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  • Malden High graduates 446 at Macdonald Stadium

    Friday, June 09, 2017 00:00
  • Happy Birthday, Mr. Mayor

    Friday, June 09, 2017 00:00
  • Mayor submits $227 million FY18 budget

    Monday, May 15, 2017 00:00
  • Twin Sachem Scholars

    Friday, June 09, 2017 00:00
  • Help choose the next Malden Reads 2018 book selection!

    Friday, June 09, 2017 00:00

THE SOUNDS OF SAUGUS

H

ere are a few tidbits that you might want to know about this week in Saugus.

Leaders of their class

In more than four decades of newspaper reporting, I never figured how valuable it would be to cover a High School graduation awards ceremony. But I wanted desperately to meet the leaders of the Saugus High School Class of 2017 so I could interview them for last week’s “The Advocate Asks” question and answer feature of The Saugus Advocate.

Saugus High School Principal Michael Hashem suggested that the best time with just days left to seniors’ school careers would be to show up at the high school auditorium last Wednesday and catch them after the school’s annual Academic and Service Awards Night.

So, the principal talked me into it. And I’m glad he did.

I already knew that I would be interviewing Rachel May – the 2017 Valedictorian. She struck me as a top high school scholar when I met her last fall at the Saugus Public Library. She was one of six people being honored as a recipient of the “Readers Make Good Leaders” Award – and the first-ever high school student.

Frankly, I had no idea who the second student might be – until I learned after the awards ceremony that I would also be interviewing Salutatorian Kristina Italiano. Having watched the ceremony, I had already developed background on Krissy, as she went up to get quite a few scholarships and academic awards.

Wow! I suddenly learn I’ll be interviewing the number one and number two students in this year’s graduating class.

Rachel and Krissy were in great demand of family and friends who wanted to shoot photos of the two in front of the giant cardboard number “17” standing up near the podium on the stage in the auditorium. After about 15 minutes, the two star students eased their way in from the “17,” for a few photos and then sat down on the stage for about a 12-minute interview. Early on, I learned they were “best friends” since the seventh grade.

What a story line, which led to a front page feature titled “Best of both worlds: Two Saugus High School seniors graduating tonight are best friends and best two students.” That was one of our lead stories in last Friday’s edition.

In the course of the interview, I also learned that Krissy has a twin, Katelyn Italiano, or “Katie,” who was the second top-ranked student in last year’s Junior Class, when Krissy was Number 4. But Krissy overtook Katie this year for the honor to be Salutatorian. But while falling to fourth in her class, Katie was still an A student.

And to have twin sisters graduating – and both of them selected to speak at commencement – while excelling in the classroom, in school athletics, as leaders involved in school activities and just great ambassadors for Saugus High … well, that’s a story that easily wrote itself in this week’s paper, “Twin Sachem Scholars: Sisters Kristina and Katelyn Italiano excelled in the classroom, in Saugus High sports, as class leaders and on the 2017 graduation stage.”

Of course, there are many great stories to be written about this year’s graduating class, for a reporter who has the interest and time to ferret them out. This was one of the largest classes in recent memory and one of the closest, according faculty and students I talked to. The Saugus Sachems of 2017 also distinguished themselves in the athletic arena as well as in non-sport afterschool activities. And in the School Committee meetings I’ve attended over the past year – or watched on television – I heard a lot about “the Sachem Pride” exuded by this year’s Saugus High graduates.

In an emotional, teary-eyed tribute during the commencement ceremonies last Friday, School Committee Member Elizabeth Marchese showed the soft spot she had for this year’s class – “You have united a community. You have brought back Sachem pride.”

Hats off to the students in the Saugus High Class of 2017. In more than four decades of reporting, I can’t recall a more enjoyable task of covering a high school class as I did this one.

And there were fitting words from Saugus Public Schools Superintendent Dr. David DeRuosi, Jr., in the midst of his first commencement exercises in Saugus since taking charge of the school district last July 1. “Resiliency is the key to success,” DeRuosi said. “Never give up … Don’t settle … always work to achieve more.”

“Always stay true to yourself and your core values,” School Committee Chair Jeannie Meredith chimed in.

Election help wanted

Town Clerk Ellen J. Schena is looking for some willing and available paid help – wardens, clerks and inspectors – for the Special Election set for June 20, when the town will decide whether to move forward on a new combination Middle/High School. Voters will go to the polls from 7 a.m. to consider two ballot questions

Attention Saugus Voters! Don’t worry if you won’t be in town on June 20. Absentee Ballots are now available in Town Clerk Schena’s office. You can either come into the office to vote Absentee or you may request an Absentee Ballot Application be mailed. Please contact the Clerk’s office at 781-231-4101 with your information as soon as possible.

A time to remember Officer Vitale

It’s been nearly 32 years since Saugus Police Officer Harold L. Vitale was killed in the line of duty. But his family and friends – many of them from Revere, where he grew up – keep his memory alive every year at about this time.

Next Saturday (June 17) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the family and representatives of the Officer Harold L. Vitale Memorial Fund will gather near the end of Ballard Street in Officer Vitale Memorial Park, which was constructed by the Town of Saugus in 1992 in his honor. There they will award several scholarships in his honor to students from Saugus, Revere and other area communities. Since the scholarship fund was launched in 1992, 110 scholarships totaling more than $110,000 have been awarded to college-bound students.

Officer Vitale was killed in the line of duty in the early morning hours of June 18, 1985, while attempting to make an arrest; he was dragged over 1,000 feet to his death. Officer Vitale was 42 at the time and married to his wife, Eileen, and they lived in Ipswich with three children: Paul, Michelle and JacLyn.

Officer Vitale’s badge #17 was retired after his death.

Teen TV summer workshop

This just in from Michelle Madar, production manager at Saugus Community Television Inc.’s Stop-Motion Animation Workshop. “Did you hear the news?” Madar wrote in an email we received last week. “Saugus TV won an Award for a 2-minute Stop-Motion Animation Promo. Want to know how we did it? Here is your chance to find out how, AND to make one for yourself!”

Saugus TV is offering a two-week workshop for Grades 8-12 (2017 Grads welcome) where you will learn the major stop-motion techniques, the basics of editing the video with Final Cut X and a brief history of Stop-Motion. This workshop will meet Monday, July 10; Tuesday, July 11; Wednesday, July 12; Monday, July 17; Tuesday, July 18; and Wednesday, July 19 from 2 to 5 p.m. It is free to all Saugus Teens.

“We will also be hosting a viewing party on Friday, July 21 for friends and family to view the final production,” Madar said.

Space is limited, so register with Michelle Madar at m.madar@saugustv.org by July 7.

Technology grants for Saugus Public Schools

Saugus Public Schools is one 16 school districts that have been selected to receive a total of $847,059 in state grants for technology infrastructure that will strengthen digital learning, the Baker-Polito Administration announced last week. The Belmonte Middle School will receive $31,642 and the Veterans Memorial Elementary School will get $24,220 in grant money, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

The state’s investment will leverage approximately $1.13 million in additional local funds. The grants to these schools, which includes 11 rural schools, 19 suburban schools and 11 urban schools, will impact nearly 22,000 students.

“Technology in the classroom is an essential part of preparing our students for successful academic and professional careers,” Governor Charlie Baker said. “The enhanced access to technology through these grants will improve each district and help ensure Massachusetts remains a national leader in education.”

“The Digital Connections Partnership School Grants announced today are another example of the state and municipalities working together to provide better services at the local level,” Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito said. “We look forward to the 16 school districts and 40 schools across the Commonwealth utilizing these funds to improve their students’ educational experience.”

“Technology is essential in preparing our students for success in the 21st century,” state Secretary of Education James Peyser said. “The opportunities these students will receive due to these grants will put them at a great advantage when they are preparing for the college and the workforce demands of the future.”

Administered by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Office of Municipal and School Technology of the Massachusetts Office of Information Technology (MassIT), the program provides state funds to increase the discounts communities receive from E-rate, a federal program that provides technology discounts to schools and libraries. Grant recipients were selected through a competitive application process. The Digital Connections Partnership Schools Grant is a matching state grant program that will help public schools strengthen 21st-century teaching and learning through the use of technology such as Wi-Fi and increased broadband access.

“I am thrilled that the state is able to help make better technology available to students and teachers,” Mitchell D. Chester, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education said. “The ability to use technology and harness resources from around the world will broaden students’ horizons and make them stronger scholars, citizens and, eventually, members of the workforce.”

More information about the Digital Connections Partnership Schools Grant is available at http://www.doe.mass.edu/odl/grants/DigitalConnections.html.

SAVE to hold its annual dinner June 21

Saugus Action Volunteers for the Environment (SAVE) will hold its Annual Meeting and Dinner on Wednesday, June 21 at the Saugus Italian American Club, which is located at 1 Beachview Ave. A social hour begins at 6:30 p.m. and a dinner buffet begins at about 7:15 p.m. The public is invited to the Italian Buffet (catered by Spinelli’s) consisting of mixed salad, several assorted pasta / meat dishes, dessert, coffee and tea. A cash bar will also be available. The cost is $19.50 per person. As part of SAVE’s annual event, guest speaker Carol Oldham, executive director of the Massachusetts Climate Action Network (MCAN), will speak on the topic of “100% Renewables for All,” a most interesting and current topic. Carol holds an MBA in policy and planning from the University of New Mexico and an undergraduate degree from Bennington College.

SAVE is also planning a small “Free SWAP” table at this event – a great way to keep still usable goods out of the waste stream. So bring one or two items that you no longer need or want to add to the table, if you wish. You might also find something to take home with you.

For further information or to download the Annual Dinner response coupon, go to either www.SaugusSAVE.org or www.saugussave.com.

You may also contact SAVE President Ann Devlin at adevlin@aisle10.net or SAVE Treasurer Carol Chelf at 1-978-208-8321. Please let SAVE officials know as soon as possible, but no later than June 14. Free parking is available on-site, and the facility is accessible for the disabled.

Saugus Historical Society sets Strawberry Festival at St. John’s Church

The Saugus Historical Society will hold its annual Strawberry Festival on its traditional date, the third Saturday of June – this year that falls on Saturday, June 17. It is in a new location this year: St. John’s Church at the corner of Central Street and Prospect Street. As it has for over three decades, the Festival features their famous Old-Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake, hot dogs and soda. Come enjoy this traditional celebration of the beginning of summer with your family and neighbors. Shortcakes are available to eat inside or to take out. A Plant and Flower Sale by the Saugus Garden Club, craft tables and more outside on the lawn will open at 9 a.m.; shortcakes will be served inside starting at 10 a.m. and will continue until 2 p.m.

Strawberry Festivals were held in many New England towns in the 18th and 19th centuries to celebrate the first fruits of the season. The Saugus Historical Society picked up this tradition in the mid 1980’s and has held its festival every year since. The location has varied, with other locations including the former Unitarian Universalist Church (now the Iglesia Bautista), the American Legion Hall and the Roby School lawn.

Shortcake tickets are available for sale at the door or by advance sale. A limited amount of table space for craft vendors is still available. For more information contact Saugus Historical Society President Laura D. Eisener at ldeld@shore.net or 781-231-5988.

Flower Power in Saugus

Now in its 72nd year, the Saugus Garden Club has several events planned for the first half of the year. If you love flowers, adore your town and want to meet some new friends, check out these events:

  • · Field Trip this month, date to be announced. A carpool trip is planned to Harvard University’s Museum of Natural History, where members can tour the newly-reopened glass flower museum.
  • · Saturday, June 17, the club holds its annual plant sale on the lawn of the Roby School during the Saugus Historical Society’s Strawberry Festival.

Let’s hear it!

Got an idea, passing thought or gripe you would like to share with The Saugus Advocate? I’m always interested in your feedback. It’s been a year since I began work at The Saugus Advocate. I’m always interested in hearing readers’ suggestions for possible stories or good candidates for “The Advocate Asks” interview of the week. Feel free to email me at mvoge@comcast.net.

Some Attractions at the Saugus Public Library

There are some cool events coming up at the Saugus Public Library:

Got kids and a green thumb?

On Tuesday, June 13 at 3:30 p.m., check out the official planting of the Children’s Garden. Plant some flowers, vegetables and herbs. Enjoy some refreshments and make some new friends with green thumbs.

Raptors and Birds of Prey

Kick off teen summer reading with this program, on Thursday, June 15, from 4 to 5 p.m.

“Learn facts about birds of prey such as hawks, falcons, owls and eagles and see some of these beautiful birds up close,” says the flyer posted on a glass window.

Ages eight and up – call or come into the library to sign up.

Free After School Homework Help at the Saugus Public Library

The SPL is partnering with the Belmonte Middle School to offer free, drop-in homework help to Saugus elementary school students to help foster strong academic and study skills outside of school hours. Here are the details:

  • · Homework Help is in session and runs Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 to 4 p.m. in the Community Room at the Saugus Public Library.
  • · Homework helpers are National Junior Honor Society students from the Belmonte Middle School.
  • · This program is open to students in grades K-5.
  • · No registration is required, but students must be signed in/out by a parent or guardian.
  • · Parent or guardian must remain on library grounds while student is receiving homework assistance.
  • · Subjects: math • science • grammar • reading • social studies • geography & others.
  • · For more information, visit www.sauguspubliclibrary.org/children/homework, where you’ll also find online resources for a variety of grade levels as well as free test-prep help from the College Board and others.
  • · Email sau@noblenet.org with any questions.

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