2019 Faculty Distinction Awards Presented

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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!”

Melissa 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.

Faculty Innovation Grantees Announced for 2019

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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.