Patsy Tran Berkman is an alumna who is currently 86 years old, but who was, in her childhood, part of what is now our Ethics for Children program. We are lucky to have people like her, who have saved a special place in their hearts for us, even so many years later. Her son, Don Berkman, reached out to us to find out how to honor his mom on her birthday, by making a donation to our scholarships for our Ethics for Children Program, so another child, like she was then, would be able to attend our classes at no cost because of her donation. She has been kind enough to share a message with us and to prepare a special video for the kids. 

Her testimonial and videos are below:

As I enter my 86th year on this Earth, I look back on my days at Brooklyn Ethical with fondness. I began my education there in Kindergarten. I remember the big staircase that took me to my class. How I loved the teacher and all the activities. I stayed until 8th grade. I remember we took our graduation photos in the front of the building on the steps. I live the tenets Brooklyn Ethical Culture taught me every day.

Lessons Learned at Brooklyn Ethical Culture School:
My childhood name was Patsy Tran, (now Pat Berkman). I attended Brooklyn Ethical Culture School from Kindergarten to 8th Grade. Memories flood my mind as I write about this wonderful school:

  • The delicious hot lunches
  • Our mid-morning snacks of bread and butter sandwiches
  • Bringing cans of food for the less fortunate at Thanksgiving.
  • Our trips across the street to the Meadow (Prospect Park)
  • From Art Classes to Shop we stretched our abilities and imagination.
  • I learned so much. One of the most important lessons I learned was to stand by my principles and fight for my beliefs.

We would also have weekly talks by Dr. Henry Neuman, one of the founders of the school. The talks were rather dry and we all, I’m afraid, half-listened.
But the story doesn’t end there. It seems I did listen very well to Dr. Neuman. He spoke about equality of religion – all religions. How “Man” is to be respected and treated with kindness and fairness. And these principles of life that he eschewed and the ethical behavior he spoke about is how I have tried to live my life.
Brooklyn Ethical Culture School was more than a school that taught subjects, it was a school whose philosophy was that all individuals have inherent worth and dignity. And we have a responsibility to each other, to Society, and to the community.
Brooklyn Ethical Culture, the school that enriched all who attended.