Classroom Namesakes Oprah and Billie Jean King Visit Girls Prep Lower East Side
At our Girls Prep and Boys Prep schools, each classroom is named in honor of a "Namesake," the influential woman or man who our students relate to, admire, and study for an entire year. Namesake visits are magical experiences for our girls and boys because they are able to learn directly from their Namesakes about their trailblazing accomplishments and life stories.
On May 14, 2015, we experienced a surreal double dose of two of our Namesakes visiting on the same day: Billie Jean King visited her first grade classroom, and Oprah Winfrey visited her third grade classroom. The Namesake visits took place as Girls Prep Lower East Side celebrates its tenth anniversary.
Billie Jean King enjoyed a customized version of "We Are The Champions" sung by her class (see video at bottom), and discussed each student’s interests and the importance of goal setting. She shared the two most important questions her parents asked her after every match, “Did you have fun?” and “Did you try your best?” Students enjoyed hearing her read her biography aloud to them and each received copies of the text as well as signed tennis balls. Billie left behind a trophy for the classroom to remind them and future BJK students that they are all stars.
The third grade Oprah Winfrey class sent letters to Oprah in December and created this video letter requesting a visit:
In February, Oprah replied with a personalized message to her Namesake classroom.
Last week, Oprah surprised the girls with her visit. She spent nearly two hours with her class. Students shared their passions with Oprah and demonstrated the math warm up song they sing each day and sang and danced to "Blowing in the Wind," by Bob Dylan, which they were preparing to perform in front of the entire school community on May 19th through our partnership with the National Dance Institute.
Oprah shared her dedication to journal writing with the girls by providing “Oprah’s Class Gratitude Journals” for each child, which she personalized with an encouraging message for each student tailored to her individual interests.
Last week's Namesake visits provided a lasting memory for our students, and we hope to welcome Oprah, Billie, and our other Namesakes back again soon! We thank our Namesakes for encouraging our students to dream big.