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The Ephebic Oath is a bedstone of Townsend Harris, but to some it may seem like an abstract vow, words spoken but never manifested. The first line of it reads, “I shall never bring disgrace to my city, nor shall I ever desert my comrades in the ranks.” This year, the entire Townsend Harris community has an opportunity to demonstrate the value of the Ephebic Oath in the face of our predicament by rallying in front of Bill de Blasio’s office on February 24.
As Rosemarie Jahoda serves as our Interim Acting Principal, she rejects the very ideals of the Ephebic Oath. While she should build a supportive environment amongst faculty members, she curses at subordinates who offer her valuable suggestions while treating a respected teacher with hostility and describing him as “useless.” While she should be supporting students and give them a safe learning environment, she leaves them neglected. When she should be honoring our school’s commitment to first amendment rights by speaking with The Classic, she obstructs the truth and builds tension and animosity in our school. While she should ensure senior application materials are sent in on time, she delays them over minute procedural disagreements. While she pledged to be available and interact to students at her filibustered Town Halls, she is “unavailable” for much of the student body. While she should assist parents and students, she leaves them misguided and delayed in attending internships at prestigious institutions. While she claims that the charges pressed against her at Bronx Science are unsubstantiated, she demonstrates behavior characteristic of those charges by neglecting students who need instructional support. Enough is enough.
Let’s all go to City Hall to fight for our school.
I want to do everything I can, while I am still your Student Union president, to have Ms. Jahoda replaced immediately with someone whom we can trust and build a constructive relationship with. Therefore, I ask you to join me on the steps of City Hall on Friday, February 24th at 11am, to rally Mayor Bill de Blasio to remove the interim acting principal immediately while the C-30 process is ongoing and before she does any more damage to our school and our futures.
Drawing on logistical assistance from the alumni association, we have worked to secure the space, the time, and speakers. Now all I need is your voice to help send our message.
Freshmen, make your first year at THHS memorable. Sophomores, mark THHS history. Juniors, inspire the underclassmen. Seniors, all of whom can now vote this November, make your voices heard as Bill de Blasio prepares to run for re-election. As Mayor of NYC, he has authority over the Department of Education, which has not been hearing our voices even though they keep saying they are.
Let’s go straight to the Mayor.
The last line of the Ephebic Oath says, “I shall not leave my city any less but rather greater than I found it.” In the history of Townsend Harris High School, this line has never mattered more.
Comrades, let’s keep fighting.
Let’s leave our legacy here ingrained in Townsend’s history.
Let’s leave Townsend better than we found it this September.
Now is the time. Join me.
Your student union president,