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Prior to the above event, however, McKee had lost its first Principal, Mr. Harrigan, through retirement. He retired from the New York educational system after a long period of service in the schools of New York City and State. Mr. Harrigan took leave of McKee at the end of June 1942. In a parting gift, the General Organization presented him with a bound volume of greetings from all the G.O. officers since the founding of the organization. Included were pictures of the G.O. officers.
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In 1982 and 1983, Jonathan joined Lionel Richies first solo artist efforts, which included the Tokyo Music Festival, Japanese Television Shows, Americas, Saturday Night Live, and Johnny Carsons, Tonight Show.
“Beat Curtis,” was the slogan during the 1941 and 1942 football season. The team delivered by defeating the rival St. George School the second season, by a score of 7-6, a triumph which caused great jubilation. The McKee team met its great rival with an unbeaten record, and maintained its victorious achievements. It was subsequently defeated, however, by the powerful Washington and Lee team which invaded the North, coming from far away Virginia. Perhaps we thought the long trip merited some consolation. Hence, the gift of victory for the visitors.
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The Elm Park School was the first public school in New York City to have full-time classes in vocational work, according to a statement in the Souvenir Program published on the occasion of Mr. Harrigan’s retirement in 1942.
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At the school’s first Commencement in 1937, in the building we now know as McKee, one of the speakers stated that the Commencement Exercises were the fulfillment of a 23 year old dream, “for it was that long ago that a group of Island men, business and civic leaders, met in the Staten Island Club, across the street from McKee High School and started the ball rolling toward a unified system of vocational education.”
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He was a politician in the sense of being a good mixer and having many worthwhile contacts and valued associates among business and professional men. “I went to see the late Anning S. Prall, who was then president of the Board of Education and a fellow Staten Islander, about obtaining additional facilities. As a result of that visit, the City purchased the Standard Varnish Company’s office in Elm Park for a vocational school. When the school opened in 1924, it appeared as if there would be ample facilities for a good many years to come. Yet within two years we had 250 pupils registered and before it was supplanted by McKee there were terms when between 600 and 700 pupils were carried on its registration roll.”
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The speaker went on to state that the sponsor of that first movement of the late Ralph R. McKee. From the discussions of those early days, he carried his project through to fulfillment. McKee was not satisfied with namby-pamby planning in committee rooms the spokesman said. He organized meetings on Staten Island and carried his cause right to the meetings of the Board of Education, of which he was Vice President.
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The principal of the Continuation School was always a friend of youth. This interest was the cause of expanding the continuation program into vocational fields. “When a number of continuation school students lost their jobs,” Mr. Harrigan reminisced, “several of them applied for permission to attend school on a full time basis, instead of four hours a week. That marked the beginning of planning for a vocational training program.”