diplomas to our third graduating class at a commencement ceremony held at the beautiful and historic El Teatro at El Museo del Barrio, in East Harlem.
Amongst the 90 plus candidates for graduation our valedictorian, Ana Paulino, spoke movingly about her experience as an immigrant, arriving in this country with very limited English language skills. Through dint of hard work, a passion for education, and a desire to one day become a doctor, she worked her way up to the top of her class and now looks forward to attending the State University of New York at Geneseo, which is widely regarded as one of the best public universities in the northeast.
Our commencement speaker, Manhattan Deputy Borough President Matthew Washington, a long-time Innovation friend and supporter, spoke about his own experiences as a young man growing up in East Harlem, and encouraged our graduates to pursue their dreams.
In addition, two of Innovation’s founders, our founding board chairperson, Frank Saia, and founding trustee, Stacey Gauthier, principal of our sister school, the Renaissance Charter in Jackson Heights, were presented with awards in recognition of the extraordinary roles they played in founding Innovation, and in acting as two of our biggest supporters throughout our history.