Joe McCormack and his son, William, making bookmarks during the annual Chelsea Reads Family Literacy Day on Saturday, Nov. 5, at the Chelsea Public Library.
Joe McCormack and his son, William, making bookmarks during the annual Chelsea Reads Family Literacy Day on Saturday, Nov. 5, at the Chelsea Public Library.
The Chelsea Public Library and Raising a Reader are inviting the community to the 13th Annual Family Literacy Day: Chelsea Reads, on Saturday, November 3, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., at the Chelsea Public Library, to encourage families to visit the library and read together.
“I was born and raised in the U.S., but my mom didn’t speak English, and I felt like I was lacking in my vocabulary,” explained Jeanette Velez, Coordinator for the Chelsea/Revere Family Network. “I wanted to make sure my boys were always reading and learning. Take the time and read in any language with your child because that will help them build a vocabulary.”
Families can spend time working on fun literacy activities, such as decorating baseball caps, at the over 13 local community organization tables. Children, infants to teenagers, will enjoy face painting, taking pictures in front of a green screen, and receiving free backpacks filled with books.
“The backpacks are the heart of the event because that’s what we started out doing and continue to raise funds for,” said Sarah Gay, Chelsea Public Library director. “For some kids it’s the only opportunity for them to get new books. I love seeing people with a lot of books and being happy.”
City Manager Tom Ambrosino is among the special guests who will be reading to children during story time; and pages from “Can You Say Peace?” by Karen Katz, will be mounted on boards for families to read as they walk through the library.
“Chelsea is a diverse city,” said Velez. “With everything that is going on in the world, we are encouraging kids to know we are all the same.”
Clifford the Big Red Dog will be greeting visitors, and Off Broadway Dance Studio will also be performing Latin and Bollywood routines.
“There was a time 25 years ago when kids didn’t know what a library was,” said Margot Johnson, co-founder of Literacy Day, former traveling bookstore owner, and retired member of Reach Out and Read, Chelsea MGH. “Literacy is very important.”
Family Literacy Day Committee: Margot Johnson, Sarah Gay, and Jeanette Velez.
Hispanic Community Advocate
Elisa Cortes-DeJesus of Saugus died on Oct.1 3.
Born on May 10, 1949 in Arroyo, Puerto Rico, she spent her early years on the island and met her husband, Jose Otero Valentin in the city of Santurce, Puerto Rico. They had two children, Jose Otero Jr. and Elsa Otero. She moved off the island after her divorce and settled in Chelsea in the early 70’s. She worked and put herself through school to earn a Masters Degree in education from Antioch University. She became a social worker and an advocate for the Hispanic community. She was also employed by the city of Chelsea and then by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the Department of Transitional Assistance for many years. She was also involved with the Puerto Rican festival committee for several years.
She lived in Chelsea most of her life and eventually moved to Saugus in 2009 with her husband of 19 years, Jose Ocasio. She was the devoted mother of Jose Otero and his companion, Colleen Lewis and Elsa Otero and her companion, Esteban Caraballo; beloved sister of Maggie Paris and Eduardo Paris, both of Puerto Rico and the late Enrique Paris and Victor DeJesus; cherished grandmother of Angel Andrades, Alexandria Andrades, Cristian Alas, Rosario Alas and Dante Otero. She is also lovingly survived by her great grandson, Xavier Ferreira as well as many nieces and nephews.
Family and friends are kindly invited to attend her Funeral from the Smith Funeral Home, 125 Washington Avenue, Chelsea today, Thursday, Oct. 18 at 9 a.m. followed by a Funeral Mass to be celebrated in St. Rose Church, 600 Broadway, Chelsea at 10 o’clock. Services will conclude with interment at Riverside Cemetery, Saugus. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial contributions in her name be made to the Kaplan Family Hospice House, 78 Liberty Street, Danvers, MA 01923.
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Former Clerk Supervisor at the Chelsea Memorial Hospital (now MGH), long active in the Chelsea Polish Community
Irene F. (Flower) Tkaczuk passed away Monday morning, Oct. 15 at the Rosewood Nursing Center in Peabody after a long, chronic illness. She was 89 years old.
The daughter of the late Louis and Frances (Weslowski) Flower, Irene was born and raised in Chelsea. She attended local schools and graduated from Chelsea High School, Class of 1947.
She was the beloved wife of John A. Tkaczuk of Peabody, with whom she shared 71 years of marriage. Together they raised their family in Chelsea until moving to Peabody, which is where they have resided for the last 17 years.
Irene dedicated 23 years as a clerk supervisor at the former Chelsea Memorial Hospital which later became the MGH. Overseeing the billing and accounts receivable, she retired in 1986. Irene was the President, Past President, State Officer, and Sgt. at Arms of the P.A.V. Post 13 of Chelsea. As a 70-year member, she earned her gold star membership of the Polish Falcons. Irene is a late member of the St. Stanislaus Church in Chelsea. She and her husband were involved in many of the Church’s organizations over the years. During her retirement, Irene enjoyed polka dancing with her husband and spending time at their winter residence in Port St. Lucie, Florida. She will be greatly missed by all of her family.
The devoted mother of Frances Tkaczuk of Mashpee, Paula Kordis and her husband Ted of Peabody and the late Frederick “Fred” Tkaczuk, she was the dear sister of Wanda Carroccino of Lynn, sister-in-law of the late Joseph Carroccino and is also survived by three grandchildren: Matthew, John Andrew, and Christopher Kordis, all of Swampscott.
Relatives and friends are most kindly invited to attend her funeral and family visitation at the Frank A. Welsh & Sons Funeral Home, 718 Broadway, Chelsea on Friday, Oct. 19 from 8 to 9:30 a.m. immediately followed by a Funeral Mass at St. Stanislaus Church, 163 Chestnut St., Chelsea at 10 a.m. Services will conclude with Interment at Woodlawn Cemetery, Everett. The Funeral Home is fully handicap accessible, ample parking opposite Funeral Home.
Should friends desire, contributions in Irene’s memory may be made to Care Dimensions 75 Sylvan St., B-102 Danvers, MA 01923 and/or Catholic TV P.O. Box 9196 Watertown, MA 02471. For directions or to send expressions of sympathy, please visit www.WelshFuneralHome.com
BERKOWITZ SCHOOL UPDATES
HOOKS SCHOOL UPDATES
WRIGHT MIDDLE SCHOOL
CHELSEA HIGH SCHOOL
The boys’ team was led by captain Justin Turner who was the overall winner. Co-captain Julio Valladares was second overall followed by Raphael Castillo in fourth. Oscar Amaya was fifth and Jazmany Reyes and Limilson Tavares finished eighth and ninth respectively. The Whittier boys were the two time defending league champions and had won 23 straight dual meets before Wednesday’s loss to Chelsea. The boys will also be competing next Wednesday against Mystic Valley.
The Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation awarded $2.4 million to Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) to establish the Early College program at BHCC, marking the largest private grant awarded in the College’s history.
The announcement was made in Chelsea Wednesday afternoon at an event celebrating the early college designation to Chelsea High School’s Early College program by the Baker-Polito Administration. Board Members from the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation joined Governor Charlie Baker to see firsthand the impact of Early College. At the event, Governor Baker and the legislators in attendance heard from four Chelsea High School students who shared how their experiences in the program influenced their decision to pursue a college-level program.
The funding from the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation allows BHCC to consolidate its Early College efforts into a core model that anticipates growth in scale and performance, as well as distillation and dissemination of its promising practices to the field. The $2.4 million grant covers a three-year project horizon, and will serve more than 500 high school students, coming from a portfolio of partnerships with high school and community-based organizations in Greater Boston.
“We are so thankful to the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation for this extraordinary grant. It allows us to consolidate and scale our early work, to gather data and evidence of success and to make a strong case to the leaders of the Commonwealth that Early College is a viable and scalable solution to talent and economic development,” said BHCC President Pam Eddinger.
An early adopter of Early College, BHCC currently collaborates with seven high schools and community-based organizations, serving nearly 500 early college students in addition to almost 400 participants in dual enrollment. Increasing demand and initial successes with traditionally underserved students and the potential for greater educational equity and student achievement pressed the College to consolidate the Early College efforts into a core model and make it central to the College’s Mission. The grant supports the Early College effort exactly at this important inflection point and gives the College the financial and structural lift to reach the next level of success.
“The Foundation’s Board of Trustees is pleased to be partnering with one of the Commonwealth’s leading community colleges to bring a transformative model proven in other states to Greater Boston. By bridging high school and college experiences, Early College will help many students graduate from high school ready to succeed in college and enjoy the benefits of the Commonwealth’s strong economy,” said Lynne Doblin, Executive Director of The Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation.
This important work signals a convergence of new thinking from education leaders and policymakers around the State.
“An important goal of the Early College program is exposing students to college-level work while they are still in high school so they can envision themselves on a track toward a college degree,” said Governor Baker at Wednesday’s event. “The college-level experience, combined with the credits they earn in the courses, sets many students up for success by the time they arrive on a campus.”
The Secretary of Education, the Board of Higher Education and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education all support the effort to recognize Early College work by awarding designations to strong partnerships around the Commonwealth, with the promise of sustainable funding in the near future. These designations, of which BHCC is a part, will stimulate experimentation, document effective practice and demonstrate impact.
The standard-setting work of BHCC’s Early College will be a powerful proof point, and the data to be gathered over the next three years will provide strong evidence as to the efficacy of Early College as a way to increase high school graduation and college completion and broaden career exploration.
Karu the parakeet, sitting on Alexis Slowey’s shoulder during the annual Chelsea MGH Health Center’s Family Summer Fair on Saturday, June 16, at the Center. The fun, family event also saw MGH raffle off 20 new bikes to lucky children.
Chelsea residents Michael Albano and Eden Edwards have been supporting the Apollinaire Theatre for seven years by throwing a dinner party in their beautiful eclectic home to raise money to support the theatre’s free, outdoor, summer Apollinaire in the Park productions. “Of all the things Apollinaire does, it’s their best service to the community,” says Michael.
Michael, a Somerville native, first moved to Chelsea in 1995 and soon began looking for ways to get involved in the city. “My father was always a community activist,” says Michael. “It was just what you did in my family.” He was a part of the Chelsea Collaborative and Green Space (now GreenRoots), and was the chairman of the Chelsea Planning Board for four years. After the downturn in the economy, Michael turned his focus to his business. When he was ready to serve the community again, he found Apollinaire Theatre Company.
Michael joined the Apollinaire in the Park committee, after a decline in funding forced the cancellation on the 2011 show. He and Eden’s generous support of the theatre has grown into an exceptionally fun and memorable annual dinner in their home featuring Michael’s cooking, and performances from the Apollinaire in the Park cast. This summer Apollinaire is producing Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Cast members will be performing “Pyramus and Thisbe,” Midsummer’s play within a play, at the party.
On making Chelsea their home, Michael says, “Chelsea found me.” Eden, a Nebraska native who moved to Chelsea in 2001 adds that she feels “lucky to have found Chelsea.” The couple describes their home as a “Victorian beach house.” The Victorian details have a nautical flair, such as the banisters with waves carved into them. It was built in 1895 by a shipping captain from Beacon Hill as his second home and was the first home built in its Chelsea neighborhood. At the time it was constructed, the captain would have had an unobstructed view of the beach he could walk to.
-Michael’s journey as a cook began when he was just eight and made his first pizza. His father, who dabbled in the restaurant business, was the cook in the home. Michael’s culinary style is influenced French, American, and of course Italian cuisine (he lived in Italy for a number of years). He worked in the famed Ciro’s restaurant in Boston and enthusiastically describes himself as a food-lover.
Michael will be serving up a variety of hors d’oeuvres, vegetables, ravioli, New York strip steak, and his popular roasted Tuscan chicken and au gratin potatoes with wine, beer, and soft drinks. (Eden looks out for the vegetarians!) Apollinaire actor Ann Carpenter is known for contributing her famous vegetarian lasagna. There will also be desserts from Pan y Café. For wine enthusiasts, there will be a mini wine tasting/pairing offered from Eden and Michael’s reserve as an add-on for partygoers.
While hosting the dinner is big undertaking—Eden’s sister, agents from Michael’s real estate office, and friends often help them prepare—Michael and Eden are very happy that it has become a tradition in the community as well as in their home. “When people involved with the Chelsea community are in my house, it’s the most fun nights here apart from having family,” says Eden. The party always happens in June, not just to poise it to best serve fund-raising efforts for the theatre’s July performances, but also because Michael’s birthday is in June. The party doubles as a celebration for him where he can get friends who are not from Chelsea involved in supporting Apollinaire.
This year’s party is on June 15th at 7:00pm at the couple’s home: 32 Crest Ave., Chelsea. Tickets can be purchased through the theatre’s website: www.apollinairetheatre.com, at the door, or by calling 617-887-2336.
Apollinaire’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs July 11 – 29 at 7:30pm in Chelsea’s waterfront PORT Park, 99 Marginal Street. ALL performances are FREE. Contact the theatre to learn about opportunities to get involved with the show!
Apollinaire in the Park is a program of Apollinaire Theatre Company (ATC), Chelsea’s award-winning professional theatre. ATC produces adventurous contemporary theatre, and free outdoor summer shows. The ATC’s home is the Chelsea Theatre Works in Chelsea Square, which houses their three theatres: the Apollinaire Theatre; the Riseman Family Theatre, home of their youth program, the Apollinaire Play Lab; and the Black Box—a co-working rental theatre for Boston Area performing artists. Visit them on the web at www.apollinairetheatre.com.
Apollinaire Play Lab invites youth ages 11 to 16 to audition for their summer production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream! The youth production will take place in August, following the professional company’s production of the same play this July in PORT Park. All performances are FREE!
Apollinaire Theatre Company is known for environmentally staging its summer park shows. The audience moves with the action of the play, and different scenes are staged in different areas of the park. (If you attended the PORT Park production of Hamlet in 2016 you might recall the titular character delivering his to-be-or-not-to-be speech from atop one of the towering salt piles.) Following in the footsteps of the professional company, Apollinaire’s young actors will employ environmental staging with their youth production. The audience will be taken from in the Riseman Family Theatre out into Chelsea Square!
Armando Rivera, whom you may have seen on the Apollinaire stage (Everyman, First Love is the Revolution), will be directing the show. Armando has been a teacher and director at the Play Lab since 2016, just before the opening of the Riseman Family Theatre at the Chelsea Theatre Works. Armando says, “This is an amazing opportunity for young artists to create work that will be shared directly with their community. Our production of Shakespeare’s Midsummer will be a hilariously fun learning experience for everyone who gets involved.”
Auditions are being held this Saturday, June 9 at 2:00. You can email email@example.com to reserve your audition slot. There is no need to prepare a monologue and no previous acting experience is required. Youth who are interested in design and working backstage are encouraged to audition as well! Auditions will be in an open class format, and the entire group will work together over the course of the 45 – 60 minute audition.
The Play Lab didn’t forget Chelsea’s younger budding thespians! There are also dance & singing performance classes available this summer for youth ages 4-11. Children in these classes will appear as the fairies in two of the youth performances of Midsummer lending extra magic to the production! No audition is required for these classes; registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. The Play Lab makes scholarships available to ALL who need them to attend!
Crista Núñez, who began teaching at the Play Lab in the spring, will lead the dance & singing performance classes. Crista, originally from Guatemala, has taught more than 300 students during her career at Ballet Armonía. She studied ballet for 18 years with the methodology of the Royal Academy of Dance from London. As a vocalist, she has won first place in national contests as a soloist and with her band. “Discipline and art are perfectly combined by participating in this class and performances of Midsummer,” says Crista. “Students will grow as professionals, experience being an integral part of a performance, and gain confidence.”
The Play Lab’s production of Midsummer is part of a larger effort organized by The Neighborhood Developers (TND) in conjunction with the City of Chelsea’s Downtown Initiative to activate Chelsea Square with arts programing this summer. In addition to the two-week run of the youth production of Midsummer (August 10-12 and 17-19), there will be other regular performances in Chelsea Square throughout the summer, including live music. The kickoff event for the summer series in Chelsea Square is Thursday, June 9, from 6:00 to 8:00pm. The Apollinaire Play Lab will be hosting a booth with fairy-themed crafts and sign-ups for the audition and dance & singing classes.
Visit them online at aplaylab.com! Or you can call (617) 615-6506.
The Apollinaire Play Lab is a program of Apollinaire Theatre Company (ATC), Chelsea’s award-winning professional theatre. ATC produces adventurous contemporary theatre, and free outdoor summer shows. The ATC’s home is the Chelsea Theatre Works in Chelsea Square, which houses their three theatres: the Apollinaire Theatre, the Riseman Family Theatre, and the Black Box—a co-working rental theatre for Boston Area performing artists. Visit them on the web at www.apollinairetheatre.com.
Care Dimensions, the largest provider of hospice and palliative care services in Massachusetts, celebrated National Nurses Week, May 6 -12 by honoring its nurses, many of whom are board certified in hospice and palliative care
. Care Dimensions’ new President & CEO, Patricia Ahern, a 41-year veteran in the field of nursing, said, “The capacity to explain complicated medical information is something that everyone values about nurses and the confidence that people have in the technical skills of nurses is remarkable. More importantly, nurses are gifted with the ability to discern the worry and apprehension that folks can’t quite get into words when they are feeling vulnerable and isolated.”
Erin Barker, RN., a Care Dimensions nurse from Chelsea was recognized for her professionalism, leadership and commitment to excellence in patient care at Care Dimensions:
Since the founding in 1978, nurses have helped to make the time of advanced illness dignified and meaningful for patients and their families. We welcome new members to our team of caring, compassionate nurses. Visit www.CareDimensions.org/careers to learn more.
About Care Dimensions
Making a Difference in Countless Lives for 40 years
Care Dimensions is the largest hospice and palliative care provider to adults and children in Massachusetts. As a non-profit, community-based leader in advanced illness care, Care Dimensions provides comprehensive hospice, palliative care, grief support and teaching programs in more than 90 communities in Eastern Massachusetts. Celebrating 40 years of service, Care Dimensions was founded in 1978 as Hospice of the North Shore, and cares for patients wherever they live – in their homes, in skilled nursing facilities and assisted living communities, in hospitals, or at our two inpatient hospice facilities (the new Care Dimension Hospice House in Lincoln, and the Kaplan Family Hospice House in Danvers). To learn more about Care Dimensions or to view a tour of our hospice houses, please visit www.CareDimensions.org.
They came from all walks of life, bowlers and business people, friends and family, people of all faiths and backgrounds – and what they all had in common was this: to have known Kathleen “Kathy” (Pawlak) Finklestein was to have known an extraordinary human being.
Many, like Joe Surette, who came with his wife, Cathy Walata, to the Welsh Funeral Home to say good-bye, said just so with their words and actions.
“She was truly one of the nicest people I ever met in my life,” said Surette. “We are all so saddened by her passing.”
Kathleen “Kathy” Finklestein died on April 10 after experiencing a sudden and overwhelming advance of cancer that had struck this brave and seemingly indestructible woman four years ago. She was 62 years old.
The daughter of the late Chester P. and Carole M. (Lombardozzi) Pawlak, Kathy grew up in the family home on Broadway. She was an excellent student who attended St. Stanislaus Parochial School on Chestnut Street, Shurtleff Junior High School, and Chelsea High School, Class of 1973.
During her high school years, she started dating another “All-A” student with a similarly warm personality and generousness, Neal Finklestein. They were married in 1979 and shared 39 years of happiness together. As Kathy’s sister, Chrissy Pawlak, told the large assemblage at the Mass at St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Revere, “It was at Chelsea High School where she hit the jackpot of all jackpots, she started dating Neal. Everyone should have a Neal in their lives.”
Many knew Kathy from the candlepin bowling scene. She helped her wonderful father, “Chet,” run Chelsea Square Alleys, a place where the Pawlak family made everyone feel welcomed and safe.
Kathy became an outstanding bowler and she and her sister, Chrissy, reached the top tier of the sport when they appeared on the Channel 5 “Candlepin Doubles” professional bowling show. She also won a mixed doubles championship in the old Chelsea Record Bowling Tournament, leading the way with a record-setting, five-string score of 610.
Hall of Famer Richie “Hawk” Halas, one of so many bowlers who paid their respects to Kathy, said of his fellow professional, “As great a bowler as she was, she was an even better person.”
Known for her keen organizational skills, Kathy directed candlepin bowling leagues in Chelsea and Malden, providing bowlers with a fun night of competition and camaraderie each week.
Chelsea business owners became admirers of Kathy Finklestein and her incredible work ethic through her efforts at the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce. Programs such as the Pot-O-Gold Dinner and the Brighter Holidays Committee Awards presentations brought so much enjoyment to Chamber members because Kathy put her maximum effort in to every endeavor she undertook.
Allan I. Alpert, past president of the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce, said Kathy, who owned Chelsea Secretarial Services, was a tremendous asset to the organization.
“Kathy was very active as an outstanding member of the Chamber of Commerce as our secretary, and when we didn’t have an executive director, she pretty much filled the role on a voluntary basis, and would not take any compensation from the Chamber that she loved so dearly,” said Alpert. “She is really going to be missed.”
Peter Zaksheski, also a past president of the Chamber, said of Kathy, “You could not have a truer friend and confidante than Kathy. When I was Chamber president, if I were good, Kathy was the reason. She was the backbone. She was such a great person.”
The Rev. Richard A. Uftring presided over the funeral Mass at the church. He knew Kathy personally through her being a faithful parishioner and a Eucharistic Minister and her membership in the Church Crochet Club.
“Kathy lived her faith, she loved her family – this is her family of friends,” said the Rev. Uftring.
Kathy’s cousin, Judy Covino, and sister, Chrissy Pawlak, each delivered beautiful words of remembrance.
“Kathy was all about giving and she gave it all to her involvement in the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce where you would find her on the planning committees for the Pot-O-Gold, the Christmas Holiday Children’s Holiday Party, and of course my favorite, the annual trip to Foxwoods or Mohegan,” said Covino.
“She was a great behind-the-scenes person who never took the credit. The success of so many fundraisers were the results of her tireless efforts.”
Covino noted how Kathy and Neal loved going to the Boston Garden to cheer on the Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins. “She also attended many Red Sox games, including Big Papi’s last game.”
Covino told how Kathy would assist others as the family caregiver.
“If you look up caregiver in the dictionary, Kathy’s picture would be right beside it. She was always there for everybody.”
Chrissy Pawlak said as time went on, “Kathy became my first and forever best friend. Following her through life was easy, even though those were really big shoes to follow. My sister was the smartest person I will ever know academically and in life.”
Chrissy recalled how much Kathy and Neal enjoyed being with their family and friends at gatherings and on trips. “I know Kathy loved every minute of it. She took over the holiday traditions, keeping everybody together at her house. The summertime was her favorite where the backyard and the pool were open and the barbecue was going.”
Chrissy perfectly articulated what everyone, including their good friend, Jimmy Manzo, will know forever, “Kathy really was a beautiful person and a blessing to the world. She was the first one to step up to help anyone. She loved doing a lot of things for a lot of people. She will always be my hero. Give mom and dad hugs and kisses. I will forever be proud to be Kathy’s sister and you, Kathy, truly were the wind beneath our wings.”