News, schools, and views from a uniquely Lowell perspective

Link to LHS student’s award-winning video

As mentioned in an earlier post, here is the link to the award-winning public service announcement about the dangers of driving impaired created by Ryan Palmer, a student at Lowell High School. The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, Middlesex Partnerships for Youth, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving sponsored the competition. Palmer was announced the winner in a presentation with Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone on Fox25 news yesterday morning.

posted in Education, In the News, Lowell High | 0 Comments

Controversial agenda for LHS subcommittee meeting

Tomorrow night, April 13, the LHS subcommittee will meet at the Rogers School, starting at 7 p.m., with a short, yet controversial agenda. First up is clarification regarding the decision to use half of the proceeds from this year’s annual golf tournament to restore Alumni Field instead of the full amount going toward student scholarships as in previous years. The second agenda item is a review of a report on student scores on advanced placement tests over the last three years: how the scores compare to course grades, and how last year’s students did compared to their peers nationally. Finally, the third agenda item is a discussion of the course weighting issue as it relates to the Latin Lyceum, particularly freshmen year. Yesterday’s Sun published an article on the program, which based on the many comments on its website, certainly stirred strong feelings from students, parents, teachers and others. As always, Lowell School Committee meetings are open to the public, and the community is welcome to attend.

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Making a splash for Lowell High

According to Coach Batt (Battistini), five years ago the LHS boys swim team didn’t even have a parent representative on the Friends of Lowell High School and winning a meet was as likely as finding a shark in the pool. Fast forward to last Friday when the Lowell High Boys Swim and Dive Team, fresh off a 10-1 season that included a first ever win against Chelmsford, placed seventh in the State Division I competition held at Harvard University.  If you exclude the private school winners, such as St. John’s Prep which took first place for the fifth consecutive year, and Boston College High School, which took sixth; LHS placed fifth overall for public schools (beating Chelmsford again by 12 points). The top ten Division I teams were:  St. John’s Prep, Lincoln Sudbury Regional, Minnechaug Regional, Lexington,  Andover, BC, LHS, Chelmsford, Westford, and Amherst Pelham Regional.

Aside from the importance of winning, which IS important, most folks know there are many benefits to participating in athletics, and Lowell’s swimmers were no exception. The varsity team met the MIAA’s gold standard for grade point average (3.00-4.00), and equally impressive, nearly every Lowell swimmer who participated in the state meet improved his best-ever high school time, and isn’t that what it’s all about—doing our own personal best. (For details on some records broken, see this Sun article.) Congrats to the team, coaches, parents, and the high school for its support of student athletics. On another note, all 11 winter varsity sports at LHS achieved the MIAA’s GPA gold standard with a combined average of 3.15. Go Red Raiders! (Full disclosure: My son swims on the team.)

posted in Lowell High, Sports | 0 Comments

LHS crew team in Madrid

As I sit here in cool weather under cloudy skies, a group of Lowell High School students are enjoying an exciting and educational adventure in Madrid. (See here for their day-by-day account of the experience.) The students, who row in the school’s highly successful crew program, are participating in the trip under the guidance of LHS teachers and coaches, and with full approval of the Lowell School Committee. As required under the travel policy, the committee approved the trip before any funds were collected; also per the policy, the request for that approval (which provides insurance coverage) included written explanation of the learning outcomes to justify two days missed from school. Congratulations to the studentssounds like they’re having a wonderful experienceand muchos gracias to the teachers/coaches for making it happen!

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Abuse of prescription drugs televised tonight

Tonight’s Chronicle (channel 5) will include a special report on the rampant abuse of prescription drugs—with a particular focus on its impact on suburban communities. The show will include a spotlight on Joanne Peterson, the woman who started her own movement in response to her son’s addiction to OxyContin and heroin. Peterson was one of several who spoke before hundreds of parents, students and community members at Lowell High School last October to make folks aware of the problem and what could be done to counteract it. (See an earlier post on the issue here.) One of several suggestions was to limit prescription drug availability in homes by properly discarding unused medications. Several speakers were clear that drugs should not be flushed down the toilet or allowed to enter the water system. Contact the Lowell Health Department for their next collection date for unwanted prescription drugs (unfortunately they just had one yesterday).

posted in Healthy Living, In the News, Lowell High | 0 Comments

Important community event tonight

The Lowell schools, police and attorney general’s office are sponsoring a community forum tonight at LHS Auditorium, 50 Morrissette Blvd., 6-8 p.m., on prescription drug abuse among our youth. (The meeting will be televised on channel 22.)This problem is not unique to Lowell, however, we are taking a proactive position of partnering together to do something about it. As the parent of teens myself, I know what most of you are thinking: This isn’t a problem that impacts my kids. In fact, when I told my son he was required to attend the event, he gave me a similar response. “I don’t do drugs, so I don’t have to go.” Wrong! We all need to be informed—whether the problem hits directly at home or not. Someday it may impact your teen’s friend, a neighbor, or (God forbid) a family member; well-educated means well-prepared to deal with the issue. Join with us tonight to learn the dangers, warning signs, and actions we can take to protect our young people. Even one life derailed from drug abuse, hurts us all.

After that, if you’re looking for more to do, attend the school committee meeting at city hall, at 8 p.m.

posted in Education, Local People, Lowell High, Youth | 1 Comment

Two school events tonight

A community forum “Get to Know You” will be held at the Stoklosa School, 560 Broadway Street, 6:30-8 p.m. with Judge Jay Blitzman of Middlesex County Juvenile Court and staff of the Lowell Public Schools. The event is free and open to the community, and refreshments will be served. Also tonight, Lowell High School will host its Distinguished Alumni Award Ceremony at the Irish Auditorium, 6-8 p.m. The annual event celebrates exemplary graduates who “have distinguished themselves by reaching the highest level of personal and professional accomplishment.” As the oldest, public co-educational high school in the country, LHS takes great pride in the accomplishments of its alumni as well as its scholarship endowment for future graduates. On that note, the cost of attending the reception is $50 and includes wonderful refreshments prepared by students in the school’s culinary arts academy.

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Three veggies and two fruits a day

Remember when President Reagan said that ketchup counted as a vegetable in school lunches? Well, apparently today’s youth are not only forgetting to eat their ketchup, but they’re way behind in their consumption of fruit cocktail. (I use these foods facetiously; obviously ketchup is not the best vegetable, nor is processed fruit soaked in corn syrup the best fruit.) According to this article in the Boston Globe, 90 percent of American high school students are not eating enough fresh fruits and vegetables. The Center for Disease Control, which ranked the diet of American high-school students as poor, requires three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit a day for a healthy diet. Another interesting point in the article: Some New England states ranked higher (with Vermont the best of that bunch), and those states with students consuming more fruits and vegetables also had more farmers markets and school vending machines stocked with healthier options.

A few years ago, the Lowell School Committee developed a wellness policy that included healthier food options at lunch, and limited the amount of candy and junk food sold during school hours. Since we started serving fresh fruits, carrots and celery sticks in elementary and middle-school lunches, the children are eating the healthier choices. Also according to the new wellness policy, LHS students were required to stop fund raising by selling candy bars during the school day, and high-school vending machines were stocked with water, low-sugar beverages, and healthier choices. Clearly, however, the problem extends beyond school control and has more to do with what’s happening in our homes. Like most aspects of parenting, the real work is modeling the behavior we wish to see in our children; in this case, it means eating healthy ourselves, and making fruits and vegetables part of our own, as well as our children’s, daily diets.

posted in Education, Healthy Living, In the News, Lowell High | 2 Comments

Include the Friends in your weekend plans

There’s a lot going on around the city this weekend with the Lowell Open Studios and Arts Festival beginning tonight and running through Sunday. This year’s event will also feature a Youth Arts Recognition ceremony in honor of all the young people who participated in the festival. In addition, the Friends of Lowell High School will host a party on Saturday to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the group. Along with great music by LHS alumnus Ralph Funaro, delicious desserts, and a chance to thank founding members for an astounding three decades of supporting one of the best urban high schools in the state, attendees will get to participate in a fabulous silent auction featuring more than 50 items. Money raised from the event will go toward the FLHS Scholarship Fund. Tickets are $30 each or $50 per couple, and can be purchased at the door Saturday evening, Sept. 26, at Long Meadow Golf Club, 165 Havilah Street, Lowell, 7-11 pm. Earlier this week, The Sun published an article about the group’s history and current role at the high school. Saturday’s anniversary celebration will not only mark the group’s longevity and impact on decades of high school students, but should also be a rocking good time.

posted in Art, City Life, Education, Local Groups, Lowell High, Youth | 0 Comments

We remember

This morning I witnessed a moving tribute to the victims and heroes of 9/11 at Lowell High School. The annual event includes the entire school via live broadcast on Lowell Educational Television. (You can watch the rebroadcast on cable station 22 during the following times: Tonight at 7:30 and 10 p.m., tomorrow at 8 and 11 a.m., Sunday at 11 a.m., and Monday at 5 p.m. ) Most of us remember where we were when we first heard about the hijacked planes crashing into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and later a field in Pennsylvania. But there is something especially poignant about reliving those somber memories in the company of respectful young people. The Jr. ROTC honor guards, in particular, who surrounded us in the high school courtyard this morning, are always impressive. They stand straight and proud in smartly dressed uniforms, and are precise in their motions, whether it is marching in slow synchronization or unfolding and raising the flag at half mast. It is particularly poignant to consider the 9/11 tragedy in their presence, perhaps, because of their youth and diversity, and because they are a beacon of hope for a better tomorrow. We remember the day, the tears, and the pain. We remember those who lost their lives trying to save others, those who continue today without their loved ones, and those who work each day for a better world for us all.

posted in Lowell High, National issues | 0 Comments

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