There's probably no better place in New York City to share the excitement of our upcoming Hamilton: An American Musical fundraiser than on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) itself; Alexander Hamilton founded the first company listed on the NYSE and served as our nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury. So when our team was offered the opportunity to ring the iconic NYSE Opening Bell, we jumped at the chance.
On Thursday, February 2, 2017, Teach For America - New York staff, alumni, teachers cheered on as Kensy Jordan, a NYC high school student and student of TFA alumna Virginia Low, rang the Opening Bell. The morning at the NYSE also included a tour of the Exchange trading floor and, of course, a Hamilton history lesson.
Our host for the morning was Chris Taylor, Executive Vice President, Global Investor Relations, whose ties to Teach For America run deep—his wife is a Teach For America alumna. Chris shared a bit of NYSE history and Alexander Hamilton's role in starting it, calling him NYSE’s favorite founding father. He also presented us with a commemorative coin featuring the legendary NYSE facade and the symbolic bull vs. bear. As we made our way to the trading floor and up to the podium, it was time for Kensy to sign the NYSE’s book of Distinguished Guests. Her name now appears alongside thousands of people who have served as official bell ringers on behalf of companies and nonprofits of all sizes.
From the bell podium, we had a birds-eye view of the entire trading floor. Each day, the trading markets open at 9:30 a.m. signaled only by a loud bell that sounds for 10 seconds. Chris reminded us to keep a close eye on the official clock. At 9:29:50, Kensy sounded the alarm that trading had officially begun for the day.
For many of us, this moment is definitely on our top 10 list of coolest things we’ve done in the city…so far. Nothing compares to the growing excitement around our Hamilton fundraiser. On Wednesday, February 15, over 1,000 of our closest friends, supporters, teachers, and partners will be in the audience for what many say is the greatest show on Broadway. All of them will be there to support Teach For America – New York’s pursuit of great neighborhood schools. We’re thrilled that, thanks to our presenting sponsor, Barclays, 400 NYC public school teachers will join us for the show at no cost. You can also “be in the room where it happens.” Tickets are on sale now.
Kelly Krag-Arnold (Greater New Orleans-Louisiana Delta ’13) currently serves the Associate Director of Planning at the NYC Department of Education. She talks about her experience as an LGBTQ educator and shares advice for supporting LGBTQ students.