Wingate Alums visit our Alma Mater...
to find new inspiration and learn how
Wingate H.S. is giving back to the community.

 The day before the reunion, many of us took a tour of Wingate. For most of
us, it was the first time that we were allowed to roam its halls since we
graduated 40 years ago---indeed, many of us had never been back.  It was an
amazing and nostalgic-filled experience, but it was more than that.  It was
also a bold reintroduction to the school and recognition that Wingate is
alive and well, despite the rumors of its demise.

 Yes, George W. Wingate High School, as we knew it, may no longer exist.
But the Wingate Campus lives on, home to four vibrant schools,
dedicated to turning out the beststudents possible. 
We were all very impressed by Benjamin, the young principal of the school for,
as well as the campus administrator, who is responsible for coordinating the
activities of the school and maintaining its physical plant.

Benjamin impressed upon us that Wingate needs our support.  Wingate has
been impacted by budget cuts, and, frankly, even in the best of times,
schools don't always get the budgets they need, and now is certainly not
the best of times for expenditures.  As we sat in the library,  sweating due
to lack of air conditioning, we realized how difficult it could be for
students taking classes.  Many of us who left the tour that day felt a
strong desire to give something back to the school and many of us are in a
position today to do so.  So, that's the purpose of this letter.

Helping out the school doesn't necessarily mean financially.  Benjamin
would welcome volunteers.  Wingate has virtually no music department today;
yet for many graduates, the music department helped them find a voice and
even have successful careers in the music business.  One suggestion made by
a graduate was to volunteer and offer their musical knowledge and skills as
tutors.  Another idea might be to have a Wingate Day and have graduates
come back and talk about career paths and job opportunities.

As for monetary contributions, there are several options. We were impressed
by the organic farm that has grown up on the front lawn of the campus.  For years,
nothing was done with it; since last year however, it has become a garden to prove
that, if not a tree, but fruits and vegetables grow in Brooklyn.  The farm
is staffed solely by volunteers and has hopes of eventually supplying other
farms with seedlings for organically grown produce. 
Every Wednesday during the summer months, they told us,
they sell 600 pounds of organic produce to the surrounding community in their
 Farmers Market. They can only grow things now in the warm months but they
 could use a greenhouse, so they could operate year-round. 
Only $2500 is needed for that.

Principle Benjamin shows produce from Wingate's garden.

There is also the aforementioned air conditioning. But, there are also
other things that the school could use the money for, and undoubtedly there
are students who could use scholarship monies.  We could discuss with
Benjamin the best way to focus our contributions.

Of course, graduates-especially those who are very well off--might consider
individual gifts.  But we also thought that a joint gift, from our classes,
would be a great way to show our gratitude to the school. Perhaps a plaque
on the wall, with our names!!! However, we are not sure how best to
coordinate that process, if people are interested.

Some of us have talked, in the weeks post reunion, about forming an alumni association, which could ultimately be expanded to other graduating years. 
But, we need volunteers to work on these ideas--
if there is sufficient interest!!!
We throw the forum open here for discussion,
on whether we should coordinate a response and, if so,
how best to do so.

Volunteer explaining the benefits of the garden.