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May 1 , 2009

Velázquez Highlights Benefits of Arts Education for Brooklyn Students

NEW YORK - Last night, Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.) joined students, parents and administrators at the Grand Street Campus in Brooklyn to present the school with $100,000 in federal support for their arts education programs. Speaking at the school’s Spring Arts Celebration, she praised the participants for building valuable job skills through their dedication to the arts. Students from the Campus’ three high schools demonstrated their musical talents and handled all event production, from the marketing and sales to the lighting and sound set-up.

“The Grand Street Campus Arts Department not only gives students a chance to create, perform and develop life-long skills, but provides a deterrent against crime and keeps young people in the classroom,” said Rep. Velázquez.

The resources secured by the Congresswoman will be used by the Grand Street Campus Arts Department to enhance its existing facilities and provide greater opportunities for students. All courses offered by the department center around major arts productions that allow teens to gain experience and develop their talents by working on-stage and behind-the-scenes. The federal funds, allocated by a Department of Justice program to create positive alternatives to juvenile crime, will allow the arts program to make renovations to its auditorium and improve practice and performance equipment for dance, theater and music productions. The resources will also expand opportunities for students to perform off-campus, encouraging them to share their talents with the community.

“Arts programs nationwide have proven to be an effective tool in keeping youths focused and positive, and I am proud to support Grand Street Campus’s efforts to create a constructive environment for teens,” Velázquez said.

The Grand Street Campus opened in 1995, and features a curriculum emphasizing 21st century professional skills. The campus serves over 2,500 students at its three schools: The High School for Enterprise, Business, and Technology (EBT); PROGRESS High School for Professional Careers; and the School for Legal Studies. Partnering with community businesses and organizations, the schools offer classroom and real-world opportunities to prepare teens for post-secondary professional careers. This approach has translated well to the student body, with Grand Street Campus’s attendance and graduation rates both exceeding the citywide average.

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