TMHS Principal's Newsletter

September 2017

From the Principal's Desk - Kristen S. Vogel

Over Labor Day weekend I had some time to read the September Boston Magazine's Best Schools in Boston edition. One of the articles I read , "In Praise of Mediocre Kids" speaks to the pressure and desire parents feel to raise students who are exceptional in all areas; school, athletics, music, acting, singing. There is a belief that students will receive college scholarships if they have perfect SAT scores, or are stand out athletes, actors, musicians or singers. As a result, I have noticed parents spending money for tutors so students can get ahead, for club teams above and beyond high school athletics and private singing or music lessons. We are creating students who are stretched thin with all of their commitments, feeling pressure to perform perfectly in school and who are focusing all of their energy on one activity. The statistics from the NCAA tell us that only about of two percent of high school students in the United States will receive athletic scholarships. What we know from talking to colleges is that they are looking for well-rounded students. They want to see students who challenge themselves but are not necessarily perfect. They are looking for students who participate in different extra curricular activities in school, including work. As parents we need to remember that it is okay if our students are not exceptional in all that they do. What is most important is that they are thoughtful, compassionate, informed and nice human beings. They will go to college, have jobs/careers and be successful at what they choose to do even if they are not an exceptional student, athlete, actor or musician. Here is the link to the article from Boston Magazine:

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 in December to introduce the project opportunity, application process and expectations as well as the time line.

Project Welcome

For a few weeks this past summer, students from the Wynn Middle School and Tewksbury Memorial High School participated in separate service learning projects designed to meet the needs of the community. Service Learning is an educational approach in which students practice apprentice citizenship as they work with a community partner to identify and solve a problem or meet a need. This summer, students discovered challenges faced by English language learners and worked with an expert community partner to create solutions of their own design.

After interviewing Ms. Karen Hodgson, Lead ELL Teacher for Tewksbury Public Schools, Wynn Middle School students focused on helping students unfamiliar with English to navigate around each school building in the district. They created multilingual signs to identify features common to all of our schools, such as “Cafeteria”, “Gymnasium”, “Auditorium”, etc. Each sign prominently displays the English word for the location and then lists translations for the word in Chinese, Malay, Vietnamese, Khmer, Spanish and Portuguese. Pictures representing each location also appear for easy identification. The students creating these signs hope they will help ELL students and their parents locate important sites in each school while they learn English. They also recognize that English-speakers like themselves might also learn to recognize essential words in another language by using the signs.

Tewksbury Memorial High School students also worked with Ms. Hodgson to uncover the needs of students entering the school from a variety of countries with cultures quite different from our own. Realizing that ELL students might have little prior experience gathering school supplies typically used by their Tewksbury classmates, this team decided to create Welcome Bags. They used budgeted funds from a Massachusetts Department of Education grant to purchase pencils, pens, highlighters, index cards and other items to place inside TMHS-imprinted drawstring bags to be given to each ELL student entering the high school.

The work of students from both the Wynn and TMHS teams was featured in articles appearing in multiple local media outlets, such as the Tewksbury Advocate, the Lowell Sun and Your Tewksbury

Paper Plate State Debate

In Ms. Puma's Advanced Placement U.S. History class students used paper plates to relate pertinent information about the original thirteen colonies and then had to use a variety of methods/themes to group them. The idea was to focus on critical thinking and being able to group historical information in a variety of ways. See pictures below!

Good Gardens Make Good Neighbors

Our TMHS gardens continue to produce fresh vegetables to be sold at the Community Garden table at the Tewksbury Farmer’s Market or for donation directly to the Tewksbury Community Pantry for distribution to area families in need. Beds are planted in the spring by Life Skills/L.E.A.P. program and Environmental Science students. TMHS Preschool students grow marigold plants from seed and then contribute their seedlings to the garden beds to attract pollinators and repel pests. Pictured below are preschoolers adding their marigold seedlings to the garden beds last June with the assistance of some high school helpers.

This summer’s bounty included zucchini, carrots, iceberg and romaine lettuce, arugula, tomatoes and more. Students from the Life Skills/L.E.A.P. summer program in July and August contributed to the weekly collection for the Tewksbury Farmer’s Market. Pictured below are images from the Tuesday morning harvests.

This summer’s bounty included a huge zucchini.

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Aerodyne Mobil Laboratory Visits TMHS

Students from the Environmental Science and AP Chemistry classes welcomed the Aerodyne Mobil Laboratory to the TMHS campus in June.

The visit allowed students to interact with scientists who are making direct measurement of atmospheric chemistry with highly sensitive equipment aboard a state-of-the-art travelling laboratory. Students were able to witness real-time measurement of the types of air pollutants studied in class and to learn about the role of such measurements in the research and control of air quality around the country and the globe.

TMHS is grateful to the scientists from Aerodyne for taking time out of their busy schedule to travel to our school. We hope to make this visit a regular event!

PSATs - October 11

On October 11 all sophomore and junior students will be taking the PSATs during the school day. This opportunity is being paid for by the district and we are so appreciative of this! Additionally, all of our freshmen will be participating in workshops by the Greater Lowell Indian Council on this day. Our seniors are encouraged to use this day as a college visit/job search day. We ask that all seniors let the Guidance Office know what their plans are for this day. If a senior comes to school this day, they will be participating in the freshman experience. We will serve lunch and school will be dismissed at 12:30pm.

International Club News

The mission of the International Club is to service the community. Our members have certainly been busy this fall!

On September 2 club members held a car wash to raise funds for Hurricane Harvey victims. The money collected was used to purchase 43 pairs of shoes.

At our first meeting many new students came to learn about the club and to work together to build the tallest balloon tower.

On September 24 fourteen members served dinner at Cor Unum Meal Center in Lawrence.

On September 26 club officers attended the Selectmen meeting to donate a trash receptacle for 2000 Whipple Road, a site the club is taking stewardship over to keep it clean for the public.

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Fine & Performing Arts Department

On September 23 the TMHS Marching Unit participated in Marching Band Day. Students from the Wynn Middle School performed with the band during the pre-game. This was the first year of the event and the Marching Band looks forward to continuing this new tradition. As always, the TMHS Marching Band will be at all home games. Join us and help support the team!

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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 November 2 through November 4 in the Dr. Christine L. McGrath Performing Arts Center.

Please encourage your student to consider and explore our extracurricular offerings this year.

TMHS Fine & Performing Arts Department Extracurricular Activities

TMHS Theater Company

Three season club with varying hours depending on participation in cast or crew

Includes Fall Play, Winter One Act, and Spring Musical

Concert Choir

Meets Tuesdays after school, 2-4:00pm

Winter and Spring Concerts

Massachusetts Festivals

TMHS Marching Band

Meets August - November on Mondays & Wednesdays, 5-8:00pm

Performs at TMHS football games and New England competitions

TMHS Affinity Winter Color Guard

Meets November-April on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5-8:00pm

Competes in the New England Scholastic Band Association winter circuit

ECHO Club Participates in Coastal Cleanup

Early Bird Special – 2018 Yearbook Sale!

Beginning now, until the end of October, we will be taking orders for the 2018 Yearbook. The price during the month of October will be $60. This is a $15 savings.

After October, the price will go up every two months until the price reaches $75, which is the regular yearbook price. There will be many other senior expenses in the spring, so take advantage of this offer and save $15.

The easiest way is to order the Yearbook on-line at and pay by credit card. The other option is to bring a check made out to TMHS Yearbook to Mrs. Sullivan in room A103.

Important: All senior portraits should be taken by November 1, 2017, so we may make our deadline. Contact O’Connor Studios to make an appointment.

Thank you!

Susan Sullivan

Yearbook Advisor

Guidance News

We encourage all students and families to visit the Guidance Web page frequently to be updated on important workshops, informational sessions and college information. For college-bound seniors, please check out the college corner for interesting facts that college representatives have shared with TMHS counseling staff.

SAT Exams

Senior students interested in participating in a fall SAT exam should visit to register for the exam. Junior students should be taking the exam in the spring. Students will need to set up an account in order to register for the exam.

Senior Parent Breakfast was held on Friday, September 29 from 7:45-9:00am in LGI-1. Admission representatives from UMass Lowell, Fitchburg State College, Southern New Hampshire University, Merrimack College and Middlesex Community College were on hand to provide valuable information on the admission process.

Freshman Parent Breakfast will be held on Friday, October 6 from 7:45–9:00am in LGI-1. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet the counseling staff and review the graduation requirements and available elective courses.

College Essay Writing workshop will be held last block on Friday, October 6. Our admission representative from Fitchburg State College will be on hand to review and make recommendations for rough-draft essays. Students need to register in advance in the Guidance office.

Resume Writing Workshop will be held B block on Thursday, October 12. This workshop will be held in our computer lab to allow students to begin creating a resume document. Students need to register in advance in the Guidance office.

PSAT exams will be held October 11. Sophomore and junior students will begin testing shortly after they arrive. Following the general instructions and paperwork, students will be testing for approximately 3 hours. Lunch will be served from 12:00–12:30pm, with a dismissal time of 12:30pm.

Senior College Visit Day will be held on October 11. Senior students are encouraged to visit a college of their choice and experience the college while it is in full session. Students need to indicate the college they intend to visit in order for their absence to be counted as school business.

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.