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The evening celebrated social, emotional and academic development (SEAD) in classrooms and the outdoors.

On Wednesday, May 31, NYC Outward Bound Schools hosted its annual Gala, honoring Hon. Adrienne E. Adams, Speaker of the NYC Council, and LaRue R. Gibson, Jr., Managing Director and Partner, LRG Wealth Advisors, a Hightower Advisors Firm, who joined CEO Vanessa Rodriguez for a panel discussion.

The student-led event was co-hosted by Amelie Ghirardo, a senior at MELS, Saniyah Barrett, an 8th grader at Launch, and Lookman Mustapha, a senior at IHPCH, who shared with attendees the personal impact of NYC Outward Bound Schools’ work.

In addition, Sedina Montoya, a Humanities, Literacy and Language teacher at MS 839 was awarded the R. Gaynor McCown Excellence in Teaching Award for her work with multilingual learners at the Brooklyn school.

Quemuel Arroyo, Chief Accessibility Officer at the MTA, a Board Member, and an alum of NYC Outward Bound Schools wrapped up the evening by sharing his story and leading the pledge drive.

In total, the Gala campaign raised $1.22M that goes toward NYC Outward Bound Schools’ critical work to support the integration of social, emotional and academic development in NYC schools. The organization does this through educator and school leader coaching, adventure and team building programming for students, and by working with schools to ensure that students have voice and choice in what they learn.

Click to browse through select photos:

Many thanks to our Gala Chairs and Vice Chairs!

Gala Chairs

Carole & Norm Barham

Vicki & David Foley

Jane Greenman

Alphonse Lembo

Pamela & Gifford Miller

Nancy & Burt Staniar

Ginger & Geoff Worden

Gala Vice Chairs

David Dase & Jacqueline Flake

Patricia L. Francy

Timothy Greensfelder & Sari Granat

Bonnie & Brad Klein

Jonathan Miller, Miller Ryan, LLC

Lisa Moran & Scott Ainsbury

Richard & Carolyn Stopol

Watch student and alumnus speeches, honoree panel and videos:

Student Speaker Amelie Ghirardo

Amelie compares her six years at MELS to a metaphorical rock climb — with NYC Outward Bound’s supports acting as the harness that kept her secure and willing to take risks.

Student Speaker Lookman Mustapha

A graduating senior at IHPCH, Lookman acknowledges the important role that Crew played in his life during a difficult year.

Student Poet Saniyah Barrett

Eighth grader Saniyah shares an original poem on her experience as a student at Launch, and reflects on the relationships she will take with her into high school.

Honoree Panel

Watch our honoree panel discussion featuring our Educational Leadership Award recipient Speaker Adrienne Adams, our Expeditioner’s Award recipient LaRue Gibson, and NYC Outward Bound Schools CEO Vanessa Rodriguez.

Gaynor McCown Award Winner, Sedina Montoya

Sedina Montoya is a Humanities, Language and Literature teacher at MS 839, and our 2023 Gaynor McCown Excellence in Teaching Award Winner. Take a look into Sedina’s classroom of multilingual learners.

Social, Emotional and Academic Development at NYC Outward Bound Schools

Follow Crews of students from Brooklyn Collaborative as they visit NYC Outward Bound Schools’ basecamp in Fishkill, NY and foster the skills that will help them achieve academic success back in the classroom.

Board Member & Alumnus Speaker, Quemuel Arroyo

Board Member and alum Quemuel introduces the evening’s pledge drive by sharing his own story and highlights the importance of being an advocate for public school students in NYC.

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