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Smart Scholars: First cohort registers for free college courses

The first cohort of the Mount Vernon Smart Scholars program began registering for free college courses this year. Students began the program in 2020 as ninth-graders, and as 11th-graders will be taking advanced placement courses and college courses. Registration was held at Mount Vernon High School at 10:00 a.m., the Mount Vernon STEAM Academy at 11:15 a.m. and Denzel Washington School of the Arts at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 4, 2022.  

The Smart Scholar program is run in conjunction with Mercy College, and students can make progress towards their college degree by participating. The program began in the 2020-2021 school year, and the first cohort of ninth-grade students are now in 11th-grade and engaging in the concurrent college enrollment portion of the program. 75 11th-grade students are enrolled, 25 at each high school. This year’s ninth-graders, the third cohort of Smart Scholars, began this year by going through the summer program. 

Lillian Serret-Morales, the principal of the Mount Vernon STEAM Academy was impressed by the resiliency of her school’s 25 Smart scholars, who completed a portion of the program online due to COVID.  

“Last year was the first year in person, and it was difficult,” said Ms. Serret-Morales. “But they’re still all on track and continuing their regular courseload.” 

Mike Nash, assistant director of undergraduate admissions and recruitment at Mercy College, is the Mount Vernon City School District’s Smart Scholar admission point person. Others involved are Dr. Cecil Wright, executive director of admissions at Mercy College, Anne Gilligan, Assistant Vice President of Admissions at Mercy College and the Mount Vernon City School District Office of School Improvement. 

11th-grade Smart Scholars are taking college courses in US History, pre-calculus, English, and chemistry. Other course offerings include Spanish, physics and statistics.  
The district is paying for the courses in full, so students can save even more money on college tuition. Additionally, students who decide to attend Mercy College will get an additional $1,000 off their tuition.  

Taking these courses will prepare students for the workload of college courses and relieve some of the stresses that come with paying for and preparing for college.  
The Mount Vernon City School District will hold a zoom meeting for any parents interested in the Smart Scholar program in late October. Any middle school parents that are interested in enrolling a student in Smart Scholars, please reach out to your child’s school counselor.  

Students being helped with their registration for college courses.
Mom and 2 sons at 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. had his mix playing from the start of the ball to the end, and the dance floor was always packed with little children and their parents. 

Mr. Ramirez helping a student

The Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council met with Superintendent of Schools Dr. Waveline Bennett-Conroy and cabinet members Dr. Beverley Jones and Ms. Marci Tiggs to review academic progress and share their learning and reading experiences this past month. The group of scholars from multiple schools and grade levels also attended an Infinite Campus workshop at the Education Center on Wednesday, November 16, 2022. 

Knights Boutique staff poses for picture.

The Knights Boutique has officially opened for its first full year after opening last May. Students and staff have been working hard to make adjustments to make this boutique even more successful.  
An empty classroom and a vision are all it took a couple of students and staff to create the Knights Boutique. The Knights Boutique is a 100 percent volunteer run store that allows students at Mount Vernon High School to “shop” for free clothes, school supplies, toiletries and more.


This evening, the Board of Education appointed Cerini & Associates, LLP to conduct an independent comprehensive audit of the School District’s grant program. Cerini & Associates is a regional accounting firm based on Long Island. It counts internal and external auditing as well as forensic accounting among its many capabilities.

Halloween trick or treating

Spooky outfits and masks couldn’t hide the smiles of children as they celebrated the Fall spirit in Mount Vernon schools. Students across the Mount Vernon City School District came to school in costume for various celebrations across the district and were rewarded with buckets full of candy.