“CUNY Prep feels like a family, I think because of the teachers. They do things like taking the time to ask if you’re okay. That alone is something a student might not hear when they get home.”

– Sinai Cuahutenco

CUNY Prep extends beyond the classroom walls. We offer special events and activities that not only enhance academic learning but also generate a strong sense of community.

“A lot of our students come from learning environments where they felt forgotten and fell through the cracks,” says Director and Principal Jenny Ristenbatt. “From the moment they arrive here, we want them to feel like they are really part of something—and the events we put on are crucial in creating a close-knit learning community.”

Students can participate in special-interest clubs, such as the fashion club where they create and sew their own designs and model them at school-wide fashion shows. Others get a chance to showcase their singing or poetry at CUNY Prep Live, a biannual talent show.

“It’s incredible how amazingly talented our kids are,” says Math Teacher Frantz Barbier, who helps coordinate the show. “Even those who may be a little shy or nervous over their fear, get up on stage and shine. It’s a wonderful feeling to see them in this setting.”

Many of the events emphasize the importance of getting involved in the community, one of the core values we try to instill in our students. For example, CUNY Prep puts on a yearly Halloween carnival, where the school opens its doors to neighborhood children. The students plan and implement the event.

The academic year wraps up in June with CUNY Prep Week, five days of school-wide activities in the core subject areas of humanities, math and science. The week concludes with a field day at a park, where students and compete in athletic events.

In the spring, students in good standing are invited to prom, which is held at a banquet hall.

Student Testimonials