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Public Education Needs Civic Involvement in Learning (PENCIL) organized a town hall-style meeting in Washington Irving High School's auditorium following the organization's annual Principal for a Day event, which had 1,060 celebrities, business leaders and politicians spending a day in New York City public schools.
Suzanne Immerman, director of the Principal for a Day program, organized the event and the meeting that followed at the end of the school day. The meeting began with a performance by the LaGuardia New Music Singers, a choir of students from the Fiorello H. LaGuardia School of Performing Arts. The group serenaded the audience with the national anthem, and then did a charming rendition of the Beatles' “And I Love Her.” They were followed by speeches from Gene McGrath, the CEO of ConEdison (the meeting's sponsor), and PENCIL chairman Lisa Belzberg. ABC News correspondent Lynn Sherr then moderated a discussion among Principal for a Day participants, who spoke about their experience in the schools.
In addition to McGrath and Sherr, the class of 2001 principals included Governor George Pataki, Henry Winkler, Frances McDormand, Billy Baldwin, Peter Gallagher, Julianna Margulies, Rebecca Lobo of the WNBA New York Liberties, New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, MTV's Ananda Lewis, hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons and his wife, clothing designer Kimora Lee Simmons.