Words to remember at Volunteer Park reopening

Last week, we rededicated Volunteer Park in honor of the city’s volunteers, following the suggestion of Mary-Kate Mahoney, a fourth-grader at the Horace Mann School.

Dann DeMaina has posted a video of the rededication ceremony, so you can see for yourself what a great public speaker Mary-Kate is. Her words really express the heart of what Volunteer Park is all about:

“I realized there wasn’t any type of statue for people who weren’t famous, but spent countless hours helping their communities,” she said. “These people are faceless when it comes to being in history books, or even on television, but they’re faces we see all across America: at sporting events, teaching children how to become better athletes; at schools, helping teachers and children; at fundraisers, raising money to improve cities and towns; or just simply a younger person helping an older person shovel a walkway.”

In the photo with me, Ward 1 Alderman John Tramontozzi, and Mary-Kate is Jen McAndrew, who is one of the neighbors who have “adopted” the park and raised funds for some of the new equipment. They will continue to stay involved by maintaining an Adopt-a-Site there.

Ellis Iurilli-Hough and his fellow first-graders from the Roosevelt School help out with the neighbors’ Adopt-a-Site

Lincoln School students invent a better inhaler

Melrose writer Kathy Shiels Tully has an article in Sunday’s Boston Globe about the achievement of two Lincoln School students, Cassandra “Casey” Tervalon and Mia Catalini, who designed an inhaler that can be worn around the neck like a necklace. School nurse Gail McCarthy, who runs an allergy and asthma club in the school, encouraged the girls to enter the nationwide Ultimate Inhaler contest. From the article:

Inspired, the girls dreamed up a future design they named The Wear-Ever Necklace. Envisioning something with both a decorative and practical, purpose, the girls believed that compared with the current inhaler — stashed in their backpack, held by a parent, or stored by a school nurse — one worn around the neck would mean easy-to-reach medication just-in-time, plus added independence.

Modeled after their own active lives, playing softball, dancing, and acting, the friends pictured inhalers they could wear with pride, decorated with jewels or sports motifs. “That way you could look fashionable and still have your medication with you at all times,” says the bouncy Tervalon, who had her first asthma attack at nine months old and her first asthma-related hospital stay at 18 months.

They got an honorable mention and with support from their families, the community, and the Allergy and Asthma Network/Mothers of Asthmatics, they were able to go to the awards ceremony in Washington, DC.

This is a great accomplishment for Casey and Mia, and it is also testimony to Gail’s dedication to helping students to not just deal with health issues but also take control of them.

New principals, curriculum director join Melrose Public Schools

Today, Superintendent of Schools Joe Casey announced that he had hired a new Curriculum Director for the Melrose Public Schools as well as new principals for the Hoover, Horace Mann, and Roosevelt Schools. I am very pleased to have such an outstanding group of administrators joining the Melrose Public Schools. Here’s a bit of background on each of them.

Dr. Margaret Adams—Curriculum Director

Dr. Margaret Adams has been the Director of Literacy, Language, and Title I/III programs for the Malden Public Schools since 2006, overseeing reading and writing initiatives as well as the implementation of a new core reading program for grades K-5. Before that, she was the Department head for Bilingual and ESL Services for the Brockton Public Schools and she has served as acting and assistant principal for schools in Boston and Marlborough as well as a classroom teacher in the Framingham Public Schools. Dr. Adams has a doctorate in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University, a Masters of Education in Special Education from Lesley College, and a Masters of Education in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from Harvard.

Jenny Corduck—Principal, Hoover School

Jenny Corduck is well known to many Melrose parents as the administrator of the Early Childhood Center for the past five years. Before that, she was the director of the Title One program in Melrose. She has also served as a classroom teacher for Title I and a mentor teacher within the Melrose public Schools, helping new teachers with classroom management, assessment, communication with parents, and meeting the needs of all students. She has a Master of Education degree from Cambridge College and a Bachelor of Science degree from Plymouth State University.

Mary Ellen Carideo—Principal, Horace Mann School

Dr. Carideo is the assistant principal of the Eugene Wright Science and Technology Academy in Chelsea. Prior to that, she was a teacher and administrator with the Boston Public Schools. She received her Doctor of Education degree from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and she has taught classes at both UMass Boston and Emmanuel College.

Grace Basile—Principal, Roosevelt School

Grace Basile has a Bachelor of Science degree from Northeastern University and a Master of Science in Education degree from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. She has also done postgraduate work at Fitchburg State College. She has served as interim assistant principal of Shaughnessy Elementary School in Lowell since September 2010. Her experience also includes three years as a math coach and three years as curriculum facilitator in the Lowell Public Schools.

A Q&A with Mike Kent

Our newest employee is a familiar face to Melrose residents: Mike Kent, a 2005 graduate of Melrose High School, is joining the Recreation Department as a recreation leader, helping Recreation Director Frank Olivieri run the city’s recreation programs.

Mike is one of five brothers, and he played football and baseball at Melrose High School. He is the grandson of Mary Foley, the crossing guard who died pushing children away from a speeding car, for whom Mary Foley Park is named.

Mike studied political science at Merrimack College, where he also played football, and he coaches freshman football and baseball at Melrose High School as well as working as a substitute teacher. He has also worked as an EMT.

Why did you study political science?

I wanted to get involved in some type of government, mostly local government. It was something that interested me going into college. I wanted to stay within the community and really see what you do first hand.

How will that help you in this job?

It is basically knowing the ins and out of government and working with the different commissions like the Park Commission. My classes were a lot of those kinds of forums, sitting in on mock senate hearings and things like that. I know it’s not quite the same, but I feel comfortable in those positions.

Why did you apply for this position?

The main thing that I loved about it is that I’m here in Melrose. I know all the families that I deal with: I am coaching their kids, my brother is coaching at the middle school, we are both involved with youth in community. I think we are good kids, so I think we can pass on the right message to our youth.

What will you be doing as Recreation Leader?

The summer programs start on June 25, and I will be overseeing the summer staff. Frank and I will be working together on registration and coming up with the programs and camp for the summer. When winter comes around, I will be involved in all the basketball programs, the MBA, the middle school travel team. Starting in September, Frank and I will be running the teen center on Friday nights.

What’s your favorite part of the job so far?

The people that you work with. It’s face to face, communicating, not sitting in front of a screen all day or in a cubicle. You are answering e-mails, but you have people walking in constantly, so you’re talking to them, getting to know them. And when there are programs going on, you are out in the field, so it’s a mix of everything. not just the same thing over and over.

Are you still active in sports?

I play pickup basketball, and I’m playing some slow pitch softball. When football and baseball are around I’m extremely active with both those sports. I’m still young enough I can run routs with the kids and throw passes.