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Knights Celebrated in Parade, Ceremony

For a day, the Knights were kings. Three weeksCelebration after Mount Vernon High School’s varsity basketball team clinched the state Class AA championship – the school’s 12th title – the team members were treated to breakfast at their school, and then rode a parade flatbed throughout the community to all of the district's schools, basking in the cheers of students.

The procession ended at City Hall, where the team was celebrated on the wide steps of Roosevelt Plaza under an arch of maroon and gold balloons.

Team members Dylan Colon and Elijah Morris, both juniors, addressed the crowd, thanking those who made the celebration possible. Colon thanked Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard and his coaches. Finally, he said, “I want to thank everyone who came out here today.”

Morris added a note of thanks to the Police Department for the parade escort – a sentiment that drew a short blast of a police cruiser horn in acknowledgment from the police station across the street. He also thanked his teammates, adding, “I love all of you.”

Patterson-Howard and City Council President Derrick Thompson handed each of the players a congratulatory plaque and a Certificate of Appreciation from the council. Adding to the celebration was the Sticks and Stones drum troupe from William H. Holmes School playing a few lively numbers.

The victory was more than just a state title. When the Knights defeated Green Tech in Glens Falls on March 19, they capped an undefeated 24-0 season.

Assistant Superintendent for School Improvement Dr. Waveline Bennett Conroy summed up the joy of the day.

“It’s about the community – everybody coming together and celebrating these young men,” she said

The mayor celebrated the victory, but also the excellence of character the players exhibit every day.

“You have to carry yourself with pride, with respect, with dignity, with character,” she said. “They continue to demonstrate this. And this is why we are celebrating them.”

The day started off with a breakfast where the team and coaches were honored by school district and Mount Vernon High School administrators, as well as school board members.

Superintendent Dr. Kenneth R. Hamilton, who was speaking via Zoom as he was recovering from knee surgery, thanked everyone who was involved in this accomplishment – the players, the coaches, the parents, the cheerleaders.

“To our state champions, I have been blown away by the discipline I have seen this team display. Your precision on and off the court has just been extraordinary. And, there’s no doubt your commitment to the district and, more importantly, to your coaches is one of the reasons I am proud of you,” he said. “The qualities that I’ve seen you display as men of character and dignity – and your commitment to work together – those are skills that will take you anywhere in life that you want to go.”

Before thanking each of his coaching staff and supporting staff, Coach Bob Cimmino said that this team is the most unselfish team he has ever coached.

“It’s not even close. They really like each other. There was never a negative face in the huddle all year and they just got better and better and better,” he said. “This team was like a chameleon. They were able to adapt to the surroundings. Able to adapt to the opponents and they just kept on going. We had different heroes throughout the course of the year. And, they were humble heroes. I love them all.”

After plaque presentations – including one renaming the school auditorium in Coach Cimmino’s honor – MVHS Principal Matthew Gonzales turned to talk to the team directly.

“What you represent is the fact that it can be done. So, that is the legacy I want to leave you with,” he said. “You are helping this community realize that you can do it. And that is our collective work as a school, as a community, but it is also your work. So thank you for your legacy, basketball team. Thank you for your work. Thank you everyone who supported them and thank you all for being here today.”