Nathaniel Thayer Wright sends an update on AE Smith HS
“Once we start, we ain’t gonna stop achieving, Smith is here, and DoE, we ain’t leaving,” go the lyrics, set over the song “Can’t Stop Me” by Jadakiss. (The DoE is the Department of Education. The music is set over accelerated video of students learning carpentry, automotive and other trades in the high school.
Mark Noakes, 23, the rapper and lyricist, is a project manager at Smalls Electrical Construction Inc. in Brooklyn. Four of his colleagues at the electrical company are Smith High alumni, and when he got word the school was proposed to be among 20 city schools closing for poor performance, he decided to help spread the word about what would be lost.
“I graduated from a technical college, and I know firsthand what a technical school can offer in today’s society,” he said. “The education propels them into the corporate world, where they earn decent money.”
His boss, Jeffrey Smalls, organized a petition with 3,000 signatures and got 90 alumni and employers to write letters of support. “Smith is the only school left that teaches the full range of trades, and it would be a tragedy to lose it,” he said. “When students graduate, they understand not just how things work, but why things work, and they have a much better performance in the field.”