Travel Fellowships available for CRLS-sponsored trips! (10/25/2012)

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FOCRLS is now accepting need-based applications from students for domestic and overseas school trips for the 2012-2013 academic year.

Students must have at least a B average and demonstrate financial need.

Here is the overview of the fellowship, and here is the application to apply for funding.

Travel funds are limited. Please make sure you see the faculty trip sponsor for details about the trip, and apply for a travel fellowship as early as possible.

If you have any questions, please contact Friends of CRLS at, or call us at (617) 275-6338.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Whole Foods presents “big check” to FOCRLS (10/18/2012)

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City officials and others in attendance:
-city council: Minka van Beuzekom, Tim Toomey
-school committee: Patty Nolan, Fred Fantini, Mark McGovern
-CRLS: Damon Smith (Principal), Rene Meshon (Tutoring Center Director), Angelica Brisk (Media Arts faculty), Larry Aaronson (CRLS/CPS Photographer), and students
-Whole Foods: Peter Sharon (Prospect St.), David Remillard (River St.), Claire Davies (Fresh Pond), Ivy Welch (Prospect St.)

At a lively little ceremony marked by excitement, enthusiasm, and goodwill, Whole Foods officials presented a Big Check for $15,287.91 to Friends of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (FOCRLS) on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at the high school. This check will contribute to funding programs at CRLS, in particular faculty and student grants in the areas of ecology, the environment, and nutrition. The donation represents five percent of Whole Foods’ sales from all three Cambridge Whole Foods stores on “5% Day” on September 12, 2012.

“The four key themes that frame the back story for this event are Investment, Mission, Community, and Partnership,” said Elaine Schear, FOCRLS President, thanking the Whole Foods marketing team, city officials, Principal Damon Smith, school staff, and FOCRLS and student volunteers for 5% day.

“Investment – community investment – in our CRLS high school youth is a core value of FOCRLS and its programs. More investment will make all of our programs more robust, in particular faculty grants for projects exploring environmental, health, nutritional, ecological ideas and issues,” she said.

“Secondly, our missions – CRLS/CPS/Whole Foods – mesh, reinforce, and echo each other: the health of our children – care for the environment, team work, diversity, opportunity and respect in workplace and schools.”

“Third – community – the teamwork at work behind today’s event – the Whole Foods marketing and design people, the FOCRLS volunteer parents, student shoppers, communications people, volunteers in the stores on September 12, student journalists on the CRLS school newspaper, other businesses supporting business and the school, like the Cambridge Trust Company.”

“And last not least, partnership – what doesn’t show on the surface – relationships developed over time with Whole Foods, and continuing into the future, based on our missions to invest in the community, our youth, to promote healthy eating and the whole health of our young people, to promote their stewardship within the school environment and outside, to encourage social responsibility while they’re here as our students and beyond.”

Photos from the event are posted here.

$15,287.91 to be donated to FOCRLS by Whole Foods Markets! (9/21/2012)

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As a result of the “5% Day” held on behalf of FOCRLS at the three Cambridge Whole Foods locations on September 12, 2012, Whole Foods will donate 5% of its profits that day. The day generated a lot of excitement on the part of the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School families, volunteers, staff, and students. Over twenty parents, staff members, and students turned out to volunteer in the stores, greeting customers and telling them about the high school. And many more came out to support CRLS and Friends of CRLS by shopping that day.

Peter Sharon, Marketing Director at the Prospect Street store, said, “I could not be more pleased. Thanks so much for rallying the troops! One aspect of my job as a marketer, arguably the most important one, is to create a feeling of connectedness between the store and the community. Seeing the FOCRLS volunteers and students greeting friends and neighbors in the store and sharing the news about that partnership exemplified that perfectly… the day was an absolute success!”

We couldn’t agree more. Thank you Whole Foods!

–See the photos taken that day in this online album.

–See the front page article on the event in the September 2012 issue of the Register Forum, the student newspaper at CRLS, here.

Weds. September 12 is FOCRLS 5% Day at all three Whole Foods Cambridge locations! (8/14/2012)

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We are thrilled to report that Wednesday, September 12, 2012, is FOCRLS 5% Day at all three Whole Foods Cambridge locations!

The informational poster for the event can be downloaded here. Please help spread the word!

Here’s your chance to stock up on healthy snacks, beautiful produce, hormone-free meat, fair-trade coffee, and much more, while helping support FOCRLS programs that benefit our Cambridge students.

Five percent of the net proceeds of all sales on September 12 will be donated by Whole Foods to FOCRLS, at these three stores:

Prospect Street: 115 Prospect Street (near Central Square) – 7:30am-10:30 pm
River Street: 340 River Street (near Memorial Drive) – 8am-10pm
Fresh Pond: 200 Alewife Brook Parkway – 8am-10pm

This very generous donation by Whole Foods will support FOCRLS grants to CRLS faculty and students in the areas of ecology, the environment, and nutrition. For more on FOCRLS programs, including Faculty Grants, Student Travel Fellowships, Unsung Heroes, Faculty Distinction Awards, First Scholars, Saheed Future Educators Scholarships, and It Takes a Village college readiness program, click here.

We encourage you to check out the Whole Foods website for their mission & values statements, information on their product lines, recipe tips, and menu suggestions.

Make out your shopping list now! See you at Whole Foods on September 12!

New! Hyatt internships for RSTA/CRLS students (6/23/2012)

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We thank the management team of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Cambridge for their first-of-its-kind partnership with the Rindge School of Technical Arts (RSTA) and Friends of CRLS, which will add new paid internships at the Hyatt for advanced Culinary Arts students, starting fall 2012!

The Hyatt visit, initiated by FOCRLS, took place on  5-8-2011 with a tour of the school and lunch at the Falcon’s Nest.  The visit culminated in this partnership between the Hyatt, which offered paid internships to Culinary Arts students, and CRLS/RSTA.

FOCRLS Launches the “It Takes A Village (ITAV)” Program (5/10/2012)

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Friends of CRLS (FOCRLS) is launching an exciting new project — It Takes A Village (ITAV). ITAV is intended to help CRLS graduates maximize their college success. In ITAV’s pilot stage, starting this June, a group of 20-25 CRLS students entering UMass Boston or one of the Massachusetts community colleges (Bunker Hill, Middlesex, Mass Bay) in the fall will take Accuplacer exam workshops which will help them in college placement exams. This project pilot is funded by money raised by Friends of CRLS and a starter grant from the Cambridge Agassiz Harvard Fund. The project director is Donna Spiegelman, of the Friends of CRLS board, and the project coordinator is Will McLaughlin, a former CRLS student teacher who assisted in Wambui Githiora-Updike’s Language Arts classes this past semester and has just graduated from the BU Ed School with a Master’s in Education. The workshop will involve the assistance of CRLS and CHLS alumni,  led by Roland Gibson, Rindge Class of ’55. For more information, to make a donation, or to volunteer to serve as a mentor, please contact

FOCRLS Faculty Grants Awarded for Spring 2012 (5/2/2012)

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Please join Friends of CRLS in congratulating our latest Faculty Innovation Grant recipients – a total of 18 teachers, for Spring 2012!

A review panel of 8 CRLS parents and community members gave careful consideration to each of 28 proposals, awarding grants of up to $1,000 each, totaling $8,000 in this grant cycle. Recipients have a full year to complete their projects.

Since 2007, Friends of CRLS has awarded innovation grants to a total of 110 faculty members.  The grantees include teachers, social workers, librarians, counselors, deans, and club advisors. Proposals are welcomed from both individuals and collaborations within and across disciplines.  We thank our many donors: current, prospective, and former parents, alumni, business leaders, and friends of public education, for supporting the power of the ideas of our exemplary CRLS educators.

Spring 2012 FOCRLS Faculty Innovation Grantees:

♦ Jon Baring-Gould (art educator) – “Repair and Reinstall of The Fall”
Ginny Berkowitz (CPS Media Arts manager) – “Media Arts Studio Archive Project”
Leslie Davis, Gail Stein, Erin Leggett, Lynsey Page, and Andrew Miller (AVID coordinator and AVID teachers) – “Supporting Independent Reading”
Liza Hansel (physics teacher) – “Electricity and Magnetism Inquiry Investigation”
Elizabeth Menges (VPA Art Teacher) – “Part II: Portraits of All Ages at Youville Home”
♦ Brian O’Connell (choral director) – “A Cappella at CRLS (Take Two)”
♦ Emily Samek, Dionne Harden, Janet Goldman, Jesse Kaplan, Michael Lee, Katie Robinson, and Vanessa Smith (Algebra 1 teachers) – “Organizational Skills for Students to Overcome Barriers to Learning”
Jessica Young (art teacher) – “Stop Motion Animation”

Congratulations all!

FOCRLS launches annual Mayfair benefit raffle! (4/2/2012)

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FOCRLS is pleased to hold an exciting benefit raffle once again this year, with the drawing of dozens of prizes to be held on Sunday May 6 at Harvard Square’s Mayfair (need not be present to win). Details are available on our Raffle page.

Purchasers of raffle tickets will have the chance of winning one or more prizes (typically gift certificates) that have been donated by area restaurants, retail shops and other businesses. Tickets will be on sale from now until the day of the drawing.

Proceeds from the raffle will go toward the programs run by FOCRLS that directly benefit CRLS:  Faculty Innovation Grants, Unsung Heroes Student Incentive Awards, Faculty Distinction Awards, Student Travel Fellowships, and the First Scholars and Dr. Christopher Saheed Future Educators Scholarships.  FOCRLS is a not-for-profit organization that relies entirely on private funds; 100% of monies raised goes to its programs.

Last year’s raffle awarded 66 prizes donated by 46 local businesses.  The prizes in total were worth about $3,000.  One donor, Joey DiSpena (CHLS ’76), who owns Continentale Hair Salon, located on Massachusetts Avenue in East Arlington, was happy to help out FOCRLS with a gift certificate. “I get to do something good for my old high school, and the woman who won my gift certificate last year has become a repeat customer, so it’s been win-win,” said DiSpena.

Last year’s list of businesses donating to the raffle is a long one, and includes: 1369 Coffee House, A.R.T – American Repertory Theater, Artist & Craftsman Supply, Bonny’s Garden Center, Brattle Theater, Bukowski Tavern, Café Kiraz, Cambridge Family YMCA, Cambridge Naturals, Concord Avenue Café, Continentale Hair Salon, Courthouse Seafood, East Coast Grill, Get In Shape, Gino Salon, Gran Gusto, Greenward, Grolier Poetry Bookshop, Harvard Square Business Association, Harvard Square Eye Care, HealthWorks, Henrietta’s Table, Henry Bear’s Park, House of Chang, Hyatt Regency Hotel Cambridge, Irish Imports, Jeanna’s Dirty Dog Salon, Joie de Vivre, Jose’s Mexican Restaurant, Life Alive, Looks Clothing Store, Made By Me, Magic Beans, Marathon Sports, Masse’s Hardware, Nomad, Ole Mexican Grill, A. Quinn Hair Studios, Raspberry Beret, Seven Stars, Sparkle Cleaners, Stellabella Toys, Susanna Clothing, Susi’s: A Gallery for Children, TAG’s Ace Hardware, UpStairs on the Square, and Zoe’s Restaurant.

FOCRLS hopes to add to its list of donors and prizes for this year’s raffle.

Read an article from the Cambridge Chronicle about the raffle on 3/29/2012.