“We are here today to honor Borough President Eric Adams for his hard work and dedication as a public servant.” These words kicked off the assembly at MS 126 called to honor “Mister Adams, Captain Adams, Senator Adams, our own Borough President!” for his more than 25 years of service.
The winter was in the midst of a last hurrah, with a snowstorm called Thor, but school was in session. Plenty of MS 126 students took their seats in the school’s auditorium to hear Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams’ frank advisory. His talk stood on legs that’d walked the walk, as he shared his own experiences as lessons.
He revealed, “I’m so shy you cannot believe it, but in order to be the Borough President and a Senator I had to learn how to get beyond those things. So the first thing is you want to speak loud enough so people know you feel good about yourself. The second thing is how you shake someone’s hand. When you shake a person’s hand you want to shake it with a grip that’s firm. People in business they decide who you are based on how you shake their hands. The third thing is you want to know what you want to do in life. What year are you graduating from college? All of you today should do the calculations find out the year you are going to graduate from college put it on your mirror, put it on your door, put it on your book. You know why? Because college is not an option, college is mandatory.”
On a lighter note, but a nonetheless philosophical one, BBP Adams proclaimed a favorite movie of his was “Harry Potter”. He used this shorthand name because he was referring to all the movies in this series. “Each version was as good as or better than the previous version. I believe in a thing called sequels. You are living a sequel. There were sequels before you — there were earlier people who did things, but now you are living your sequel just as I am living my sequel. You have to continue the spirit of sequels: be present in the moment.”
BBP Adams illustrated the value of being present in the moment with in his own life experience. He told the story of how his father would regularly take him to hear a man speak and, “I hated it. Just as you are sitting in this auditorium saying to yourselves, ‘I’d rather be doing something else than go and sit in an auditorium.’ Every free weekend he’d take me to Harlem to hear this guy talk and I wanted to play baseball and basketball, and why was I going to hear this guy talk all the time. Two years ago I was at my dad’s house and I looked at this old crumbled up picture that he had of this person that he and I used to go hear all the time. You know who that person was? He was Malcolm X. I never knew who he was and I didn’t appreciate what my father was doing. But hearing from Malcolm X did something to me that made me become who I am today.”
He concluded by aligning his past, present, and future, “I worked the 94th Precinct in Greenpoint for 22 years, and then I was a state senator, and now I’m the borough president, and I hope in 7 years to become the mayor. So I’m going to keep going and going and going so that in 8 years you will be able to vote for me so I hope that you’ll remember when we met each other.”
MS 126 Principal (IA) Maria Ortega, Executive Dir. Michael Rochford and Deputy Dir. (Middle School Programs) Dwayne Brown of St. Nicks Alliance, and and the Program Dir. of Greenpoint Beacon Titus Mitchell joined the Youth Leadership Council Students on the stage to present the plaque to BBP Adams.
“I thank you so much. I thank you for coming here and for this award it means a lot to me. To come here on a snow day it means a lot and I wanted to come here and show my appreciation for your teachers and your school. Thank you very much,” said the Brooklyn Borough President.