The Chelsea Senior Center Quilting Group, formerly known as the Empty Spoolers, makes about 12 quilts a month to be sent to disadvantaged children and babies. The group traces its origins back more than 25 years.
The Chelsea Senior Center isn’t known as a textile manufacturer, but truth be told, a case could be made on the second floor for the quilting group that has been meeting for 25 years – producing an incredible 12 homemade quilts per month.
The quilters have long ties back to the
original Empty Spoolers, who started quilting at the Center even longer than 25
The group is so established that some of the
newer members have had a previous generation put their hand to the quilting
club – with their mothers or another family member having had participated in
the original group.
With the great work of Eileen Gregory
(original member), Angela Panaresse (original member) Irene Malachowski
(original member), Bunny Shuman, Louise Finnegan, Cathy DeVitto, Pat Doucette,
Jackie Mackay, Elaine Patti, Anita Arsenault, and Ana Garcia, the group makes
approximately a dozen quilts per month – no small feat.
The quilts are made with care because they
are made for disadvantaged youths and babies. After they are finished, they are
shipped out to babies and young children that are under the care of the Boston
Medical Center, Mass. Dept. of Children and Family (DCF-Chelsea) and they have
gone as far as Armenia.
The quilters are open to visitors, and the public
is encouraged to come see how they work. Anyone who would like to stop by the
Senior Center to view some of the work and talk with the Empty Spoolers can do
so every Friday from 9 a.m. – noon.
The greatest legacy of Elaine Marie Richard was seated in the front rows
at the Our Lady of Grace Church.
The four loving and devoted sons, Ken, Jim, Jack, and Edward – these four
scholar-athletes, all graduates of Chelsea High School and the best
universities in the nation – led a beautiful tribute to their beautiful mother.
When it came time to encapsulate all that Mrs. Richard had meant to her
family and the great example she had set for her children and the family, it
was Jack Richard, who stepped to the lectern to deliver the eulogy.
A brilliant, personable man who excelled at Tufts University and Boston
College Law School, Jack rose to the occasion with words that showcased the
richness of his talents.
“Before I speak for my brothers, I should first speak for my mother,” he
began. “Many of you here today have been so good to her through the years, and
I know she would want me to begin by thanking you all and by telling you how
much she and we appreciate all your kindnesses to her big and small.”
Jack told the assemblage that the day truly was “a celebration of life, a
full life very well-lived and filled with great joys, but also marked by great
Jack said their mother grew up in a
big triple decker in Chelsea “in a house full of family and faith” where she
was doted on by her older sister, Marjorie, and brother, Edward.
Elaine Doherty Richard was an
excellent student herself and graduated at the top of her class at the St. Rose
“When Elaine Doherty, that cute little girl, grew to become a beautiful
young woman, she met the one and only love of her life,” said Jack. “Ken
Richard was talented, handsome, strong, and as we kids would say, ‘wicked
Elaine Doherty and Kenneth Richard married when she was 22. “The four of
us were always so proud of both of our parents,” said Jack.
The four boys were born five years apart. Mrs. Richard would prepare meals
for her four sons and her husband each day. She would send her sons off each
morning to Our Lady of Grace School. The boys did their homework at night at
the dining room table with the assistance of their mother.
“But day after day, every day, Elaine Richard did it all with grace and
with cheer,” said Jack. “All in all, our mom, against all the odds at that time
and place, she succeeded. She was proud to say she went 4-for-4 with her sons.”
But just as Elaine and Kenneth Richard “were about to enjoy all the
benefits of their work – with all four kids in college, they were finally about
to get some well-deserved time together for themselves, my young and healthy
dad passed away suddenly,” related Jack. “My mother’s sweet and happy world was
crushed. She was only 44 years old.”
Following the death of her husband, Elaine Richard “never quit on life and
she soldiered on, and day by day, year by year, she built a new life and she
taught us a lesson in grace and in perseverance, a truly good example.”
“If you know my brothers and me,” then you know Elaine Richard,” said
Jack. He praised his brothers, “Ken, who was thrust in to the role of the man
of the house when he was just a college kid, protective of us all and the most
solid dependable man there is; Jim, a deeply spiritual man whose faith and his
family are the very center of his life; and Ed, the best guy with the biggest
heart who would do anything for you, but also with the strongest will of anyone
I’ve ever known. We are what we are because of her.”
Jack Richard said this Christmas their mother gave the family “the most
important gift and lesson.”
“She taught us how to die,” said Jack. “For two weeks, we had all been
taking turns at her bedside, just as she had done with us so many times when we
were sick as children. We got to say how much we loved each other. We held her
hand and we told her how good she was. She spoke of how this family she had
built would live on, in us, in her 12 grandchildren, in her five
Elaine Doherty Richard died on Christmas day. She was 86 years old. She
will be missed.
Jose Gutierrez wears many hats in his family and on the Chelsea High basketball team as well, but this week, he is wearing the captain’s hat and has taken one step in leading an experienced hoops team to a good year.
Chelsea kicked off its season on Tuesday against Essex Aggie and cruised to an easy victory behind the defensive effort and leadership of Gutierrez.
The Record sat down with Gutierrez on Monday afternoon, and the two-time captain and senior said they have a scrappy team this year.
“We have a very scrappy defense this year,” he said. “I’m excited to see how we do on the defensive end and how that will create our offense. We’re going to be all up in your face – rah-rah – trying to put pressure on you so you’ll turn over the ball. It’s a very scrappy team.”
The team returns seven seniors for second-year Coach Judah Jackson, and Gutierrez said they have learned from their playoff loss last year against Waltham.
“Last year we didn’t have the experience,” he said. “this year, we’re full of seniors. If we all do what we’re supposed to be doing, we’ll have that confidence come playoff time to get that kind of win.”
Gutierrez, 18, grew up in Chelsea and went to the Kelly School and the Wright Middle School before landing at Chelsea High. He also played in the Chelsea Youth Basketball League (CYBL) and said it made him more of a team player.
“It helped me to focus more on the game and not just going out as an individual player,” he said. “Every year it was myself and another kid who did everything for the team. We would win, win, win and then during the championship we would always lose because we were just two guys and never involved our other team members. That helped me grow as a player because my IQ for basketball got a lot better.”
Same could be said for his academic IQ as well.
Gutierrez busies himself taking a rigorous college preparatory schedule and is enrolled in the Bunker Hill Community College program that allows students to take college classes in high school.
“It is a lot more difficult this year,” he said. “Right now I’m trying to focus on my high school classes so I can go to Bunker Hill next year and pursue my dream of becoming an EMT.”
Becoming an EMT is very personal for Gutierrez, who said two years ago he and his family watched helplessly as his father had a heart attack in their home. When the paramedics arrived, he said he was impressed with their skill and how they were able to care for his dad.
It hooked him.
“Two years ago my dad had a heart attack 20 minutes before we celebrated Christmas,” he said. “We celebrate at midnight and right before he had a heart attack. It was so tough to see my dad having cold sweats and shaking and I couldn’t do anything. That’s really when I knew I want to be an EMT.”
Gutierrez also runs track and plays soccer too, having been on this fall’s outstanding Chelsea High soccer team that went undefeated in the regular season.
However, Gutierrez also has to work as a janitor at a local radio station, where his parents supervise him. He is also responsible for watching his 9-year-old sister, who has become the team mascot and honorary water girl.
He said every time he hits the practice floor or suits up for a game, he has to thank his parents, Rafael and Nolbia. He said it’s because of them that he even gets to still play sports.
“They have helped me so much,” he said. “If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be doing this. I’m a senior and I need to work and save money. It’s because of them I’m able to do three sports every year and do what I want to do.”
Gutierrez and the Red Devils will host Greater Lowell at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 14, in the gym.
Encore Boston Harbor is committing $10 million over the next four years to support a wide range of social programs and civic institutions that will help those in need and improve the lives of residents in local communities, the company announced on Tuesday – also known as Giving Tuesday.
To assist in managing funds and identifying the most meaningful philanthropic efforts, the company is partnering with the Connors Family Office, led by Boston civic leader Jack Connors Jr.
“Giving back to the communities where our employees and guests live and work has always been a part of who we are as a company,” said Matt Maddox, CEO of Wynn Resorts. “It’s not in our corporate DNA to just write a check for a donation or buy a table at a charity event. We want to make an impactful difference in the lives of people and effect real and positive changes in our communities. We believe committing $10 million and teaming with the Connors Family Office will go a long way towards realizing our goal.”
Together, the Connors Family Office and Encore Boston Harbor will develop an Advisory Committee to advise on and assist in the disbursement of funds from Encore Boston Harbor. The committee will provide recommendations to Encore Boston Harbor for the distribution of funds, targeting programs that support at-risk-youth education, cultural enrichment and vibrant communities.
“It is impressive to see a new business come into town and make such a concerted effort to positively impact the surrounding community,” said Jack Connors Jr. “Encore Boston Harbor is poised to make a real difference for some very worthy organizations.”
Encore Boston Harbor has been active in local philanthropy prior to Tuesday’s announced commitment of $10 million. Long-standing recipients of Encore’s corporate giving include the Boston Pops, Wang Theater, New England Center for Arts and Technology, Disabled American Veterans, and Latino 30 Under 30, among others. Recently, Encore Boston Harbor donated $100,000 in support of The Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund.
Encore Boston Harbor announced last week that it was the lead sponsor and supporter of a unique partnership between the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Boston Public Library that is bringing a major exhibit by renowned French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec to the MFA.
The $2.6 billion Encore Boston Harbor resort is scheduled to open in June 2019.
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.
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
The Chelsea High Cross Country team welcomed our Middle School Cross Country team for an intense indoor cardio workout two weeks ago. The Middle School Cross Country team has been working so hard to prepare for their season. Yesterday, they completed their first time trial of their meet course. Their coach is extremely proud of their determination and team work.
BERKOWITZ SCHOOL UPDATES
The Berkowitz School held its first school-wide assembly this week. Students had a great time learning about the core values of respect, responsibility, empathy, and determination. Students were also recognized for exemplifying these values. We also had a visit from our special friend and Mascot, “Berky,” who told our students about our year-long apparel fundraiser. Students will be taking home flyers with information on how to order our Berkowitz school customizable clothing. Clothing can be ordered at berkowitzspiritwear.com. Some 20 percent of all sales will go directly towards Berkowitz School student activities.
HOOKS SCHOOL UPDATES
The Hooks School had its 1st Annual Back to School Social. Students and families sat in front of the Hooks School, had a picnic and listened to some read alouds from Principal Lubarsky and Assistant Principal Dore. Teachers on the Family Outreach Committee organized this event and did an outstanding job getting students from all four grades.
WRIGHT MIDDLE SCHOOL
The 8th grade teachers at the WSTA have organized grade-wide team building events for our students throughout the first few weeks of school.
CHELSEA HIGH SCHOOL
The boys’ and girls’ cross country teams got off to a strong start on Wednesday, Sept. 12, with both teams winning their meets against Whittier Tech and Presentation of Mary. The girls, who are the defending dual and league meet champions, were led by captains YaridDeras and Jocelyn Post, who finished first and third. SailaCarriento was sixth overall, Karina Avalos was tenth, Yarelis Torres was eleventh and twin sister Nicole was thirteenth. The girls will be competing in Malden next week against Mystic Valley.
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.
Transformation to a Consolidated Early College Model
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.
Early College: A Cross-Segment Convergence in Education Strategy
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.