Mount Vernon STEAM Academy Graduates 113 in the Class of 2022
Seniors of the Mount Vernon STEAM Academy graduated on Thursday, June 23, at the school’s soccer field. The 113 members of the Class of 2022 were the second of which to become alumni of their school.
Class President Arlenis Marmolejos reminded her fellow graduates just how far they have come since their freshman year of high school.
“Here we are today, after battling identity crises, imposter syndrome, quarantine, procrastination, mental illnesses and so many more experiences that have strengthened, hardened, and ultimately prepared us for the rest of our lives,” she said. “We, the Class of 2022, are resilient and worthy of change.”
The school, focusing on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics), opened in September 2018 as part of the Mount Vernon City School District’s 2016 bond intended to facilitate the district’s 20/20 Vision.
“Today’s ceremony is truly a cause for celebration. As I watch our seniors accept their diplomas, I am filled with joy knowing that the Mount Vernon STEAM Academy has served as a stepping stone for our students to foster their love for the sciences, which will continue long after they cross this stage,” said Acting Superintendent Dr. Waveline Bennett-Conroy. “I am confident that our graduates will continue to inspire all of us here in Mount Vernon.”
“On behalf of the Board of Education, the trustees, I’d like to congratulate you on not just surviving, but thriving,” said Board of Education Trustee Darcy Miller. “We all have to acknowledge that it’s been a very, very tough high school experience for all of you. But you’re prepared now. You’ve had to pivot. You’ve been thrown a curveball. And, you did it. Here you are! You graduated. And, you’re going on to bigger things.”
Other speakers included Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard, Congressman Jamaal Bowman, and Richard Thomas, former mayor of Mount Vernon.
The curriculum offered by the school inspired Class of 2022 valedictorian Laila Issa and salutatorian Ian Harris to pursue careers in the sciences.
“Staying determined through times of difficulty is essential to success,” said Salutatorian Ian Harris, “As we graduate and move on to the next chapter in our lives, I want you all to take a moment and think about the ways you have already reached success in life.... Do not let an obsession with what you have not yet accomplished make you forget about what you already have.”
“Many people see graduation as the end, as something that is finite and behind you never to be thought of. While it may be the end of an era, I like to think of graduation as a commencement of greater things to come,” said Issa in her address. “We will take what we have learned here and use it to our advantage in our next steps in life…. I hope that these four years will set a great standard for whatever comes next for us all.”
The courses and programs available to her as a student at Mount Vernon STEAM Academy fueled her interest in the fields of medicine and engineering, propelling her on a course to become a future pediatrician.
“You are STEAM powered. Perseverance, order, wonder, excellence and respect are the values that we all embody,” Principal Dr. Sharon Spencer said. “For this particular class, community is the word that we have heard from everyone who has had the pleasure of meeting with you. Never stop doing that. Wherever you go, support each other and those around you. Lift each other up until we all rise like STEAM is supposed to.”
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