TMHS Principal's Newsletter

October 2017

From the Principal's Desk - Kristen S. Vogel

Like many of you I will be sending another child off to college next fall. I have learned so much since I sent my first daughter off to college three years ago! Most of what I have realized is that I can't always keep her safe; there are no "big people" to keep tabs on her like there were the first 13 years of her schooling and that she will have to advocate for herself for everything! As parents and educators we have a responsibility to prepare our students for college academically as well as socially. The four years of high school is the time to teach the social skills necessary for life in college. We work with all students to teach self advocacy, persistence, independence and management skills. Teachers and guidance counselors talk with students about taking the initiative to ask for help with school work. They also encourage persistence by sending the message that we will support you to be successful in the classroom. I recently read an article, Eight Skills Every Student Needs by 18 by Julie Lythcott- Haims, who was a freshman dean at Stanford University. Here is what she identified as the necessary skills:

  • Talking to strangers – Dealing respectfully with store clerks, landlords, bank tellers, health care providers, bus drivers, mechanics, teachers, deans, or advisers – with good eye contact – is an important life skill. Perhaps parents spend too much time warning kids not to talk to strangers, versus the more-nuanced skill of picking out the few bad strangers from all the others – and dealing appropriately with the latter.
  • Finding their way around – Kids are driven too much, says Lythcott-Haims. They need to know how to get places, make travel plans, and deal with transportation snafus.
  • Managing assignments, workloads, and deadlines – Adolescents must learn how to prioritize tasks and get things done without constant reminders.
  • Contributing to a household – In addition to getting their schoolwork done and participating in extracurricular activities, kids need to do their fair share of chores and respect the needs of others.
  • Handling interpersonal conflict – Teens shouldn’t always need adults stepping in to solve misunderstandings and soothe hurt feelings.
  • Coping with life’s ups and downs – This includes dealing with tough teachers and principals, bullies, competition, and challenging academic work.
  • Earning and managing money – Adolescents need part-time jobs with a boss who doesn’t necessarily love them, to learn about completing job tasks, accountability, and appreciating the cost and value of stuff they want.
  • Persistence – Kids need a “wise understanding that success comes only after trying and failing and trying again,” says Lythcott-Haims. They need grit, thoughtful risk-taking, and resilience.

“Remember, our kids must be able to do all of these things without calling a parent on the phone,” she concludes. “If they’re calling us to ask how, they do not carry that life skill.”

So before our students graduate from TMHS, there are some tasks I would recommend for them! First, send them to the doctor on their own, if they have not already done so. They need to know how to make an appointment, check in and use their insurance card when they need to go to the health center in college. It is also important that they learn how to communicate with a doctor about what they need and become their own advocate. Once they are 18 the doctors won't talk to us anymore! Second, they should have their own bank account that is not linked to your account! It is important that they learn how to manage their own money and budget for something they really want (not need!) Many of our students already have part time jobs and those students are learning interpersonal and management skills. A summer job is a great way for students to learn these important skills before college. They will be ready academically for the challenges of being a college student when they graduate; however, we want to make sure they are prepared with "life skills" for the next phase of their journey!

Eight Skills Every Student Needs by 18” by Julie Lythcott-Haims in School Administrator, September 2017 (Vol. 74, #8, p. 14-15),; the author can be reached at

Challenge Day

On Monday, October 2nd we had a Challenge Day with 100 students and 25 staff members participating. Challenge Day is an organization out of California that works with schools and communities to create safe and supportive environments for all. The students and staff spent six hours together participating in activities and talking. I have heard from many students and staff that it was the best experience they have ever had in their life and school! One student reported that he has noticed students who had never acknowledged each other before Challenge Day smiling and saying hi to each other in the hallway! All of the students and staff who participated said that we should do a Challenge Day every year so that as many students as possible can experience it! We are so thankful to the TMHS PAC for helping to support the funding of bringing Challenge Day to TMHS. Here is a picture of the group who participated!

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October Hats Off!

On Thursday, October 19th the Rotary Club of Tewksbury honored Devyn MacEachern'18 and Brooke Lamothe'18 at a luncheon held at the Tewksbury Country Club. Hat’s Off is a joint initiative of the Tewksbury Rotary Club and Tewksbury Memorial High School. The award recognizes those students who have distinguished themselves academically, have contributed to the co-curricular program at the High School and have been actively involved in the community.

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Greater Lowell Indian Council Association Workshops

On Wednesday, October 11th we had the Greater Lowell Indian Council Association members, led by Chief Tom Libby, run four workshops for our freshman students. The students learned about the local Native American traditions of dance, greeting songs, spirituality and clothing. Below are pictures of our freshmen learning about the Native American spirituality.

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Unified Basketball Tournament

On Thursday, October 19th we hosted a Unified Basketball tournament for three teams; Billerica, Methuen and Tewksbury. There are 25 unified basketball teams in the Commonwealth. Unified teams are sponsored by the Special Olympics across the Commonwealth where students with and without disabilities compete on the same team. This is our first time having a unified team in any sport. This amazing event would not have happened without Brian Aylward and Ron Drouin! A big thank you to both, Brian and Ron, for working so hard to get this team and tournament together! Here is a picture of our team at the tournament.

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Senior Project

We are excited to announce that starting this year our seniors will have the opportunity to pursue a senior project during their fourth quarter! All seniors can apply to do an externship, research project or paper, or community service project. We will be meeting with seniors on December 4th to introduce the project opportunity, application process and expectations as well as the timeline.

There will be a parent meeting for senior parents whose student is interested in pursuing a Senior Project. It will take place on Tuesday, December 5th at 5:30pm. The meeting will be before Parent/Teacher Conferences.

The Royal Wave

Students in 9th grade World History class begin their unit on Absolutism with a little practice doing the royal wave.

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Fine and Performing Arts Department


On Thursday, October 19th the Art Department had 88 art students in attendance for a field trip to Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in scenic North Adams, MA. The group saw work from such contemporary artists as: Sol LeWitt, James Turrell, Robert Rauschenberg, Jenny Holzer, etc. MASS MoCA exhibits art by both well-known and emerging artists, focusing on large-scale, immersive installations that would be impossible to realize in a conventional museum. The museum is a converted factory building complex that is one of the largest centers for contemporary visual art and performing art in the United States. Special thanks to Ms. Arnold for organizing!



During the month of October Ms. Arnold’s Photography students have an eclectic collection of work on display at the Superintendent’s office located at Central Office on Pleasant Street.

During the month of October Ms. LaPierre’s Drawing students have colored pencil leaf drawings on display at A Beautiful Day Haircare Studio. The Design class has some mixed media pieces there as well. The Autumn inspired exhibit can be found in the salon located behind Deli King on Main Street. We encourage you to pop in and see the gorgeous display.

Ms. LaPierre’s Design students have stunning fall inspired mixed media work on display at Town Hall Annex. Both E and F block painting classes have added an impressive collection of leaf paintings to the display as well. The work will be up through November. Please stop in.


In Music news, The TMHS Band came in 1st place and won high caption awards in Music and Color Guard at The New England Scholastic Band Association competition held in Billerica on October 21st. Congratulations on a job well done! The Marching Unit will compete at NESBA championships in Lawrence on November 5th. Affinity Winter Color Guard will hold a clinic on November 19th from 9:00am-3:00pm in the TMHS gymnasium. Chorus meets on Tuesdays from 2-4:00pm. New members are always welcome. The band and chorus have been busy preparing for winter concert which will be held on December 14th at 7:00pm in the Dr. Christine L. McGrath Performing Arts Center.

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Peter and the Starcatcher

The TMHS Theater Company has been hard at work preparing for their fall production Peter and the Starcatcher, a Rick Elice play. Peter and the Starcatcher tells the story of how Peter Pan became the boy that never grows up. The show is filled with suspense and is sure to make you laugh harder than you have ever laughed before. Come see our talented students’ amazing show on Thursday, November 2nd through Saturday, November 4th (Thurs/Fri/Sat) in the Dr. Christine L. McGrath Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $7 for students and $10 for adults.
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Sensation Stations

Students from the AP Psychology class participate in Sensation Stations. Here they try out the perception goggles and see if they can complete a task dealing with depth perception and sight. They also completed stations on taste and smell as well as all the other senses. Students work through the stations and are engaged in learning about the sensations and perception concepts they have been studying.

Bop it!

In Mrs. Fabiano's Health class students played the game Bop It to simulate feelings of stress. They began the exercise by identifying what they thought were the physical symptoms of stress and then verified those physical feelings while playing the game. After the game, the students talked about strategies for managing stress.

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From October 23rd-31st, SADD promoted and participated in the 26th annual Red Ribbon Week Campaign, a nationwide event aimed at promoting healthy, drug-free lifestyles. We sponsored a school-wide "Wear Red" day to show solidarity among those who choose to live above the influence of drugs, and we had students sign a pledge where they agreed to live drug-free. Finally, as a reminder of the importance of living above the influence, we tied small red ribbons on the cars of every school community member on campus on Friday, the 27th. This small visual should serve as a reminder to all to make positive, healthy life choices.
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Saturday, October 21st was Half Way to Earth Day – a day when people came out to clean up and beautify our town. International Club members worked on 2000 Whipple Road. They raked leaves and moved them to an area to become compost, installed a trash receptacle that the club donated to the site, and dug a lot of holes! Guided by Ms. Jackie Stone, a volunteer and avid gardener, the students were able to remove invasive species from the area, as well as plant a bird and butterfly garden. As we worked we learned about the plants: columbine, purple coneflower, mint, ground phlox, two types of tall aster, ironweed, bee balm, etc. Everything we planted is native to the area and will provide seeds for the birds or nectar for the butterflies.

Our Environmental Science teacher, Ms. Gordon, also volunteered her time working in the rain gardens around Long Pond. Ms. Peloquin, ECHO club advisor, worked with students cleaning up trash around the area.

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International Club members worked at 2000 Whipple Road.

This is the kayak-launching site.

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International Club members participate in Half Way to Earth Day.

GSA Club Trip to Fun Home

The GSA took a field trip to see Fun Home in Boston on Friday, October 27th. We took 16 students to the Boston Opera House and met members of the cast after the show. The play had a great message about family and being proud of who you are. Here they are at the show!
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Dress Like a Pirate Day on Halloween!

Here are some staff members dressed up like pirates to raise money for our adopted high school in Vidor Texas, the Vidor High School Pirates. We have sent them approximately 20 boxes of clothing and shoes that the students collected in September!
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Calendar of Events


2-4 Play - Peter and the Starcatcher

3 Grades Close

7 No School—Professional Development

9 Veterans Day Ceremony 9:30am

10 No School—Veterans Day

16 DECA Fashion Show 7:00pm

16 Hats Off Luncheon 12:15pm @ TCC

17 Report Cards Available

17 Admin Chat 7:30am Principal’s Conference Room

22 Half Day

22 Pep Rally

23-24 No School—Thanksgiving Recess

27 School Council Meeting 4:00pm


5 Parent/Teacher Conferences 6-8:00pm

7 Half Day

8 Midterm

15 Admin Chat 7:30am

18 Progress Reports Available

18 School Council 4:30pm

21 Hats Off Luncheon 12:15pm @ TCC

22 Half Day

25-29 No School—December Recess


1 No School—New Year's Day

2 School Reopens

Mandatory Social Host Presentation

Thursday, March 1st 2018 at 7-8:30pm

TMHS Auditorium

All juniors along with a parent or guardian must attend the social host presentation in order to purchase tickets to the junior prom. Any senior, who did not attend the presentation last year, must attend this year in order to purchase tickets for senior week activities, including senior prom. More detailed information will be provided as the event gets closer.

Parent/Teacher Conferences

Tuesday, Dec. 5th, 6-8pm

320 Pleasant Street

Tewksbury, MA

You will receive an email in mid November with a link and directions for signing up for conferences.