2019 8th Grade Graduation

On Thursday June 27th 2019, the second annual 8th Grade Graduation for Challenge Charter Schools was held at Far Rockaway High School. The theme for the ceremony was, “I Am Not Throwing Away My Shot!” Music Banks accompanied the processional, followed by the pledge led by the Color Guard, and the National Anthem sung by Favour Avero. Principal Gordon brought greetings to the families, staff, government officials, and graduates as the program commenced with songs, recitations, and several addresses before awards and certificates were presented.

Salutatorian, Arvin Gaul spoke about his mom encouraging him to stand out, and he thanked his parents for their support saying, “My mom is the key to my success…and my dad is the head of our household and our strength.” He also thanked Principal Gordon, Coach McConnell and Dr. Mullings along with other key influencers.

Valedictorian, Danielle Monti had attended Challenge since the first grade. She reflected on the changes she had seen during that time while the vision of Dr. Mullings remained strong. She thanked Mrs. Samuels and Security Guard, Ms. Donna for their support along with test prep from Principal Gordon saying, “Those tests were no joke!”

Dr. Mullings addressed the proud families and encouraged them saying, “Take a good look at our graduates. They will change the world. I have to give thanks to Principal Gordon. She has worked wonders. If you don’t believe me, take a look at our test scores and where our graduates are going to high school.”

Principal Gordon continued in a similar spirit speaking about worth and that every scholar has been worthy from the beginning of their Challenge journeys and will continue to carry that worth as they go.

She proudly admonished the 8th graders saying, “You are sparkling, indestructible diamonds. Remember you are precious and act as such.”

She also shared that this year’s graduates achieved 100% High School Placement in the first round.

Special Guest and Board Chair, Frederica Jeffries encouraged the scholars to ask themselves what it will take to achieve the vision that each of them carries.

“Count the sacrifice and discipline; stay the course no matter the obstacles you face. This is a time for you to serve as a sentinel over your future,” she said.

Along with city and state awards, Senator James Sanders presented qualifying scholars with the New York State Senator Award. The Attorney General’s Triple “C” Awards, Principal’s Award, and CEO/Founder’s Award were also presented.

A gallery of professional photos from the event can be found below.

Masquerade: 2019 Senior Prom

On Tuesday, June 11th, CCMS held its second annual Senior Prom at Roma View. The event gave an opportunity for the Rising Freshmen to celebrate their hard work and accomplishments through an evening of fun. The Prom’s theme was Masquerade including dinner, dancing, party favors and candy for the seniors.

Parent Engagement Coordinator, Mrs. Vaughn, Ms. Laing and other staff members helped transform the space into an even more beautiful venue for the dance. Scholars arrived in their finest and NYC Party Masters provided music and entertainment for the evening. See the gallery of photos below.

Multicultural Day at CCMS

CCMS hosted its annual Multicultural Day this year on Friday, May 10th. The event celebrates the many cultures represented in the student body, staff, and surrounding community. Countries such as Ghana, Costa Rica, South Africa, Jamaica, Egypt, Nigeria, Aruba, Guyana and the U.S. island of Puerto Rico were represented.

The scholars worked on the project leading up to the event and used art, research, writing, technology and presentation skills to teach each other about what they learned. On the day of the event, scholars were issued passports to “travel” and experience music, taste food, learn history, see currency, and touch artifacts unique to each country.

CCMS is proud to represent the diversity across the school and to teach scholars the value of cultural differences and that people from all nations have importance in our shared global history.

Challenge Charter Receives Renewal and Expansion

After a lengthy review and application process, Challenge Charter has been granted a 5-year Renewal and Expansion from the NY Department of Education. The expansion will include the addition of a Kindergarten class and approval to open a High School.

Founder and CEO, Rev. Dr. Les Mullings was happy to hear the news, and staff followed suit with their positive responses and affirmations of the school’s efforts over the 9 years since opening in 2010.

The application process involved the support of the Board of Trustees, the Executive Leadership Team, K-5 Principal Griffin and 6-8 Principal Gordon and staff throughout the K-8 school. While renewal was anticipated, the expansion is a great vote of confidence for Challenge Prep as very few new schools and expansions are being approved by the DOE due in part to the NYC Charter School cap.

Dr. Mullings has led the school through renewal applications across the school’s history. Senior Advisor, Dr. Estep followed the process closely assisting staff and administration through each step. The DOE Renewal Team visited the school for key meetings with the Board, Leadership Team, Principals and Staff, as well as classroom observations, curriculum reviews, and test and scholar data analysis.

The Kindergarten seats will be filled from the waiting list from the 2019-20 Applications and Lottery that took place in April. Plans for the High School will be ongoing as logistics such as building and staff needs are discussed.

Read the official Press Release on the Renewal and Expansion.

Staff Appreciation Feature: Nadine Lecoin

It’s Staff Appreciation Week at CCMS! Our Parent Association has planned a number of events to express gratitude to our Teachers and Staff. As a special feature this week, we are celebrating Operations employee, Ms. Nadine Lecoin, who works with dedication and a willingness to serve wherever needed.

How long have you been working at Challenge and what are your current responsibilities?

Lecoin: I've been working at Challenge Charter School for four years now. I serve middle school within the Operations department. My expertise is school start-up that consists of all furniture, curriculum, signage ordering, janitorial supplies, etc. The Operations department has multiple functions that I oversee such as assigning Metrocards and busing for the scholars. My operational highlight is during peak open enrollment when I enroll all new scholars to the middle school. I also supervise the New York City food service program that provides breakfast, lunch, and snack to our middle school scholars. Of course, my duties aren't limited to what I listed above because I always fill in whenever assistance is needed. 

I believe that the highest human act is to inspire, and if I am able to have a breakthrough with my support, then I’ve done wonders.
Ms. Nadine Lecoin, Operations Assistant

Ms. Nadine Lecoin, Operations Assistant

What is the best part of your work day?

Lecoin: The best part of my day is seeing the scholars smile. Some scholars come to me daily for their regular peps talks to help them stay focused. I believe that the highest human act is to inspire, and if I am able to have a breakthrough with my support, then I've done wonders. 

What led to you want to work in an educational setting?

Lecoin: Since the age of five, I've always loved school. I looked at school as a fun place to be. School was a place that I could feel safe, learn new things, and I was able to develop lifetime friendships. I'm still really good friends with all of my classmates from elementary and middle school. I was extremely fortunate to have great teachers and great classmates who've made a great impact on my educational path. I couldn't see myself doing anything else. I truly do love what I do. 

What is a hobby or something you like to do outside of work and why?

Lecoin: I love to travel because each trip is a new adventure, a new story, a new memory. I love to learn about different cultures, eating new food, and meeting new people.