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Lottery Held For Acceptance Into Coveted ‘Achievement First’ Charter School

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Margarita Pastrana & her son, who got into the charter school. (credit: CBS 2)

Margarita Pastrana & her son, who got into the charter school. (credit: CBS 2)

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — There were smiles and happy faces for some and disappointment for many others Wednesday night as students found out whether they were selected in Brooklyn’s “Achievement First” charter school lottery.

Margarita Pastrana, of East New York, was in tears after hearing her 4-year-old have his name called.

“This school is really good for the kids, so I try, and I get in. I’m so happy. I can’t believe,” Pastrana told CBS 2′s Derricke Dennis.

Parents and children packed the auditorium at Brooklyn College to find out if they were in or out. There were 3,000 applicants for just 750 kindergarten, first grade and fifth grade slots throughout 10 neighborhood schools.

Parent Nathaniel Allen, of Crown Heights, expressed disappointment at his child’s name not being called, but hoped for a better outcome next time around.

“We could try again next year, as they say they will keep the names in the lottery,” Allen said.

School spokeswoman Lesley Esthers-Redwine touted the benefits of a charter school education, including smaller class sizes, more individual attention and a push toward college from day one.

“No one should have to go to a school that’s not going to prepare them to be successful in life,” she said.

That commitment is what parent Kimiko Pascal said drew her to the lottery twice. One of her sons is already enrolled and another was just accepted for next fall.

“It’s very important because they’re very close in age, and they’re very close together. So it’s very important to keep them together,” Pascal said.

Win or lose, organizers of the lottery said there was a chance for every New York City student to be a winner as the push for equal funding between public and charter schools continues.

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