With a student body that is 71 percent Hispanic and 27 percent black, Public School 59 does not seem an obvious home for a thriving Irish dance troupe. And when Caroline Duggan first arrived from Dublin at age 23 to try her hand as a New York City public school music teacher, it wasn’t. Many of her students had never heard of Ireland. Why, they wanted to know, did she talk funny?
Then, to stave off homesickness, Ms. Duggan hung a “Riverdance” poster in her fifth-floor classroom, and one thing led to another. The children pointed to a long-haired dancer on the poster and asked if it was her. No, she laughed, but I could show you a few steps. The impromptu lesson grew into a wildly popular after-school program and, for the first time last year, a trip to Ireland that still inspires dreamy looks among those lucky enough to go.
The group is called Keltic Dreams, and they are looking for donations to support the program and send the kids to Ireland again. It took me about 2 seconds to decide I'd be mailing them a check! The article doesn't include the contact information for donations, but here they are.
Make checks payable only to: The Keltic Dreams / PS 59
Mail them to attention of
Caroline Duggan - Music Teacher
Public School 59
2185 Bathgate Avenue
Bronx New York 10457
You can also find more information and photos at www.thekelticdreams.com