On Thursday, November 3rd, the Pemberton Society and the Graduate School of Education co-sponsored the Alumni of Color discussion, “The Bank Street Experience & Where It Can Take You: A Conversation between Alumni and Students of Color” at Bank Street College. Panelists included Carmen Alvarez, ’81, Vice President for Special Education, United Federation of Teachers; Alvin Irby, ’09, Educational entrepreneur, author of Gross Greg, and Founder, Reading Holiday Project, Barbershop Books; Takiema Bunche-Smith, ’97, Associate Executive Director for Early Childhood Programs at University Settlement; Medard Thomas, ’96, Principal, Columbus Magnet School. Cathleen Wiggins, ’92, Bank Street Faculty Member, moderated the discussion.
A lively discussion took place filled with poignant stories of accomplishments, challenges, and plenty of humor. Panelists focused on how Bank Street, with its specific focus on the emotional component of learning, helped them develop into the far-ranging and impactful educators they are today. They also touched on how Bank Street can possibly help students of color succeed even more today, with even greater systems of support.
Alvarez told the audience that as an educator and leader, “Bank Street gave her the keys to reach her kids. It gave me a path forward.”
The Pemberton Society was founded at Bank Street College in 2005 as a living memorial to the life and ideals of Priscilla E. Pemberton (January 4, 1918-July 12, 2004). Priscilla, a 1966 African-American Bank Street Graduate School alumna, directed the Bank Street Early Childhood Center in midtown Manhattan and was a Graduate School Faculty member in curriculum and early childhood. During her three decades at Bank Street, Priscilla touched the lives of countless students, educators, and leaders.