At New Year's Eve 2020, two award-winning NYC high school science teachers and four students — all from New York City’s public schools — pushed the crystal button on the main stage in the center of Times Square, signaling the lowering of the Waterford Crystal Times Square New Year's Eve Ball. Viewed by billions around the world, this moment officially begins the 60-second countdown to the New Year and is historically seen as a celebration as the human spirit.

These teachers and students stood on stage to honor science teachers and their students, in response to global concern about climate change in 2019 and the role of youth in both demanding and creating solutions to the climate crisis.

The two teachers, Jared Fox and Aida Rosenbaum, represent two of the seven recipients of the Fund for the City of New York’s 11th annual Sloan Awards for Excellence in Teaching Science and Mathematics. The awards recognize creative science and mathematics teachers in New York City public high schools who achieve superb outcomes and promote a love for science and mathematics, often inspiring students to pursue careers in science and math. 

Fox, who teaches at the Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School in Upper Manhattan, was joined on stage by seniors Ricardo Herrera and Mayerling Lantigua, who are working to create a “Clean Air Green Corridor” between their school and Highbridge Park.  Rosenbaum, who teaches at the Bronx Latin School and graduated from Bronx Science (the NYC public high school that boasts the most Nobel Laureates among its alumni of any school in the world), was joined by high school seniors Daniel Soto and Van Troy Ulloa from her AP Environmental Science class. They led a Walk for Water initiative to raise money for places without clean water and also organized participationin the Youth Climate March.

Prior Special Guests include former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, Muhammad Ali, Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor,  former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Lady Gaga, former President Bill Clinton and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,  Medal of Honor winner Salvatore Giunta, #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, Christopher Reeve, and International Rescue Committee President David Miliband. Last year’s Special Guests were prominent journalists from around the world and the Committee to Protect Journalists, reflecting New Year’s Eve 2019's theme of celebrating press freedom.

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