Is Sinatra Worth the Commute?

With the auditions for the incoming class of 2024 wrapped up for this year and the first semester coming to an end for current students, many are reflecting back on their time at Sinatra realizing how far they’ve come. 

According to the NYC DOE, there are more than 400 high school options for students to choose from all over the city. Yet, with more than 800 students coming to Sinatra from across the five boroughs, it is obvious that most are willing to wake up at the crack of dawn to commute to school, while others decide to stay way past school hours just to participate and dedicate extra hours to their majors. 

However, there is one thing that all students from grades 9-12 have in common: they have to leave their house early to get to school. 

It comes as no surprise that the education system in New York City offers options in regards to students having the opportunity to choose if they would like to stay in their district school or branch out to other boroughs. It is important to note that a fair number of schools across the city do not get enough funding to renovate their building or even to provide updated technology resources for their faculty and staff, which can be a drawback for many. 

This was one of the reasons why Zoë Ruiz, a senior film major from Brooklyn, New York, decided to come all the way to FSSA, located in Astoria, Queens. 

“The atmosphere and resources that our school provides is most often taken for granted by a lot of people and unfortunately those are the ones that complain about being here. I would rather be happier here than if I went to my zoned school,” she said. 

Students that often make a fuss about coming to school sometimes don’t appreciate the advantages of attending a modern, recently built school. When the current building of the school opened  in 2009, FSSA had the advantage of appealing to students of the 21st century with modern architecture and style.

A majority of high schools across the city do not get enough money to renovate their building, and have looked the same since they were built in the previous century, resulting in an old and dingy feel. 

Emily Hernandez, a senior instrumental student who transferred to Sinatra for her sophomore year, noticed this immediately after she started attending the school. 

“In my old high school we were behind with the technology we had there, but we almost have everything here, such as nice laptops,” she said. 

Additionally, when looking for a high school, parents often want to know their children will be in a safe environment. Those who attend Sinatra, often come to this school in order to feel not only welcomed here, but also safe in a neighborhood and building where they can feel secure. 

Andriana Kourkoumelis, a senior film major from Astoria, pointed out that staff and teachers are a major asset of FSSA. 

“The fact that the staff is involved in your artistic dreams is very important and that you always have support in no matter what you want to pursue…everyone gets really close over the four years which is great because it’s a tight-nit school with small classes, which gives a feeling of community,” she said. 

The great thing about being in a safe environment is that students can open up to the people around them about issues they might be having in regards to school, home or personal life. Since students audition for a specific major, there is common ground between students, which helps make friends easily.

“I thought it would be hard to make friends again. I transferred in elementary school and middle school and I didn’t want to transfer again in high school, but it really was a smooth transition,” said Emily. 

Many other students feel the same way. 

“Sinatra is located farther for me compared to other places I could have applied to, but I just really enjoy how it felt really comforting when I walked in for the first time,” said Nelson Espinal, a junior instrumental major who lives in Manhattan. 

Sinatra also has special programs such as stagecraft and musical theatre, which students no matter their major are able to partake in. It is a large undertaking in the sense of the long rehearsal times students must dedicate to maintain the successful professional reputation Sinatra has gained. 

Students often tend to even stay late into the evening until the building itself closes practicing their craft, and they do so happily. For example, students in stagecraft are needed to run every performance the school presents to the public while maintaining high grades in their classes. 

Senior fine arts major Daniela Flores has participated in stagecraft for three years eventually gaining a valuable position in this year’s musical, Hairspray. She was able to keep up with her studies while learning about her love for stagecraft despite the distance she is from the school. 

“Since this is an arts school and we want to showcase our talents, it is a demanding activity to join. I’ll admit that because I live in the Bronx, it is hard whenever there are shows since we will have an early call time and then be required to stay late to clean up. But I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Daniela stated. 

 In contrast to other high schools, Sinatra is small and diverse where no matter what one’s major or status is, it’s a home away from home. The fact that students get to have creative control and express themselves through art, is a huge advantage, and the facilities and resources are match their crafts. 

The bottom line is that whether you are coming from near or far, Frank Sinatra’s location, modern building and ideal environment for students involved in the arts, make it worth the commute from anywhere.  

– by Chloe Dela Santa ’20 and Sophia Singer ‘20