Nominations have begun for the Faculty Distinction Awards to be presented by the CRLS Class of 2021! Students each submit four nominations of teachers or any staff members who’ve made significant contributions to their learning and personal growth, providing descriptions of their selections’ positive impacts on their CRLS experiences. Four awardees are celebrated each year; since 2007 when the program began, 56 distinguished faculty awardees have been presented with framed certificates recognizing their dedication to students. Thank you to Allan Gehant, Dean of Curriculum & Program of Learning Community L, who coordinates the nomination process.
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!
(Photo courtesy of Salman Yonis)
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>>.
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.
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!”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 857-235-9290.
Deadline for Proposals: Monday, October 28, 2019 at 11:59 p.m.
Friends of CRLS is seeking proposals from teachers, administrators, librarians, guidance counselors, social workers, and advisers of CRLS/RSTA/HSEP classes, programs, and clubs for projects and experiences with an academic (including artistic and cultural) and/or social development focus.
Faculty Innovation Grants (up to $1,000 each) are ways to energize learning for students beyond the classroom curriculum by enhancing academic exploration, community building, social development, and appreciation of the many arts and cultures at CRLS/RSTA/HSEP. Visits from accomplished guests, class field trips, special events, performances, group creations, and service learning are among the kinds of projects and experiences Faculty Innovation Grants can fund.
Please see your CRLS Gmail or the DYK to get the link to the proposal Google Form. If you have difficulty with the form or have any questions about the grants or process, please contact us at email@example.com or 857-235-9290 (ext. 9290 within CRLS) or visit us in CRLS Room 2136.
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.
August 31, 2018
Dear Friends of CRLS,
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.
Let’s stay in touch!
With appreciation and affection,
Elaine Schear, Ed.D.