Category Archives: Education

Good Stuff! (and stuffing)

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If you follow any of what I write on GMG you’ll know that every once in a while I absolutely can’t not brag about the amazing things happening at the school where I am so blessed to work.

Having taught at Harborlight Montessori for 24 years, I left the classroom last year to join the pretty amazing Administration Team as the Director of Communication.  So, more than ever, I feel like not only is it ok to sneak in a post about Harborlight every now and again…but, I’d be remiss not to.  Just doing my job, friends😉

So, this is what went down this week.  Lots.  Some FANTASTIC spreading of holiday joy…for such great causes.  The best part about it all…the teamwork!

The end result:

  1. 17 complete Thanksgiving dinners gathered, shopped for, and delivered to Pathways for Children in Beverly.
  2. A nice pile of cash left over to help with a Toy Drive next month
  3. More than 40 pies donated to Beverly Bootstraps
  4. More than 200 pies purchased to help fund the Middle School Class Trip
  5. A Thanksgiving Feast enjoyed by students from grades 1st-8th and faculty + staff thanks to AMAZING parent/grandparent volunteers

The process:

We have a wonderful tradition called Turkey Chores.  The students do chores at home, their parents give them a very small salary (I know, I know. Some of you will say that they should be doing chores around the house without expecting to be paid…but, this is for charity so go with it), the money raised goes towards buying dinners for Pathways for Children.  At the same time, each student brings in one Thanksgiving food item to supplement the dinners.  Each classroom builds a Thanksgiving Meal Basket. Yesterday morning, the Middle School students gathered the Donation Baskets and money from each of the classrooms, boarded our smaller bus, and hit the aisles of Shaw’s in Beverly.  They divided, conquered, and gathered all necessary items to build 17 Thanksgiving dinners….including, of course, turkeys.  Upon checking out, the Manager-on-Duty at Shaw’s gave us 25% off….hence giving the students the extra money for next month’s holiday store/toy drive.

The students loaded the meals onto the bus and went right to Pathways. Once there, they worked hard to unload and deliver all of the items they had purchased.  17 families, who may not have had a decent Thanksgiving meal, will now enjoy one.

Meanwhile, the same Middle School students were working with Jim’s Bagel and Bake Shoppe.  The Middle School students offered the school community the chance to buy pies…with part of the proceeds going to fund their Middle School Spring Trip. The option to buy an extra buy to give to Beverly Bootstraps was also presented.  More than 200 pies were ordered.  So, the amazing employees over at Jim’s might be extra tired. And, 40 extra pies were purchased.  Another local charity benefitted from the students’ hard work…on the very same day.

While both of those activities were going on, a village of parent (and grandparent) volunteers, like a bunch of magical elves, were busy preparing a Thanksgiving meal on campus for close to 90 students and the entire faculty and staff.  Our 18th Annual Upper School Feast went off without a hitch.  Easy for me to say, right?  Wow…did those volunteers work hard…as did the brave teacher who offers to lead the charge each year.

Did I mention that those same insanely busy Middle School students also worked together to bake TONS of their own pies for all to enjoy at the feast?  Did I mention that the younger students peeled and chopped carrots and potatoes…and made lovely place settings? Oh, wait.  Did I mention that some 3rd Grade representatives began the feast by reciting some traditional words of thanks from “Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message”?

What would be the sweetest way to end an already pretty sweet day?  During the late afternoon hours, with 6 extra pies left for sale and looking lonely on the table…. two young boys came along with their mom and purchased them all…to deliver to their neighbors.  Love.

Kudos to the families for their participation and help in pulling all of this off.  Huge Kudos to the students for their hard work and giving spirit.  I am so incredibly proud of them all.

www.engageyourworld.org

Fine artist and award winning children’s book illustrator and author ANNA VOJTECH @Sawyer Free November 26

Don’t miss Anna Vojtech‘s special program for Cape Ann Reads from Sawyer Free children’s services. “Informative and casual master class about how to work with publishers and what do to for preparing and sending your children’s books to publishers.”

 

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Local Veterans read picture book, Heroes in Our Neighborhood, aloud to elementary school classes this week

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(photos Cape Ann Veterans Services)

This past week Cape Ann Veterans Services brought copies of the children’s picture book, Veterans: Heroes in Our Neighborhood, and super volunteer readers, into our local Kindergarten, first and second grades to read aloud in the classes. Copies of the book were gifted to the classroom libraries. Veterans: Heroes in Our Neighborhood ©2012 is by Valerie Pfundstein with illustrations by Aaron Anderson and foreword by John Vigiano Sr., a Marine Veteran and retired FDNY Captain, who honors his sons’ memories (both lost on 9/11) by volunteering his time and resources to Gold Star families and wounded heroes.

Volunteer readers at East Gloucester School: Members of the US Coast Guard Station, Gloucester, Navy/Veteran/Gloucester Police Department Officer Kevin Hicks and marine Corps Veteran Michael S. Grossi who read to his son’s class. 

Volunteer readers at West Parish: members of the the US Coast Guard Station  Gloucester; David Parisi Air Force Veteran who read to his daughter’s class; Marine Corps Veteran/State Trooper Tim Sova who read to his daughter’s clas; Coast Guard and Marine Veteran/deputy harbor master Chad Johnson; Vietnam War Marine Veteran Brian O’Connor; Army Veteran Anthony Trupiano who recently returned home; Ray Towns Army Veteran/commander of Gloucester Amvets; and Korean War Veteran Melvin Olson .

Volunteer readers at Plum Cove: Massachusetts Secretary of Veterans Services Francisco Urena, Marine Veteran; Trina Parisi-O’Donnell, Air Force Veteran whose son attends Plum Cove; Police Officer Brendan Chipperini and Vionette Vee Chipperini Army Veterans; Gloucester Sea Cadet Commander Robert Pallazolla Air Force Veteran; Police Officer Chris Frates Coast Guard Veteran; Richard J Cavanaugh, Army Veteran; and Devan Smith and Mike Pillelli of US Coast Guard Station, Gloucester

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Adam Curcuru telling Pauline Bresnahan and Anita Coullard Dziedziek about the book last month.

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Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Robert McNamara, Norman Mailer, Maxwell Taylor & lots more

We just voted. It was easy. No lines. We understand if you don’t like the choices. You probably seldom do. But you still have to choose. We all do. That’s kind of the point of a democracy. We never get exactly what we want, but we all work together for the good of our country as a whole.

More importantly, there are MASS referendum measures on the ballot today that will most likely affect your life far more than the new president will. I woke up today with this song in my head. It’s Paul Simon’s satire of Bob Dylan and politics all wrapped up into one fun song on Simon & Garfunkel’s mega-hit album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (all of which we have growing in our garden). Listen, laugh, vote and feel better! Lyrics below the video…

I been Norman Mailered, Maxwell Taylored
I been John O’Hara’d, McNamara’d
I been Rolling Stoned and Beatled till I’m blind
I been Ayn Randed, nearly branded
Communist, ’cause I’m left-handed
That’s the hand I use, well, never mind

I been Phil Spectored, resurrected
I been Lou Adlered, Barry Sadlered
Well, I paid all the dues I want to pay
And I learned the truth from Lenny Bruce
And all my wealth won’t buy me health
So I smoke a pint of tea a day

I knew a man, his brain was so small
He couldn’t think of nothing at all
Not the same as you and me
He doesn’t dig poetry
He’s so unhip that when you say Dylan
He thinks you’re talking about Dylan Thomas
Whoever he was
The man ain’t got no culture
But it’s alright, ma, everybody must get stoned

I been Mick Jaggered and silver daggered
Andy Warhol, won’t you please come home?
I been mother, father, aunt and uncled
Been Roy Haleed and Art Garfunkeled
I just discovered somebody’s tapped my phone

Don’t miss a chance to publish: still 1 week to register for Cape Ann Reads picture book contest! Plus a shout out to artist volunteers!

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Entry forms are rolling in! 

Applicants have until December 15th to upload a book submission,

but they need to register by November 15th or they won’t be eligible for the contest.

Shout out to local artists John Bassett, Bonnie Sylvester and Alexia Parker. Last week we reached out to local media including the Gloucester Daily Times, Cape Ann Beacon, Cape Ann Chamber newsletter, This Week on Rocky Neck and Good Morning Gloucester to help us broadcast the contest and/or seeking volunteer artists. Artists (and writers!) generously stepped forward with intriguing and generous offers! Scroll down to read more about three of the artist volunteers that responded to this recent public appeal. At this time we have more volunteers than requests. Amazing and inspiring!

Glass sculptor, artist John Bassett www.basglas.com, was the first to reach out with a generous and flexible offer. His website links to pages of glorious works.

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His offer was quickly followed by Bonnie Sylvester’s thoughtful reasoning: “As an artist and early childhood educator, I would love to add my name to the mix of local volunteer artists that writers may consider. I think it will be a lot of fun to work this way.”  Sylvester works in a wide range of material including mixed media, acrylic, and watercolor. “I believe exceptional picture books are a marriage of story and picture. It’s so important to see the creativity in the author’s vision.”  She has a master’s degree in early education and is a docent at Cape Ann Museum.

Alexia Parker wanted to volunteer after she was urged by a couple of her friends and fans: “I had couple of friends and coworkers who saw it in the Gloucester Daily Times and contacted me. I grew up in Essex…I also work…in Essex. As far as my art goes, I have just recently been exploring avenues to get my name out there a little. Illustrating childrens’ books has been a dream of mine since I was a child, so I thought this could be a fun way to try it out.” She included this stunning collage as an example.

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Stay tuned for more exciting news:

The Jury panel will be announced this week!

There will be a second jury panel made up of children. If you know a Cape Ann K-5th grader who likes to read or be read to, and would be excited to be part of the kids jury panel, let your library know! Names will be pulled out of a hat. For more information contact Capeannreads2016@gmail.com.

Cape Ann Reads children’s picture book contest is open to Cape Ann residents of ALL ages, students attending school on Cape Ann and people who work on Cape Ann. One winning book will be published by Cape Ann Reads in 2017, a first-edition printing prize valued up to $10,000. Additional honors will be announced.

Sponsor opportunities:

The 4 Cape Ann libraries and many regional partners have coordinated a calendar of wonderful events throughout 2016. Additional sponsors and support are sought and welcome! After the registration deadline, the contest organizers will announce additional specific prize categories.

 

 

Joe G writes GMG: Does anyone have more information on this Rosario Piraino painting? WWII Veteran, Artist, GHS Class of 1945

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Joe G writes:

“Hello Joey:  I’ve been trying for many years to find out some information about a painting by Rosario Piraino that I have. In image of that painting is embedded below. 

I did mail a letter to an address in Gloucester back in about 2003, to whom I thought was a relative (I think the name was Carmella Rosario), but my letter was returned and marked “Not at this address.”  I’d sent some emails to a woman who’d shown on her Facebook page that she was indeed related to Mr. Piraino, but I never got any response. 

In any case, I’m trying to find out if there is a gallery or other place where some of his paintings may be on view. His work is quite good. 

If you might have any information about the subject I would be very appreciative if you would be so kind as to share any of it with me.  

Thank you.”

Rediscovering art and artists can be slow detective work. I don’t know the approximate year of the painting. The rocks could be identified. GMG readers may know more: is there a fellow artist that showed together in a group show with Rosie, traded art, stories? Did he hang his paintings in his house? Did he have a studio? Do you own a similar work? I did not find his name in some local artist member directories. The obituary describes seascapes and schooner as motifs. Let’s see!

For GMG readers like me who did not know him (I know many did), here is some information about Rosario Piraino that may jog some memories. Joe G thanks for the note and intriguing request.

Rosario A “Rosie” Piraino (1927- 1989)

Rosario was born in Gloucester on November 23, 1927. He was a life long Gloucester resident and graduate of the Class of 1945. He was a member of the ROTC. His interest in the GHS yearbook, Flicker? Drawing. He was a WWII army Veteran and member of the Capt. Lester S. Wass Post #3, American Legion and the Gloucester Lodge of Elks No. 892.  He was a professionally trained artist with a fine arts degree from the Art Institute of Boston. In 1971 his family resided at 14 Orchard Street. For nearly 3 decades, he worked as an artist and Art Director at MIT before retiring in 1991*. There is a comment about carpooling with him to Lincoln Labs.

*From the printed matter for his obituary:

“Rosario was dedicated to his family and his beloved city. He was happiest strolling the boulevard meeting and greeting his friends. He spent his younger years working as a fish cutter along the waterfront. Along with his friend, the late Charlie Favalora, he owned and operated the Pioneer Fish Company.

He was an accomplished fine artist, having painted many seascape images of the Cape Ann waterfront. One of his favorite subjects was the schooner “Gertrude L. Thebaud”. Rosario was an avid golfer, who was affectionately known as the “King of Candlewood”, a nod to the three “holes-in-one” he made in his retirement. He will be missed by the many friends who enjoyed his sense of humor, stories and positive attitude.

In addition to his wife of six years, he is survived by three daughters and sons-in-law, Stephanie and Steve DelTorchio, Kathryn and Douglas Goodick and Paula and John Reilly all of Gloucester, three sons and two daughters-in-law, Stephen and Gayle (Frary) Piraino of Rockport, Dominic Piraino of Phoenix, AZ and James and Donna (Durland) Piraino of Gloucester, six grandchildren, Jeffrey Piraino of Rockport, Stephen and his wife, Kimberly DelTorchio of Satellite Beach, FL, Lindsay and Amy DelTorchio and Lauren and Adam Goodick all of Gloucester, three brothers, Frank Piraino of Gloucester, James and his wife, Marie Piraino of Waltham and Walter and his wife, Susan Piraino of Peachtree City, GA, a sister, Phyllis and her husband, Ernest Morin of Gloucester, a brother-in-law, Paul Ventimiglia of Gloucester, two sisters-in-law, Eileen Trupiano and Francesca Piraino both of Gloucester, Josephine’s grandson, Jonathan Moore of Essex and many nieces and nephews. He was also predeceased by his first wife, Grace M. (Ventimiglia) Piraino, a brother, Anthony Piraino and a brother-in-law, Salvatore Ventimiglia.”

Their daughter, writer Stephanie DelTorchio, responds.

Their daughter, Kathryn Goodick, ran for Ward 4 City Council in 2015. That link is from GMG which ran any candidate press release that was sent in.

Piraino’s 2008 quote in the Boston Globe Saints and Sinners Collide (Fiesta and Brewery):

“In the onetime fishing capital of the world, the St. Peter’s Fiesta – a five-day festival where faith, family, and celebration are emphasized – brings thousands of people into Gloucester’s downtown. But over the last decade, as the fishing industry has nearly collapsed and the fiesta has taken on commercial sponsors – such as liquor companies – some wonder if more people see the event as a reason to party than to pray. “They took God out of it,” says Rosario Piraino, a retired fisherman and fish plant owner.”

Calling all high school art students: don’t miss amazing opportunity for Portfolio critique by major art schools at the HIVE tomorrow!

What a fabulous idea and experience directed by Zach O’Brien– a graphic artist, Rockport High School art teacher, and Hive gallery curator!

Cape Ann Regional Portfolio Night is Wednesday, November 2, 2016 at the Hive Pleasant Street, Gloucester from 6:30pm -8:30pm.

Great Gloucester Daily Times article by Joann Mackenzie amazing list of colleges participating and sending representatives.

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Calling All Music Venues: Turn OFF your TVs until AFTER the Election

David Brooks’ interesting opinion piece in the New York Times points to several sources showing that this election is causing unusual anxiety and I’ll bet two major contributor to this anxiety are all these nasty campaign ads and endless, fear-inducing news coverage that we’re seeing. We’ll we’ve got a cure for that: DON’T WATCH THE NEWS OR THE ADS. Instead of spending the weekend on your couch, go out to experience some LIVE MUSIC and let the music take you away!  You’ve got over a dozen choices on Cape Ann for excellent music and Halloween Parties.  Check out the schedule here.

If you own or manage a restaurant or bar, may we suggest that you turn OFF your TVs — or at least set them to a commercial free NON-NEWS channel so your guests won’t see any of dreadful campaign coverage or obnoxious ads.  Everyone on Cape Ann will thank you for reducing the stress among the population.

Here’s a little bit of fun from 1985 to get you in the mood:

 

Building in Gloucester, MSBA School Committee consolidation update, and MAPC City Housing forum

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Three meetings with some items in common were held at the same time this past Wednesday, October 26, 2016: the standing School Committee meeting (including updates on new building) which include members Mayor Romeo Theken and Councilor Favazza; the Housing Building/Production Plan Public Forum #2 at City Hall which includes Councilor Lundberg; and a Forum to Focus on Building in the City held at the Magnolia library and community center with 3 Councilors LeBlanc, Orlando and Nolan.

Cape Ann TV filmed the first two.  (I will add them into the post.)

 

School Committee Meeting

“We’re on a path right now.”  “Nobody said we can’t pay.”   “We’re in Phase II of a 3-phase plan. We may need to convince the community to vote for a debt exclusion to pay for it.”

The MSBA toured East Gloucester Elementary School earlier in the week to corroborate the condition related to the School Committee Statement of Interest to consolidate East Gloucester Elementary and Veterans Memorial. The School Committee relayed that the community is united in expressing a need for new schools, moving forward and not changing course. The MSBA ascertains the community’s readiness and ability to pay. Gloucester is still in the running for MSBA aid. The pool of applicants was whittled down to 30 from 89 and sometime December or January, Gloucester will learn if MSBA accepts the plan, rejects it or places it on hold. “Up, down, maybe the plan is for the East Gloucester/Veterans only.”

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Housing Production Forum at City Hall (I’ll add links to the presentation and feedback from the Magnolia forum):

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Citizens waiting in line to vote just after 6pm

Cape Ann TV video: City Council & School Committee Joint Meeting School Consolidation

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Thanks Lisa Smith! Here is the direct link to Dave’s film of the October 18th Joint Meeting of the City Council & School Committee:

http://vp.telvue.com/preview?id=T01896&video=292415

Next school committee meeting is October 26.

So you want to write a children book and win $10,000 prize?

Register for Cape Ann Reads by November 15, 2016. It’s easy!  Applicants are signing up.

Visit the Cape Ann Libraries and the Cape Ann Reads website. Huge shout out and great feedback for Amanda Cook, the Gloucester Writers Center, for leading a monthly writers group at Sawyer Free for Cape Ann Reads which concluded yesterday.

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Scary stories-scenes from City Council & School Committee Consolidation meeting

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See GMG for prior school consolidation meetings (with links)

Cape Ann TV link to the video (coming soon)

Building Management that works with MSBA

Samantha Verga’s Facebook Group (250+ and growing): Advocates for the Future of Gloucester Public Schools

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Ray Lamont’s Gloucester Daily Times article about the meeting

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Last night at EGS- continued discussion on new elementary schools

Councilor Memhard and the City’s school committee hosted a forum on a beautiful September night.

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The school committee presentation was briefer than the one at West Parish. The size of the audience was the same. There were repeat attendees and fresh faces. The handout was ambitious and sincere. Various wants and needs expressed were not in concert, but respectful. Councilors Paul Lundberg, Val Gilman, and Council President Joseph Ciolino listened attentively as did Chris Sicuranza from the Office of the Mayor, and Community Development Director Dan Smith. Several teachers currently working at East Gloucester and Veterans elementary schools and the 2 principals were present. Exceptional teachers from both schools made helpful comments. Ruth Flaherty spoke for the EGS staff. Residents and parents shared questions and comments until the scheduled start of the Presidential debates.

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School Committee meeting: September 28, 2016

Time: 7:00 PM
Address: District Office – Conference Room, 2 Blackburn Drive, Gloucester
Obviously this topic is on the Agenda

Save the date! Ward 1 follow-up Elementary School meeting Monday 9/26 6:30pm at EGS

from Councilor Memhard:

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Update: Ray Lamont article “Consensus Sought On School Consolidation” in the Gloucester Daily Times

 GMG post on 9/14/16 school consolidation meeting with links to Cape Ann TV and plan 

Gloucester schools consolidation

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Mern Sibley speaking to the Gloucester School Committee Sept 14, 2016 about elementary schools merging

If you missed it, you’re in luck. Busy night of democracy was captured by Dave from Cape Ann TV- direct link if the video isn’t showing below.

The Chair of the School Committee, Johnathan Pope, opened with a power point presentation that went for the first 49 minutes. Questions from the floor began immediately after Pope’s background talk. First question up at minute 50–no surprise –concerned a clarification about the cost of West Parish, quickly followed by Mern Sibley’s remarks at minute 51 which received a large applause as did others throughout the evening. Some residents came prepared to speak. Some were spontaneous. The path to the mike was steady and fascinating. A few residents had more than one take like parent Kylie Mione  who is also by profession a teacher at Veterans.

Here’s a link to the Elementary School Plan Proposal August 2016

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Councilor Ward 1 Scott Memhard Facebook page has several posts about the school proposal.

The audience numbered less than 100 and included Councilors Memhard, Lundberg, Cox and Ciolino.

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Chair Johnathan Pope, School Committee, 9/14/16

The Captain Nelson Amero Wheel project

Information provided by Jeff Amero:

The wheel is being shipped from Florida (cousin Chuck Amero) and will be rebuild by Captain Thomas Ellis over the winter and its new home will be at 20 Fort Square on the Captain Nelson Deck

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Captain Nelson Amero and the F/V Doris F. Amero

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Captain Nelson Amero  Roof Top Deck at 20 Fort Square

 

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