On April 29, 2018, a group of 14 graduates from James Madison high school , starting as far back as the 1930s, were inducted into its “Wall of Distinction’”. Those inducted on this occasion Joined those previously honored. Including Bernie Sanders, Chuck Schumer, and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and five Nobel laureates! This group, that I was part of, included several who were older than I am, and whose qualifications far exceeded mine.
Left to right, top row: Dr. Howard Pollack, Dr. Charles Debrovner,
Dr. Leslie Libow, Dr. Sylvia Kleiman Fields, Dr. Robert Meadows,
Dr. Kenneth Glassberg. Bottom row: Dr. Richard Gitlin,
Dr. Jeffrey Gordon, Sonny.
My brief remarks, I noted that
JMHS is a public high school in a middle-class area. At a time when there seems to be downplaying of public education and turning toward charter schools, I think it well to note that, as James Madison wrote, ”education is the true foundation of civil liberties.” While there certainly is a role for charter schools, America has always looked toward public education to gird our democracy. In the 1800s we created the land grant colleges; In the 20th century the GI. Bill of Rights.To the extent the Wall of Distinction draws attention to how successful public education can be. I am pleased to be present.
Here is the complete video of my remarks by videographer Steve Merkel.
Before the ceremony there was a reception where I had the chance to meet and greet those that attended.
My Grandson Shaun Stewart volunteered at the ceremony. What a wonderful way to spend time together.
There was a child in attendance who afforded me the opportunity to practice my Wonderama skills when we connected and high fived.
Brooklyn Borough President,
Eric Adams was on hand to present a citation to those who were honored.
After the ceremony many of the other recipients were able to greet me, chat and share their experiences.
A photo opportunity in front of the wall of distinction and finally my place of honor.
Here is the complete list of honorees:
Norma Golsin Zarky* 1933 Attorney/Political Activist
Buddy Kaye* 1935 Songwriter/Grammy Winner
Donald Seldin* 1936 Medicine
Irwin “Sonny” Fox 1942 Entertainer
Martin Landau* 1946 Academy Award Winning Actor
Dr. Sylvia Kleiman Fields 1950 Nurse/Teacher/Author
Dr. Leslie Libow 1950 Medicine
Dr. Charles Debrovner 1953 Medicine/Bioethics Founder
Dr. Richard Gitlin 1959 Engineer/Inventor
Dr. Kenneth Glassberg 1960 Medicine
Dr. Jeffrey Gordon 1966 Scientist
Dr. Howard Pollack 1969 Musicologist
Laura Numeroff 1971 Author
Dr. Robert Meadows 1980 Army Lt. Col.(ret) Physician
Then it was time to say goodbye to the school which I had graduated from in1942.