Bank Street Hosts 2017 Annual Dinner on Ellis Island

View of the Statue of Liberty on the way to Bank Street's dinner at Ellis IslandOn Tuesday, May 16, Bank Street held its 2017 Annual Dinner at the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration to celebrate the College’s contributions to improving education for immigrant students in New York City.

The event, which was attended by 250 guests including trustees, donors, faculty, staff, and friends of Bank Street, honored Roger W. Ferguson, President and Chief Executive Officer of TIAA, for his extraordinary civic leadership and dedication to the future of education in New York City and beyond.

Outside the dinner at Ellis Island with Bank Street's president and honoree Roger Ferguson from TIAAWith remarkable views of the Statue of Liberty as a backdrop, Co-Masters of Ceremonies and School for Children parents Debra Messing and Claudia Gonzalez Romo led the evening’s program, which included speeches by Ferguson, Bank Street Board of Trustees Chair and Dinner Co-Chair Yolanda Ferrell-Brown, and featured speakers Ishmael Kamara and Norma Vega, GSE ’06. Kamara, a teacher at Bronx International High School, and Vega, Principal at ELLIS Preparatory Academy, both gave speeches highlighting the important work of teachers working with English Language Learners and shared personal stories of teaching and learning in America.

Ishmael Kamara at Bank Street's annoal dinner 2017“We are a community of immigrants—and we need teachers that can react with flexibility, adapting instruction to suit the needs of our diverse learners… Bank Street College’s new Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages program will prepare New York City teachers to work with the city’s English Language Learners through a student-centered, culturally-responsive approach to teaching and learning,” said Messing in her opening remarks. “Together, we will build a stronger tomorrow for every child, today,”

Bank Street President Shael Polakow-Suransky, GSE ’00, also took the stage to deliver a powerful speech about our urgent obligation to serve and support New York City’s diverse immigrant student body. A transcript of his remarks is available here.

The evening was truly memorable and, thanks to generous donations from community members and a special Grant-A-Wish call for donations, Bank Street raised over $770,000 to support the Bank Street Annual Fund and the Graduate School’s new TESOL program.