Suffolk Success Story:University Renames Residence Hall in Honor of Michael and Larry Smith

Suffolk Success Story:University Renames Residence Hall in Honor of Michael and Larry Smith

Suffolk University renamed its oldest and largest residence hall in honor of two of its most esteemed graduates,

Chelsea High School classmates and friends joined Larry Smith and Michael Smith at the dedication ceremony of the Michael and Larry Smith Residence Hall at Suffolk University. Pictured at the ceremony are, from left, Jeanne Blumer, Larry Smith, Barbara Lawlor, Michael Smith, Arlene Taraskiewicz, Helen Dobbyn, and Joanne Chelotti.

Michael and Larry Smith, during a ceremony Friday at the hall located at 150 Tremont St. across from Boston Common.

Shawn A. Newton, associate dean of students, served as master of ceremonies for the program.

“I’m extremely happy to welcome you to 150 Tremont St. today, Suffolk’s oldest and largest residence which is about to have its name changed,” said Newton. “Today we’re honoring with our special guests, Michael and Larry Smith, who without your generosity and support – thank you for being role models and for being great leaders. We truly appreciate your support to Suffolk.”

Marisa Kelly, just hours before her inauguration as the new president of Suffolk University, noted the history of Suffolk’s first residence hall and praised the Smith brothers for their extraordinary history of philanthrophy to the University.

“It really is a great day at Suffolk University and I’m so excited to be a part of this incredible dedication,” said Kelly. “This is the residence hall that launched Suffolk on the new chapter of this educational journey when it opened as the university’s very first on-campus home for students in 1976.”

Recognizing the Smiths’ ongoing generosity to the University, Kelly told the assemblage, “Michael and Larry Smith are really doing so much to build community here, of course by all of their contributions, but specifically what they’re doing to build community as part of our residence life program.”

Kelly said Michael (Class of 1961) and Larry (Class of 1965) each earned business degrees at Suffolk “and they were armed to find great success in the insurance business. They have been incredibly generous to their alma mater. Larry Smith now serves as a member of the University’s board of trustees. We thank you, Michael and Larry, for your loyalty to Suffolk, your exemplary generosity and we’re just so grateful for your involvement here.”

After receiving a warm ovation from the many guests in attendance, the two brothers, who grew up in Chelsea, took the podium for the ceremonial unveiling of the rendering for the new Michael and Larry Smith Residence Hall.

Michael spoke first, thanking the University “for this great honor. “I wish my mom and dad were here to see it.”

“I love this university,” he said. “It helped us grow. I want to thank everyone for showing up today. It’s just overwhelming. When I went to college in the early 1960s, we had one building. It was a great education, great professors and I’m so proud of Boston and Suffolk University. I wish everyone the best success.”

Larry, a basketball star at Suffolk and at Chelsea High School, echoed his brothers’ sentiments, stating, “we’re very, very proud of Suffolk University.”

Larry recalled his humble beginnings as a boy, working early mornings in Boston as a window and floor washer. He said he would then change in to his school clothes at Chelsea High. He became a scholar-athlete on the basketball team and earned a scholarship to Suffolk.

“The tuition at that time was $600 and Suffolk University and Charlie Law came and gave me a scholarship,” he said.

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Suffolk Students Henry, Nastri Speak at the Dedication Ceremony

Suffolk Students Henry, Nastri Speak at the Dedication Ceremony

Two Suffolk University seniors, Sean Henry and Andrea Nastri, were the student speakers at the dedication ceremony for the new Michael and Larry Smith Residence Hall.

Henry, an ice hockey player representing Suffolk’s student-athletes, noted the Smiths’ past gifts that led to the creation of the Michael S. Smith and Larry E. Smith Fitness Center on campus.

“When it comes to being a student-athlete at Suffolk, you join a family bigger than you can expect,” said Henry. “Larry and Michael Smith, you came to Suffolk University in the 1960s and I know Larry was a star on the basketball team, so you’ve known for a long time how great this family is. Your loyalty to Suffolk and your numerous generous donations have changed this program and I hope that one day I can show half the generosity that you’ve shown this University. This residence hall is a great tribute to the two of you. We can’t thank you enough for everything you have given us.”

Nastri, a third-year residence assistant at the hall, said as a freshman, she met two of her best college friends in the residence hall.

“I was delighted to live in the city and be at Suffolk University and with that positivity, I met a lot of friends who shared my enthusiasm,” said Nastri. “This is not just a building across the street from the historic Boston Common. This is not just a Suffolk University building to me. This is my home. This is where I’ve grown up. This is where I’ve grown up. This is where I’ve connected with others. This is my place.

“Smith Hall will be the name people remember years from now when they laugh about the memories they made here,” said Nastri. “Smith Hall will embrace students with open arms in to a safe and inclusive environment.”

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New School Leader:Lex Mathews Begins as CHS Principal

New School Leader:Lex Mathews Begins as CHS Principal

Alexander “Lex” Mathews was seen enthusiastically welcoming Chelsea High School students on their first day of

Lex Mathews, new principal of Chelsea High School, is pictured in front of the school sign.

school this week. That personable approach is an indicator of the accessible manner he will bring to his new position of principal.

Mathews, 49, also brings elite academic credentials to the principal’s office, having graduated from prestigious prep school Milton Academy and earned an undergraduate degree from Columbia University, and advanced degrees from Harvard University, and Hunter College in New York City.

Mathews began officially on July 1, succeeding Priti Johari, who is now an assistant superintendent of Chelsea schools. His administrative team at CHS includes Assistant Principals Linda Barber, Kim Murphy, Mark Martineau, and Magali Oldander, ELL Coordinator Deidre Collins, and Special Education Coordinators Alan Beausoleil and Daymon Peykar.

Originally from Alaska and California, Mathews previously served in school principal and assistant principal positions in Somerville, South Boston, Somerville, and the Bronx in New York City. He has 23 years of experience in the field of education.

Mathews will be in charge of the day-to-day operations at Chelsea High which has approximately 1,500 students.

“I strongly believe in teamwork and the idea that every employee in the school matters tremendously to students,” said Mathews. “The principal may seem like a really important person, but to some students, there’s a paraprofessional that matters a lot more than the principal. To some families, there’s a teacher that matters a whole lot more.”

Mathews also believes that for Chelsea High School to be successful, “we have to be able to work together.”

He will expect administrators to be in the hallways  “making connections, building community and raising expectations.”

Mathews organized a freshman class trip to Tufts University this summer. “The goal was to get them thinking about college in the ninth grade, instead of waiting for tenth, eleventh, or twelfth grade, because by that time, if you have a bad grade point average, it’s hard to recover,” said Mathews, who is married and has three children.

He is excited to be working with Supt. of Schools Dr. Mary Bourque and the faculty and staff at CHS.

“Dr. Bourque has been supportive, inspirational, accessible – just extremely helpful,” said Mathews. “The other employees have also been inspiring and helpful and all are seeking to make an improvement in the school. I also look forward to any opportunities to meet with members of the community.”

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Dimitris Meletlidis, Broadway House of Pizza Showing Support for Chelsea Walk

Dimitris Meletlidis, Broadway House of Pizza Showing Support for Chelsea Walk

Dimitris Meletlidis, owner of Broadway House of Pizza, was skeptical about the Chelsea Walk Revitalization Project when he was first approached about the idea.  Now, he is one of the project’s biggest proponents.

Dimitris, came from Greece in 1981 and attended Northeastern University where he earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees in electrical engineering.  He and his family purchased the Chelsea locale in 1987, just a few doors down from its present location.  When the existing building became available, he bought it and opened up the thriving business he has run for the last 30-plus years. He also owns Prattville Pizza as well as locations in Revere and West Roxbury.

Dimitris comes to Chelsea twice a day and often is here until midnight or later.  He knows practically everyone in the city, quickly chatting up teenagers, adults and the elderly alike.  With a twinkle in his eye and a quick laugh, he says, “I’ve known this guy since he was practically a baby, always coming in for pizza!”

It is no surprise Meletlidis feels a strong sense of ownership and connection to Chelsea and the Chelsea Walk. He checks out the progress of the transformation daily and has donated pizza for Artist Silvia Lopez Chavez and the multitude of volunteers she’s had on hand over the past week.

Previously unsure of the project, now just like the Chelsea Walk’s transformation, Meletlidis is changing his mind and thinking it might just be nice to have the mural extend to the back of his building too.

As a proud husband and father of two Ð a son studying at Amherst and a daughter studying law at Suffolk Ð Meletlidis exemplifies the theme behind Lopez Chavez’ mural “A City of Dreams.”

The mural takes inspiration from the diverse multi-cultural background of Chelsea people, a city which has welcomed immigrants from various countries for many years, working together to promote inclusivity, diversity and tolerance.

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Soaring to New Heights:Simon Completes a Sensational Sophomore Season

Soaring to New Heights:Simon Completes a Sensational Sophomore Season

Every time Chelsea High girls track coach Mark Martineau set a goal for Stephanie Simon this season, the 5-foot-4-inch sophomore eclipsed it.

Stephanie Simon is on her
way to another victory for the Chelsea High girls track team.

“I think Stephanie exceeded our expectations to the point that we don’t know what the expectations should be for Stephanie,” said Martineau, who has piloted the CHS track program’s resurgence and helped Simon develop in to its marquee performer.

Simon just completed an outdoor track season that was unprecedented in school history. She was the Commonwealth Athletic Conference MVP in the track and field events at the CAC Meet and the season-long honoree. She set six school records and won every event in which she competed, with the exception of one. Her older sister, Martine, an All-State performer heading to Mass. College of Art, edged her out one time in the triple jump.

Stephanie qualified for the Division 1 State Meet in six events (high jump, triple jump, long jump, 100 meters, 200 meters, and 100-meter hurdles). She entered three events in the Division 1 Meet and finished second in the triple jump, third in the high jump, and third in the 100-meter dash.

Competing in the New Balance Nationals at North Carolina A & T State University against the trop track athletes in the country, Simon placed 15th in the high jump and 27th in the triple jump.

Martineau believes Simon’s improvement has been striking and that her future is exceedingly bright.

“Stephanie has improved a ton from freshman to sophomore year, which leads us to believe that there is more room to grow,” said Martineau. “It’s hard to predict what her ceiling is.”

So who is this emerging superstar that is already drawing comparisons to Autumn Lopez, Denise Chappell, Kristin Rosa, Tiffany Moore, Katrina Hill, Nancy Pilcher, Laurie Taraskiewicz, Minerva Cruz, and Loreen Bradley – some of the greatest female athletes to wear the CHS uniform?

Stephanie is the 16-year-old daughter of Hubert and Mathilde Simon, who are of Haitian descent. Both parents played soccer in Haiti. Stephanie attended the Early Childhood Learning Center, the Berkowitz School and the Clark Avenue Middle School. In addition to an older sister, Martine, she has an older brother, Norbert, a graduate of CHS and UMass/Boston and a former CHS track athlete, and a younger brother, Emmanuel, who will be a freshman at CHS.

What is Stephanie Simon’s best track event?

“The high jump is my favorite event, but my best event is the triple jump,” she said.

Simon is already raising the bar for next season.

“My goal for the high jump is to jump 5-6 by the end of indoor season and 5-8 in the outdoor season. For the triple jump, I want to be able to jump 38 feet consistently and in the 100 meters, I want to be in the high, 11-seconds. And we’re going to try out the 400 meters next year,” she said confidently.

She views her sister, Martine, as a role model and a motivating influence in her track career.

“Martine taught me in my freshman year the do’s and don’ts and I appreciate all that she has done for me,” said Stephanie.

The MVC (Most Valuable Coach) in her athletic career is Martineau, without a doubt. Martineau, however, is stepping down as coach to be the Grade 9 assistant principal at CHS.

“Coach Martineau has been an incredible mentor who has brought out all the excellence in me and I’m definitely going to miss him as my coach,” said Stephanie, with emotion in her voice. She added that she was also appreciative of CHS Athletic Director Amanda Alpert’s support and encouragement.

College coaches are becoming aware of Stephanie Simon’s record-breaking accomplishments. A good student, Simon is looking at such prestigious institutions as Amherst College, Smith College, and Tufts University.

“I’m only a sophomore and I believe I can get better,” said Stephanie.

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Well Done:CHS Track Star Stephanie Simons Makes Good Showing at Nationals

Well Done:CHS Track Star Stephanie Simons Makes Good Showing at Nationals

Chelsea High track star Stephanie Simons became the first female athlete to participate in the National High School championship meet last weekend in North Carolina, doing the city proud as she took 15th in the high jump and 27th

CHS Sophomore track star Stephanie Simon in a promotional photo from the New Balance High School National Championships last weekend at North Carolina A&T University.Simon was the first female athlete in CHS history to go to the nationals, and she competed in two events. She placed 15th out of 54 in the high jump.

in the triple jump.

Simon, only a sophomore, has starred for the track team over the past year, along with her sister, Martine, who is a senior. Stephanie distanced herself from the pack in qualifying earlier this year to compete at the New Balance High School National Championships last weekend at North Carolina A&T University.

In the high jump, the talented sophomore finished 15th out of 54 competitors from all over the United States.

Meanwhile, in the triple jump, she placed 27th out of 44 competitors.

“The sky is the future for this talented student athlete – who is just a sophomore,” said Coach Mark Martineau. “She is already looking forward to next year and even better performances.”

Simon has already set several school records and placed high at the Division 1 State Meet earlier this year.

She is also a very talented hurdler as well.

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New School Finance Director Chosen from UMass’s Collins Center

New School Finance Director Chosen from UMass’s Collins Center

A senior associate from the Collins Center at UMass Boston has been chosen as the new School Department executive director of Administration and Finance, replacing long-time director Gerry McCue – who will retire this summer after 26 years at the post.

Monica Lamboy, a Charlestown resident, has accepted the position and will start on July 1 in the critical School Department position.

“In these changing times in our City and within our schools, Ms. Lamboy’s extensive background in financial and administrative management, organizational development, strategic and long range planning for both municipalities and for schools makes her uniquely qualified to step into the position of Executive Director of Administration and Finance,” wrote Supt. Mary Bourque.

Lamboy holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Princeton University and a Masters in City and Regional Planning from the University of California. For the last seven years, she has worked as a Senior Associate for the University of Massachusetts, Edward J. Collins Center for Public Management.

The Collins Center was the same organization used to conduct and choose the City Manager in Chelsea a few years ago.

As Senior Associate at the Collins Center, Lamboy has served as team leader working with municipal and school executives, and elected officials across the state on finance-related efforts including financial forecasts, financial policies, and capital improvement plans. Her organizational studies and strategic planning projects include economic development plans and trend reports which analyzed changes in population, business, housing, transportation, and infrastructure. She has led a team for the Brookline public schools that studied the district’s central administration, instructional and educational programs, special education, information technology functions, and salary structures all with recommended changes for efficiency and efficacy.

Prior to her work with the Collins Center she served the City of Somerville, District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.), and the City of Oakland in multiple departments and in various capacities. In the City of Oakland, she served as Special Assistant to the Superintendent for Business Services for the Oakland Unified School District.

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Chelsea’s Chavez to Offer Workshops at Gardner Museum

Chelsea’s Chavez to Offer Workshops at Gardner Museum

Drawing on the themes of Life, Death & Revelry, local artist Silvia López Chavez will offer workshops at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum designed to engage visitors in the exhibition with hands-on activities. Chavez’s Saturday Open Studio series will run every Saturday, starting June 30. She will also host studio workshops as the visiting artist on Saturday, June 30 as well as during Third Thursdays on June 21.

“The workshops are inspired by the Life, Death & Revelry exhibition,” says Chavez. “My hope is to allow visitors to experiment with the art materials and techniques I use in my own studio practice while having fun with color and creating personal meaning around the idea of Life Cycles.”

With roots in the Dominican Republic, Chavez is an interdisciplinary artist who believes in the power of the creative process as an agent for positive change. The Chelsea resident has collaborated on projects and public art works throughout the city and the Greater Boston area, including murals at Uphams’ Corner, the Charles River Esplanade, Punto Urban Art Museum in Salem, and Northeastern University, among others. Her exhibit record includes the Fitchburg Art Museum, Boston Children’s Museum, and the New Hampshire Institute of Art. She is also an artist-in-residence at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Chavez is an award-winning graphic designer and has worked with high-profile companies and institutions for more than 15 years. She holds a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and continues her studio art practice at the Boston Center for the Arts.

Through the Polly Thayer Starr Artist Series, the Museum supports four artists in the Boston area by providing them with opportunities to develop artistic experiences and engaging workshops for visitors. The series allows artists to consider their work within the rich cultural context of the Gardner Museum and the unique legacy of the Museum’s founder, Isabella Stewart Gardner, through a structured three-month collaboration period of thought, exploration, and workshop implementation.

The Polly Thayer Starr Artists design and implement curriculum for Saturday Open Studios and lead hands-on activities at the Museum. Chavez’s workshop series evolved from her collaboration with the Museum throughout April, May, and June.

Chavez’s workshops will run every Saturday, June 30 through September 1, from 11 am to 4 pm. Open Studio events are included with Museum admission.

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A Large and Successful Class Graduates from CHS

A Large and Successful Class Graduates from CHS

Some 344 students walked across the stage at Chelsea High School on Sunday, June 10, as part of commencement exercises – becoming one of the largest classes to graduate in decades.

The Class of 2018 followed an unusually large class in 2017 as well.

At Sunday’s commencement, Supt. Mary Bourque said the class had distinguished itself by not only its overall numbers, but also its successes.

“All of you standing here are the living and breathing reason why we say our mission is to ‘We Welcome and Educate,’” she said. “No matter when you entered the Chelsea Public Schools, we wrapped our arms around you and moved you along the road to graduation. Class of 2018, I want you to know that we are so very proud of you and your accomplishments.”

Of the graduates, 64 percent are attending a two- or four-year college next year. Bourque listed off 79 colleges where students have been accepted, including Wellesley College, Williams College, Tufts University, UMass-Amherst, University of Maine, Hamilton College, Drexel University, Denison University, Bryn Mawr College, Boston University and Boston College – to name a few.

Scholarship awards from those schools totaled $4.4 million, the largest amount ever at Chelsea High.

The rest of the class plans include:

  • 4% are entering a certificate program.
  • 2% are entering a Trade School.
  • 6% are taking a Gap Year.
  • 2% are entering the Military.
  • 20% are going directly into the work force.
  • 2%, are still working on their plans.

The Class of 2018 was also special in that 180 of its students enrolled in the dual enrollment/early college program with Bunker Hill Community College.

“Together you earned 1,374 college credits equaling approximately 458

courses,” she said. “You saved over $250,000 on tuition and fees and saved another $40,000 on books.”

The average numbers of credits earned was eight, but Bourque said on student, Samir Zemmouri had earned 33 credits, the equivalent of a full year of college.

“Most impressive is that 69 students completed English 111 College Writing I course, a required course that often acts as a prerequisite for college coursework; and 15 students of the 69 entered our country and began their educational career at CHS as an English Language Learner,” she stated.

There were also seven members entering the military, including:  Pedro  Barrientos, Krishell Chacon-Aldana, Adrian Diaz, Nelson Hernandez Jr., Denis Martinez Pineda, Carla Romero and Melinen Urizar Perez.

Bourque closed out her comments about the Class of 2018 on Sunday with five points of wisdom. More than any achievement, she advised to live a life of purpose.

“Choose to live a life of purpose,” she said. “A life of giving back. Knowing our purpose in life empowers us, strengthens us, grounds us. It gives us the courage and conviction to fight the good fight and for the good reasons. A life of purpose is a successful life.”

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Apollinaire in the Park to Experiment with Salt, Landscape with ‘Midsummer’

Apollinaire in the Park to Experiment with Salt, Landscape with ‘Midsummer’

Known for its comedy, magic, and romance, Midsummer has a disturbing dark side too.

The play kicks off with an engagement forged in war, a father threatening death to his daughter, and an escape into the woods where the environment has been decimated by the force of a fairy feud.

“And thorough this distemperature we see the seasons alter… and the mazed world, By their increase, now knows not which is which.”

In these times of environmental destruction and climate change, it’s striking to see these concerns front and center in Midsummer. Only by setting aside their pride and desire to dominate can the inhabitants of the world of Midsummer (fairies and mortals both) create harmony and rebuild the world they want to live in.

The play begins and ends in the court of Athens, with those scenes staged in the park’s lush green waterfront “amphitheater,” but as the lovers flee the unjust justice of the court, they enter into a world destroyed by wind and flood where only salt remains.

This now barren landscape is being created by artist Marc Poirier as an extension of the massive salt piles looming next to the harbor below the Tobin Bridge. Marc’s company, Longleaf Lumber, has donated large timbers salvaged from the Hingham Naval Shipyard to construct a crib structure reflecting the

marine architecture of Boston Harbor’s piers and bridge abutments, which thanks to Eastern Salt will be filled with road salt to create this haunting world.

Marc Poirier began his career as a painter, and received his MFA in painting and sculpture from Columbia University School of the Arts.  He went on to found Longleaf Lumber, a Cambridge based reclaimed and antique lumber mill, and has recently merged his passions to create large scale site specific sculpture.  Most recently at Apollinaire he created the multi-level maze set for the production of Everyman, and the centerpiece bar in the new Black Box theater.  At over 5’ tall and 60’ across, with Midsummer he is taking his work to a much grander scale.

Sound Designer/Composer David Reiffel will be creating the sonic world with a full size upright piano mounted on the salt.  This is David’s 18th show with Apollinaire. His work has also been heard coast to coast from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to Boston’s SpeakEasy Stage. He recently won the Norton award for Outstanding Musical Direction. Lighting Designer Christopher Bocchiaro will be lighting the two worlds of the play and designer Susan Paino is creating the costumes.

One of Boston’s great comedic actors will take on one of dramatic literature’s great comedic roles.

Actor Brooks Reeves, who was widely recognized for his portrayal of Kulygin in this season’s Three Sisters (receiving both Norton and Irne nominations), stars in the role of Bottom. Brooks’s most recent Boston appearance was in dual roles in Love, Valor, Compassion, which DigBoston’s Christopher Ehlers recognized as “one of the best performances of the year.”

Audience members are encouraged to bring blankets and beach chairs, a picnic to enjoy along with the harbor views, and walking shoes for the 2 moves during the performance.

Performances are July 11-29, 2018 • Wed.-Sun. • 7:30 • Free!

PORT Park, 99 Marginal Street, on the Chelsea Waterfront.

Free parking is available on site.

Information/Directions:  www.apollinairetheatre.com or (617) 887-2336.

In case of rain, call (617) 887-2336 to check status.

Running Time apx. 1 hour 30 minutes, plus 2 short intermissions to change location.

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