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Frederick J. Koury: More than a Basquiat Footnote

To The Educator Fred Koury - 2022

Remember that story of when Basquiat pied his high school principal? His name was Frederick J. Koury the Co-founder of City-As-School High School. He was principal of CAS for 17 years and pioneer and leader in experiential learning so popular today.

Fred taught English at first and was a founding member of the United Federation of Teachers. During WWII, he was a lead navigator with the 100th Bomb Group.I happen to be one of those students whose lives were touched and influenced when attending CAS, one America's oldest alternative public high schools.

"Before founding CAS, Koury took students on field trips which inspired Koury to connect the classroom to the real working world, believing that learning could come from sources beyond the classroom. By linking experience with academics, a student's educational path was widened. Koury stated "learning is an adventure a book alone can’t teach you." In its early years, the school experienced difficulties and had many naysayers counting on its failure. One of the biggest challenges Koury and his colleagues faced was selling the idea to parents, one of whom called it a "phoney alternative." The class of 1973 started with ten students. -- -NY Times

Koury said, "Curiosity is the key that opens the door to adventure. For those first students, coming to CAS changed their perception of education. Students who once hated school gained new inspiration and motivation.'' I painted this portrait as a celebration of CAS upcoming 50th anniversary and a thankful tribute to Fred's legacy.

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