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Mount Vernon City School District welcomes back students on the first day of school


Teachers and faculty greeted students as they entered Mount Vernon schools on Wednesday morning, September 7, 2022. Throughout the district, teachers, students, and building leaders were happy to be back.  
Doris Dapaah greeted students as the new principal at Rebecca Turner Elementary School.  Ms. Dapaah has over 15 years of teaching experience, with six of those years being at Mount Vernon schools. 
She expressed that her goal for the new year is that her students achieve growth throughout the upcoming year and not just academically.  
“I want to see academic, social, and emotional growth for Rebecca Turner students,” said Ms. Daapah. “It is going to be a fun and exciting year, filled with engaging academic activity.”  
Welcome balloons surrounded the entryway as students smiled, hugged, and waved to their peers and teachers. 

Students gather with Principal Doris Dapaah and Assistant Principal before school starts.

There was a high energy of anticipation and excitement throughout the school district.  
“We are very excited to welcome our scholars back for another amazing school year,” said Superintendent Dr. Waveline Bennett-Conroy. “Our building leaders, district staff and I are partners with you in our scholars’ educational journey. And we are recommitting ourselves to working with you to the benefit of them to become the very best they can be.” 
At Lincoln School, News 12 was on the scene before dawn to do live remotes every half hour and talked to Dr. Bennett-Conroy and Principal Rebecca Jones. Leo, the school’s lion mascot, even made an appearance. Dr. Bennett-Conroy and Ms. Jones as well as teachers and staff greeted students as they came to the school, waiting for the doors to open. 
“We're hoping for an exciting school year filled with wonderful learning opportunities for our students,” Ms. Jones said. “We also look forward to meeting the social-emotional needs of our students and their families as we move further away from the pandemic and into a bright new future.” 

Superintendent Dr, Bennett-Conroy gets interviewed by News 12 outside of Lincoln School, for the first day of school.

Dr. Bennett-Conroy then visited the Mount Vernon Honor Academy, formerly William H. Holmes School, where she toured classrooms and greeted students, pumping them up for the new school year. In Nadine Alcade’s second-grade classroom, students were settling in and chatting with new friends after arriving for the day. One boy was a little nervous and asked Ms. Alcade if he could go back to first grade. 
“We want to focus on our children and their social-emotional awareness, making sure they understand how to socialize,” Ms. Alcade said. “One of the things we are discovering is that kids don’t really know how to socialize anymore. So, we’re making sure we are aware, tapping into how they’re feeling, how their day is going. Will are making sure that we set goals, so they have something to work towards. And, we are making sure they know that school is not just about academics. It’s about being well-rounded and learning from and with each other.” 
At Benjamin Turner Middle School, a back-to-school pep rally was held in the gymnasium. Students and teachers were dancing to the DJ's music, and the Mount Vernon police, and fire department joined the fun as well. Mount Vernon Mayor , Ms. Shawyn Patterson-Howard, gave encouraging words to the students.  
“Make sure to choose friends that will support you and help you along the right path,” said Ms. Patterson-Howard. “The City of Mount Vernon is here for you in every way.”  
Teachers were also happy to be back.  
“I am really looking forward to seeing the students every day,” said Benjamin Turner Middle School sixth grade teacher Nicole Tata. “I want to make sure my students are growing academically and that I am able to build relationships with not only my scholars, but their parents as well.”  
At Mount Vernon Leadership Acadamy, formerly known as Columbus School, students enjoyed some breakfast before diving right into the school year.  
“I’m really excited to be back and start the new school year,” said fifth grade student, Andriely Alduey.  
At Nelson Mandela/Hosea Zollicoffer School, students gathered in the play yard to meet their new teachers. Students were greeted by their teachers, the principal, and their faithful falcon mascot. Parents were introduced to their children’s teachers and then sent their kids off for their first day.  
"I am excited and inspired to refresh our scholars' academic excellence as we move into a new normal,” said Principal Michael Vicario. “It is with great enthusiasm that we welcome our young, brilliant scholars into a new academic year to promote their academic excellence and social emotional well-being."    
At the Cecil H. Parker School, classes were in full swing. Kindergarten teachers met their students and some classes participated in a sing-along morning song to greet their peers. Classes began with children eating their breakfast before instruction began.  
"I'm excited to be able to shape these young, enthusiastic scholars and prepare them for their future academic endeavors," said first grade teacher Shawnta Smith.  
Graham School students gathered in the auditorium for a welcome back assembly. Students sat with their classmates and chatted about their summer as they waited for the assembly to begin.  
Principal Dr. Natasha Hunter-McGregor met with the school lunch monitors and emphasized student safety during lunch and recess hours. The increase of lunch monitors will give the school more eyes on the students to make sure they are safe and always supervised.  
"I am looking forward to working together in ensuring that all our students get the education and support that they need,” said Assistant Principal Francia Mendoza. “We are committed to excellence and the district's mission and vision."   
Around 11 a.m. middle school students at Grimes School gathered for lunch while Principal Severin Cornelius personally reminded them of the lunch and recess rules. 
Assistant Principal Lucille Martir was excited for the students to be back in the building.  
"We are always striving to build relationships with our kids all year long,” said Ms. Martir. “I always get goose bumps on the first day of school because all the kids are back, and that is who we really do it for, the kids."  

One student hugging the Grimes assistant principal and senior typist.

At Hamilton School, elementary students were on their way to lunch, while middle school students were engaged in learning. Math, ELA, Spanish class teachers were introducing their curriculum to students. Principal Marc Molina stopped in a few classes to greet the students and observe the classroom instruction. 

"The most important thing for me is returning to a sense of normalcy without forgetting what we've been through and focusing on instruction and the well-being of our students and families,” said Mr. Molina. “We want to value the relationships and connections that we have with our students, families, and peers. We must remember why we are here. We show up to work every day to enrich the lives of these children."  
During lunch at Edward Williams school, students reminisced with friends about their summers and caught up with each other. 
“I am happy to be able to see my friends every day and be back in the classrooms,” said seventh grader Djahena Philidor.  
At Pennington School, staff were busy instructing students about the upcoming school year.  
“I advise my students to have fun and be kind,” said kindergarten teacher Erica Fuggetta. “I am really looking forward to a great year.”  
At Traphagen school, children were busy coloring and collaborating while teachers were busy going over this year’s goals.  
“I want to create positive energy in Traphagen School,” said Principal Carol Quinones-Smith. “We create the feeling we want in our space. We need to recommit to generating positive outcomes with our students, families, one another, and our work. ” 
Denzel Washington School of the Arts and Mount Vernon High School held an orientation for all students today and will begin classes tomorrow. The Mount Vernon STEAM Academy held a new student orientation, for freshman and newcomers and will begin classes tomorrow as well.  

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Security guard helping students cross

Mount Vernon City School District takes the safety and security of all its scholars very seriously, and as a result, the district has provided temporary security coverage at Mount Vernon STEAM Academy to keep students safe as they arrive and depart from school grounds. The district is currently investigating the situation and looking for a permanent solution. 

George Latimer cutting the Memorial Field Ribbon with others.

Westchester County, City of Mount Vernon and Mount Vernon City School District officials were accompanied by local elected officials and other dignitaries in a ceremony on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, to officially open the new Memorial Field.  On Saturday, September 24, the Mount Vernon Knights football team will play their first game at Memorial Field since 2007. The team will face the Yonkers Force.   

Superintendent Dr. Bennett-Conroy and Parent Resource Center Coordinator cut ribbon to officially open Parent Resource Center

The Parent Resource Center officially opened on Monday, September 12, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by a presentation where district administrators explained why the center is important to Mount Vernon’s parents. Located at Mount Vernon STEAM Academy, the Parent Resource Center is now open to parents and families seeking assistance. Parents, administrators, parent liaisons, and more gathered in the STEAM Academy auditorium, excited for the opening of this monumental new asset for the community of Mount Vernon.


Mount Vernon City School District has introduced Online Registration to families for the 2022 - 2023 school year, for efficiency, effectiveness and 24-hour access for all new registration.

Student looking at his curriculum in the auditorium. Surrounded by other students.

While the pre-Kindergarten to eighth-grade Mount Vernon City School District students started school on September 7, high schoolers are on a little different schedule with orientations Wednesday, September 7, and Thursday, September 8.