Don't rename the Nellie A Thornton's school

Don't rename the Nellie A Thornton's school

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Gabrielle Thornton started this petition to MVCSD

  Nellie Arzelia Strong-Thornton came to Mount Vernon with her mother, father and older sister Brenda at the age of 3. She started and completed her education in Mount Vernon Public School District. After graduating from Fisk University in Tennessee, she came back to Mount Vernon and took on the role of elementary school teacher. A few years later she was placed in the role as principal at Washington Elementary School. She was the Principal for 22 years and during that time she treated that duty as her greatest responsibility. She ensured that her students, many of whom were classified as either low income or at risk, had daily meals, school supplies, and never felt less than anyone else. She encouraged them all and even worked hard to see that her school became a performing arts magnet school. Annually the students, staff and herself included would perform Broadway worthy performances for the community of Mount Vernon. This allowed her to be able to give her students a chance to showcase their talents and abilities in ways never before seen. Mrs. Thornton also fought hard to obtain outside donations to ensure each student had the opportunity to go on school field trips to see and experience all that they could at no cost to their family. She also made sure the parents were given opportunities to finish and further their education. At her school, she had GED classes and even brought Mercy College in so those in the community could attend and work towards a Bachelor’s degree. This is just a brief highlight of the contributions that Mrs. Nellie A. Thornton had on the community of Mount Vernon, New York. Meanwhile on the national level, the organizations that Nellie Thornton was a part of she was able to help guide, mentor and mold youth all around the country into becoming impactful productive citizens. After her untimely passing in 1995, the Mount Vernon school district gave her one of the highest honors by renaming Washington Elementary School to Nellie A. Thornton Performing Arts Magnet School. Since that time it has moved on from being an elementary school to what now stands as Nellie A Thornton High School.


There currently is a vision for Mount Vernon Schools to have a performing arts high school in the city.  Since 2015, the Thornton family have heard about discussions being had to house this performing arts school in the Nellie A Thornton High School.  Initially, this was something that the family would support.  It would mimic not only her vision but what she was able to achieve with her students on an elementary school level. However, the last piece of that vision is to change the name of the building.  It is now confirmed that school district officials are looking to change that name to The Denzel Washington Performing Arts Academy.  The current school principal Dr. Evelyn Collins, Superintendent Dr. Kenneth R. Hamilton and the School Board of Trustees are looking at resolutions for a way to continue to honor Mrs. Nellie A. Thornton’s memory by potentially renaming the street or renaming another school after her. They have reached out to the Thornton family representative Gabrielle Thornton-Hunter to discuss this matter.  She has conveyed the family's disapproval of any change with regards to removing Nellie A. Thornton’s name from the building because of the generational impact that her mother made within the Mount Vernon community. 


The Thornton Family thanks everyone for their support and help with continuing to keep the legacy of Nellie A. Strong-Thornton intact.  Although it has been 25 years since her passing those in charge need a reminder that her legacy still matters to this community. The Board of Trustees ultimately are the ones to decide on a school's name.  The Thornton family is asking for your help by signing this petition.  You can also help by contacting the school, superintendent's office and the Board of Trustees with your personal thoughts on not only the name change but with what Nellie A. Thornton meant to you.  You can contact via phone, email or in writing.

 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 5,000!
At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!