In 1985, John Cougar Mellencamp wrote the song “Small Town”. In 2013, Mellencamp told Rolling Stone, "I wanted to write a song that said, 'You don't have to live in New York or Los Angeles to live a full life or enjoy your life.' I was never one of those guys that grew up and thought, 'I need to get out of here.' It never dawned on me. I just valued having a family and staying close to friends.”
These sentiments have resonated with me since I moved to this community 36 years ago. You can have “a full life or enjoy your life” in Mt. Vernon. We have an incredible community in which to live and raise our children. We have all the benefits of living in a small town, but we are within a few hours of four major cities. We have an excellent school system that provides many opportunities for our students. People are always willing to help someone in need, which is not always true in other places. Mt. Vernon is a safe place for children to grow up.
In our schools, our sense of community is constantly on display. Our students help elementary students in our Peer Facilitator course. Student-athletes and band members volunteer to take All In Friday pep sessions on the road to our elementary schools and local businesses such as The Cox Group and CountryMark. We had an excellent turnout for our Homecoming Festival several weeks ago, and we are hosting an All In Friday Community Partner Tailgate event tonight before the football game. This event showcases many of our local businesses and philanthropic organizations, many of which we have strong partnerships.
Our community spirit is also evidenced in smaller, everyday acts of kindness. Each month, our various departments select students to be “Wildcat of the Month.” These students contribute to a positive school culture and community by exemplifying kindness, hard work, good manners, and a commitment to helping others.
Much like John Cougar Mellencamp's "Small Town" anthem, this community has demonstrated that a rich and meaningful life can thrive far from the bustling metropolises. It's a place where family values, close-knit friendships, and a commitment to helping others define the essence of daily life.
Wildcats of the Month for September of 2023: Jack C., Halie D., Olivia G., Lily H., Reese H., Maiya J., Kiearra K., Jake L., and Mikayla M. (Not in the picture: Nate H. & Cassidy J.)