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Writer and Lawyer Cheryl L. Davis inducted into Mount Vernon High School Hall of Fame

Writer and Lawyer Cheryl L. Davis inducted into Mount Vernon High School Hall of Fame

The Mount Vernon City School District inducted Cheryl L. Davis, who has worked in television and theater as a writer, into the Mount Vernon High School Hall of Fame on March 4, 2023.  

Davis received a Writers’ Guild Award for her writing on “As the World Turns” and was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for her work on the show as well. She has written several episodes for “Days of Our Lives” and one for “Law and Order: SVU.”  

“I am elated and delighted to be here today to welcome everyone to this momentous occasion,” said Acting Superintendent of Schools Dr. K. Veronica Smith. “It is a major accomplishment to be selected to this prestigious acknowledgement within our hometown of Mount Vernon. Since Ms. Davis graduated from Mount Vernon High School, she has gone on to make us proud in work and in deeds. She is a role model for our students, who will be able to view her in the Hall of Fame among other greats from Mount Vernon. Your remarkable work has not gone unnoticed. 

Davis was a member of the National Honor Society at MVHS, a National Merit Scholar, and one of IBM Corporation’s Thomas J. Watson Scholars. She received her Arts Bachelor (A.B) degree in English from Princeton University in 1983, her Master of Jurisprudence (M.S.J) from Columbia School of Journalism, and her Juris Doctorate (J.D) degree from Columbia University School of Law in 1986.  

Dr. Smith presenting plaque to Cheryl Davis

“This means an incredible lot because I am proud of where I come from,” said Davis. “I’m a Mount Vernononite through and through. I was raised in the city, and I love the city. I’m extremely proud of my writing work and telling untold stories. I got my love for that when I was in elementary school. I would go through the school library and look through biographies of black women, and women, and just try to figure out where is my story.” 

Davis has returned to Mount Vernon to make speeches at Mount Vernon High School since her graduation in 1979, and she was a frequent participant at MVHS Career Days.  

Davis attended Macedonia Baptist Church of Mount Vernon growing up, and she incorporated elements from her time there in a “Law and Order: SVU” episode, which revolves around a black church. She was greatly influenced and inspired by time growing up in Mount Vernon.  

Davis is still a member of Macedonia Baptist Church, where she played piano for Sunday School and was a member of the youth choirs growing up. She has given back to the church financially and by having church groups attend her various plays and musicals at free or discounted rates. 

As a musical theater librettist and lyricist, Davis has won a Kleban Prize, given to writers of extraordinary promise, and her musical “Barnstormer” received a Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation Award. Her play, “The Color of Justice,” was favorably reviewed by publications such as the New York Times and regularly tours. She also commissioned “Winnie the Pooh KIDS” for the Disney Theatrical Group.  

Her play Maid’s Door received seven Audelco Awards, which honor black theater and artists in New York City, and was presented twice at the National Black Theatre Festival; it was also a finalist for the Francesca Primus Prize, which recognizes an emerging woman playwright, and has since been published in Holy Ground: The National Black Theatre Festival Anthology. 

Davis is also a practicing attorney in Manhattan and general counsel for the Authors’ Guild. As a writer herself, she uses her work as an attorney to help protect the intellectual rights of other writers. The Authors’ Guild is a non-profit, and Davis often serves authors that may not have enough money to hire representation. 

Dancers at HoF induction
Trustee White at Ms. Davis' HoF Induction
Two students posing at the camera.

Scholars and community members congregated to the cafeteria of the Mount Vernon High School with resumes in hand for a community career fair on Wednesday, May 16, 2024. Here, individuals were able to explore various job opportunities in the Mount Vernon City School District and Westchester area. 

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Acting Superintendent of Schools Dr. K. Veronica Smith:

There have been rumors and social media reports as to further student violence today at Mount Vernon High School after yesterday’s assault. Reports of a female student being stabbed are not true. There was an unrelated minor altercation on a school bus with no serious injuries after school. 

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In the past 10 years, the Mount Vernon City School District has introduced and grown partnerships with a number of organizations, colleges and universities to deliver exceptional academic programming to students. The District has also increased its offering of trade programs during this time, expanding possibilities for all scholars.