Cambridge Rindge & Latin School Teachers Honored by the CRLS Class of 2022

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2022 Cambridge Rindge & Latin School (CRLS) Faculty Distinction Awardees (left to right):
Ms. Jessica Hatlen (with award sponsor Friends of CRLS’s mascot Friendly the Falcon), Mr. Evan Milstein-Greengart, and
Dr. Benji Cohen. The fourth awardee, Mr. Ramazan Nigdelioglu, was not available for the photograph.

Four of Cambridge Rindge & Latin School’s most esteemed educators were honored with Faculty Distinction Awards at CRLS’s graduation on Thursday, June 9. Members of the Class of 2022 nominated the teachers for having notably positive influences over their high school years. CRLS Principal Damon Smith announced the recipients’ names, read their bios and wishes for the graduates, added quotations from students, and presented framed certificates to the teachers as they took the stage during the ceremony at Russell Field. 

In the weeks leading up to the presentation, CRLS deans collected nominations and comments from students, who praised the educators not only for their engaging teaching styles and regard for students’ academic growth, but also for their dedication, encouragement, and caring for students as individuals.

Ms. Jessica Hatlen has been a Special Educator at CRLS for five years and has been an educator for 16 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Boston University (2002) and a master’s degree from Wagner College (2005). Students describe Ms. Hatlen as an “understanding,” “comforting,” and “really compassionate teacher who makes learning interesting” and “cares about your wellbeing.”

Mr. Evan Milstein-Greengart has taught English Language Arts at CRLS for five years and has been a teacher for seven. He has bachelors’ degrees in English and Psychology, a master’s degree in Secondary Education, and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Educational Leadership. Students describe Mr. M-G as a “joyful” educator who “cares about each student as a whole person and puts effort into communication,” “will go out of his way to make sure you are doing your best,” and “is an angel disguised as an English teacher.”

Dr. Benji Cohen graduated from CRLS in 2007 and returned in 2018 to teach History. In the interim, he received degrees from Tufts University (2011) and the University of Virginia (2017). Students describe Dr. Cohen as “the most wonderful teacher, with an amazing, sharp sense of humor and a very welcoming classroom” who is “always willing to help students with any issue even if it is not related to his class,” “goes above and beyond to help you achieve,” and is “always in a good mood.”

Mr. Ramazan Nigdelioglu has taught Freshman Physics and AP Physics at CRLS since 2008. He is also the faculty advisor to the Muslim Cultural Club. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Physics, and two masters’ degrees, one in Business Administration, and another in School Leadership. As a Turkish native, he first came to Boston in 2002 as a Fulbright Exchange Teacher. Students describe Mr. N as an “incredibly supportive and kind” teacher whose “love of the subject and teaching show” in the way he “makes physics really fun to learn.”

Friends of CRLS has sponsored the Faculty Distinction Awards for 16 consecutive years, since 2007. This year’s quartet puts the total number of awardees at 64. See full list of awardees here>>.

Friends of CRLS is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to supporting opportunities for the public high school’s students, staff, and graduates. The Faculty Distinction Awards program is one of the organization’s five programs, with the most substantial being College Scholarships, through which Friends of CRLS is presenting $80,000 to members of the CRLS Class of 2022. For more information, please visit focrls.org.

Congratulations to Our 2022 Scholarship Awardees!

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Help CRLS Students Blossom to Their Full Potential! *** Donate Here ***

When I was choosing a college, I thought about how it will benefit me academically but also my contribution to the community. Growing up as a black child, I always knew that I wanted to go to a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) and become a greater black representative for others and the world. With moving out of state and knowing that HBCUs don’t get a lot of money for their students, my out of pocket cost would put me in distress. This scholarship will help so much financially for my college costs, a new chapter of my life, and becoming a better leader. Thank you so much for this opportunity.

Lisa, CRLS Class of ‘22,
Xavier University of Louisiana
Class of ’26, and FOCRLS awardee of both the Earl M. Gardner Scholarship and the Scholarship for Equity & Social Justice

Friends of Cambridge Rindge & Latin School (FOCRLS) is presenting 57 scholarships totaling $81,750 in 2022. This is an increase of $10,000 over last year.

With one exception being awarded to a young musician who is a member of the CRLS Class of 2025, the scholarships will help CRLS grads (including three alumni receiving multi-year scholarship installments) pursue their goals of attaining college degrees or other post-secondary credentials.

The 2022 awardees — listed below — have demonstrated determination to overcome financial obstacles and other challenges as they focus on developing the knowledge and skills they need to bring about positive changes in the world. Having achieved in academics, extracurriculars, and community service while at CRLS, these students look forward to bright futures in professional fields including healthcare, science, research, technology, engineering, mathematics, media, music, education, law, advocacy, and environment.

All of these scholarships are made possible by our generous donors and sponsors who are investing in student success. (Sponsors are listed below.)



I am very thankful to donors in the Cambridge business community for awarding me this generous scholarship. Mathematics has captivated me from a young age and continues to do so to this day, so I am especially grateful to be recognized in this area of study. I look forward to continuing my studies in mathematics and computer science in college.

Pratyush, CRLS Class of 2022,
MIT Class of 2026, and
FOCRLS awardee of the “100 by 100” Cambridge Business Community STEAM Scholarship for Mathematics


Congratulations to our 2022 Awardees and Thank You to Our Sponsors!

“100 by 100” Cambridge Community STEAM Scholarships
(Sponsored by members of the Cambridge business community and FOCRLS):
Md Sakib (Science)
Kaliab Tale (Technology)
Jake Laskaris (Engineering)
Eva Kaufman (Arts)
Pratyush Venkatakrishnan (Mathematics)

A Scholarship to Honor Drs. Finn and Espinosa
(Sponsored by Anonymous):
Horus Williams

Aurora M. (Ciccariello) Leydon Memorial Scholarship
(Sponsored by Jack Leydon & family):
Sharon Bosco

AVID Award
(sponsored by Gail Stein):
Laila Nunes

Calvin Hicks Memorial Award for the Study of Music
(Sponsored by family, friends, and colleagues of Calvin Hicks):
Demetrios Kotsopoulos (Class of ‘25)

Cambridge Day Sue Reinert Scholarship
(Sponsored by Marc Levy):
Esther Cull-Kahn

CambridgeSeven STEAM Scholarship
(Sponsored by CambridgeSeven):
Emie Gerard

Charlene Holmes Memorial Awards
(Sponsored by FOCRLS):
Abdiwahab Muhumed
Jahime Son
Lwam Mahari
Sarah Berhanu

Cheri Kamen Memorial Scholarship in the Humanities
(Sponsored by Ramie Targoff & Stephen Greenblatt):
Mikaëla Lavandero

Colonel & Mrs. Henry Bayard McCoy Memorial Scholarships
(Sponsored by New York Community Trust):
Bennett Gillig
Matthias Lamb
Nurial Vera-Degraff
Thomas Anthony Whelan

CRLS Core Values Scholarships
(Sponsored by FOCRLS):
Abyan Shire
Aya Boulouah
Keefer Glenshaw
Ymari Blackmon

Dr. Christopher Saheed Future Educators Scholarship
(Sponsored by friends, family, and colleagues of Dr. Christopher Saheed):
Isabella Lozada

Dr. David A. Link Scholarships for Health Professions
(Sponsored by friends, family, colleagues, and patients of Dr. David A. Link):
Aarmin Shaikh
Michael Herrick

Earl M. Gardner Scholarships
(Sponsored by the Gardner family):
Brandy Altidor
Lisa Jones

Elaine Schear “Voice of the First Generation” Scholarships for Creative Writing
(Sponsored by Elaine Schear and FOCRLS):
Tiaja Williams
Yuni Gerzon

Elizabeth Vernon Scholarship for Volunteerism & Community Service
(Sponsored by FOCRLS):
Kaliab Tale

Fresh Start Contracting Corp. Award for Carpentry
(Sponsored sponsored by Ben O’Sullivan Pierce and Nick Stamos, co-founders of Fresh Start Contracting Corp. and CRLS alumni):
Juan David Calixto Tenorio

Friends of CRLS First Scholars Awards
(Sponsored by FOCRLS):
Aaliya Shaikh
Emie Gerard
Lwam Mahari

Friends of CRLS First Scholars Awards Sponsored by Cambridge Trust Company
(Sponsored by Cambridge Trust Company):
Humaira Africawala
Marwa Dissa

“It Takes a Village” Multi-Year Scholarship
(Sponsored by FOCRLS):
Dachenie Ganthier

John D. Zagarella, Sr. Memorial Scholarships
(Sponsored by the Zagarella family):
Alem Abraham
Shanira Begum

Juliette Kayyem & David Barron Scholarship for Children of First Responders
(Sponsored by Juliette Kayyem & David Barron):
Anna Wendelin

Maria J. Tavares Memorial Scholarship
(Sponsored by Mary Tavares Sutula & family):
Yuni Gerzon

Mary Francis Monti Memorial Scholarship
(Sponsored by Neil Rosenburg, CHLS ’76 & Kathleen Rosenburg):
Fanuel Ayele

N Rahman Scholarship
(Sponsored by Naveed Rahman & Caroline Butler-Rahman):
Faria Amin

Patrick Ewing Scholarship
(Sponsored by Patrick Ewing):
Sherley Maurice

Richard S. Gilreath Memorial Scholarships for the CRLS Track & Cross Country Community
(Sponsored by Richard G. Gilreath):
Emma Randall-Jarrard
Matthias Lamb

Rose & Victor Rifkin Family Scholarship
(Sponsored by friends, family, and descendants of Rose & Victor Rifkin):
Aaliya Shaikh

Scholarships for Equity & Social Justice
(Sponsored by Eileen Taxe Levine & Irving Lee Levine):
Kaliab Tale
Lisa Jones

Tutoring Plus Scholarship
(Sponsored by Tutoring Plus):
Jeanny Fede

We wish our awardees much happiness and and many more achievements!

Awardees, for information on claiming your funds, please email info@focrls.org.

Contribute to our general scholarship fund where most needed>>

Involve your business in the “100 by 100”>>

Learn more about sponsoring or establishing a scholarship>>


For more information about FOCRLS, please visit focrls.org, email info@focrls.org, call 857-235-9290, or visit CRLS Room 2136.

Update: FOCRLS is Presenting $80K in Scholarships this Year!

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By Janis Navikas

Friends of Cambridge Rindge & Latin School, Inc. (FOCRLS), an independent nonprofit in its 15th year of broadening opportunities at the city’s public high school, is preparing to present scholarships totaling $80,000 in 2022. Hundreds of sponsors and donors − individuals, families, organizations, and businesses − fund the 56 scholarships FOCRLS is distributing to CRLS seniors and past graduates in support of their higher education.

New sponsors Ramie Targoff & Stephen Greenblatt recently established the Cheri Kamen Memorial Scholarship in the Humanities. Professor Targoff said, “This scholarship is in memory of my beloved mother, who studied American History, both as an undergraduate and as a graduate student before going on to become a lawyer. I wanted to honor her commitment to the study of the past by encouraging female students graduating from CRLS to pursue the humanities at the university level.”

Eileen Taxe Levine & Irving Lee Levine, also new sponsors, launched the Scholarship for Equity & Social Justice as a way, the Levines said, “to recognize the commitment and dedication of CRLS students who have been working towards equity and social justice in the Cambridge community. We want to honor the power of their voices, courageous actions, and hopefulness. We support and thank them as they enter this next chapter of their lives.”

Naveed Rahman & Caroline Butler-Rahman joined as scholarship sponsors this year to honor students of South Asian descent. Continuing scholarship sponsors include Patrick Ewing, Juliette Kayyem & David Barron, Jack Leydon & family, Neil B. Rosenburg, Elaine Schear, Gail Stein, Mary Tavares Sutula & family, Richard G. Gilreath, the Gardner family, and the Zagarella family. Collectively funding scholarships are family and friends of Rose & Victor Rifkin, Dr. Christopher Saheed, Dr. David A. Link, and Calvin Hicks.

Cambridge Day, CambridgeSeven Associates, Fresh Start Contracting, and Tutoring Plus are local organizations that partner with FOCRLS annually to provide scholarships, as is Cambridge Trust, which increased its sponsorship and then doubled up for two scholarships this year.

FOCRLS thanks all of its scholarship sponsors for their generosity and support for the students and graduates of Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School, as well as the Class of 2022 applicants for their inspirational determination and contributions to the community.

CRLS Class of 2022 awardees will take the stage of CRLS’s Fitzgerald Theater for the Scholarship Night ceremony on Thursday, May 5. FOCRLS members will present certificates to the approximately 50 awardees they selected, most of whom will later need to submit college enrollment verification before receiving their checks.

To learn more about Friends of CRLS’s scholarship program or establish a scholarship, please visit focrls.org or email scholarships@focrls.org. FOCRLS is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.

Friends of CRLS Presenting $78K+ in Scholarships to CRLS Seniors and Grads

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Angell, CRLS Class of 2021 Friends of CRLS awardee of the Maria J. Tavares Memorial Scholarship, now enrolled at UMass Amherst (Photo by Janis Navikas)

Updated 2/16/22

Friends of Cambridge Rindge & Latin School, Inc. (FOCRLS) is preparing to present scholarships totaling $78,750 in 2022. Hundreds of donors and sponsors − individuals, families, organizations, and businesses − have contributed to the 53 scholarships FOCRLS is distributing to CRLS seniors and alumni in support of their higher education.

See our list of scholarships here.>>

This year FOCRLS is welcoming sponsors of two new scholarships. 

Ramie Targoff & Stephen Greenblatt recently established the Cheri Kamen Memorial Scholarship in the Humanities. Professor Targoff said, “This scholarship is in memory of my beloved mother, who studied American History, both as an undergraduate and as a graduate student before going on to become a lawyer. I wanted to honor her commitment to the study of the past by encouraging female students graduating from CRLS to pursue the humanities at the university level.” 

Eileen Taxe Levine & Irving Lee Levine recently established the Scholarship for Equity & Social Justice as a way, the Levines said, “to recognize the commitment and dedication of CRLS students who have been working towards equity and social justice in the Cambridge community. We want to honor the power of their voices, courageous actions, and hopefulness. We support and thank them as they enter this next chapter of their lives.”

Other sponsors of scholarships to be presented by FOCRLS in 2022 are Patrick Ewing, Juliette Kayyem & David Barron, Neil B. Rosenburg, Elaine Schear, the Leydon family, Mary Tavares Sutula & family, Naveed Rahman & Caroline Butler-Rahman, Debjani Banerji, Richard G. Gilreath, the Gardner family, the Zagarella family, and Gail Stein. Collectively funding scholarships are family members and friends of Rose & Victor Rifkin, Dr. Christopher Saheed, Dr. David A. Link, Calvin Hicks, and John Chiros.

In addition, Cambridge Day, CambridgeSeven Associates, Cambridge Trust, Fresh Start Contracting and Tutoring Plus are local organizations that annually fund scholarships.

Thank you all of our scholarship sponsors for their generosity and support for the students and graduates of Cambridge Rindge & Latin School.

To learn more about FOCRLS’s scholarship program or establish a scholarship, please visit focrls.org or email scholarships@focrls.org. FOCRLS is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.

Thanks to Salman, Our Youth from the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program

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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)

Remembering Christopher Saheed

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Dr. Christopher Saheed
(courtesy photo)

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>>.

CRLS Class of 2020 Honors Exceptional Faculty

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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

Welcome, Alem!

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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 Says Goodbye to FOCRLS

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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.

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 info@focrls.org, or call 857-235-9290.