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U.N. secretary general, ‘Radiolab’ host to address city graduates

The secretary general of the United Nations joins luminaries in media, the arts, and public service as speakers at city graduation ceremonies this month.

Ban Ki-Moon will speak June 24 at Democracy Prep Charter High School, which is graduating its first class this year. Recruiting the graduation speaker was a feather in the cap for Seth Andrew, the charter network’s founding director, who is stepping down at the end of the month.

Among the many Ray Kelly, the city’s police commissioner, and Salvatore Cassano, the fire department commissioner, are each speaking at high schools with a focus on public safety. A Baltimore Ravens football player will speak at a Manhattan school that serves many transfer students. And in a coup that is likely to excite teachers, Jad Abumrad, host of NPR’s “Radiolab,” is speaking June 24 at Lyons Community School in Brooklyn. 

Chancellor Dennis Walcott will speak at 20 graduation ceremonies, four more than then 16 he appeared at last year. He will appear at elementary, middle, and high schools; selective schools and ones that accept students who have flunked out before; schools that prepare graduates for work as well as college; and two charter schools, including Democracy Prep. Walcott will also share the stage on June 24 at the Cinema School, which is also graduating its first class, with James Murdoch, a top deputy at NewsCorp to his father, Rupert Murdoch.

The city also released statistics about high schools’ top graduates:

For the Class of 2013, there are approximately 398 valedictorians. Of these students, 66% percent are female, 48% percent speak a language other than English at home and 74% percent are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

Those statistics are mostly identical to those posted in each of the most recent years. Some of them also mirror national trends: Estimates put the proportion of valedictorians who are women at over 70 percent. The proportion of valedictorians who are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, however, is 9 percentage points higher than in previous years. Citywide, poverty has been on the rise among students and their families.

The city’s full press release about the graduation speakers is below.

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS FOR NEW YORK CITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS’ GRADUATION CEREMONIES REPRESENT THE ARTS, BUSINESS, AND GOVERNMENT Artists, business leaders, authors, educators, actors, and government officials this month are coming to New York City’s public schools to congratulate and offer words of wisdom to the graduates of 2013. Here is a list that highlights some of the graduation keynote speakers by date of the graduation and school: June 20 Rob King, vice president of editorial, print, and digital media at ESPN – Business of Sports School. Robin Roberts, ABC’s Good Morning America host – Young Women’s Leadership School, Harlem. Lauren Velez, television actress – Leon M. Goldstein High School. June 21 Wendy Williams, media personality and author – Brooklyn High School for Law and Technology. Salvatore Cassano, FDNY commissioner – FDNY High School for Fire and Life Safety. Charles Rangel, United States congressman – PS 79 The Horan School. Christopher M. Livaccari, director of education and Chinese language initiatives at the Asia Society – East-West School of International Studies. Dr. Ricardo Fernandez, president of Lehman College – High School of American Studies at Lehman College. Jennifer Raab, president of Hunter College – Hunter Science High School. June 24 Raymond Kelly, NYPD commissioner – High School for Law Enforcement and Public Safety. His Excellency Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations – Democracy Prep. Grace Meng, United States congresswoman – Francis Lewis High School. Hakeem Jeffries, United States congressman – Transit Tech Career and Technical Education High School. Mary Wittenberg, president and CEO of New York Road Runners – Gaynor McCown Expeditionary Learning School. James Murdoch, deputy COO of Newscorp, and Katherine Oliver, commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs – The Cinema School. Chris Canty, defensive end for the Baltimore Ravens – Murray Hill Academy. Jad Abumrad, co-host of NPR program Radiolab – Lyons Community School. Clem Richardson, New York Daily News columnist – Channel View School for Research. June 25 Dr. Joseph Polisi, president of the Juilliard School – Frank Sinatra School of the Arts. Vanessa Williams, actress, singer and dancer, and Will Chase, Tony Award-nominated actor – Bronx Theatre High School. Cheryl Wills, NY 1 news anchor – Unity Center for Urban Technologies. Daniel Reed, president of the NBA Development League – Manhattan Business Academy. Dr. Pedro Noguera, urban sociologist at NYU – Academy for Language and Technology. June 26 Ann Tisch, founder and president of the Young Women’s Leadership Network – Young Women’s Leadership School, Astoria. Nancy Giles, CBS Sunday Morning contributor and actress, Jamaica High School. Maher Nasser, Director, Outreach Division, United Nations Department of Public Information – CSI High School for International Studies. An-My Lê, artist, 2012 MacArthur Grant winner – Bard High School Early College, Manhattan. Keynote addresses by Department of Education officials: Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott – Hospital School Program, June 13; D75 Program at JFK Jr. School in Queens, June 14; PS 3 Margaret Gioiosa in Staten Island, June 18; Urban Institute of Mathematics in the Bronx, June 19; P.S. 219 Kennedy-King in Brooklyn, June 19; GED Plus, June 20; OACE Nursing Program, June 20; J.H.S. 57 in Brooklyn, June 20; P.S. 196 in Queens, June 20; P.S. 86 in Queens, June 21; LYFE program, June 21; Tompkins Square Middle School in Manhattan, June 21; The Cinema School in Manhattan, June 24; Kingsborough Early College School in Brooklyn, June 24; Democracy Prep Charter High School, June 24; University Neighborhood High School in Manhattan, June 24; Queens High School for Information, Research and Technology, June 25; New Dorp High School in Staten Island, June 25; Bard High School Early College (Manhattan & Queens), June 26; Explore Charter School in Brooklyn, June 26. Chief Academic Officer and Senior Deputy Chancellor Shael Polakow-Suransky – International High School at Lafayette in Brooklyn, June 21; High School for Excellence and Innovation in Manhattan, June 25. Senior Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg – Uncommon Charter High School in Brooklyn, June 14; Sunset Park High School in Brooklyn, June 26. Deputy Chancellor Corinne Rello-Anselmi – Hospital School Program, June 13; P.S. 108 Philip J. Abinanti in the Bronx, June 20. General Counsel Courtenaye Jackson-Chase – Hellenic Classical Charter School in Brooklyn, June 25. Deputy Chancellor Dr. Dorita P. Gibson – ReStart Academy Program, June 19; OACE Nursing Program, June 20; GED Plus, June 20; The BELL Academy in Queens, June 21; Kingsborough Early College Secondary School in Brooklyn, June 24. For the Class of 2013, there are approximately 398 valedictorians. Of these students, 66% percent are female, 48% percent speak a language other than English at home and 74% percent are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.