'Civics, Leadership & Women' take center stage

'Civics, Leadership & Women' take center stage

'Civics, Leadership & Women' was the topic of an engaging and informative presentation by New Rochelle mayor and Ursuline parent, the Honorable Yadira Ramos-Herbert P ‘28. Mayor Ramos-Herbert, the 24th mayor of the City of New Rochelle, serves its residents as the first woman and person of color mayor since her inauguration in January 2024.

The Black History Month event started with a history lesson about the origins of this national month of recognition, courtesy of Social Studies teacher Mr. Chris Talarico. A captive, all-school audience heard about the importance of honoring the accomplishments of Black Americans throughout history and recognizing that much of this history is still a work in progress, a rallying cry for students interested in making a difference.

What started as a seemingly academic event segued to the arts. 

Dance teacher Mrs. Jenne Griffith approached the podium to introduce Corinne Ross '25, who performed an uplifting lyrical dance to the song “Angel.” As Mrs. Griffith explained, the song stresses the importance of being proud of yourself and realizing that "you are an angel made in God's image." 

Ross confided afterward that she was initially nervous at the thought of dancing alone in front of the whole school, but the lyrics eased her nerves. "I felt confident," she smiled. It was evident by the standing ovation she received that confidence is infectious in an all-girls environment.

Following the stunning dance performance, her Honor, Mayor Ramos-Herbert, took center stage to share her insights on the vital role of women in government. She provided an inside peek at life in public office and insights into representative government and the impactful role of women and minorities. Her easy, conversational tone made it clear that the Ursuline community brings her much joy. The mayor struck an engaging, inspiring, and, at times, playful tone as she questioned the audience, leading them through her thought-provoking lesson on the long-term impact of women leaders.

Some of her questions included: 

"How many women, women of color, make up the U.S. population?"
"How many women are elected nationwide?"
"What stops women from running?"
And lastly, "What does a leader look like to you?"

The lively presentation included themes of female leadership, service, and the need to “keep at it" even if “you can't be perfect.” After taking some questions from student representatives in the crowd, the event concluded with a private luncheon attended by members of the Black Essence Club, the student newspaper, and the yearbook staff. Mayor Ramos-Herbert and the students discussed opportunities for young local leaders like Ursuline girls. 

"Don't opt out," said the mayor. "It's important to push yourself up to the table where decisions are being made." Dr. Colleen Melnyk agrees. Says Melnyk, "Now it's our time to make history." Melnyk shares Corinne Ross’ confidence. “I believe Ursuline students are poised to pick up the mantle and make history themselves."


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