Helping Students Achieve Their Academic Hopes & Dreams

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Dear Friends, Families, Alumni, and Neighbors of CRLS,

In this season of thanks and celebration, we also look forward to the new year, with hopes that it will bring happiness and fulfillment. This is particularly true of our CRLS seniors who are applying for college. They look forward to the new year seeking to have their academic hopes and dreams fulfilled. I am writing to ask for your help in nurturing those hopes and dreams.

If you need to be convinced that these students are worthy of your support, you need only to look at the words of this past year’s FOCRLS scholarship recipients. While they clearly have admirable academic and career aspirations, what is particularly impressive and inspiring is how many also want to use the education they are seeking to make the world a better place. 

My academic interests, computer science and social justice, may appear disconnected…. My theory is that social change comes from political action, and coding can influence political action, such as expanding voting access.”

Kaliab, CRLS ’22, Swarthmore College ’26,
and awardee of three scholarships presented by FOCRLS

On the homepage of our website, you can read about Mikaëla whose passion for becoming a lawyer comes from a desire to help people “fight for their freedom, innocence or citizenship,” Michael who wants a career in medicine to treat patients in underfunded and underdeveloped communities, Isabella who is seeking a career in education to work to close achievement gaps, Fanuel who wants to become a financial advisor to help those who struggle with poverty and racism, and Kaliab who, as you can see above, is hoping to use computer coding skills to bring about social change. These are only a few of the inspiring awardees you can read about in our Scholar Spotlights on

We have seen what a critical difference our support has made for our impressive CRLS seniors pursuing their aspirations. We know about the struggles and sacrifices that their families have made in order for them to succeed academically, and we know how great their need for financial assistance is, with the increased economic challenges that our high rate of inflation is creating.

FOCRLS is so proud, because of the generosity of so many of you, of what we have provided for CRLS students this year. We awarded 57 scholarships totaling $81,750 this year, an increase of $10,000 (14%) over 2021. We are pleased to have provided Market Basket gift cards to approximately 300 families struggling to put food on their tables, at a cost of $15,406. We also are currently preparing to make awards totaling approximately $20,000 to help students to participate in the upcoming school trips and to faculty and staff to offer innovative educational projects. Visit our website for more info.

With your generous support, we can do even better this year! You can enjoy this holiday season and look forward to the new year with the wonderful feeling of knowing that you have helped CRLS seniors to realize their goals of obtaining a good education, achieving a successful career, and making the world a better place. I ask that you give more generously than ever! 

Please donate here>> (automatic recurring monthly gifts are especially appreciated) or mail your check payable to Friends of CRLS to: FOCRLS, P.O. Box 391541, Cambridge MA 02139.

I thank you in advance for your generous contribution to help make it possible for our CRLS students with limited financial resources to realize their academic and social justice hopes and dreams.

Wishing you a joyous holiday season and a fulfilling and healthy new year.


Jamie Sabino
President, FOCRLS Board of Directors

You might be able to double your donation!
Please look here to see if your employer will match your gift.>>

To learn more about Friends of CRLS,
our programs, volunteering, donating,
sponsoring a scholarship, or involving your business,
please visit, email, 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.