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Parents and pre-kindergarteners have a ball at the Small and Tall Ball in the Fall

Parents and pre-kindergarteners have a ball at the Small and Tall Ball in the Fall

Pre-kindergarten students were dressed to impress at Friendship for Tots, and their parents came out in suits and gowns as well. The Small and Tall Ball in the Fall took place on Thursday, November 17, 2022. The D.J. played music from the start of the ball to the end, and the dance floor was packed with children and their parents. 

“The pre-K program is very good; it’s helping my daughter very much,” said Jose Rodriguez, father of pre-K student Annabella Rodriguez. "She loves to do the homework when she arrives at home, and she feels very excited about the program.” 

Mr. Rodriguez dancing with daughter before the ball starts

Mr. Rodriguez also thought that the Small and Tall Ball in the Fall was an excellent way for him to bond with his daughter.  

The Small and Tall Ball in the Fall was hosted by the Director of Prekindergarten, Gifted and Talented and Special Projects, Dr. Gayle White Wallace. The food was set up and served by Mount Vernon High School culinary arts students. Despite being reluctant at first, many of the parents found their way to the dance floor to join their children.  

“For a lot of these babies, this is their first date, so get out on that dance floor with them,” said Dr. White Wallace during a break in the music. 

Kids dancing at Small and Tall Ball in the Fall

With that, the group dancing games began. Children and parents on the dance floor started off with a game of freeze dance. When the music stopped, so did the dancing. Next up, the kids went wild for “Baby Shark” by running around and clapping their hands like little sharks. Dr. White Wallace did some Tik Tok dances with the children, and then Superintendent of Schools Dr. Waveline Bennett-Conroy gave an address to the attendees of the ball.  

BC speaking at Small and Tall Ball in the Fall

“I want to thank you all for coming out. I also saw some of my students in the back there from the culinary arts department, and I want to give a big shoutout to them for helping with this event,” said Dr. Bennett-Conroy. “And another big shoutout to the parents I saw on the dance floor having fun with their babies. This brings me back to my childhood days. My parents always wanted to pair up and dance with me when I was growing up. This is the life I have missed for so many years. I want to thank you all very much. To the little babies, I want to say, you look beautiful!” 

Everyone took a break from the dancing to enjoy a full dinner. Children took turns at the arts and crafts table, and the hosts passed around raffle tickets as everyone ate. The 50/50 raffle had a twist though – half went to one pre-K student and the other half went to another. Other gifts that were raffled off included five turkeys and gift cards.  

“It means a lot — it means the world actually — to have universal pre-K. Prior to this, I have been paying for childcare, and I would have been paying for pre-K too if this were not here in the district,” said Ginghi Clarke, the mother of pre-K student Dash Clarke. “It is really important for our children this age to have these experiences and to have an educational experience where they can socialize and still get the academic aspect.”  

Everyone left with their stomachs full, and a few went home with prizes after a full night of dancing, eating and fun. The pre-K children were smiling the whole night and left the night with great new memories of family and friends.  

Kids dancing at the small and tall ball in the fall
Mom dancing with son
Students and teachers posing with No Place for Hate bags and shirts

All 16 Mount Vernon City School District schools were presented with No Place for Hate (NPFH) Banners at the NPFH Banner Ceremony on Thursday, May 25, 2023. The district became the largest school district in Westchester County to have all of its schools designated as No Place for Hate. They are among the 239 NPFH schools in downstate New York.

MBK Fellows seated at table

Kevon Palmer and Levonn Latham, 11th-grade students at Mount Vernon STEAM Academy, were inducted as 2023-24 My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) fellows on Friday, May 19, 2023. The induction ceremony was held at the annual My Brother’s Keeper Symposium. They traveled to Albany, New York, where the symposium was held, with their mentors Brother Arthur Muhammad, youth development specialist, and Noel Campbell, director of career and technical education.

Josephine Kirkland-Hudson

Josephine Kirkland-Hudson has been a school social worker for close to 25 years.  She began her educational career in the Yonkers Public School system in 2000 and became the school social worker at Rebecca Turner Elementary School in 2005. Throughout her career, she has always searched for engaging and enriching programs for her students to participate in, including No Place for Hate.    

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The Mount Vernon City School District needed an extra day to determine the winners of the Board of Trustee race to fill four of the five seats being contested. Following the closing of the polls at 9 pm on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, electronic results were reported and absentee ballots were counted, but 23 affidavit ballots still needed to be verified by the Westchester County Board of Elections and ballots that met residency requirements were counted.