Do Something, Don’t Be Something!

PS 17 Women's History month OL GL
Students of P.S. 17 dress up as and state the cases of historic women to be voted as the ultimate woman of history by their peers.

“I feel like the most important thing is to take the opportunities you’re given every day and every moment and make the most of them. Look to do something, not be something,” said the Special Guest of the Assembly at P.S. 17. Achievement was the common thread running through the three parts of this assembly.

Recognition of those who made the Honor Roll for the second trimester and for those with Perfect Attendance (and perfect means not missing a day or being late once) came first. The students of P.S. 17 are on an upward trend in this area of academic achievement, as the Honor Roll added 19 students to its count from last trimester.

Loully OL GL
Special Guest Loullyana Saney speaks to P.S. 17 about the importance of education at the Honor Roll – Women’s History Month Assembly

Then eight elite women of history faced off in the second part of the assembly.  Students dressed up as Susan B. Anthony, Sacajawea, Annie Sullivan, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rachel Carson, Amelia Earhart, Rosa Parks, and Harriet Tubman lined up on the stage, each ready to sway the audience toward choosing them as the ultimate woman of history.  The cheering was relatively evenly matched between the final two: Amelia Earhart and Sacajawea.  So the voting method was changed to a head count of those who stood for the aviator and those who remained seated for the Shoshone interpreter and trail guide. Thus it was determined that Sacajawea was the victor.

The  time had come for the special guest, Loullyana Saney. You may not know her name now, but she has gone quite far in her twenty-one years, and her attitude and abilities foretell a promising future.  She is a student at Princeton University that is taking a year of study at the University of Oxford, among other achievements to be disclosed later. The students of P.S. 17 were made aware of Loully by her mother who is an ESL teacher, Title III Program Director, ELL Liaison & Coordinator, and Language Allocation Coordinator (LAC) at the school.  “I love you Loully” appeared on handmade signs raised above the children’s heads and their cheers greeted Loully as she made her way to the microphone.

“I am 21 years old now, and not too long ago I was sitting in one of your seats, because I’m really not that much older. Both my parents are immigrants to the U.S., like I think many of you, maybe not all. I think the most important thing in my life has been about caring about education”

The thrust of her talk touched on the importance of education. She in turn was touched by her audience.  This young woman’s genuine way came right out as told the kids this. Then she continued onward, “Nelson Mandela once said, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.’  And I think that’s 100% true. I have done a lot, in government recently and other sorts of internships in academia and research and things like that, and in everything I’ve done, it’s all the years prior that have really helped me. I couldn’t imagine or even predict where I am now: 1 year ago, 6 months ago, 2 months ago, I feel like the most important thing is to take the opportunities you’re given every day and every moment and make the most of them. Look to do something, not be something.”

The government internship she refers to is her White House internship from February to May of 2014 in the National Economic Council. The NEC advises the President on U.S. and global economic policy.  More recently, Loullyana Saney has worked at the World Bank. Evidence of her constancy to the subject of education can be googled, for example, she’s given a speech at the 56th Commission on the Status of Women on the education of girls and she’s had a Letter to the Editor published in The New York Times on Elite College Admissions. Furthermore, Loully is especially interested in public service.

The Principal of P.S. 17, Dr. Robert Marchi, thanked Loully for, “Sharing a few thoughts on the connection between having some dreams, working hard in school, and having some success.”


Author: Lori Ann Doyon

Managing editor, head writer, and lead photographer of Greenline | North Brooklyn News since October 2014. Resident of Williamsburg, Brooklyn since 1990.

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