November 2, 2012, Friday, 306


From The Peopling of New York City

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My name is Janelle Peterkin and I'm currently a mathematics and economics major with the hope of minoring in computer information science and biology. I came to New York City approximately six years ago from the beautiful Spice Island of Grenada. When I came to New York I expected to find a welcoming and happy community. However upon my arrival I realized that New York City is not as glamorous as I expected it to be. Instead of welcoming individuals I found that New York was filled with extremely abrasive children. The manner of speech was also a culture shock for me with “my bad” taking the place of “sorry” and “whad up” replacing “Good morning”, the dialect of New York City students was something I was not prepared for. Eventually, I adjusted to the dialect and mannerism of the students and began to gain an understanding of why my peers spoke and behaved in the manner that they did. It became clear to me that New York was a fast pace and difficult place to grow up and having a rough exterior was a survival technique that my classmates had to develop and that I too would come to develop it.

After attending middle school for one year I moved on to S.T.A.R Early College High School at Erasmus Hall where I found out about the Macaulay Honors College. I decided that Macaulay was the place for me because it came with the financial benefits that I desperately needed in order to attend college. I also decided that Macaulay was the right place for me because it gave me the opportunity to become a well-rounded student with all the cultural and social events that the college offered. For example, Seminar One, "Arts in New York City", exposed me to operas, musicals and ballets, which are cultural events that I would not have had the opportunity to attend, were I not a student of the honors college. Similarly, I hope that Seminar Two, "The Peopling of New York City" will expose me to new ideas about people and immigration within New York City and America as a whole. I also hope to use my experiences as an immigrant to America to help educate my fellow classmates about the circumstances and situations immigrants face.

An introduction to my research project: Erasmus Hall.

The Original Erasmus Hall Academy Building, 2004 Picture from the Erasmus Hall Alumni Association Website )

Behind Erasmus’ Iron Door

A great Gothic building along Flatbush road holds 200 years of stories untold,
Of a man who waited 68 years to cross his tassel over,
Bernard was a World War vet before he held his high school diploma,
Of a student who stayed in school because he dreamed of becoming a lawyer,
Carvan didn't drop out because he had hopes for the future.

What about the teachers who paved the way?
The principals who first influenced the school that we see today,
Kellogg and Gunnison, Who were they and how did they help this story unfold?
Answers to these questions their pages hold.

Many know the stories of the broken Erasmus Hall,
Of the violence that once took place behind the school's walls,
Follow the lives of Five Dutchmen and the real story will be told,
The story of some who strived or failed, and the administration's role.

200 years of stories we did not know,
This poem holds secrets held behind Erasmus iron doors.
--Jpeterkin 05:10, 9 May 2009 (UTC)

Following the link to find out more about Erasmus Hall.


  1. Erasmus Hall High School Alumni Association,"The Erasmus Hall Academy 216 Years Old and Still Standing - Barely Erasmus Hall Alumni Association Accessed March29,2009.