Beyond The Years: For the Present, the Hall of Fame Represents More than the Past


Miles Conn

On Sunday, June 3, 2018, many alumni returned to Bronx Science for Alumni Day in celebration of the school’s 80th anniversary, and many admired the Hall of Fame installation in the main lobby.

The Bronx Science lobby is now crowded. While current students enter and exit from the cafeteria, the main entryway bustles instead with alumni of all backgrounds and accomplishments who have earned their spots in the Hall of Fame. This new honor, established in association with the school’s eightieth anniversary, will serve for years to come as a reminder of students’ capabilities and an inspiration for what is yet to come.

Over the course of the past year, memorable alumni have returned to Bronx Science not only to receive this exceptional honor, but also to engage with students through a unique induction experience. For each alumnus’ return, a student with similar interests was assigned to spend the day with them as their ambassador, leading them in panels, interviews, and lunches with other members of the Bronx Science community. As they reminisced about the paths that brought them to their current successes, alumni shared with students valuable memories and pieces of advice from their time as professionals.

As newly-inducted members of the Hall of Fame have such diverse interests and stories, it is not difficult for current students to find ways to relate to their past experiences. Their curiosities, like those of today’s student body, fall throughout a spectrum from the sciences to the humanities. Yet, despite a range of years of graduation, both past and present members of the community can associate with parallel memories of the academia, the social scene, and the environment fostered by this institution.

“I was struck by how similar everyone’s experience at Bronx Science was,” Danielle Chan ’18 remarked.

“They all went through the same struggles as we did — from trying to pass math class, to finding their own niche of friends, to figuring their life out. It was very reassuring.”-Chan ’18

Perhaps you see yourself in similar footsteps to Stuart Rice ’49, influenced at an early age by society and his surroundings to develop a passion for chemistry. Simple household appliances were, to him, a mechanical composition of things to be taken apart and put back together. At Bronx Science, he was able to explore scientific inquiries as they intrigued him.

Or maybe you are more like Mickey Drexler ’62, using your Bronx Science experiences to pave a unique career in a direction beyond STEM. Though he admits to not being the strongest student at the time, Drexler’s time at Bronx Science was the foundation that helped him to build his way to the top, becoming credited as the man responsible for Gap’s success and later earning the title of CEO for J. Crew.

And even when the path seems clear-cut, you can probably relate to the Bronx Science alumni who enjoyed interests beyond their professional passions. While in high school, Nobel Prize winner for Chemistry Robert Lefkowitz ’59 wrote and was an editor for the school’s literary magazine, Dynamo. Lefkowitz is testimony to how even with a continued STEM focus, the humanities play an important role as well in the growth and inevitable success of a myriad of students.

As alumni return to their alma mater to accept their newest honor, their impact is felt beyond their respective fields.

After meeting with Ann Lewnes ’79, an executive for Adobe, Emma-Victoria Banos ’20 noted how relatable yet empowering her story of success was. “She was an average student who maintained an acceptable – not a stellar – GPA and yet she still found success in her future,” she said. “This stuck with me because it demonstrates you don’t have to be perfect in order to achieve something great. You just have to have grit and a long-term vision.”

This is, in fact, what makes a majority of inductees’ experiences at Bronx Science so much more concrete to students. No matter what type of student you are, where your interests lie, or how you plan to persevere, these alumni are proof that any path pursued with passion is one that inevitably garners success.

The Hall of Fame is more than just plaques on the wall, a pretty new installment for the Bronx Science community. It is a story of successes and failures, of redemption and rewards.
As their names hang in green and yellow in the Bronx Science lobby, honorees will continue with the outstanding achievements that make them memorable.

While the list of members grows lengthy in the years to come, the diverse accomplishments that shape our alumni will continue to encapsulate one message: great things happen when you inquire, discover, and create.