University Heights HS Students Donate Dollars to Mali Father Whose Children Died in Bronx Fire

Bronx, NY- University Heights High school students on Bronx Community College’s campus showed their big hearts recently when Student Government Representatives gave $250 to Mousa Magassa, a Highbridge father whose five children perished when a flash fire swept through their Highbridge apartment building last March. Students gave another $250 to the Mali Family Fund to help victims of a second family (four children and their mother) who lived in the same building.

In a ceremony in the High School’s second floor library, the 12 Student Government Representatives gathered with Principal Brenda Bravo, and Joanna Geller, a Penny Harvest representative, Mr. Magassa and Cheick Sidi Diarra Ambassador of Mali and Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

Mr. Magassa responded warmly to the words of three Student Government speakers, one of whom lived doors from the fire victims’ building, by saying, “It’s not the amount of money, it’s your heart.”

As Mr. Magassa spoke, he placed his hand over his heart for emphasis. Then he added, “I know Bronx Community College. I studied in the English as a Second Language (ESL) Program when I first came to the United States from Mali.”

Student Government members raised the money through the Penny Harvest, a service-learning program in 750 New York City Public Schools, which empowers students to decide how they want to improve their communities with the pennies they collect. In addition to pennies, students took the initiative to raise extra money through several spring breakfast and lunch sales.

Guidance Counselor Janitzia O’Neill played a tremendous role in supporting the efforts of the students and coordinating the event. University Heights Principal Bravo stated that the students decided on the Mali victims of the Highbridge fire after several discussions. She said that students concluded that the money raised for the surviving Mali family members in the Highbridge fire would have the most critical community impact.

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Bronx Community College (BCC) of The City University of New York celebrates its 50th anniversary of service to students in New York City in 2007. Over the past five years, enrollment has increased 20 per cent to an 8,900 student body, reflecting the reliance of the surrounding communities on it as a pathway to a better life.

BCC students from over 109 nations receive an excellent preparation to go on to four—year colleges or to advance into successful vocational careers. Programs offered at BCC include Digital Arts, Computer Information Systems, Education Associate, Nursing, Nuclear Medicine Technology, RadiologicTechnology, Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Technology, Electronic Engineering Technology, Marketing, Accounting, Human Services, Media Technology and Paralegal Studies.

The College is home to initiatives not commonly associated with two—year institutions, such as the Center for Sustainable Energy, which promotes the use of renewable and efficient energy technologies in urban communities. The National Center for Educational Alliances (NCEA) is currently collaborating with South African Further Education and Training Colleges and universities to create linkages between these institutions. NCEA also coordinates the College’s international initiatives and the annual International Education Week

The Center has also facilitated a campus—wide effort to create BCC’s Center for Tolerance and Understanding. The Center for Teaching Excellence offers faculty development to promote student achievement and to stimulate discussions to keep the teaching and learning process vital and dynamic.
Take a look at BCC’s website at