Stephen Ritz is a South Bronx teacher/administrator who believes that students shouldn't have to leave their community to live, learn and earn in a better one. Moving generations of students into spheres of personal and academic successes they have never imagined while reclaiming and rebuilding the Bronx, Stephen’s extended student and community family have grown over 25,000 pounds of vegetables in the Bronx while generating extraordinary academic performance.
His Bronx classroom features the first indoor edible wall in NYC DOE which routinely generates enough produce to feed 450 students healthy meals and trains the youngest nationally certified workforce in America. His students, traveling from Boston to Rockefeller Center to the Hamptons, earn living wage en route to graduation.
His parents wouldn’t let him play video games, so Dong Woo Jang had to invent other ways to entertain himself in and around his Seoul apartment. First, he studied spider anatomy and hunting skills for three years, creating their habitat in his room. Next, Dong headed outside, where he picked up fallen tree branches and turned them into archery bows.
Later, while researching the age-old craft, he discovered that his optimal design was strikingly similar to that of his ancestors. Though he concedes that, during his process of “fixing, breaking, redesigning, mending, bending, and amending” bows, he accidentally set his building on fire. The 15-year-old says that working with wood -- and traveling back and forth in time -- makes him feel free.