Friends of CRLS is thrilled to welcome Alem, our media & research assistant this summer, courtesy of the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program (MSYEP). She has been researching ways we can energize our fundraising efforts and will be posting on our social media and website.
We asked Alem to tell us about herself:
“My name is Alem Abraham Cherinet and I am a rising sophomore at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. My favorite subject in school is math, because I just love solving problems especially the ones that have to do with numbers. I also play volleyball at the school and on my free time. When I grow up I want to become a Cardiovascular Nurse Practitioner, and my dream college is UMass Boston. I’m very delighted to have been picked to work with FOCRLS, and I have had a great experience so far!”
Alem has already contributed to the smooth running of our organization, and we know she’ll boost our productivity.
Zora, who was our student assistant for four-and-a-half fleeting months, made a major impact on our work and morale here in the FOCRLS office. One of her major contributions was being our official Spring Bash photographer, taking well over a hundred images at our biggest fundraiser of the year. She also took photos of FOCRLS mascot Friendly the Falcon around the school, livened up our social media, designed flyers she posted on numerous bulletin boards, and created several cheery graphics we used to promote our Spring Raffle. In addition to putting her varied skills to use, Zora brought a refreshing and informative point of view to FOCRLS, made us laugh, and charmed everyone she met. Her last day with us was Thursday, June 13, as her school year drew to a close and summer beckoned her. We miss her already and are grateful for her being with us for a memorable semester.
Mr. MacLaury, Ms. Chaney, Dr. Lam, and Mr. Dagher honored by CRLS Class of 2019
Four of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School’s most beloved
and skillful teachers took the stage at the high school’s graduation ceremony
on Thursday, June 6, 2019 to receive Faculty Distinction Awards. Duncan MacLaury, Melissa Chaney, Eva Lam, and Ibrahim
Dagher were nominated by members of the CRLS Class of 2019 for having the
most positive influence on their high school years. For the thirteenth consecutive year, Friends
of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, a nonprofit association supporting
opportunities at the high school, sponsored the awards, providing framed
certificates and helping to convey the students’ admiration and gratitude.
Duncan MacLaury has been a U.S. History teacher at CRLS
since 2016. He earned both his Bachelor of Arts in History and Master of Arts
in Teaching from Tufts University, in 2013 and 2014, respectively. In 2018, his
research on the Black Panther Party of Boston was published in the edited
collection, The Black Panther Party in a City Near You. Duncan is
grateful to be teaching young people, and in particular, the diversity of youth
in Cambridge, about history each day. By using complex primary sources and
scholarly texts in his classes, he engages students to study history and its
importance to the world. His teaching pedagogy strives to uplift the voices of
people marginalized in the traditional study of U.S. History and emphasize the
power of people in making change in the world. By providing students with tools
to use as active agents of progress, he encourages them to create the world in
which they wish to live. One nominating
student wrote, “Mr. MacLaury’s style of teaching is very accessible, and he can
reach many different students and keep everyone engaged with the material. I think Mr. MacLaury deserves a lot of
appreciation for his teaching, and I love being in his class!”
Chaney is an artist and educator who has been teaching art for 20 years. She
has been at CRLS since 2015, beginning at the High School Extension Program,
where she taught for 8 years. Her earlier years involved teaching at a
therapeutic school for adolescents. She holds a Master’s Degree from Lesley
University in Creative Arts in Learning and a BFA from The New York State
College of Ceramics at Alfred University. She has taught as adjunct faculty at
MassArt and received the Massachusetts State Universities Educator Alumni Award
in 2016. Ms. Chaney believes in encouraging all students to create their best
work and to find their own unique artistic voices by creating a positive and
supportive learning environment that focuses on students’ strengths and
potential. One nominating student wrote,
“I have taken three art classes with Ms. Chaney, and she is one of the most
supportive and encouraging teachers I have ever had. She cares about her students as people, not
just in the classroom, and wants us to learn and grow in an encouraging
environment. I really love how she takes
time to engage individually with each student, and I would have taken so many
more classes with her if I could!”
Eva Lam is finishing her
first year of teaching AP World History and AP Comparative Government and
Politics at CRLS. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies from Harvard
University and a doctorate in education from the University of Oxford. Her
classes encourage students to develop a broader perspective on the world and to
seek a deeper understanding of history and politics. She strives to make
complex questions understandable, but not simple. Eva is grateful to her students, and
particularly to the Class of 2019, for their curiosity, their hard work, and
their excellent sense of humor. One
nominating student wrote, “Dr. Lam is not only an effective teacher but one with a
contagious enthusiasm for the subjects she teaches. By the time I was finished
with AP World History, I was equipped with not just a vast array of knowledge
but the critical thinking skills to dissect and breakdown information. She is
also one of the most compassionate teachers at Rindge, knowing when to pause
and give students time to process, and she is more than happy to be there for
students. Dr. Lam is amazing as a teacher and as a human being.”
Ibrahim Dagher has survived wars, economic meltdowns
and, now, 10 years of teaching at CRLS. He holds a Bachelor of
Science in Economics from Northeastern University and a Master’s Degree in
Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School. Mr. Dagher pioneered CRLS’s Arabic Language
Program, developing its curriculum, and growing it to four levels serving over
150 students per year. He encourages his
students to be open and fair-minded freethinkers, driven by inquiry and sound
principles, resistant to any herd mentality or prejudgment and, underneath it
all, laughing and maintaining a sense of humor as a skill to help them through
their own journeys of survivorship. Mr. Dagher is the proud advisor of the
school’s UNICEF and Arabic Clubs and serves on the CRLS Extra Curricular
Committee. One nominating student wrote,
“Mr. Dagher taught me so much and is the reason I’m going to study Arabic in
college. He wasn’t afraid to stray from
the strict curriculum — to talk to us about life, ask how we were doing, laugh
— but still got through a ton of material in a very thoughtful, methodical
way. He works harder than he has to and
brings so much positive energy into the day of his students.”
Friends of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School joins the
graduates in thanking these four extraordinary teachers for making high school
education an inspiring and meaningful experience.
To learn more about Friends of Cambridge Rindge and Latin
School, volunteer, donate, establish a scholarship, or add your business to the
roster of “100 by 100” Cambridge Business Community STEAM Scholarships”
sponsors, please visit focrls.org, email [email protected], or call 857-235-9290.
Congratulations to our 2019 Faculty Innovation Grantees! These CRLS teachers and advisers will be energizing education with a little help from Friends of CRLS. Grants are up to $1,000 each to fund these projects. Our total number of grantees since 2007 is now 205.
David Figueroa,Teacher, ELL Department (pictured above) — “The Common Ground through Dance Initiative” to provide workshops led by Jean Appolon, director of Haitian contemporary dance company JAE, addressing themes of identity through dance and movement.
Alvaro Amaral and Shantu Salvi, Health and Wellness Teachers — “Development of Nutrition Education Curriculum with Healthy Foods” to make the Nutrition course in the wellness department more skills-based and engaging by introducing students to new foods and new ways to prepare food.
Sandra Cañas, Enroot Program Director, and Juan Casillas, Faculty Latino Club Adviser— “African American and African Caribbean Showcase / Latino Club” to bring performers to CRLS to showcase the different music and dances from Afro Caribbean cultures at an event organized by students.
Brett Cramp, Drama Teacher— “Guest Artist Theater Maker & Choreographer” to collaborate with dancer/choreographer/actor Junior Cius, a CRLS alum, on an original physical theater piece.
Vera Duarte, Teacher-in-Charge, ELL Department — “Bringing the Prom Experience to Immigrant Youth” to provide half-price prom tickets to English Language Learners so money is no barrier to immersing themselves in the CRLS community.
Charlotte Dumont, Teacher, ELL Department — “CRLS Department of English Language Learners Community Building Project” to foster a sense of belonging in the school community by presenting CRLS t-shirts and hoodies as prizes and awards to deserving students at ELL events.
William McDonald, Biology Teacher — “Antibiotic Resistance Lab” to give students the opportunity to witness evolution in real time over the course of two weeks using current lab researcher techniques.
Emmanuel Oppong-Yeboah, 11th Grade English Teacher— “CRLS Open Mic + Poetry Series” to invite local poets to share their craft, working towards creating a youth-centered space for expression.
Drew Pierce, Math Teacher at HSEP — for students to spend 3 days exploring the trails and learning about environmental science, ecology, culinary arts, and leadership at the Noble View Outdoor Center in Russell MA.
Ivan Stefanov,Chorus Teacher, A Cappella Adviser— “A Cappella Guest Artist” to invite producer Evan Linsey to work with CRLS a cappella students in learning techniques characteristic of collegiate groups.
Laura Umbro,Music Teacher— “CRLS Chamber Music Collaboration” to invite chamber music professionals from Longy School of Music and Radius Ensemble to perform, facilitate master classes, and coach student musicians.
Susie Van Blaricum, Adviser to CRLS Student Government Junior Representatives — “Junior Prom” to provide a more cost effective dance for 11th graders, with a large number students involved in planning.
After twelve incredible years co-founding, volunteering with, and becoming the first Executive Director of Friends of CRLS, I am retiring from this position effective August 31. My time with FOCRLS the non-profit organization has unquestionably been the best work experience of my life. As a “first generation” daughter of parents who didn’t have the opportunity to attend college and a mom who got her high school diploma when I was in 10th grade, Friends of CRLS gave me the unique pleasure of helping to support many students in similar and much more challenging circumstances.
Despite warnings to the contrary, I felt from the start in 2006, that we were in exactly the right place at the right time to make a success of Friends of CRLS. After all, social justice was and is a core value of our school system as a whole, and at CRLS systems were in place to advance opportunities and nurture students along a path to college which, without support, can be overwhelming and discouraging.
Starting with a few small donations and a green light from then-Principal Chris Saheed that has continued unabated with the support of Principal Damon Smith, we started a faculty innovation grant program and over time were able to add on college scholarships, an unsung heroes program, student travel fellowships, a college-readiness program, and faculty distinction awards.
We knew that if we were going to live up to our mission of “engaging the whole Cambridge community in supporting our students” we needed to move well beyond CRLS to independent businesses, universities, global corporations, foundations, city leaders, and alumni. We now have valued partners among all of these groups. We work hard at making CRLS visible as the incubator of diverse young talent that it is – talent that is worthy not of their charity, but of their investment. The message appears to be working; our 12-year donation total recently topped a stunning $1,000,000!
I leave as executive director knowing that our programs are having a significant impact on students’ aspirations and perspectives on the world. I’m proud of the fact that the FOCRLS organization and its mission to create opportunity and investment is respected and increasingly supported throughout much of the Cambridge community. Our foundation is secure, and FOCRLS is positioned to bridge the effects of income inequality at CRLS for as long as it is needed.
My gratitude goes to all who have been supportive of FOCRLS and of me personally and professionally: our board and advisory council members, CRLS administrators and staff, our many parent and student volunteers, donors and sponsors, and the CRLS students and teachers who inspire us with their energy, talent, and commitment to make the world a better place. Without them, Friends of CRLS would not be as strong and vibrant as it is. I am honored to have been the leader of FOCRLS and will watch with much excitement and anticipation as Friends of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School makes new strides to narrow the gap between family income and educational opportunity.
I’ll be using the period ahead to give my attention to pressing personal matters that I’ve postponed for too long, but I plan to continue to support CRLS and Friends of CRLS wherever I can be of help.
Xolotl, our Class of 2018 recipient of the CRLS Core Values Scholarship and the Colonel & Mrs. Henry Bayard McCoy Memorial Scholarship, now enrolled at Stanford University, told us:
“I am on a journey to learn about the link between masculinity and violence. At Stanford University, I hope to further this journey by studying how societal norms related to gender, sexuality, and racism place particular constraints on men of color. As a major in anthropology with a minor in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, I hope to study masculinity and racism. My long-term aspirations are to one day become a professor who can write, teach, and research about Latinx masculinity and gender, and the unseen impact it has on people’s everyday lives.”
Mikayla, CRLS Class of 2018 recipient of the CRLS Core Values Scholarship, now enrolled at UMass Boston, told us:
“My plan is to go into the nursing major to receive my Bachelor’s Degree, work as a registered nurse to gain some work experience in the field, then eventually go back to graduate school, obtain my Master’s Degree in Nursing, and become a psychiatric nurse. Another one of my goals during my junior and senior year of college is to travel abroad and do internships where I can have the opportunity to work in hospitals in different countries and provide medical care for those who do not have the money to afford efficient medical care.”
Shaina, CRLS Class of 2018 recipient of the Friends of CRLS First Scholars Award, now enrolled at Salem State University, told us:
“One of my personal goals is to become a Neonatal Nurse because I have a strong love for babies. I also want to help ease families’ responsibility while taking care of newborns. My other goal is to go back to my country, Haiti, to build a hospital, because in Haiti, not a lot of mothers have the access to give birth at a hospital. This scholarship will help me achieve my passion’s goal, because I will be able to stay focused on my career instead of thinking about how I will repay loans.”
Joshua, CRLS Class of 2018 recipient of the Mary Frances Monti Scholarship, who is enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, told us:
“I really see the genuine worth in maintaining literature in our modern society. I want to pursue literature in any medium that allows me to share it with the world and those around me. The infinite open-endedness of literature allows for a deeper sense of individualism while simultaneously pulling us closer together – and being able to show it and introduce it to others is a real and significant dream I will not give up on.”
FOCRLS is delighted to welcome Ezra, our wonderful summer 2018 Administrative Assistant, courtesy of the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program (MYSEP)! Ezra Howe is a Class of 2020 student at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School and began working with us on July 2nd. Over the summer, Ezra will be helping with our social media, the Friends of CRLS website, and local outreach in Cambridge. He is looking forward to helping us raise money for programs that will help Cambridge youth like him get scholarships and go on trips around the world.