Ken D’Alessandro

Brooklyn Tech saved my life. I could have gone to my neighborhood high school and become just another goof-off. Whenever I think of Tech, which is often, I can’t help but reflect on what I do for a living and where I am professionally. It is my strong personal belief that none of it would have been possible without Tech.  I learned far more in high school than in college. I remember one day, while taking the first of two required mechanical drawing courses at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the teaching assistant, with whom I had no prior contact, walked up to my desk, looked at my quickly-finished perspective drawing, shook his head from side to side, muttered “Brooklyn Tech” and walked away without further comment. I was exempted from Mechanical Drawing II since there was nothing new they could teach me. When I was 19, I went to Zelf Self Service Machine Shop, a sadly long-gone Canal Street business, to fabricate some steel parts for a machine I was helping to build. Probably because of my youth Mr. Zelf asked me, “Why should I let you go anywhere near any of my [lathes and milling] machines?” I told him I had graduated from Brooklyn Tech. That was all he needed to hear before granting me access. While I do not know how many others share this feeling, I know for certain that Tech taught me how to think, organize, and analyze in order to solve problems and accomplish things. All of us were exposed to hands-on technology to a degree I do not think was possible at other New York City high schools. To this day I am not shy about taking apart broken electrical and mechanical things and am often able to repair them. Although I probably did not consider it at the time, SOS, on which I served for four years and held every rank except Captain (Fall ’65 and Spring ’66 slots held by my classmates Herb Henkel and Dennis Fagan), was an extremely valuable leadership training experience.