2012-06-01 / Community

RWA Kids Tour Jamaica Bay With Cohen

It would be hard to count the number of students over the past 50 years who have had the good fortune to explore Jamaica Bay with Mickey Cohen, one of New York’s finest educators. But last week more than 60 students from PS 3 were added to that list when they ventured out to Broad Channel to meet Rockaway’s own. At age 82 Cohen is still going strong and took the time to introduce the students to the amazing horseshoe crab, about which he is so knowledgeable.

As many know, Cohen has educated hundreds of students in his 60 years of teaching in the NYC public schools. And in fact it was difficult to ignore the fact that just across the bay from where the class was given, stood Beach Channel High School, where Cohen established one of the nation’s leading marine science programs some 30 years ago.

Countless Rockaway residents fondly recall attending the school and their experiences going out on the bay with Mickey. He is truly an inspiration to watch as a group of fifth-graders have to move at breakneck speed to keep up with him. But more compelling is his generosity in sharing his knowledge with children and the joy that comes to his face when seeing kids jump with excitement as they explore the water.

When they arrived at the Broad Channel ballfield the students found a flooded parking lot, which made it even more exciting for them to literally “cross the channel” on their way into the park. Once on the shore the PS 3 students were mesmerized by Cohen as he talked about the evolution of the crabs and why they come ashore in Jamaica Bay each May.

To show his age, Cohen surprised the parents and students by informing them that in the late 1950s he was a DOE teacher at their own school PS 3. While the school has continued to focus on hands-on learning and the arts, this was the first time the teachers had the chance to work with Cohen. The school prides itself on taking their students on field trips all over the city. But on the way back, one parent commented, “This really topped them all! Mickey made this such a special visit I will never forget it! Thank you, Mickey!!”



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