Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

“Rise of Black and Brown Males in Education Forum” at Peekskill Youth Bureau

Rise of Black and Brown Males in Education Forum at Peekskill Youth Bureau

The Black Diamonds Academic Success Program, in partnership with the African American Men of Westchester and the City of Peekskill Youth Bureau, is hosting a “Rise of Black and Brown Males in Education Forum” on Wednesday, March 27th from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm at the Peekskill Youth Bureau

At this Education Forum, participants will be able to hear from high school students, administrators and college faculty members about some dynamic programs that are having an impact on Black and Brown male student achievement. Joining the panel discussion and will be Dr. David Mauricio – Superintendent of Peekskill City Schools, Dr. Scorpio Rogers – Vice President of Community Relations & Government Affairs at Mercy University, Dr. Oumar Sarr – Teacher & MBK Coordinator at Ossining High School, Dr. Bert Shillingford Program Director – Automotive Technology at Rockland Community College, and Mr. Erik Wright – Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education of the Yonkers Public Schools.

This event is free and open to the public, especially parents. Food will be provided courtesy of the African American Men of Westchester. This event is filling up quickly. To register for this event in advance and secure your seat, click here. For more information about the forum, please contact Martin McDonald at [email protected].  


The Black Diamonds Academic Success Program is a program geared to students in grades 9 through 12 has students of all levels of academic achievement, ranging from high achieving students to students that are at risk of dropping out. The program is committed to working with the students, the parents, and the school district to effectively engage the student so that they take ownership and internalize the belief that they can and will succeed academically. 

Longtime Peekskill resident Martin McDonald launched the Black Diamonds Success Academy in 2018. McDonald firmly believes, “that if students don’t see themselves in the picture of education, they will not be motivated to do their best.” That was one of the main reasons he helped launch the program. He wanted to help young Black and Brown students see the success stories and achieve that success for themselves. McDonald notes, “The Black Diamonds, and the events it sponsors, not only help students see themselves in what they are learning, but help them use their voice to speak up and be leaders. An empowered student is a confident student, and a confident student is more likely to succeed. That confidence is what makes a Black Diamond shine.”  

The Black Diamonds Success Academy focuses on three main areas to help students achieve success. These are students’ attendance, homework and behavior. Black Diamonds President, Martin McDonald explains,”the program focuses on the fundamental beliefs that a student must be in school, and attend daily to be successful. Part of that success is directly connected to homework and appropriate behavior.” McDonald continued, “The Black Diamonds Academic Success Program helps build student’s character, emotional intelligence, and personal independence to strengthen their overall personal development.” 

Since 2018, the Black Diamonds Academic Success Academy has been exactly that. The program has had 100 percent of Black Diamond members graduate from high school on time and more prepared for life after high school. There are approximately 20 to 25 students each year in the program. Graduated members have gone on to attend distinguished schools such as Alfred University, Morgan State, Manhattanville, Cazenovia College, Hampton University, Morrisville State, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Oswego, University at Buffalo, amongst others. To hear success stories from Black Diamonds who have graduated and are currently in college, visit the Black Diamonds Alumni page.


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About the Contributor
As a Peekskill native, Dave is thrilled to be working with the Peekskill Herald showcasing featured calendar events. A 1999 graduate of PHS, he remembers reading and enjoying the original weekly print edition of the Peekskill Herald every Thursday. He especially liked the political stories, local features and sports coverage when it was written by Peekskill Runner columnist Jack Burns who always managed to weave history into the running times. An avid hiker, he enjoys exploring the local trails as well as the concrete ones in his job as a conductor for Metro North Railroad. He’s a former teacher and co-founder of the Friends of the Peekskill Dog Park, where he frequently can be found with his Koda. He’s happy to be part of the Herald’s growth as the source of local news for Peekskill and looks forward to highlighting a few of many of the events and happenings in Peekskill and the surrounding communities. Reach Dave at [email protected]