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ដើម្បីបកប្រែព្រឹត្តិប័ត្រព័ត៌មាន សូមមើលលើផ្នែកខាងស្តាំខាងលើនៃព្រឹត្តិប័ត្រ ព័ត៌មាននេះនូវមធ្យោបាយ ហើយសូមចុចលើជម្រើស" បកប្រែព្រឹត្តិប័ត្រព័ត៌មាន ។
Dear Lowell Public Schools Families, Faculty, Staff, and Community Partners,
One of Lowell's greatest strengths is the diversity of its people.
There are cultural events in our schools throughout the year, and the events especially blossom in the spring. As you will see in this newsletter, the celebration of Khmer New Year continued into May, which is also AAPI (Asian-American and Pacific Islander) month. Many of our schools hosted traditional activities such as the Butler Middle School's impressive traditional Cambodian dance performance made possible by the school's long-standing partnership with the Angkor Dance Troupe and the Washington Elementary School's immersive day of learning which included traditional Cambodian playground games and learning how to count in Khmer.
We also welcomed two very talented children's book authors to our schools who both live in Lowell. Chinese-American author Tracy Guan author of "Love is Mama's Hands" and "Lunchtime with Samnang" visited the Washington School to read to students as part of their AAPI celebration. And the Greenhalge Elementary School welcomed Brazilian-American author Zito Camillo da Silva, author of "The Buffoon Balloon" and "Dragon, Do You Believe it?" who interacted with their English Learner students in Portuguese.
The school year started coming to a close in May as Lowell High School honored their seniors for their academic and athletic achievements, awarding members of the class of 2023 more than $600,000 in scholarships. As we celebrate their achievements at this exciting time of the year and prepare for end of year celebrations, it is also important to remind our young people of the dangers of driving while impaired or distracted. Our partners from the Lowell Police Department, Lowell Fire Department, and Pridestar/Trinity EMS helped Lowell High School stage a very impactful mock crash simulation that will hopefully make all who witnessed it think twice before driving while impaired or distracted or getting into a car with someone who is.
Finally, as we close our season of celebrations and community events, please join us in the Irish Auditorium at Lowell High School on June 1 at 6 p.m. for an important community Substance Abuse forum featuring guest speaker, former NBA player Chris Herren. Our friends at the Lowell Community Charter Public School arranged for Mr. Herren to come to Lowell and the program is being presented in partnership with the City of Lowell and Lowell Public Schools. All members of the community are invited and interpretation services will be provided in Spanish, Portuguese and Khmer.
It is hard to believe the end of the school year is just three weeks away. Best of luck to all as we head into prom and graduation season!
Joel D. Boyd
Superintendent of Schools
More Than Hair: DEI Hair Club Brings Students Together
In January, the Greenhalge Elementary School held a very successful family event dubbed “Braids and Fades,” where students could receive free haircuts from professional barbers and/or have their hair styled and braided by teacher Shalisa Lamb and Family Liaison Abby Phillips.
That event made Lamb realize how interested some of the students were in hair, so she created the DEI Hair Club, an after-school activity where participants learn about different types of hair, how it grows, how to detangle and style it.
“It gives the girls some self-confidence when they know how to care for their hair,” said Lamb.
In addition to the learning and creative activities, they also discuss career opportunities in the beauty industry.
On a recent afternoon, the club was visited by Leonidas Garcia, owner of Evolution Beauty Supply on Bridge Street.
She went to cosmetology school at the now defunct Blaine in Lowell, a 9-month, 1,000 hour program.
“The beauty business is about more than hair, it is about much more and there is a lot to learn,” Garcia said.
Twenty-five years ago, she started a small beauty supply store in Lawrence with $13,000.
“It is very hard when you don’t have a lot of money, but you can do it,” she said.
Garcia explained as a small business owner she had to learn all of the products, know how to handle inventory control, accounting, security, how to hire and retain employees, the best practices of customer service and so much more.
“My son was 13-years-old and loved to come to work with me,” she said. “Now he is 37. He saw how hard I worked in beauty and he worked hard.”
She displayed persistence and determination through tough times. She made the effort to go to beauty shows and meet with companies directly to get to know their products and to buy directly from them, cutting out the middleman. It was more work for her, but it allowed her to buy more product.
“I have used about 70 percent of all of the products in my store because I want to see how good a product is before I recommend it to my customers,” Garcia said. “To be a beauty supply owner you just need to know about business, but if you also know about beauty you can serve your customers so much better.”
She advised the students that if they are interested in starting their own beauty business like a store or salon, to have a plan, be responsible with money, and build up their credit. She took advantage of classes offered by the city for small business owners in areas like accounting to help increase her skills.
She built a strong customer base by being receptive to her customers’ needs, treating them with kindness and respect, and incentivizing them to send their friends to the store in exchange for free or discounted products.
“How you are seen matters,” Lamb told the students. “Be kind and be professional. Think about how you present yourself all the time.”
When Garcia tells the group that she is Dominican, a few of them excitedly perk up. They are Dominican too!
And that is part of what all of this about – representation. It is about showing the kids that there are people who look like them and have a similar background who have become very successful in their chosen profession.
Honoring Lowell High's Unified Phys Ed Heroes
As they say - not all heroes wear capes.
At Lowell High School, they wear gym shorts.
At a recent breakfast at LHS, the Unified Phys Ed Gym Class Heroes were honored. They are general education students, many of whom are captains or members of varsity sports teams, who take the time to participate in a gym class where they play with and mentor students who receive special education services.
“They have been able to teach the kids how to communicate properly, how to have sportsmanship, and how to have fun,” said teacher Lenny Rapone, who has been running the Unified Phys Ed class since it began four years ago. “These amazing students have embodied the core values of Lowell High School and gone way beyond that. The character they have shown has made this program a highlight at Lowell High School and it is growing momentum across the state.”
He added that the program is about much more than playing sports. It is a unique experience because most of the kids who receive special education services have been in substantially separate academic programs their entire school careers, so this not only gives them an opportunity to play sports and represent their school, but also to expand their peer circle.
Jack Geary, Captain of the Lowell High Hockey and Golf teams and a member of the Lacrosse team, joined the program just because he “wanted to help people,” but the experience has become much more than your typical volunteer gig.
“The kids are nice and fun and it is easy to interact with them,” Geary said. “I didn’t know what to expect and now going to gym class is the best part of my day.”
He liked it so much, he convinced his twin sister, Bridget, Captain of both the Indoor and Outdoor Track teams to participate.
Bridget quickly became the target of student Michael Bailey’s unrelenting trash talking – an important part of any sports program. He’s really good at it. And she loves it.
John Tobon, a Lowell High School football player, has been surprised by the strong relationships he has forged with the other kids.
“Going into it I thought I would be a teacher figure for them, but now I am more like a friend than a teacher,” he said.
Rapone said, for him, the highlights of this year didn’t happen on the court or in a field, but in hallways, classrooms, and in interactions among peers.
When Adleishka Rodriguez’s favorite pair of Crocs broke she was really sad. When she got a new pair, her Unified Phys Ed friends Ayden Chabak, John Tobon, and Thomas Woodlock bought her a bunch of car-themed gibbets to decorate them because she is crazy about cars.
Emma Hernandez used her own money to make Easter baskets for the kids who receive special education services in the gym class. Caden Smith, Ayden Chabak, and Thomas Woodlock spent their own money to take some of the kids to the arcade after bowling night and played video games with them.
Tobon knew that student Michael Bailey is a huge NASCAR fan, so when he saw a NASCAR poster at a yard sale, he bought it for him.
In their free time the Gym Class heroes can often be found popping into special education classes to check in on their friends and say hello. Lowell High Baseball pitcher Caden Smith spends extra time in the mornings working with the CSA students (student with Autism) and has been credited with being a big part of the growth they have shown this year.
“These are things these kids did all on their own just to make a difference in someone else’s life,” said Rapone. “I don’t have the words to say thank you enough. It is truly amazing.”
The Unified Phys Ed Gym Class can only be successful if they have caring, dedicated partners, Rapone said, adding that the partners they have had this year, “will not only go off and represent LHS and the city of Lowell, but will make the world a better place.”
The 2023 Lowell High School Unified Phys Ed Gym Class Heroes are: Erin Asselin, Juan Beltres Diaz, Alanna Carbonneau, Stephany DeLima, Abbie Grenier,Maddy Hebert, Ronnie Jones, Alex McLaughlin, Yaire Nieves, Lacey Pare, Isa Patino, Caden Smith, Emma Hernandez, Ashlee Anderson, Ayden Chabak, Merge Gabrius, Bella Goncalves, Meriam Hadiri, Pearl Kalungi, Jacqueline Peirce, Colin Pickett, John Tobon, Thomas Woodlock, Martha Chaves Figueroa, Aniela Olivares, Sam Bartlett, Bridget Geary, Lily Heartquist, Angelina Soa, Jayson Fontanez, Kaleb Gianini, Jovani Uribi, Jack Geary, and Molly Gray.
Spring Planting Day at the Washington
Dirty hands and smiling faces. May 16 was Planting Day in the Washington Elementary School's school garden. Our pals from Mill City Grows came by to teach the kids a little about the plants and how to plant them. These first-graders planted chard and lettuce, and learned about other plants they will get to watch grow over the next several months like dinosaur kale, carrots, beets, spinach, and garlic!
Greenhalge Vs. McAuliffe Staff Kickball!
Ever wonder what principals, teachers, social workers and all of your favorite school staff do AFTER school? Well, that's when they get to have recess! On a recent Thursday afternoon, Team Greenhalge climbed Christian Hill to take on Team McAuliffe in a serious game of kickball. There was some trash-talking and good natured ribbing, but for the most part everyone displayed kindness and excellent sportsmanship. Great job, adults! In the end, they played 4 innings with Team McAuliffe coming out on top in a 11-10 squeaker - must have been that home field advantage. The Greenhalge crew isn't acclimated to the higher altitude We are hoping this will be the first of many games. Any other schools ready to put together a team?
Celebrating Khmer New Year at the Butler
The Khmer New Year celebrations continue! On May 11, the Butler Middle School held their 26th Annual Khmer New Year Celebration with the Angkor Dance Troupe. The Butler community and the Troupe have a long-standing partnership, which has taught many students about traditional Cambodian dance over the years. This year's program featured Butler students who have been rehearsing relentlessly since March. They were incredible! The audience, which included 3rd graders from the Washington Elementary School (who were very grateful to be invited by their pals at the Butler), thoroughly enjoyed the Blessing Dance, Fishing Dance, Phoeung Neary Dance, Coconut Dance, and Swa Pol (Monkey Dance).
Lowell High School Senior Honors Night
On May 16, 214 Lowell High School seniors walked out of the Irish Auditorium having earned 369 scholarships adding up to more than $600,000.
Head of School Mike Fiato urged the students not to forget the generosity of the donors who made these awards possible.
"They understand the importance of investing in education; they are behind you and they believe in you," he said. "Embrace the opportunity, pursue your passions, and don't forget to thank those who made this possible."
Greater Lowell Community Foundation CEO Jay Linnehan explained that 80 volunteers scored and evaluated more than 4,000 scholarship applications.
"People have invested their time and their money for your benefit," he said. "It is philanthropy at its best. Don't forget where you came from and don't forget who helped you along the way."
The full list of awardees can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/lowellpublicschools/posts/737063834875788?__cft__=AZVWUjIDli839odCVsnZckP-o-06i0wdDS2D27LlZrvwLWQkBKxfPZRo0TE5qqCUg9hqaGWh90DX1x0mtMEQxqbQ0ZFNmFRqBlDmkpC6HfPLQQu_fcswH8vcm01J9Dyz2ZnVlWOv1Su1P6bgrqMSZDxk&__tn__=%2CO%2CP-Rr
Lowell High School Senior Athletic Awards
One Big Family at the Reilly
The first person Ron Fusco hired after becoming principal of the Reilly Elementary School in the summer of 2021 was custodian Derek Quintal.
Derek, known as “Mr. Pizza” to the kids, quickly became a beloved member of the Reilly family.
“He works so hard he makes everyone else look bad,” Fusco said. “We came in one morning and there he was, picking up trash in the rain, a smile on his face. He never stops.”
Fusco recently did something special for Mr. Pizza – connected him for life with his Mrs. Pizza – Amanda.
On May 5 at Zorvino Vineyards in Sandown, NH, Fusco officiated the wedding of Derek and Amanda, tying a bow on what had been a nearly six-year engagement.
“Ron got rave reviews,” Derek laughed. “He really did a great job and I am happy he was able to do it.”
The wedding was Fusco’s first as an officiant. He will be taking on that gig again in July to marry his best friend. The Quintal wedding served as a successful test run.
Derek and Amanda met through mutual friends while playing volleyball. After dating for seven months, he knew he wanted to pop the question. The plan was to propose at Christmas.
“But she kept shaking the box,” he said, adding he had packaged it creatively to throw her off track. “She thought it was ramen noodles.”
They were engaged on December 17, 2017.
Setting a date took a back burner to work and life. They now have two children, 4-years-old and 1 ½ years old.
Following their wedding, they took the kids to Disney World on a family honeymoon.
Fusco is confident this pairing will pass the test of time.
“If he’s able to make 90 women (Reilly staff) happy every day, his wife will be okay,” he laughed.
Author Zito Camillo da Silva Visits the Greenhalge
Zito Camillo da Silva, a Brazilian children's book author, who has lived right here in Lowell for the last 20 years, visited with students at the Greenhalge Elementary School on May 25 and read to them in Portuguese!
Zito was born in Paranaguá, a coastal city in Paraná in southern Brazil. In his early career he was a ballet dancer and performed all over the world.
He moved to Lowell 20 years ago and learned English at the Frederick Assad Abisi Adult Education Center.
He has written two beautiful children's books that are available in a variety of languages including English, Portuguese and Spanish.
"The Buffoon Balloon" is the story of a balloon who was very sad because children don't like him. The book addresses bullying and its negative effects as well as the positive effects of loving one another.
"Dragon, Do You Believe it?" Is the story of a dragon who thinks he is turning into a mouse. He meets a real mouse and they build an amazing friendship.
Learning Life-Saving Skills
As you may recall, last month our friend paramedic Armen Jeknavorian taught a CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) & first aid course to a group of fifth-graders at the Sullivan Middle School. On May 10, he was back at the Sullivan with his co-worker Zack Gentile to teach the four-hour class to parents and guardians. The two dozen participants learned about and practiced adult, child, and infant CPR, as well as how to use an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) and basic first aid including what to do when an adult or child is choking. The adults were great students, learning quickly and asking insightful questions. They are now certified in CPR. We look forward to having Armen back at the Sullivan and at other schools in the district to help more people earn CPR certification!
In the far back corner of an art classroom in the basement of Lowell High School is a worn wooden door.
It looks like a generic supply closet.
Open it and you are faced with a wall of heavy black plastic. You push through, walking into walls in the pitch black expecting some kind of haunted-house-level ghoul to jump out and scare you. Finally, you find the opening and emerge into a tiny red-lit space that smells like chemicals and anticipation.
It is in this small darkroom that Lowell High School students are learning how to develop 35mm film – an art that was previously unknown to members of a generation who grew up in the digital age, where everyone has a camera in their pocket, the number of shots are nearly unlimited, and we all live for the instant gratification of the “likes” and “shares” that come with posting a photo on social media.
Nikki Giraffo, Lowell High School art teacher and founder of Refuge Lowell, wanted to incorporate photography into her classes, but it is not her forte. So, she brought in professional photographer Tory Wesnofske to assist in teaching, with help from artist Chummeng Soun. Giraffo has been honing her skills along with her students.
Wesnofske added it has been a perfect partnership, with Giraffo able to provide feedback to the students from a purely artistic perspective, while she helps them with their technical skills.
The film cameras the students are shooting with – 50 in total – were donated to the school by The Film Photography Project’s School Camera Donation Program. Wesnofske is a big fan of the FPP’s podcast and knew about their camera donation program. Giraffo wrote them a letter explaining her plans for photography at Lowell High – and the donation was granted!
Wesnofske said because the students have grown up with cell phones and social media they are “much more visual and are great at composition.”
However, there was a bit of a learning curve when it came to shooting with an old school camera – after taking a shot, the students were curious about where to look to see it, the way you can on the back of a digital camera. Alas, patience is king in film photography. No one is seeing that photo until the film is processed.
“What is nice about the slower pace of film photography is that it gives them a break from their phones,” Wesnofske said. “They can focus and work on one image without the pressure to get it posted to Instagram and no one is judging them or their work.”
Senior Adriana Nanco said she has enjoyed the class and was really surprised by how much work goes into creating an image.
“It is really nerve-wracking because one mistake can ruin the whole thing,” she said.
The students learned all of the manual steps required not only to create images, but to process the film, and print the photos, which in itself is a detailed process of figuring out the correct exposure to light and timing. But when it all comes together the result is rewarding and magical. Nothing compares to seeing an image appear on paper as it is swished in a bath of developer chemicals.
Wesnofske said the small darkroom created some challenges as did the time constraints that come with holding a class during the school day. In the future, she would like to teach film photography as an after-school program.
This is a great time for young people to explore film photography.
“When they leave here, they can shoot with any camera,” Wesnofske said. “They are learning in a time where film is having a resurgence, so they have a lot of affordable options available to continue with photography after this class if they are interested.”
Girls on the Run!
The Greenhalge Elementary School's Girls on the Run team is READY!
On the afternoon of May 23, the team, made up of 3rd and 4th graders, ran a practice 5K - that is 15 laps around the outside perimeter of the school grounds. On June 3 they will join other GOTR teams from throughout Greater Boston at Suffolk Downs in East Boston for a Spring Season Celebratory 5K.
Girls on the Run is a national nonprofit that has created an after-school program for girls of all sizes, shapes, and abilities. While the end goal is to run a 5K, the program focuses on both physical and emotional health, building the girls’ self-esteem and helping provide the building blocks they need to make good life choices as they head into middle school and beyond.
An Inspiring Tale
At 26 years-old, Justin Aguirre found himself locked away in the Middlesex County Jail in Cambridge, addicted to drugs and suffering from Hepatitis C, his skin a sickly yellow from the disease.
“All I wanted was to die,” he recalled.
His mom, who he had not spoken to for several years, came to see him, begging him to get clean and turn his life around before it was too late.
Today, 15 years later, people throughout New England start their mornings listening to Aguirre, the executive producer and co-host of the “Billy and Lisa in the Morning” show on Kiss 108, Boston’s most popular radio station.
On Tuesday afternoon, Aguirre, a Malden native who attended an alternative high school program as a teen, shared his story with students at The Career Academy.
“I started out just like you, in an alternative program,” he said. “I remember the teachers trying to talk to me but I never had anyone like this coming to talk to me. No one who went to an alternative school ever came to talk to us and show us that we could be successful.”
He said he did not grow up in an environment where college was ever talked about as a goal or a possibility. To him, “being a man” meant going to prison.
“I never thought I had a shot,” he said.
By the time he was 17-years-old he was addicted to drugs and serving time in prison. What started as smoking marijuana and taking pills escalated to heroin and cocaine use and committing crimes in order to feed his habit. He spent the next several years in and out of jail or on probation. When he wasn’t locked away, he was living on the streets of Boston.
“I had no idea where I was headed,” Aguirre said.
At 26, newly clean and sober, he enrolled in the Journalism/Communications program at Northern Essex Community College.
“I sat in class thinking – if they only knew who I was – there was a time when I would rob every person in this classroom,” Aguirre said.
He showed up. He showed up on time and put in the work.
After NECC, he transferred to Salem State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communications. A professor encouraged him to apply for internships, but he was nervous that given his criminal record no one would take a chance on him.
He was wrong.
He landed an internship on the “Ramiro and Pebbles Morning Show” on JAM’N 94.5.
“They accepted me,” he said. “It was insane. I found my groove and I loved it.”
He paid attention, worked hard, and was hired as a part-time producer before moving on to a full-time producer job at KISS 108.
Last year, when Matt Siegel, the force behind the decades-long “Matty in the Morning” show retired, Aguirre was promoted to executive producer/co-host of the successor “Billy & Lisa in the Morning” show.
Today at 40-years-old, Aguirre looks back at his journey and marvels at how his life has “completely changed.” He now is a husband, father of two small children, and owns a home – a life his 26-year-old self would never have envisioned or thought possible.
He said while it is cool to meet famous people at his job like Pink, Ed Sheeran, and Post Malone, what he loves most about his job is connecting with the listeners.
“Whether people are having a good day or a bad day, they know they can turn on the radio and we will be there,” he says. “They can take a little time to get out of their heads and listen to us talk about what is going on or being silly.”
Aguirre said if he could go back and give his high school self some advice it would be simple: “Shut up. Show up. And listen.”
“No matter what your situation is in life, you can do something you want to do,” he told the students. “No matter how crazy your dream may seem today, if you put in the work anything is possible.”
The Art of Mental Health
Matthew Wolterding is on a mission.
His task? Empower young people to explore and embrace their emotions, thoughts, and experiences through creative pursuits; a way of life meant to bring a deeper understanding of self, improved mental health, and overall well-being.
He calls his project “My Beautiful Mind,” and describes it as “a transformative art and poetry project that aims to celebrate the beauty and resilience of the human mind while promoting mental health awareness.”
On a recent Saturday morning, a group of Stoklosa Middle School students had the opportunity to hang out and explore creative writing and art projects with Wolterding, a Centralville kid, artist, and certified social worker who has designed sneakers for Nike and Adidas and clothing for Drake and Lil Wayne.
Wolterding currently owns CNCPT 6, a funky art gallery/restaurant on Market Street.
Stoklosa Community Schools Program Manager Matt Gillis said he brought Wolterding in to work with the kids “to try something new.”
Wolterding provided the students with sketch pads, colored pencils, and an activity packet full of writing and drawing prompts aimed at fueling their creative fire. They explored adjectives they think best describe themselves, their favorite colors, feelings and dreams, and were given the freedom to sketch or write in whatever direction their creative juices flowed. Some drew trees, others characters like Daria or favorites from Anime; others wrote poems or sketched out what kinds of jackets they would design for Lil Wayne if given the opportunity.
At 13-years-old, a shy Matthew Wolterding could not draw very well so he began writing. What started as poems became songs. He made two albums and from the ages of 16 to 22 traveled the world performing his music.
“I was blessed to have the opportunity to explore my mind and use my mind,” he said.
He applauded the kids for giving up their Saturday morning and doing something to “empower yourselves and explore and celebrate how beautiful your mind is while diving deeper into who you are.”
Throughout the session Wolterding sat with and discussed art with the students, treating them as equals and providing encouragement, advice, and an ear.
He said he would love to bring this program to other schools in the district.
Mock Crash at Lowell High
It’s prom night. Six students in two cars are driving around after a night of dancing, followed by some partying that included alcohol and/or vaping marijuana.
In the first vehicle, the kids decide they are hungry and want to grab some McDonald’s. In the second vehicle, traveling in the opposite direction, the crew is excitedly talking about a social media post and looking at their phones.
Before either driver can react, the two vehicles crash head-on in an impact so severe that two young ladies, who were not wearing seatbelts, are ejected from the vehicles. One has no pulse and is later pronounced dead on the scene. The other is critically injured and unresponsive.
The driver of the first vehicle had been drinking, but wearing his seatbelt. He emerges from the crash with minor injuries.
In the second vehicle, a passenger is trapped in the backseat and has to be extricated by the Fire Department using hydraulic tools, known commonly as the “jaws of life.”
The driver of the first car, who had planned to go to college and enlist in the U.S. Army, was instead handcuffed and hauled off to jail. He had killed his best friend. The driver of the second car was in the hospital awaiting tests to determine whether she was impaired and will be charged.
Thankfully, this scenario was a demonstration and all of the young people involved went back to school, washed the “blood” off of their faces and prepared for Honors Awards Night.
This eye-opening display was executed by the Lowell Fire Department, Lowell Police Department, and PrideStar/Trinity EMS, with support from Lowell High School, Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union, the Kiwanis Club of Lowell, the Lowell Health Department, UMass Lowell, and AAA. It marks the first time such a mock crash has been presented in Lowell.
Traffic crashes are the third leading cause of death for Massachusetts teenagers. This is primarily due to inexperience behind the wheel, lack of seat belt use and risk-taking behaviors, such as speeding and distracted driving. Alcohol can also be a factor in teen crashes, especially during prom and graduation seasons.
Following the mock crash, seniors were given the opportunity to try “drunk goggles,” which simulate what it feels like to be intoxicated. The students could not walk straight or catch a ball or frisbee thrown directly to them. Clearly, that is no time to get behind the wheel of a 2,000 pound weapon.
The first-responders who participated told students how devastating it is to have to knock on a family’s door at 2 a.m. and tell parents that their child, who they sent off to prom hours earlier, isn’t coming home. They urged the students to take precautions, wear their seatbelts, put down their phones, and call for a ride if they are intoxicated.
“This is not worth it for one night of having a good time,” said Lowell Police Officer Mindy Dower.
Celebrating AAPI Month at the Washington
May is AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) month. The students at the Washington Elementary School were very busy learning about Asian culture, geography, and traditions on May 23. While there was a primary focus on Cambodia due to the demographics of Lowell, the day also touched upon many other Asian nations. The festivities began with a very special guest reader - Tracy Guan, a Chinese-American children's book author who lives right her in Lowell! She shared her latest book, "Love is Mama's Hands" with the students. Throughout the remainder of the day, students rotated to a number of stations throughout the school where they: learned to count to 10 in Khmer, learned to write in Khmer, visited a Cambodian artifact museum set up in the gym, made paper kites in the cafeteria, played a trivia game, learned about Asian geography and national flags, and learned how to play two popular Cambodian games. See videos in the comments.
Murder Mystery Dinner Theater at the Pyne
Pyne Arts Magnet School Drama students put on a very entertaining Murder Mystery Dinner Theater production on May 25. The premise? It is the employee appreciation dinner for employees of Margate Manufacturing (2M) - creator of the Banana Phone! Lots of drama, and some (literal) backstabbing boils beneath the surface of this workplace and before the night is over someone is dead - but is the victim who they all thought he was? And the bigger question - who did the deed?
On May 22, Lowell's middle and high school students participated in the district's 2nd Annual Civics Day at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium. This year's projects covered a wide range of topics such as: animal cruelty, homelessness, vaping, inflation, road conditions, school lunch, water quality, mental health, and much more.
Here is the story written by Melanie Gilbert that ran in the Lowell Sun: https://www.lowellsun.com/2023/05/22/generation-citizen-struts-its-civics-stuff/
Rob Surette Visits the Sullivan
Famed speed-painter Rob Surette brought his "Amazing Hero Art" Show to the Sullivan Middle School. Mr. Surette is known throughout the world for his impressive ability to paint giant portraits of famous figures in minutes. But his show is not just about the art. He is also a motivational speaker who tells students the story of how he got to where he is today and impresses upon them the importance of following their dreams, while at the same time having compassion for others and always looking for ways to be a better citizen of the world.
Family Fun at the Adie
The students and staff at the Dr. Janice Adie Day School love spring when they can get outside and have some fun! They recently had an amazing Family Fun Day.
As we wrap up the first year of a two-year comprehensive plan to revitalize school libraries across the city, Superintendent of Schools Joel Boyd and Mayor Sokhary Chau recently toured the libraries of the Lincoln Elementary, Laura Lee Therapeutic Day, Bailey Elementary, and Daley Middle Schools.
Library services and staff in Lowell Public Schools were among the resources that were reduced five years ago to resolve the district’s structural deficit in the wake of the financial crisis of 2018.
The district has invested heavily in a multi-tiered system of support to accelerate learning for all students to overcome the academic impact of the COVID-19 shutdowns. Among those investments, Lowell Public Schools earmarked approximately $2 million from the federally-appropriated Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund to:
1. Update library book collections and digital library resources to ensure all schools are fully-equipped with a 21st century library-media center and that the media offered is reflective of the diversity of all LPS students.
2. Assess and supplement staffing levels to ensure all school-based, library-media centers are accessible to all students and families.
3. Purchase software to be used in libraries to help students improve their reading levels and access resources that align with their interests, improving K-12 literacy.
4. Implement cataloging software that makes it easier to sign-out books as well as digital offerings and technology.
Use of these ESSER funds complement the technology upgrades made possible by the $3 million awarded to the district by the Federal Communications Commission’s Emergency Connectivity Fund program. Those funds are being used to upgrade technology infrastructure, as well as provide hot spots that students can borrow in times of temporarily interrupted internet connectivity at home.
According to Melissa Newell, the district’s Coordinator of Language & Literacy, there are 500-700 books being borrowed weekly from each school library. There has been $1.6 million spent on books this school year, with another $800,000 in purchases pending.
“It was important to us when choosing books to purchase that they were inclusive, so every student could see themselves in the characters and in the authors,” said Newell, who has been working with the schools and library teachers to assess their specific needs as we head into the next school year.
Additionally, the schools are listening to what the students what to see more of and have added funding to bring in more graphic novels, Manga (Japanese graphic novels), and non-fiction works.
Students not only have access to the physical books available in their school libraries, but also thousands of other titles through the Sora digital library app. Newell reports there have been 20,000 check outs of new e-books through Sora this school year.
This summer, Lowell students can access all recommended summer reading books, as well as comics and other fun summer beach reading on any device through Sora. Recommended summer reading books are also available in hard copy at the city’s Pollard Memorial Library.
The Lowell High School U.S. Air Force JROTC did a fantastic job at the city's Memorial Day observance at J.F.K. Plaza on May 26.
LHS After Dark
Congratulations to the six Lowell High School students who recently graduated from the “After Dark” program, a partnership with Greater Lowell Technical High School that allows LHS juniors and seniors to take vocational classes at GL Tech after school.
The program, which began in the 2019-2020 school year, just before the COVID-19 pandemic began, is part of a statewide initiative created by then-Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration as a way to add capacity to the Commonwealth’s vocational schools and open opportunities to more students to learn valuable skills and career certifications in in-demand industries.
Participating LHS students can choose from: Information Technology, Advanced Manufacturing, and Automotive Technology. They take academic classes at LHS during the school day and technical training at GLTHS from 2:30 PM to 5:30 PM. Transportation is provided for all students.
Throughout the program, students earn industry credentials and work with instructors to prepare for job interviews.
This year’s graduates are:
Automotive Technology Students
Information Technology Students
For more information about the After Dark Program visit: https://www.lowell.k12.ma.us/domain/2806
Early College Projects
This year more than 300 Lowell High School students took college-level Introduction to Psychology or Introduction to Sociology as part of Early College Lowell, a partnership between Lowell High, Project Learn, and Middlesex Community College. The classes gave the students the opportunity to dive into subjects that interest them, while preparing them for the work that comes with a college course, and earning college credit.
Earlier this month, the students showcased their final projects at a symposium at Lowell High. The wide range of topics and the depth of their research and knowledge was very impressive. Some of the topics included: psychology of addiction, racism in medicine, how music affects Alzheimer's patients, the teenage brain and sleep, the effectiveness of handwriting versus typing up notes, exercise and mental health, how being attractive changes how a criminal is treated in the justice system, effects of having an incarcerated parent, and much more.
Great work done by all!
Middle School Volleyball Championship
A GREAT afternoon of volleyball at Lowell High School's Raymond E. Riddick Athletic Center for the Middle School Volleyball Championship games! On the girls' side, the Butler Bulldogs swept the Wang Eagles 2-0 in two hard-fought matches. On the boys' side, the Wang Eagles bested the Butler Bulldogs 2-0. All of the teams that played did a great job and left a ton of sweat on the court.
It's Bike Rodeo time! Our partners at The Bike Connector, Jeanne D'Arc Credit Union, and Massachusetts Safe Routes to School held fantastic Bike Rodeos this month at the Greenhalge, Bartlett, and Stoklosa schools. Dozens of students were fitted for new helmets and were able to choose new-to-them bicycles that have been refurbished by volunteers at the Bike Connector. They took part in skills exercises and learned about bike safety. We know the kids will have a great time with these bikes this summer!
Shooting Hoops for a Great Cause
Earlier this month, Lowell High School and Career Academy students involved in Elevate New England participated in a basketball tournament to raise money to help the folks at Living Waters provide services to unhoused members of our community. Elevate is an elective that provides classes in leadership, character building, college & career readiness, as well as an opportunity to participate in community improvement projects. The students were joined by Elevate's teacher/mentors and LHS Head of School Mike Fiato.
Celebrating Our Diversity
The STEM Academy and Robinson Middle Schools recently held Multicultural Night celebrations
Lowell High Seniors said goodbye to the school on May 25 by parading through the school.
Team Abisi Walks for Cancer Care
Shout out to the incredible community at the Frederick Assad Abisi Adult Education Center!! On May 21, a group of 95 students, staff, family, and friends participated in the 3-mile Lowell General Hospital TeamWalk for Cancer Care. This marked the 19th year that the AAEC has participated in this very worthy annual fund-raising event. The team raised $3,720!!
All proceeds from the walk go to help the patients at the LGH Cancer Center. These funds make a difference in the lives of today’s cancer patients by providing them with transportation to and from treatments, prescription medication that is not covered by insurance, living expenses, wigs, prosthetics, medical supplies, and a diverse array of support services for patients and their families.
Teachers as Students
Congratulations to the LPS teachers who recently earned their Master's degrees through the collaboration the Lowell Teachers Academy has with Fitchburg State University, including those shown in this photo: Shelagh Gallagher, Michelle Rhoads, Katie Nangle, Rob Mazzone, Michael Winslow, Olivia Melo, Sarah-Jane Macfarlane, and Stephanie Dion!
Celebrating Excellence in Teaching
Congratulations to Lowell High School teacher Jessica Lander, who was honored at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Celebration of Amazing Educators at Devens. She was a finalist for Teacher of the Year. State Rep. Vanna Howard came out to the ceremony to present Ms. Lander with a citation from the House of Representatives. The Lowell High School Sound Impressions Show Choir performed at the event. Ms. Lander does an incredible job teaching social studies/civics to our immigrant and refugee students. We are very fortunate to have her in Lowell! If you see her around, be sure to give her a high-five.
Substance Abuse Forum
Please join us on Thursday June 1 for this very important event. Former NBA star Chris Herren has a compelling first-hand story to tell about addiction and its consequences. We can only end this terrible disease through education and the sharing of information and this is a great place to start. All are welcomed!
Football Clinic for Incoming Freshmen
Peace in the Park
Last Day of School
At the beginning of the month, Qably Palow was served in the LHS cafeteria. It is student Sahil’s recipe from the Tasting History cookbook. This recipe is his family recipe from Afghanistan and features Halal Beef, Rice, Raisins,Carrots and Spices.
School lunch is looking GOOD. Some of the options in our cafeterias this month included a chipotle chickpea sub with broccoli salad, loaded baked potatoes, beautiful berries, kale salads, BBQ chicken pizza, and more! The kids are eating good!