Skip To Main Content

Class of 2024 at Mount Vernon STEAM Academy graduates 153 students

Class of 2024 at Mount Vernon STEAM Academy graduates 153 students

In front of a crowd of cheering family members, 153 students graduated from Mount Vernon STEAM Academy’s Class of 2024 on Monday, June 24, 2024. The commencement ceremony was held at Mount Vernon High School, and Stephen Ball, Harvard Law School Dean of Students, delivered the keynote speech. 

Students sitting on stage and clapping.

The commencement started with STEAM 2024 Class President Enmanuel Contreras leading the audience in the “Pledge of Allegiance,” followed by him welcoming families and discussing the growth he and his classmates experienced to earn their diplomas.

Click here to view the full photo gallery.

“We have shared laughter and tears, victories and setbacks,” said Enmanuel. “Through it all, we have grown not only as individuals but also as a united class. The friendships we have forged and the memories we have created will stay with us for a lifetime. As we celebrate today, let us take a moment to reflect on the lessons we've learned.”

Several students and a teacher.

Following the warm welcome, graduating seniors Jayla Bell and Ashley Campbell performed the “Star Spangled Banner” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” before the students heard remarks from Acting Superintendent Dr. K. Veronica Smith.

Click here to view the full photo gallery.

Dr. Smith praised the scholars on their dedication to their education as she urged them to take honor in all that they have accomplished throughout their time in Mount Vernon schools. She emphasized the importance of taking dignity in overcoming challenges, regardless of all the difficulties they have faced. 

Student shaking Dr. Gaboton's hand.

“To our students, all of you have put in great efforts to earn your diplomas and have invested in yourselves to become who you are standing before us,” said Dr. Smith. “I want you to take pride in all that you have accomplished during your time in Mount Vernon schools. You have prevailed and overcome obstacles despite the odds. Graduating high school is such a significant occasion, so I hope you take it in and know that the sky's the limit.”

Click here to view the full photo gallery.

Board of Education President Lorna Kirwan commended the scholars for achieving a monumental milestone in their lives, as she encouraged them to stay connected to one another and give back to the place that helped shape who they are.

10 graduates standing together

“The friendships you have forged and the support you have received throughout your educational journey here in the Mount Vernon City School District from teachers, family and friends are invaluable,” said President Kirwan. “Stay connected, support one another, and give back to the communities that have nurtured you. Never forget where you came from and know that the Mount Vernon City School District is always here to support you."

Click here to view the full photo gallery.

Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson Howard went to the podium to congratulate students and shared life lessons with the crowd.

Student holding graduation cap.

“As you go forward, you don’t have to do this on your own,” she said. “Trust me, you’re going to have, on many days, more questions than you have answers. There’s going to be days where you feel overwhelmed and afraid; and you’re going to want to rush back to the comfort of home, as much as you’re rushing to get out of it. Trust me, home is not so bad when you have to take care of yourself.” 

Click here to view the full photo gallery.

Before hearing from the valedictorian and salutatorian, graduating senior Ahira Ziegler sang “Rise Up” to inspire graduates that no matter how many times they get knocked down, they will always get back up and rise, like steam rises in the air.

Salutatorian Margaret Djamongue highlighted the unique road that this group of graduates has taken to get to where they are.

Family of graduate smiling for the camera.

“While the past four years have flown by, I think we can all agree that our high school experience was anything but ordinary,” said Margaret. “Who could have predicted that our freshman year would begin with remote learning from our bedrooms due to a global pandemic? I still have nightmares about jumping out of my sleep early in the morning thinking I had missed my Zoom class. As difficult as those early mornings were, we adapted to our new normal and continued learning despite the challenges."

Click here to view the full photo gallery.

Valedictorian Damaris Ferrer reflected on the past and encouraged graduates to look back fondly on their commencement, regardless of what it took to get there.

“As I stand here today, I want us to remember this day when we look back 10 or 15 years from now,” said Damaris. “Even if the events of this morning were beyond your control, it's crucial to recognize all the hard work and challenges we've overcome during the past four years. Don’t let anyone or anything ruin this moment. Today is a testament to our perseverance, dedication and growth.”

Standing for graduation.

Principal Dr. Christopher Pearce admired the success of his students as he ensured them that they would be successful throughout their lives, just like they always have been.

Click here to view the full photo gallery.

“You were a success the day you arrived into this world,” said STEAM Principal Dr. Christopher Pearce. “It was your turn to work hard and persevere until success happened. Your PUSH made you a success in pre-K. Your PUSH made you a success from kindergarten to eighth grade. Your PUSH made you a success from ninth grade to the end of your senior year at the STEAM Academy.”

Afterwards, keynote speaker Stephen Ball spoke to the audience about the importance of making mistakes and taking advantage of all that the world has to offer.

“Class of 2024, you’re just as capable as anyone else to achieve what you inspire to achieve,” said Mr. Ball. “And in fact, you’re more capable because you have that grit and that strength that comes from this community right here in Mount Vernon. So don’t be afraid to dream big, knowing that even if you make mistakes along the way, your life is going to help you reach your dream.” 

Then, the 153 graduates turned their tassels and walked across the stage to receive their diplomas, officially making them alumni of the Mount Vernon STEAM Academy. Cheers and applause could be heard as students made their way across the stage to shake hands with STEAM and District administrators, the mayor and Dr. Smith.

Click here to view the full photo gallery.

Valedictorian receiving diploma.

In front of a crowd of cheering family members, 153 students graduated from Mount Vernon STEAM Academy’s Class of 2024 on Monday, June 24, 2024. The commencement ceremony was held at Mount Vernon High School, and Stephen Ball, Harvard Law School Dean of Students, delivered the keynote speech. 

Valedictorian accepting award

On Tuesday, June 11, 2024, Mount Vernon STEAM Academy held its annual Senior Award Convocation event to celebrate high-achieving seniors of the class of 2024. Awards, many of which were monetary, were given to various hard-working seniors for their commitment to academic achievement, community service and sports. Families dressed up and supported their children in being recognized for their accomplishments over the past four years.

View full photo gallery here!

MV STEAM val/sal

The highest honors a student can receive at the end of their high school career is being titled valedictorian or salutatorian, an accomplishment given to those who have worked hard to maintain one of the two highest GPAs in their graduating class. Mount Vernon STEAM Academy has named Damaris Ferrer as its valedictorian and Margaret Djamongue as its salutatorian. 

Instructor teaching students lesson.

Mount Vernon STEAM Academy students competed against each other in a series of physical fitness tests administered by members of the U.S. Army on Friday, May 31, 2024. Classes split up into groups of six, and soldiers guided participants through three workout stations. Students on the winning team were awarded with t-shirts.

Students coloring.

Calming sounds and the soothing smells of aromatherapy emanated from the Mount Vernon STEAM Academy library, as students and staff participated in mental wellness activities. For the culminating activity of Mental Health Awareness Week, the school hosted a wellness fair called the “Zenbrary,” on Friday, May 24, 2024. 

Elijah congratulations

On Wednesday, May 22, 2024, Elijah Buchanan, a Mount Vernon STEAM Academy senior was honored at the Student Advocacy's annual Overcoming the Odds Awards Celebration at the Barbara Walters Campus Center in Bronxville. Members of Mount Vernon STEAM Academy, along with Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Personnel Services Dr. Marie Gaboton-Swift, gathered to participate in the ceremony.