A Tribute to 25 Years of “Champions of Quality Public Education”

“Every child has the fundamental right to a good education.”--Fatima Khan, Astor Collegiate Academy, Class of 2015

New Visions Scholarship winner Fatima Khan perfectly summed up the mission of New Visions for Public Schools in her powerful remarks to a packed audience of those committed to improving public schools in New York City.

Fatima was one of two student speakers at New Visions' recent 25th anniversary dinner, in which we honored two of our most dedicated champions of public education: the Carnegie Corporation of New York and New Visions founder and chairman, Richard I. Beattie.

After ”CBS This Morning” anchor and event MC Charlie Rose kicked off the night with an overview of New Visions’ impact, Fatima spoke about how witnessing the inequities within the education system in Pakistan made her value her own education more. “Imagine my surprise at witnessing boys outnumbered girls in school three-to-one,” she said, describing her experience in Pakistan, where she attended middle grades before moving to New York City for high school.

Fatima, who aspires to become a physician dedicated to women’s and children’s health, is a New Visions scholarship winner, an upcoming graduate of Astor Collegiate Academy, and a future Fordham University student.  Fatima credited her teachers and principal for shaping her development and achievement as a scholar, thinker, and leader. She proudly stated, “I am a leader because of Astor. I am resilient and dedicated because of Astor.”

Our second student speaker, Elvis Manzanares then shared his compelling story of overcoming the challenges of growing up in public housing in the South Bronx to win a New Visions Scholarship and admission to Dartmouth College. He credits his education with building the skills and strengths that will carry him to further success.  He affirmed the founding principle of New Visions by stating that “with education comes opportunity. With opportunity come limitless possibilities.”

New Visions recognized two key stakeholders whose longstanding support has shaped the organization from its founding.  First, in recognition of its unprecedented impact on improving public schools, Carnegie Corporation of New York was honored with a Visionary Award. Accepting on Carnegie's behalf was its president, Vartan Gregorian, and chairman, Thomas H. Kean. Mr. Kean remarked, “Whatever you think the problems are in this country, the answer is to improve our public schools.”

New Visions Founder Dick Beattie was recognized with the “Founders Award,” presented by Roger Altman, Co-Chair of New Visions. The night ended on a high note as Dick closed with these thoughts, “There is no silver bullet --- we all know from our own experience, and from our own children, that education is a long, slow, difficult and sometimes painful process.  But we are definitely making real and demonstrable progress in providing a quality education to thousands of our city’s less fortunate students, and with the help you have so graciously provided tonight, we will continue to do so for years to come." 

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