The Eagles Table Tennis Advances to the Finals

posted Feb 3, 2017, 1:46 PM by Michael Toise   [ updated Feb 3, 2017, 1:47 PM ]

The Eagles Table Team Team soars to the finals. The table tennis team played five matches last night against International Community High School winning all their matches. They advance to the Championship game against Lower East Side Prep Monday, 2/6/2017 at 4:30. Spectators are welcomed. Go Eagles!

The Great Cookie Bake December 2016

posted Dec 22, 2016, 1:39 PM by Michael Toise   [ updated Dec 26, 2016, 12:10 PM ]

I know every year people wonder where all of the holiday cookies come from. Were they baked by elves? Well the answer, based on the photographic evidence, is clearly no. But I can promise you that you they were baked with a spirit of gratitude and appreciation by our students (and principal) for all of the work our faculty and staff do throughout the year. So, don't forget to pick yours up on Friday.


Below are a few snapshots of the team at work. 

School Quality Snapshot

posted Dec 2, 2016, 1:46 PM by Michael Toise   [ updated Dec 2, 2016, 1:47 PM ]

From Abidjan to NYC: A Young Immigrant Reflects

posted Nov 16, 2016, 2:13 PM by Michael Toise

Mohamed Fofana (Photo by Tatiana Flowers for Voices of NY)

Mohamed Fofana (Photo by Tatiana Flowers for Voices of NY)

Mohamed and his older brother were eager with anticipation when they boarded a plane that would start them on their journey to the U.S. two years ago. They would finally get to try those American burgers they’d only seen on TV.

Mohamed Fofana, then 18, had spent more than a decade of his life wondering when he and his brother would finally move to the United States, reunite with their parents, and meet their younger siblings.

When he was one, his father, who worked many odd jobs to make ends meet, moved to the U.S. to start a better life financially. When Fofana was five, his mother left to join his father in America. Mohamed and his brother, Ibrahim, were left behind in Côte D’Ivoire with their grandparents.

For 13 years, Fofana’s mother would phone and repeat the same refrain. “Next year, you’ll come to the United States,” Fofana recalls her promising. “You just need to work hard at school. If you pass all your classes with a high grade, we’ll bring you here, and you will continue with your studies.”

They used to send him American clothes and all of his friends would “ooh” and “ah” over his newest pair of Michael Jordan sneakers. Everybody in his town thought he was cool.

It was February 2014 when the two Fofana brothers finally boarded a plane for the two-day journey from the Ivory Coast to the U.S. They stopped over in Cairo and arrived in New York City in the midst of heavy snowfall. Mohamed was wearing a light hoodie when they landed in New York City.

Fofana’s father was waving to them and he thought, “Who is that guy over there?” He finally understood it was his father, only to be greeted by his younger sister, who was born here, saying: “Are you really my brother?” That was the first time they met.

Although Fofana had been separated from his parents for more than 10 years, he never really missed his father. “I didn’t build that relationship. You miss someone when you actually live with that person,” he now says.

“Home Alone”

Once they reached home, Fofana thought they were at the wrong house. He wasn’t expecting to live in an apartment, and he surely wasn’t expecting a place like Harlem.

In West Africa, he’d watched music videos by Nelly, Michael Jackson, and Akon and all the TV shows and movies he’d seen like “Home Alone” portrayed one kind of America – suburban America. So, naturally, he thought his home would be just the same.

“I didn’t know there was such a place called Harlem, where there is a high concentration of just black people. At first, I saw some homeless [people], and I thought, no way, I couldn’t imagine seeing a homeless [person] in the U.S.” He remembers seeing a pregnant homeless woman on the street and thinking: How come nobody is helping her?

Within a couple of days, he noticed that people didn’t speak to each other. Back home in Abidjan, it had seemed as though everybody knew one another. Families were close-knit and neighbors were always willing to share food and supplies. Now he doesn’t even speak to his neighbors. He thinks people here are extremely private and addicted to their mobile phones. Furthermore, he thinks New York City’s education system is “weak,” that it’s just about memorizing and regurgitation of information. In the Ivory Coast, he says, schoolwork and going to school was much harder. You had to pay for every single one of your materials and classes were much bigger, leaving the teacher with a harder task of focusing on each student.

When Fofana phones his family back home, he tells them casually, “it’s like hell living here,” but they never believe him. “I just try to deal with it,” he said. “I don’t run from it. It’s difficult, but the thing is, there’s a lot of opportunities here, and if I graduate, I might get a job, and that doesn’t necessarily happen in my country.” This hope, he said, is what motivates him. “I’m just thinking about my future.”

He stresses that one of the hardest adjustments here is the language barrier. It took him nearly two years before he felt comfortable enough to hold a fluent conversation in English. When he arrived here, all he spoke was French and Mandingo.

During high school, he took full advantage of the extra help English teachers offered. They often told him to be patient because learning English would take time, and to slow down when speaking, so that people could understand him. “When people realize you have an accent they don’t give a damn about you. For them, it means you don’t speak English.”

 People still look at him peculiarly sometimes, but he doesn’t care anymore. “That’s their business,” he now says.

Fofana’s high school math and programming teacher, Linda Eng, said he became a bit more acclimated during his second year here, once his English was fluent. “He dressed a little differently and just wanted to fit in with every other high school student,” a shift she sees in almost all of her international students at Manhattan Comprehensive Night and Day High School. When she met him, she remembers, he was always very polite and always raised his hand in class. “He was just an overall good person,” Eng said.

She says most of her students who are immigrants agree with Fofana; America isn’t like what they see on TV. But, she says, not all of her students value the classroom the way Fofana does.

“I’ve noticed a portion of immigrant students who come here and have this serious, do whatever it takes to succeed [attitude]. They work, get good grades, and will do whatever it takes to make it in America.”

“I miss the weather”

Now 20 and a student at SUNY New Paltz, Fofana is studying computer science. Although he’s still working on getting acclimated, he yearns for a vacation to re-visit his country. He hasn’t been back since he moved here, and he says he doesn’t necessarily want to stay here.   He misses the camaraderie-like atmosphere of his neighborhood in Abidjan. “I lived there for 18 years, so pretty much all my life is there. I miss my friends, family, my grandfather. I miss the weather,” he said.

Fofana has a plan: get a job and succeed here, something that’s a lot harder to accomplish in Côte d’Ivoire. But he doesn’t plan to abandon his country. If the opportunity arises, he wouldn’t be opposed to bringing his computer science skills back to the Ivory Coast to start a business to benefit the people of his country. Fofana says he wouldn’t turn his back on his country, because he loves it.

People in the U.S. have a skewed perspective about Africa in general, Fofana says, because of what they see on TV. “The only thing [the media] shows is malaria taking over some poor area in Africa. It’s like, those people are savages, they don’t eat,” he said.

“Well, there’s cities in my country and we got a lot of resources. If you really want to know what Africa is like, buy a ticket and you will see the difference from what they show on TV,” he said. “It’s not the same thing.”

New MCNDHS Brochures in Chinese Spanish Haitian Russian Korean and French

posted Aug 3, 2016, 9:04 AM by Michael Toise   [ updated Aug 3, 2016, 9:29 AM ]

Is someone you know interested in attending MCNDHS in September?

Share with them a brochure written their native language. 

See the links below.

More languages are coming soon!

Read About Graduation June 2016

posted Jul 15, 2016, 12:33 PM by Michael Toise   [ updated Jul 15, 2016, 12:36 PM ]

Read the two excellent stories on Graduation 2016 in Sing Tao and the World Journal.


A Summer at The Cooper Union

posted Jul 1, 2016, 12:00 PM by Michael Toise   [ updated Jul 1, 2016, 12:30 PM ]

The lights go out. Bright lights in purple, yellow and white illuminate the structure fashioned out of recycled wood, metal and foam. A small silver ball begins its ascent up a spinning pole, reaches the top and then cascades down a slide before being deposited on what looks like a mini Ferris wheel. In fact, if you look carefully there’s a replica of a carousel and, if you consider the structure as a whole, you can see a roller coaster and, come to think of it, the lights make it seem like a mini Coney Island on a summer night. All that’s missing is the ocean reflecting the lights’ glow.

The project, called “Amusement Park,” was designed in the summer of 2015 by Manhattan Comprehensive students Yingzhi Hao, Fatou Ndiaye, Edison Pilamunga and Camryn St. Vil as part of a summer STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program at Cooper Union, a college located a few blocks south of MCNDHS that specializes in engineering, art and architecture. This July, MCNDHS students will participate in the Cooper Union STEM program for the tenth year in a row. The program runs for six weeks and is designed to give NYC high school students an intensive hands-on introduction into the world of engineering. 

According to Cooper Union professor George Delagrammatikas, who has worked with each group of
MCNDHS students since 2006, the summer STEM program gives students an opportunity to “learn to be resourceful and also learn about teamwork and the engineering process.” Working in small groups, students begin envisioning their designs from the first day of the program. Then, almost immediately groups bring their designs to life working primarily with recycled materials including old electronics, pieces of metal and wood, and tools like laser cutters and 3-D printers. The summer culminates in group presentations of their designs and, in perhaps the most entertaining aspect of the program, a first-hand look at their machines in action.

Part of the fun of the program is the diversity of designs, says both Professor Delagrammatikas and Yingzhi. “The idea is to make [the machine] as complicated as possible,” said Yingzhi, who came to MCNDHS in fall 2014 and is the valedictorian of the June 2016 graduating class. “For example, if you want to have a ball go from one place to another, don’t just make it go in a straight line. Make the design more complicated. Sometimes the ball doesn’t follow your idea, so you need to find a way to control it. The ball didn’t alwayslisten to our ideas.”

In part thanks to his summer experience, Yingzhi decided to apply for undergraduate admission to Cooper Union and, a few months later, made history by becoming the first MCNDHS student ever to be At Cooper Union, Yingzhi plans to major in electrical engineering in part because of his fascination for the “character of electricity, the connection between electricity and magnetism.” Yingzhi’s goal in the future is to design machines that better manage electricity and distribute it more efficiently to help cut down on waste. “People like beautiful things,” said Yingzhi. “I’m interested in how to combine beauty and function. When I try to make something I will try to make an awesome design that will make people want to use it.” (Think of the colored lights and graceful curves of his group’s Amusement Park machine.)accepted by Cooper Union. “I was really happy to be the first,” said Yingzhi, 20, who grew up in a city in Northeast China known for its coal and petroleum factories. His father works as a chemical engineer and as a boy Yingzhi would “hang around the factory, but I couldn’t go in.” Yet his curiosity about the goings-on behind the factory gates would stay with him.

Professor Delagrammatikas predicts that Yingzhi will find that the time and project management skills he learned in the summer STEM program will help him as a first-year student at Cooper Union and beyond “in internships and jobs in his future after graduating.” For Professor Delagrammatikas, Yingzhi is also part of an impressive legacy that MCNDHS students have created over the 10 years that they’ve participated in the summer STEM program.

“Students from MCNDHS are great,” he said. “They have such interesting life stories. Working with them allows me to reaffirm Cooper Union’s mission for social justice by giving opportunities to students who might not have them otherwise. They’re incredibly creative and I’m always astounded at what they’re able to create out of very little, and their level of creativity and imagination.”

As the first MCNDHS student to attend Cooper Union, it would make sense for Yingzhi to feel nervous. However, he is listening to his own advice to current MCNDHS students and fellow graduates: “Be brave.”

“Sometimes when you want to do something there is no one else so you need to do it by yourself. There are always some really awesome opportunities waiting for you – but they’re new opportunities so you don’t know [what will happen]. But don’t be afraid – be brave and try it,” Yingzhi said.

Words of wisdom, indeed, and perhaps not surprising from someone whose name includes the Chinese character for “brave.”

Danny Bloch , CDI 2016

MCNDHS Posse Scholarship Winner

posted Jun 6, 2016, 1:30 PM by Michael Toise   [ updated Jun 6, 2016, 1:33 PM ]

Manhattan Comprehensive Night and Day High School (MCNDHS) is an excellent second chance option for students who are over-aged and under-credited. Students are exposed to a plethora of rigorous courses, engaging extracurricular activities, and life changing social services that help support them in their quest to obtain a good quality secondary education and beyond. The proof is in the pudding as this academic school year, one of their students is a proud recipient of the highly competitive and prestigious, Posse Scholarship. The scholarship is a full-tuition, four-year scholarship worth over $100,000.

Ms. Gisell Martinez, the school’s parent coordinator, recently sat down with Aboubakar to get an idea for how excited he is about receiving the award and his future plan of study. With a big smile on his face and a high level of excitement in his voice, he proudly exclaimed that he’ll be headed to Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut this Fall to pursue a degree in Engineering.

As a first generation college student, Aboubakar moved to the United States two years ago from the Ivory Coast of West Africa in pursuit of the American Dream. This dream was actualized as he landed firmly at MCNDHS and embraced with open arms, heart, and mind all the great things the school had to offer. He was initially introduced to the school by his older cousin who graduated from MCNDHS a few years prior. When asked what the scholarship meant to him he explained how it would allow him to further his education as well as provide a positive example for his younger siblings to follow. He expressed the need to emphasize through action to his siblings the importance of pursuing a higher education as a means to actualize one’s dreams.

Additionally, he mentioned, “I am very excited to start this journey as a college student and see how different it is from high school.” Aboubakar says that MCNDHS has not only helped him to develop the necessary skills to succeed academically, but also has encouraged and pushed him to dream big. In fact, he states that the entire school community makes it a priority to push all students towards their true potential. With a firm belief in this ideal he states with regard to the school, “Without your nomination and support, I wouldn’t be the recipient of this scholarship.”

MCNDHS would like to once again congratulate Aboubakar and his family on receiving the POSSE scholarship. The school believes, “He will accomplish a great number of things in the not so distant future. We are confident that he’ll represent himself, his family, and the entire school community well.”

We Are the Champions!

posted May 25, 2016, 4:38 PM by Michael Toise

By Ayushi Pant, Jie Ping Li and Jennifer Marshall

On May 23rd, 2016 The Lady Eagles of Manhattan Comprehensive High School found themselves where many people never dreamed they would be, at the MPL Girls’ Soccer Championship game. Besides three players, the majority of the Lady Eagles had never played organized soccer before. Their Coach, Jennifer Marshall had five years of experience coaching basketball at the high school level but had never coached soccer before. Their game schedule was grueling, playing two consecutive games a week for a 5 week season forced the players to dig deep in order to find the strength, energy and dedication just to make it to the games. Many players dropped off of the team once they realized that the season would be hard work, not just fun and games. It was obvious that this season would be an uphill battle from the start.

The 16 players that stayed on the team realized how quickly their hard work and dedication paid off. The Lady Eagles were able to usurp every team that faced them in all but three games. The only team that could beat them was Bronx Bridges high school, and the Eagles were defeated each time those two teams faced off. Despite the three losses against Bronx Bridges, The Lady Eagles were still in second place and qualified for play-offs. The team knew that one way or another; they would be seeing Bronx Bridges on the field again.

When the regular season was over, the Lady Eagles breezed past third place Claremont High School in the semi-final round. The pressure was on, Bronx Bridges ended their regular season undefeated and seemed to win their last few games by more and more goals each time. Knowing that a team is “only as good as their last game”, Coach Marshall and the team put together a new plan that they hoped would help them finally beat the Bronx when it really counted, in the championship game.

When the whistle blew and the game started, something was different. The Lady Eagles’ energy was palpable, and you could see the confidence and determination in their eyes. They believed in the Coach’s new plan and were ready to execute it. The defense played as a tight and supportive unit, and there were no shots on our goal for the first 20 minutes of the game. Then, a quick lapse in the defense’s judgement allowed the Bronx to Score one goal midway through the first half. The Lady Eagles refused to be shaken by that one goal and immediately scored from a long distance from kick off. The two teams continued going goal for goal until half-time. In the second half the Lady Eagles were able to get a lead which they maintained by playing smart, playing together, and playing tough defense. The Bronx Bridges team was noticeably thrown off their game strategy and while they kept making mistakes, The Lady Eagles were scoring goals. At the final whistle, the score was 9-5 in favor of the Lady Eagles. The crowd of students, friends and family went wild. The Lady Eagles had done it; they had “beat the unbeatable” and became the 2016 MPL Girls Soccer Champions.

Victory over Bronx Bridges

posted Apr 7, 2016, 1:26 PM by Michael Toise   [ updated May 25, 2016, 4:36 PM ]

The Men's Soccer Team overwhelmed Bronx Bridges. 7- 1 at Randall's Island yesterday. The Men executed play after play showing what practice, commitment, and teamwork can do. There were strong performances by Defense, Midfielders. and Forwards! 

Congratulations Eagles!!!!

Their next game is against Liberty High School April 13th at 4:30 on McCarren Park
Field #1

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