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Supreme Court Justice Lends a Lesson on Aiming High


U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and singer Cáthia speak with children from the Dream Big program at Environmental Day, held at Fordham on July 17. Photo by Bruce Gilbert

Local Bronx children received words of encouragement from a special guest to Fordham’s Rose Hill campus this week. U.S. Supreme Court Justice and Bronx native Sonia Sotomayor joined the youngsters on July 17 for the closing ceremony of the Bronx Children’s Museum’s Dream Big Day.

“My dream is that each of you finds your dream and that it comes true,” Sotomayor told the 90 children from Abraham House, CS 211, and Kingsbridge Heights Community Center. “And I hope that when you reach your dream, you’ll write me a letter and you’ll tell me.”

Sotomayor joined participants of Environmental Day at Fordham, which concluded the Bronx Children’s Museum’s annual Dream Big program. Now in its fourth year, Dream Big is a four to six-week summer arts enrichment program for elementary-aged children at local schools and Community Based Organizations.

This summer’s theme was Dream Big for our Rivers, which focused on the life of the Bronx River to teach the young participants about the importance of the river ecosystem. The children visited the museum’sRiver on the Go bus exhibit, took a field trip to the Bronx River, received instruction in drama, dance, and visual arts, and wrapped up with Environmental Day.

“Don’t give up chasing your dreams,” Sotomayor said, bringing a day of arts and science workshops to a close. “And take care of the environment we live in, because the environment takes care of us. That’s your job and my job.”

Sotomayor’s visit marked her second appearance at Fordham. In 2010, she led a discussion at Fordham School of Law on the 1957 legal drama 12 Angry Men, which she said strongly influenced her decision to pursue law.

Teaming up with her at Environmental Day was guest artist Cáthia, one of the top 16 singers in season four of NBC’s show “The Voice.” Cáthia sang her new single “Without You” for the young audience and echoed Sotomayor’s message of working toward one’s dreams.

“Never give up and you can make it—you can be anything you want in life,” she said.

For Cáthia, who grew up near Fordham Road, the performance at Environmental Day hit close to home.

“It’s important to give back to kids from the Bronx, because sometimes they need a reminder that there are role models for them here in the Bronx,” she said.

Along with Fordham, sponsors of Dream Big for our Rivers included Bronx-Lebanon Hospital, Montefiore Medical Center, Abraham House, the Bronx River Alliance, Children’s Aid Society, Kingsbridge Heights Community Center, New York Botanical Garden, Trout in A Classroom, and Community School 211.


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