Nicole Pulla, class of 2015, was Master of Ceremonies at the New York City Outward Bound schools gala on June 4 - an evening that raised $1.5M to support the network schools. We are proud to have a member of BCS be a part of this amazing event. Below is the press release. Check out photos here. ---------- Last night, your generosity helped us raise $1.5 million at our annual Gala! These funds will support our citywide network of public schools, which bring NYC Outward Bound Schools' approach to teaching and learning to more than 5,000 of our network students annually - and to thousands more outside of our network. Every year, in a vivid illustration of our student-centered approach, students lead our Gala. So rather than tell you how our work is special, we'll let this year's Gala Pledge Drive Leader, Jharol Aguirre, a junior at our Expeditionary Learning School for Community Leaders, explain. In an excerpt from his speech last night, Aguirre said: “When I imagine my school as a person, I imagine her standing tall and giving advice instead of orders. I imagine her working behind the scenes to help others do the right thing. She emphasizes that true learning is not just about classes, homework, and tests. It’s about real world applications that help real people and communities with real problems. On the other hand I imagine Outward Bound as an elderly individual who throughout his long life, has been courageous and kind. He gives to others skills and knowledge; he pushes them out of their comfort zone in order to help them achieve their goals. He enlightens us with his wise words because he has traversed so many of life’s mountains already. I like to remind people that Outward Bound was born out of war. The founder, Kurt Hahn, developed Outward Bound as a way to give young people purpose during the despair of World War II. Through it, they began to help rebuild their continent, communities, and their own lives. We still live in a war-torn world and I don’t just mean the middle east or in my beloved homeland of Honduras. We have all seen the news from Ferguson, from Baltimore, from our own New York City. And what we need are more schools like mine, which help students like me discover for ourselves that our own lives matter, and that our communities and our world need us.” Although 77% of our network students live at or near the poverty line, 83% graduate on time compared to 68% citywide and 95% of our 2014 graduates were accepted to college. This year, graduates have been accepted to Bard, Hampshire, Dartmouth, Sarah Lawrence, Skidmore, Vanderbilt, Amherst, Warren Wilson and NYU among many others. So thank you all again for your generous support and for sharing the belief that there is more in us than we know. Last night, our students helped prove this once again - and your support will insure that many more students from across the City will have a chance to discover this deep truth about themselves. To view photos from this year's Gala, visit our photo gallery and use password outward2015. Photos care of Alex Federov Photography.