Bank Street College of Education honored Frances Lucerna, El Puente’s co-founder, executive director, and founding principal of El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice with the title of Doctor of Humane Letters (Honoris Causa) on May 10th. She was recognized for her role in connecting community arts with education to help empower young students and support the local communities in which they live.
“Ms. Lucerna understood from the beginning that you can’t reach a young person if you don’t celebrate who they are, where they come from, and what experiences they have had,” said Cecelia Traugh, Dean of the Graduate School of Education, in her conferral of the honorary degree. “[Her] work is grounded in a commitment to bringing together every aspect of life that impacts a young person’s development—including health, education, and the arts—with a focus on activism and community empowerment. In this way… [she] aims to encourage each student to find their own voice, to look inward before looking outward, and to act with intentionality.”