NYC Beyond 2000: Envisioning the Future

NEW YORK, June 22, 2000 — “It was a great experience; everyone should be able to do something like this once in their lives,” said Val Shukhman, a sophomore at Herbert Lehman High School in New York. Shukhman will be attending an awards ceremony this evening, where winners of the first NYC Beyond 2000 contest will be announced. More than 100 teams of students from all over the city participated in the contest, and 22 teams have been selected as finalists.

“Technology is changing the way we do business, run our cities and communicate with our loved ones,”
said Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

This contest demonstrates how technology can also be used to enhance the educational experience and create new opportunities for younger New Yorkers … I would like to thank Microsoft, Dell, RCS and Intel for making NYC Beyond 2000 possible.”

Presented by NYC 2000, the Mayor’s Office for the Millennium and the New York City Board of Education, the contest was designed to enhance educational opportunities for public school students.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our students, because they are using their technological expertise to explore the content areas in depth, while honing other skills such as writing, research and presentation,” said Susan Levine, executive assistant to the CIO, New York Board of Education. “It’s educationally challenging, and at the same time, students are able to win valuable prizes for their schools.”

Students were asked to provide a glimpse into the future of New York City in one of three areas: math and science; arts and music; or communications. Each team of three to five students, sponsored by a teacher, developed Web pages that explored the possibilities of the future by extrapolating beyond the present. The goal of the contest was to challenge students to expand their imaginations and make use of their creativity. Five celebrity judges — Bernadette Peters, David Blaine, John Franco, Roger Ailes and Peter Max — chose the 22 finalists and tonight’s winners based on creativity, clarity, usefulness, completeness, accuracy and conformity to contest guidelines. All projects were posted to http://www.nycboe.org/nycbeyond2000/ for judging.

Shukhman, his three teammates and their teacher, Stan Weinstein, focused their efforts on communications, brainstorming ideas with one another and making them a reality on the Web site. Some ideas, Shukhman said, came out of collective thinking, while others he got from reading books and doing other kinds of research.

“They spent many hard hours working on this project, and the site looks terrific,” said Yvette Beck, an advanced placement calculus teacher at Lehman High. “It is truly amazing what students and their teachers can accomplish when they are given the opportunity to do so, and I’m glad that the Board of Education, the Mayor’s office, Microsoft, Dell, Intel and RCS gave us this chance to show what we are capable of.”

Levine agrees. “Any time we’re able to partner with those in the technical industry it is a terrific thing,” she said. “It’s the public sector and the private sector working together, creating a synergy, that is very exciting.”

Each team used software provided by Microsoft to accomplish their goals, primarily Microsoft Office 2000 (including Microsoft Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Publisher) and Microsoft Front Page 2000, to develop dynamic Web sites. Technical criteria required that submissions could only use a maximum of 20MB of storage, with no external Internet hyperlinks, and use only HTML, XML and browser-neutral client scripting. All content was submitted through each team’s sponsoring teacher. Microsoft Consulting Services contributed a significant amount of time building the server and designing the contest Web site, which is hosted on a Dell server running Windows 2000. The server has been donated to the New York Board of Education.

“Microsoft’s mission is to empower people with software to achieve great things — that’s what this contest is all about,” said Kim Daly, Microsoft general manager of the New York Metro District. “Microsoft’s role has been to provide the software and services to build a platform that will let New York City students bring their visions for the future to life.”

Seven NYC districts serving high school students in all boroughs were invited to participate. Each district will have a first-, second- and third-place winner, with each winner receiving a various number of digital cameras, scanners and color printers. In addition, the citywide winning team’s school will receive a grand prize: Microsoft, Dell and Intel will convert the school’s computer lab to a state-of-the-art electronic learning environment. The school’s existing lab will be upgraded with 34 new Dell OptiPlex computers, a new Dell PowerEdge 2400 server and Microsoft software. Dell and Intel are donating the computers and networking hardware, while Microsoft is providing the software, including Windows 2000 and Office 2000.

Each Web site entry represents the creativity, critical thinking, hard work and technical savvy of enthusiastic young students eager to take advantage of technology and the bright future they envision for their city and for themselves.

“I love designing Web sites and doing anything with computers, and so it was a lot of fun, even if it wasn’t always easy,” said Shukhman, a self-proclaimed technical buff who says he is interested in all aspects of technology. The hard part is deciding what he wants to focus on. “I’m into graphic design, Web design, development … yes, it’d be nice to work for Microsoft.”

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