Saugus Middle-High School will host “Saugus 4-1-1” tomorrow – to teach newcomers and old-timers about their hometown
Adults living in Saugus will get a chance to go back to school tomorrow. Even if they’ve never been inside the new Saugus Middle-High School, they will be invited to take a tour while taking in a few classes, where they will get to learn a lot of things they never knew about their hometown. “Saugus 4-1-1,” a special open house intended to welcome and orient newcomers to town, is set for tomorrow (Saturday, Oct. 15), from 9 a.m. to noon at the Saugus Middle-High School.
But even residents who are well-rooted in the community – and old-timers included – are welcome to participate in the event, too, according to Selectman Corinne Riley, the architect and chief organizer of this special event. “I hope that many residents will show up for information or just a tour of the new Middle-High School that people haven’t seen before,” Riley said in an interview this week.
“We started planning this before COVID, during COVID and finally it’s happening and I hope for nothing less than this to be successful, especially for the new residents to be involved in their community and feel that this is their town whether they have been here 50 years or 50 days,” Riley said.
How an idea became an event
“Saugus 4-1-1,” the title of this event, incorporates the old-fashioned way that people used to get telephone numbers many years ago – by dialing 4-1-1.
Riley said she borrowed “a very good idea” from the Town of Wakefield and modified it to suit Saugus. A few years ago, while working with state Rep. Donald Wong’s (R-Saugus) campaign, she attended a “Wakefield 101” event. The Wakefield Chamber of Commerce worked with the Town of Wakefield on a program to help new residents. “They provided basic information about the town, and had businesses that gave “welcome bags,” of gift certificates, coupons, etc. It was not a town event, rather a Chamber of Commerce event,” Riley said.
Riley was so impressed with the Wakefield program that she presented it to the Saugus Board of Selectmen, Town Manager Scott C. Crabtree, the Saugus School Committee and Saugus Public Schools. “All are on-board with this town event to welcome new residents and provide basic information about the town,” Riley said.
Besides serving as campaign manager for several of Rep. Wong’s successful campaigns for the State House, Riley has been active in Saugus community affairs for years, volunteering for various groups. In addition, she’s finishing up the first year of her second two-year term on the Board of Selectmen. She has served on the School Committee and has volunteered for numerous causes and organizations in town.
Riley’s civic-minded involvement in her hometown is reinforced by her husband, Christopher Riley, who is a Precinct 2 Town Meeting member and a newly appointed alternate member of the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals. So, the wife-husband team has accumulated a lot of contacts over the years and used them in their recent networking to make tomorrow’s event a successful one.
“John Smolinski was the one who initially helped develop the idea,” Riley said of the former Saugus Chamber of Commerce leader who has been involved with Saugus community affairs for years and has recently been executive director of the Wakefield-Lynnfield Chamber of Commerce.
“Also, the original committee that helped me were Donna Sordello, Jeannie Bartolo, Jean Swanson, Janice Jarosz, the Town Manager and the Board of Selectmen. I’m thrilled with the enthusiastic response of the school district including Superintendent McMahon, Myra Monto, Andrea Wheeler and Gosia Janik-Knupp,” she said.
Everyone can learn something
While the event targets newcomers to town, Riley said she believes it might behoove a lot of Saugus natives and longtime residents to check it out as well. “I know that there are many people who have lived here for several years longer that still ask questions,” Riley told The Saugus Advocate.
“For example, where to get green stickers, are fire pits allowed, who do I call to address certain town issues, etc. For both new and not so new residents, touring the new state-of-the-art Middle/High School Complex will be of interest,” Riley said.
“I am hoping that a newcomer to our town will feel welcome and know that there is so much to participate in throughout town in many ways, such as clubs and organizations, houses of worship, town committees, sports and recreation, education and enjoying the natural beauty of Saugus,” she said.
This week, the energetic Riley continued her networking, taking care of loose ends to make “Saugus 4-1-1,” a worthwhile event. She reached out to Police Chief Michael Ricciardelli and Fire Chief Michael Newbury for some last-minute details. “Both departments will be there to inform the public on safety and to answer any questions the residents may have,” Riley said.
“Chief Ricciardelli is also going to get the information on the electronic boards as well as putting it on their social media sites,” she said.
“In the Town Clerk’s office, Town Clerk Ellen Schena will be gathering a packet of voter information. There will also be other pass-outs regarding precincts, town meeting members, etc. Inspectional Services will also be represented by giving out valuable information on the CHARM center, recycling, recycling stickers for barrels,” she said. “The Town Manager’s office was very helpful getting pamphlets and additional items for the event. In addition, I’d like to thank Ellen Schena, Debbie Nickolas, Michael LaVecchia, Christine Moreschi, Jeannie Meredith, Chief Ricciardelli, Chief Newbury and Bill Cross. It has been a cooperative effort to put this community event together.”
Riley said there isn’t a set schedule of events, formal program or map of information tables for “Saugus 4-1-1.” Everything will be displayed in the first floor hallways. There will be boards around the school directing visitors where to go and listing the tour times, she said.
The tours of the new Middle-High School complex will be planned by faculty and students.
Riley apologizes to anyone or any organization or group that didn’t receive an invitation. “If any nonprofit groups show up that didn’t respond I’m sure we’ll be able to accommodate them,” Riley said.
“I don’t have any idea of how the turnout will be as it’s the first time we’ve planned an event like this, so you never know how it will be attended,” she said.
A collaboration of many
When asked to list all the organizations and town departments involved, Riley stressed that it may not be a complete list, as it’s been growing daily as the date for the event approaches. A list that Riley provided early this week included the following town departments, organizations and groups: the Saugus Tree Committee, the Saugus Girl Scouts, the Saugus Public Library Foundation, the New Friends of the Saugus Public Library, the Saugus Public Library, Saugus Softball Little League, St. John’s Episcopal Church, the William Sutton Lodge, Saugus Action Volunteers for the Environment (SAVE), the Saugus Democratic and Republican Town Committees, Daughters of the American Revolution, the Saugus Garden Club, Friends of the Saugus Senior Center/Council on Aging, Saugus TV, the Saugus Historical Society, Cliftondale Congregational Church, East Saugus UME, the MEG Foundation, Saugus Cultural Council, Saugus Cub Scout Pack 62, the Saugus Fire Department, the Saugus Police Department, the Saugus Town Clerk’s Office, the Saugus Department of Inspectional Services, First Baptist Church, Saugus Catholics Collaborative, the Town Manager’s Office, various other town departments, various other nonprofit organizations, youths sports organizations and Saugus Public Schools.