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Education


Mount Vernon Alum Sponsors Prom Dress Giveaway

Thursday, 04 August 2011 14:38 Taghira Herrar
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For many teens around the country, the senior prom is a highly anticipated rite of passage. It is a time for teens to celebrate and cherish the last days of high school with their peers before going on their separate ways into the real world. In this time of economic uncertainty, some teens are unable to participate in this tradition as the expense of prom tickets, limos, dresses, tuxedos, and other prom necessities mount onto an already tight budget. Over 30 Mount Vernon high school teens were relieved of some of this expense as they participated in an evening of glamour, giveaways and inspiration.



On May 20 Mount Vernon High School hosted “A Prom Giveaway” to provide over 300 prom dresses to its high school seniors. Mt. Vernon High School alum, State Farm agent Tony Bragg sponsored the event in partnership with Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and GoSmallBiz.com. The event was the brainchild of Tony Bragg and colleague Laura Francis who also grew up in Mount Vernon. The teens were assisted in picking out a variety of dress styles before finally choosing their dresses for the big day. The soon to be grads expressed joy and excitement as they searched for the “it” dress for prom, “I’m excited and I appreciate this event. Some people can’t afford dresses or wouldn’t know what to wear to prom. The dresses provided here are really exceptional” said Vannessa Higgins after finding her dress. Some parents attended to help their daughters find gowns; one parent Nadine Staggers also expressed her appreciation, “This is really beautiful what they’re doing here for the seniors. I wish I had this when I was a senior!”



Vendors such as Avon and Diva Designs by Monica were also in attendance offering skin care, make-up and hair styling tips and demonstrations in preparation for the prom. In addition to picking out free dresses, the teens participated in raffles for the chance to win free dress shoes, handbags, and jewelry to complete their prom ensembles. Teens were given handouts with prom safety tips as well as a list of vendors which would provide discounts to tailoring and grooming services for the students for prom night. Monetary donations were be used to provide discounts to the teens for tuxedo rentals.



The evening not only prepared the teens for prom night, but provided them with food for thought and inspirational words for the future.  Speakers such as Hilary Shepherd of Serv Pro of Scarsdale/Mt. Vernon, Mayor Clinton Young and Carolyn Jones on behalf of Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson encouraged the teens by promoting further education and told them to  never give up. Despite economic hardships felt by all participating businesses, the sponsors and vendors pitched in for the greater good and showed support for some of Mount Vernon’s up and coming community members.



“We wanted to give back to a community that had given so much to us,” stated Bragg. Tony also encouraged the students to follow through on serving their community, asking them to pay it forward by returning the dresses after prom so that others may be able to use them next year. Tony Bragg plans on bringing this event back to Mount Vernon High School next year.

Last Updated on Thursday, 04 August 2011 14:50
 

Youth Bureau Director Receives Emerging Young Leader’s Award

Thursday, 04 August 2011 13:46 administrator
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On April 7, more than 3,000 state-wide elected officials and members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. North Atlantic Region convened for the Sorority’s 80th Regional Conference and Public Meeting in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The City of Mount Vernon’s Youth Bureau Director, DaMia Harris, was presented with the very first 2011 Emerging Young Leader Award for her work within the city and the county through programs that address the development and accomplishments of Young Women.


During the Public Meeting, members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Zeta Nu Omega, joined national government officials, community activists and other special guests to acknowledge Ms. Harris and four other community activists who have dedicated their lives to focus on education, human rights issues, health disparities and global poverty.


Ms. Harris is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Zeta Nu Omega, which is Westchester County’s largest chapter.  This was an extremely high honor for both DaMia Harris and the members of the Zeta Nu Omega Chapter because the North Atlantic Region of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. is comprised of over 4,500 members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. The North Atlantic Region of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.


“I am humbled and still in awe,” stated DaMia Harris. “To have been selected out of thousands of dynamic women who, in my opinion, perform some of the greatest tasks and services for the community, is truly an honor. I want to sincerely thank the International President, North Atlantic Regional Director and my sorority sisters of Zeta Nu Omega for believing in me.”


“The City of Mount Vernon is very proud of Ms. Harris’ accomplishments and her contributions towards the lives of young girls. This prestigious award underscores her demonstrated commitment to young people not just at work, but also during her spare time,” stated Mayor Clinton I. Young, Jr.


For more information regarding Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Zeta Nu Omega Chapter, call (914) 610-1429.

 

Students at Mt. Vernon’s Longfellow School Picture Their World

Wednesday, 27 July 2011 18:58 administrator
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The Greater Hudson Valley (GHV) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated continues its national award winning “Picture My World” photography program, the host school being the Mt. Vernon’s Longfellow Middle School.

 

“Over the years, we noted that school budgets and programs were not encouraging youth to pursue such creative endeavors as photography,” said Cynthia Rountree, President of GHV. “We recognized this void and sought to open up the world of photography to youth in Westchester. In the past, we partnered with the New Rochelle High School and the Isaac E. Young Middle School in Mt. Vernon. We are very excited about the opportunity to work with the Longfellow Middle School again and have its students capture their world visually. ”

 

“Picture My World” allows students to learn about the art and science of photography and then actively apply this learning over the course of a couple of months. Specifically, GHV provides free cameras to each student and encourages participants to keep journals as they evaluate possible subject matter. As part of the “Picture My World” effort, the students select their preferred photograph. The subject matter of the photograph is described in an accompanying essay. The activity concludes with a review by a panel of judges who provide feedback and identify the award winning pictures.

 

The Longfellow Middle School appreciates the partnership with the professional women of The Greater Hudson Valley Chapter. The students have broadened their perspective and have produced creative work beyond expectations. While outstanding work is recognized with awards, all student participants will receive recognition at the culminating Awards Ceremony was held on June 15 at the school.

 

This year, Greater Hudson Valley Chapter Links enhanced the Ceremony by sharing photos submitted to the chapter by students living in Haiti.  The Haitian students were given cameras so that they could picture their world for the Longfellow Middle School students.  This launched a new aspect of the “Picture My World” program and allowed Longfellow students to interact on a larger geographic scale. Longfellow parents, other family members, and guests from Haiti were invited to share in the ceremony and send comments to participating Haitian students.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 July 2011 22:13
 

Ingerman Smith Appointed Legal Counsel to the Mount Vernon City School District

Wednesday, 27 July 2011 18:47 administrator
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Hauppauge, NY, July 27, 2011 – Ingerman Smith, LLP has been appointed legal counsel to the Mount Vernon (New York) City School District, effective July 6, 2011. A premier public sector law firm advising school districts, libraries and municipalities, Ingerman Smith will advise the approximately 9000 student district in any matter arising under New York State Education Law, including elections, board of education powers and duties, budget, tenure and seniority, facilities use and construction, bidding and purchasing, HIPAA-related issues, student residency, special education, student discipline, and implementation of New York’s new Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) mandate, as well as a myriad of other legal issues affecting district operations.

 

Ingerman Smith is legal counsel of record to over 50 school districts in Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk Counties. All of the firm’s 26 attorneys provide advice and counsel regarding Education Law, the firm’s largest practice group.


“We welcome the Mount Vernon City School District to our practice and look forward to assisting the Board of Education and the school administration address the unprecedented challenges facing New York State schools this year under the new 2% tax cap,” said Managing Partner John H. Gross. “The tax cap presents a significant negotiations challenge to school districts, particularly as they struggle to implement the new APPR mandate. Effective school management will require a carefully crafted approach to planning.”

For more information, visit www.ingermansmith.com

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 July 2011 18:56
 

Boys II Men Mentoring Program Visits China

Tuesday, 26 July 2011 14:43 Stephanie Reed
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From April 16-23, Longfellow Elementary School’s Boys II Men Mentoring Program visited Beijing, China after being inspired by the 2010 film The Karate Kid. The program will become a yearly event, and may extend to schools beyond the Mount Vernon City School District.

The assistant principal of Longfellow and coordinator of the mentoring program, Brian Pritchett, decided to bring members of Boys II Men – comprised of students from grades 4, 5, and 6 – to China after watching the remake of the 1984 martial arts film of the same name on a trip in Washington, D.C. The students were inspired by the film and wanted their next trip to be in China.

Pritchett, a former assistant coach of the Mount Vernon High School Basketball Team, had the opportunity to travel to China with the team in 2007. He remembered observing a sense of comradery that had a lasting impact.“I wanted to put the same effect on kids at a younger age so they could have a vision of what’s out there besides Mount Vernon,” Pritchett said. “I think that all kids need to see China. China is an amazing experience.” In preparation for the trip, students studied Chinese culture for nine weeks. They learned about the language, cuisine, and about the origins of karate in a demonstrative karate exhibition. 

The children were able to observe different aspects of Chinese culture – they visited many tourist sites: The Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven among other attractions. The students also became aware of the harsher realities of life China.

11-year-old Jahee Davenport saw a little boy who didn’t have shoes. It was a life-changing realization for him. “I’ve seen rich parts of China, and I’ve seen poor parts of China,” Davenport said. “It makes me feel appreciative of the stuff that I do have.” 6th grader Najee Bass also found the trip to be a great experience for students in the program.

Pritchett was pleasantly surprised with how well the students handled traveling to a different country. Some of the younger students were even able to take charge and display their leadership skills. “The kids were global leaders, ambassadors, and now gatekeepers for kids to go to China,” he said. The trip was such a success that Pritchett plans to make it a yearly goal. The International School of Beijing invited students from the Mount Vernon City School District to stay on campus and take classes for two days. Students from China may also have the opportunity to visit Mount Vernon next year.

“Mount Vernon is on the map,” Pritchett says.

 

Students that made the trip to China:

Austin Davis - 12th Grade Student- Nellie A. Thornton High School

Najee Bass - 6th Grade Student- Longfellow Elementary School

Derrick Wright - 6th Grade Student- Longfellow Elementary School

Xavier Thomas - 6th Grade Student- Longfellow Elementary School

Joshua White - 5th Grade Student- Longfellow Elementary School

Kevin Scales - 5th Grade Student- Longfellow Elementary School

Jahee Davenport - 5th Grade Student- Longfellow Elementary School

Stephon Greaux - 4th Grade Student- Longfellow Elementary School

 


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