MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - The prominent Mount Vernon organization has found a way to honor the man who was largely responsible for bringing pre-school education opportunities to the city’s children.
The Friendship Worship Center honored School Superintendent Kenneth Hamilton, in “recognition of (his) commitment to early childhood education and student success,” and his “ongoing commitment to begin the process of ensuring student success by starting the education process at an early age.
For years, Mount Vernon students had few or no opportunities to start the learning process, until Hamilton came to the district in 2014 and emphasized its importance. Under his “20/20 Vision” for the district, Pennington, Holmes, Traphagen, Lincoln and Columbus Elementary Schools became Pre-K-8 buildings; Williams, Grimes, Graham, Turner and Hamilton became K-8 with the new Parker Early Learning Center for pre-kindergarten programs; with the Turner schools providing a K-5 and 6-8 model.
To honor Hamilton’s commitment to education in Mount Vernon, the Friendship Worship Center named its new Pre-K classroom in his honor.
“He’s an entrepreneur, a trail blazer, relevant to the 21st Century,” Bishop C. Nathan Edwers said. “Early childhood education is where we need to be, to have a level playing field with other developed industrialized countries.”
Hamilton said that he was most gratified to see how the community “came together to create a place which instills a love of learning at an early age. He said that would help set the stage for future academic success for students.
“This classroom is symbolic of our collective efforts to make sure that we are educating all of our kids and getting them in as young as we can in order to close the achievement gap and increase opportunities for success,” he said. “I think the collaboration between faith organizations, the worship center, community organizations, elected officials and all of these entities coming together will improve opportunities for our children - opportunities, by the way, that will outlive all of us.
“Schools, alone, can’t do it. The mistake that a lot of communities make is that they expect schools are able to do it do on their own without recognizing that parents play a significant role and that the community plays a significant role. Together, we get a lot more traction than we can separately or individually or divisively.”
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.