We hope you’ll read, enjoy, and be inspired by the content that we’ve collected in our new annual report to remind you that by donating to Friends of CRLS you’re investing in the future – not just these students’ futures, but in the future for all of us.
Photos and quotations from many of our Class of 2020 scholarship awardees who are now starting their first year in college. See their rosy faces and read their own words about their plans, how scholarships bring their goals closer, and their thanks for your support.
Thank You to Salman, our youth from the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program (MSYEP). He’s been gathering interviews with our 2020 scholarship awardees and Bash event sponsors. Being able to share the impact that college scholarships make in students’ lives and some of the reasons sponsors decide to support Friends of CRLS’s programs will help us raise funds for future College Scholarships, Faculty Innovation Grants, and Student Travel Fellowships.
Here’s a bit about him:
“My name is Salman, and I am a rising junior at the Belmont Hill School. My favorite sport is soccer and I have been playing competitively for about 10 years now. I am from Cambridge and attended VLUS for middle school and went to the Haggerty School for elementary school. I am very excited to be working with Friends of CRLS this summer!”
Enjoy the rest of summer, Salman, and have a great junior year!
Friends of Cambridge Rindge & Latin School (FOCRLS) would like to share with the community an appreciation of Christopher Saheed, who was a key collaborator in forming our organization. As the high school’s principal at the time, he provided invaluable advice and encouragement to Elaine Schear and Donna Spiegelman, the two CRLS parents who founded our non-profit in 2006 to support opportunities for students, graduates, and faculty. “Although we were brand new CRLS parents when we approached Dr. Saheed about starting a non-profit, he didn’t flinch. He even made sure FOCRLS had an office at the school,” said Dr. Schear. “We soon were offering grants to faculty for innovative projects – his idea for how to support a range of students and faculty and become visible at the school. This was Chris: purposeful, down-to-earth, supportive.” Since 2007, FOCRLS has awarded Faculty Innovation Grants, each up to $1,000, to 235 teachers, club advisers, counselors, librarians, social workers, and administrators for projects expanding the curriculum beyond the normal budget.
Dr. Saheed, who held degrees from Tufts, Suffolk, and Harvard universities, retired from CRLS in 2011 and then moved to Florida. He succumbed to pancreatic cancer on June 25, 2020, after a three-year battle.
When FOCRLS reached out to James Maloney, Chief Operating Officer of the District (Cambridge Public Schools), for a memory about Dr. Saheed, he responded, “I had the good fortune of working closely with Chris during his years as the principal of CRLS on the renovation of the high school. I was struck by his calm, knowledgeable and caring demeanor. All of the buildings on the campus today reflect his vision for the school. In many ways the high school campus is a living memorial to his passion for the students of Cambridge. He was a tremendous leader.”
In honor of his retirement and through the generosity of an anonymous benefactor, FOCRLS established a scholarship named after Dr. Saheed. Since 2012, FOCRLS has awarded fourteen of these $1,000 scholarships to ease college costs for academically and financially qualified CRLS seniors planning to pursue careers in the field of education. FOCRLS has expanded our scholarship offerings each year, with 38 college scholarships totaling $55,500 awarded to members of the CRLS Class of 2020 with a range of aspirations and backgrounds.
Jesse Lowe, Class of 2020 awardee of the Dr. Christopher Saheed Future Educators Scholarship, said, “Dr. Saheed sounds like an incredible man, and reading about his life makes me even more grateful to be receiving an award in his name.” Jesse, whose parents are both also educators, will be starting at Clark University this fall.
Around the time of his diagnosis, Dr. Saheed contributed $5,000 to the fund, becoming the sponsor of the annual scholarship from 2018 through 2022. Several of Dr. Saheed’s friends recently donated in his memory, some providing moving tributes.
Ed Hashek and John Jors said, “Christopher and his husband Stephen Nonack have been our best friends for a number of years. He will be truly missed – such a generous, intelligent, and caring person.”
Dr. Saheed shared 43 of his 67 years with Stephen Z. Nonack, who also studied at Tufts University ⎼ where the two met in 1973 before making their relationship permanent in 1977 ⎼ as well as Simmons University and UMass Boston, and built his career at the Boston Athenæum as an archivist and librarian.
“Dr. Saheed was a gentle, inspiring educator, and an exceptional human being,” said friend Patrick Ladden, an educator and museum director. “It took many months before he disclosed his own background and education achievements, as he mostly was enthusiastic to talk about CRLS, not himself.”
Dr. Saheed’s enthusiasm, generosity of spirit, and caring personality will be missed by numerous people, and even those who never had the pleasure of meeting him will continue to feel his influence.
To help carry on the Dr. Christopher Saheed Future Educators Scholarship, please visit this donation page>>.
Congratulations and Thank You to Jahmaya, our Class of 2020 awardee of the Patrick Ewing Scholarship!
“I am writing to express my sincere gratitude to you for making the Patrick Ewing Scholarship possible. I was thrilled to learn of my selection for this honor and I am deeply appreciative of your support.
The college I am attending is Allegheny College, where I will be majoring in criminal justice and minoring in political science. One day I hope to become a judge.
I would like to thank you once again for selecting me for the scholarship and I vow to make use of the money in college by maintaining good grades in college. By awarding me the Patrick Ewing Scholarship, you have lightened my financial burden which allows me to focus more on the most important aspect of school, learning. Your generosity has inspired me to help others and give back to the community. I hope one day I will be able to help students achieve their goals just as you have helped me.”
Congratulations and Thank You to Ralph, CRLS Class of 2020 awardee of the Mary Frances Monti Scholarship!
“Next school year I plan to pursue a Bachelor of Science in software engineering — at George Washington University — with emphasis on application development and artificial intelligence. With this education, I will be able to enter a profession that will continue to shape our society as the years go by. After I have enough on-the-job training and knowledge about the marketing aspects of a company, I plan on developing my own mobile application. My focus is to use my acquired knowledge of artificial intelligence and application development to create an app that uses augmented reality to improve the lives of others. I have a clear picture of where I will be in the next 10 years, and I know through higher education I will be better set up to get there.”
Congratulations and Thank You to Sabira, awardee of a CRLS Core Values Scholarship! Sabira exemplifies Opportunity, Diversity, Respect. She’s enrolled at Bates College, where she’ll be studying psychology and art. She’ll use one or both of her passions in a career to help young people overcome obstacles in their lives.
Sabira wrote to us, “I am incredibly grateful and honored to be a CRLS Core Values Scholarship recipient. Thank you for your belief in my abilities and recognition of my hard work. This scholarship has considerably lessened the financial burden in the pursuit of my higher education and will help ensure my success. I sincerely appreciate your support and cannot thank you enough.”
Congratulations and Thank You to Andy, our multitalented* Class of 2020 awardee of the “100 by 100” Cambridge Business Community STEAM Scholarship for the Arts!
*acting, singing, dancing, choreography, digital art, fashion and jewelry design, photography, and more
Andy wrote to us, “Thank you so much for the “100 by 100″ Cambridge Business Community STEAM Award for the Arts. I feel honored to be selected from the hundreds of students at CRLS and I cannot describe how grateful I am. This scholarship was essential to help finance my journey at Columbia College Chicago for graphic design and without your generous donation, it wouldn’t have been possible. I appreciate you taking time to read my essays and acknowledge all my work at CRLS. I cannot express how blessed I feel to have donors who appreciate my artistic work and wanna see me succeed in college and I will make sure I do exactly that.”
Congratulations and Thank You to Mattingly, an aspiring filmmaker and recent CRLS graduate to whom we’ve awarded a CRLS Core Values Scholarship for her exceptional representation of Opportunity, Diversity, Respect.
“I want to express a massive thank you for choosing me for the CRLS Core Values Scholarship. I am honored to be one of the four students chosen for this scholarship and I cannot thank you enough. You will help me fund my education at Massachusetts College of Art and Design and I am so incredibly thankful!”
Congratulations and Thank You to Jose, a CRLS Class of 2020 Charlene Holmes Memorial Awardee! Jose was nominated by his guidance counselor, Stephanie Richards, who summarized, “Compassionate and conscientious, Jose’s concern for the well-being of others transcends through all daily activities.”
We received a heartfelt thank you email from Jose — who will be starting at Union College in the fall — in which he wrote, “By awarding me with this scholarship not only have you lightened up some of my financial burdens but you have gone on to show me that treating others with care, respect, and generosity can go a long way no matter the setting or situation. I guarantee that I will continue to carry on the values that represent this award and that, hopefully, I spread this attitude and lifestyle to others.”
Charlene Holmes, a member of the CRLS Class of 2014, well-known and appreciated by peers and faculty alike, was killed by gunshot on a Cambridge street in June 2012. These awards are presented to graduating seniors nominated by CRLS faculty and staff members for exemplifying Charlene’s spirit of generosity and caring toward their fellow students, along with the pursuit of their own dreams of higher education and professional careers.
The Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (CRLS) Class of 2020 graduated remotely with an online ceremony on Thursday, June 11. For the 14th consecutive year, Friends of CRLS sponsored the Faculty Distinction Awards, helping each graduating class honor four of the teachers and staff members who had the most meaningful influences on their high school years. Awardees received their framed certificates, which recognized them for inspiring students, building relationships, exemplifying dedication and more, by mail earlier in the week.
Congratulations and Thank You to the 2020 Faculty Distinction Awardees:
Janira Arocho has been a biology teacher for 26 years, sixteen of which she spent teaching in Boston, at English High School, Boston International High School and the Winsor School. She has taught at CRLS for ten years, where she currently teaches AP Biology and Sheltered English Instruction (SEI) Biology. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Wellesley College, where she double-majored in Biological Sciences and Spanish Literature, and also holds a Master’s Degree in Education with a concentration in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University. In her class, Ms. Arocho strives to create an atmosphere where students are challenged yet receive support, learn how to cultivate analytical skills and make connections between seemingly unrelated topics. She is energized by her students’ love of science and finds inspiration in her students, especially those who show incredible resilience in the face of what may seem like insurmountable obstacles.
Dionne Campbell is a Cambridge native. She graduated from Ripon College in Wisconsin, receiving her Bachelor of Arts Degree in History. Mrs. Campbell completed a graduate degree at Tufts University, receiving a Master of Arts in Teaching. Her teaching career began at the Longfellow Elementary School; and after one year, she accepted a position at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in the History Department. Mrs. Campbell became a James Conant Fellowship recipient and earned her Ed.M. at Harvard Graduate School of Education. During her tenure, she has held positions as co-coach for the CRLS Basketball Cheerleading Team, co-advisor to the Junior class, advisor to the Senior class and advisor to the Black Student Union. Currently, she is the advisor to the K-Pop Club and volunteers at the Salvation Army. Mrs. Campbell has been married to Devon Campbell for 25 years, and they are parents to four children.
Christopher Montero has been teaching introductory and AP U.S. History courses at CRLS since 2017. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Vassar College in 2011 and a Master of Law in Criminal Justice and Human Rights from the National University of Ireland, Galway in 2012. In 2019, he and other educators launched a pathway program for young people of color interested in a career in education through a new course and internship program called “Our Schools: Sites of Liberation or Oppression?” He is also a co-chair of the Latinx Educator Resource Group, the advisor to the student Latinx Club and a co-advisor to the #HerVote Club dedicated to expanding political participation among women. Chris loves teaching in a diverse community with brilliant young people and learning about the great City of Cambridge through local history projects on housing and civic activism. He wishes the Class of 2020 had been able to celebrate their accomplishments in grand style but has great faith that our world will be better for having them take another step forward in leading it through these historic times.
Brendon Snyder decided that he was going to be an English teacher when he was 12 years old. Following that path, he spent the bulk of the last 20 years teaching in different urban, suburban, and rural systems before finding his way to CRLS in the fall of 2016. Throughout his first four years at the high school, he has taught Sophomore English, Junior English, Psychology and Literature, Immersion Journalism and Examining the Works of Alfred Hitchcock. He fundamentally believes that teaching literature should facilitate the exchange of ideas, using the voices of different authors to push our understanding of ourselves and the world around us. He hopes the study of literature will help his students find their own moral base as they learn about the nature of both society and the self. He is very thankful to have had the pleasure to meet so many wonderful students throughout his time in the classroom.
Friends of CRLS is a 501c3 nonprofit that supports opportunities for students, graduates, and faculty of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. Learn more about Friends of CRLS at focrls.org.