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    GEAR UP Students Return to Holiday Train Show

    After three years, an annual tradition returned, with The Bronx Institute at Lehman College once again organizing a celebration for its students at The New York Botanical Garden, a longtime partner of The Institute.

    On the evening of November 22, 2022, over 500 Bronx students, their families, public school teachers and administrators, and Lehman College professionals traveled to the Botanical Garden to attend the Holiday Train Show event. A beloved Bronx tradition, the show is an exhibition of model trains, set amid a city of scale models made up of recognizable New York City landmarks, each constructed from natural materials such as bark, leaves, and seeds.

    Professor Herminio Martinez, Ph.D.—Executive Director of The Bronx Institute and a professor of Middle and High School Education at Lehman College—expressed both pride and gratitude.

    “The Holiday Train Show has always been one of our favorite events at The Bronx Institute,” he said. “We were disappointed that the pandemic forced us to cancel the event, but after three long years, we are excited to return to the Garden once again.”

    Dr. Martinez greeted the students and their families at the entrance, also welcoming Lehman College’s Dean of The School of Education, Dr. Rene Parmar, as well as principals, assistant principals, and teachers from partner schools.

    These students are enrolled in The Bronx Institute’s GEAR UP program—a nationwide initiative of the United States Education Department to increase the number of low-income students entering and succeeding in postsecondary education. GEAR UP funding provides participating schools with afterschool and Saturday instruction, SAT and Regents test preparation, STEM focused enrichment activities, college-level coursework through AP and dual enrollment, college planning and counseling, and internship/leadership activities through The Bronx Institute’s many institutional partners.

    GEAR UP students and families were thrilled to participate in such a unique experience, wandering through the garden in awe, taking time to examine both the botanical scale models and the replica trains. One of the students, a seventh grader named Maria, when asked, said “she is thankful for GEAR UP because it gives (her) more school resources, helps (her) to prepare for tests like the SHSAT, and provides opportunities like this one”.

    This event is something of a capstone on another successful year, and The Bronx Institute remains committed to providing similarly unique learning opportunities to its students once again.