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MVHS alumni give motivational speeches to 11th graders

MVHS alumni give motivational speeches to 11th graders

Two alumni of Mount Vernon High School spoke to a crowd of 11th graders and motivated them to excel in their studies and accomplish great things. Erica Naughton, assistant principal at MVHS, invited Dr. Gloria Pope and Steven “Butch” Thomas to show scholars the success that Mount Vernon graduates and residents can achieve. Mr. Thomas and Dr. Pope visited MVHS on Tuesday, September 19, 2023. 

Dr. Pope is the director of educational enrichment at Destination Tomorrow, an LGBTQ center in the Bronx, and the founder of Black Girl Everything, LLC, a resource center for black girls and women. Mr. Thomas is the CEO of Virtuous Systems, a company that specializes in advanced audio and visual systems, security systems and business technology infrastructure.  

“We put our own boundaries on ourselves, but you don’t have to,” said Ms. Naughton. “You can do whatever you put your mind to.” 

Dr. Pope, who provides a yearly scholarship to MVHS graduates, discussed her background growing up in Mount Vernon and overcoming hardship. She also explained the ways she tries to help people within her community by providing internships and career help. She offered to provide support to MVHS students in whatever ways she can. She encouraged them to dream and follow their dreams no matter what anyone says.  

“I thrived through this school because I chose to thrive,” said Dr. Pope. “I chose that my education was what is going to save me within my own community. A lot of the work that I do, I focus on making sure that our community feels that they can actually thrive.” 

Mr. Thomas told students that if they listen to the people giving them wisdom, then they will succeed. He explained that he has worked in and around many industries and can help MVHS students start their careers, but they have to listen and start now.  He even pointed out a student who works in food service and asked for his number, as he has several restaurants in New York. 

“The primary focus of what I’m trying to give you guys right now is an open eye to realize that you’re young now, but you won’t be later,” said Mr. Thomas. “Some of you in here have some sort of spark, all I want to do is give it right back to you magnified.” 

He told students to start taking things seriously as early as possible to succeed. He urged students to make smart choices and associate with the right people in order to continue their path to success.  

At the end of the assembly, students gathered around Mr. Thomas and Dr. Pope to hear about the opportunities that he may have for MVHS students.  

Student introducing Mr. Thomas
Student introducing Dr. Pope
Dr. Pope
Students lined up to fill their plates.

Students at Hamilton School gathered around to give thanks and appreciate one another before Thanksgiving break with a feast on Tuesday, November 21, 2023. The arrangement of food included turkey, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, vegetables, and various desserts brought by families from the school community. 

Coach Cimmino Hall of Fame

Coach Robert Cimmino was inducted into the Westchester Sports Hall of Fame on Wednesday, November 15, 2023. Coach Cimmino received this recognition for his exceptional career coaching the Mount Vernon Knights varsity boys' basketball team.