William “Billy” Thomas: Denzel Washington Mentor and Mount Vernon Legend

Billy Thomas Way

William “Billy” Thomas began working at the Mount Vernon Boys’ Club (MVBC) in 1955. Over the next 22 years he rose from athletic to program to camp and finally to Executive Director. In 1968, he was drafted into the United States Army and serve in Vietnam. Mr. Thomas also worked for over 20 years in the New Rochelle School District as a special education teacher.
ACBAW

From left, Saleem Sullivan, president of the board, curator Billy Thomas and treasurer Ennis Bennett at the center in Mount Vernon Jan. 3, 2017. (Photo: Tania Savayan/The Journal News)

Mr. Thomas is currently the curator of an exhibit at The  (AC-BAW) that marks the organization’s 40th year. The exhibit features gallery-sized commemorative U.S. Postal Service stamps that heralds the achievements of 173 African Americans.

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Northeast STEM Starter Academy

The mission of Northeast STEM Starter Academy (NSSA) is to introduce the marvels of technology and science (STEM) to underserved children through a cutting-edge informal educational center.

Based on recent events, NSSA considers themselves one step closer to realizing a building that will allow them to host a science and technology center enabling the engagement of all 9000 students in the Mount Vernon Public School System twice each school year. The three-hour educational tour for every student in every school of the planned facility will provide access and exposure to state-of-the-art interactive displays and exhibits, science and technology labs, tech-theater, classrooms and many other exciting elements that can change the lives of youngsters eager to learn and pursue careers within the STEM field. While the initial tour of the facility will get their attention, a collection of after-school, weekend and summer learning programs will be available to empower them to see and realize their future as doctors, scientist, engineers, technologists and astronauts.
NSSA has received support from the local school district. Dr. Kenneth Hamilton took over the Mount Vernon city school district as superintendent in August 2014, and some of the first conversations he had with colleagues were about expanding students’ access to STEM.

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Sadat X and Will Tell are Serious about Wine

Sadat X and Will Tell

Sadat X and Will Tell at Apricots & Honey Wine and Spirits in Mount Vernon, NY

I caught a Facebook post about Hip Hop God Sadat X and legendary Hip Hop producer Will Tell being at Apricots & Honey Wine and Spirits for a wine tasting. I thought it might be interesting since I never seen a wine label quite like this before. Both their red and white wines turned out to be very good, but the story behind the wine turned out to be far more fascinating.

True Wine Connoisseurs

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Closing The Achievement Gap in Mount Vernon

The Forgotten Female Programmers Who Created Modern Tech

Hidden Figures

Mary Jackson

Mary Jackson grew up in Hampton, Virginia. After graduating with highest honors from high school, she then continued her education at Hampton Institute, earning her Bachelor of Science Degrees in Mathematics and Physical Science. Following graduation, Mary taught in Maryland prior to joining NASA. Mary retired from the NASA Langley Research Center in 1985 as an Aeronautical Engineer after 34 years.
Credits: NASA

Decades ago, women pioneered computer programming — but too often, that’s a part of history that even the smartest people don’t know. There is more about the pioneering women of computer programming below.
The Achievement Gap
For decades, educators have struggled to close the “achievement gap,” the persistent differences in test scores, grades and graduation rates among students of different races, ethnicities and, in some subjects, genders.
When it comes to technology skills, the U.S. comes in last place — right below Poland. In addition, there was a significant racial difference with non-whites scoring below whites.

The Genius Farm

We taught a class in Larchmont on Unity programming.
Psychologists are finding evidence that short, simple interventions can make a surprisingly large difference. Terrance Jackson, the publisher of Pistis, adopted some of these simple interventions in a class called “Creating Computer Games with Terrance Jackson” that was offered to local 5th-8th graders at Larchmont Library. The game that they created using the Unity game engine is below. Pokémon Go uses Unity. We are raising money to expand this program into Mount Vernon, NY.
Roll-a-Ball

Roll-a-Ball

Click here to play.

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Mount Vernon Magazine: Digital Ads Suck & Google is an Old Business

The new model of advertising and branding demands that companies improve public life and satisfy the needs of our higher sacred selves.

Mount Vernon Magazine

Click the image above for a rough draft of Mount Vernon Magazine.

ChartOfTheDay_709_Google_s_ad_revenue_since_2004_n
Ad Spending

Google has more revenue than all U.S. print newspapers and magazines combined.
Yet direct mail is still the biggest single direct marketing channel, worth around $45 billion a year in the US alone. But it’s increasingly clear that printed marketing communications work best when used in conjunction with digital channels such as email, personalized web pages (PURLs), database marketing, and mobile elements.

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Mount Vernon Murder Victims 2016

Shamoya McKenzie

Shamoya McKenzie

13-year-old Shemoya was fatally shot in the head by a stray bullet while riding home from basketball practice on New Year’s Eve. Shemoya, an eighth grader at the Graham School was a rising star on her school’s basketball team who dreamed of playing for the UConn women’s team. .
UConn officially made Shamoya McKenzie an honorary member of the UConn women’s basketball program Friday, complete with a No. 30 jersey to match her number at Mount Vernon. A letter enclosed in a package ended with, “Once a Husky, Always a Husky.”

UConn

O’Neil Bandoo

O'Neal Bandoo

O’Neal was the 40-year-old owner of The Mansion nightclub who was shot and killed at his club on Christmas Day.

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Fake News & Rethinking Digital Capitalism

Seven Magazine

Click the image above for
A rough draft of Seven Magazine.
Just as climate change is the natural byproduct of fossil capitalism, so is fake news the byproduct of digital capitalism.

market-cap

As described in Steve Denning’s Forbes article, “Roger Martin: How ‘The Talent’ Turned Into Vampires:”
How did America—a country dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal—become one of the most unequal countries on the planet? Why do the nation’s leaders now spend so much of their time feeding at the trough and getting ever more for themselves? Why has public-mindedness in our leaders given way in so many instances to limitless greed?
These questions are being raised, not in some anti-capitalist rag from the extreme Left, but in the staid pro-business pages of the Harvard Business Review, in a seminal article by Roger Martin, the former dean of the Rotman School of Business and the academic director of the Martin Prosperity Institute: “The Rise and (Likely) Fall of the Talent Economy.
One key factor, argues Martin, is a fundamental shift in nature of the economy. Fifty years ago, “72% of the top 50 U.S. companies by market capitalization still owed their positions to the control and exploitation of natural resources.” But in the latter part of the 20th century, a new kind of organization began to emerge: an organization that prospered not by natural resources but through “the control and exploitation of human talent.”
We need to build a world where Facebook and Google neither wield much clout nor monopolise problem-solving.

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