Thursday, December 14, 2017

December 15th: A pivotal moment, or is it?

Fast forward to the year 2038.  You are now thirty-eight years old.  Maybe you are working your dream job in New York, Los Angeles, or Boston.  Maybe it turned out differently, and you are starting another business after a few successes and failures. Or, perhaps you just finished post-graduate work and you are getting married to the person of your dreams. Maybe you are traveling to exotic locations for pleasure, for work, for both. Possibly you are raising two, three, four children of your own. Visualize any one of these scenarios, or visualize where you hope to be at the age of thirty-eight.  Will Early Decision and Early Action decisions on December 15, 2017, matter? Allow me to answer for you.  It won't. 

As college acceptance decisions loom, I want to remind every student waiting with bated breath that you are not defined by the college you choose, you are not defined by your post-high school decision, but you will be defined by how you treat people. You have nothing to prove. Who you are is enough.  With caution, I urge you to weight this moment with proper proportion, as proportion and harmony need not be strangers.  

Placing too much stock in a process marred by ambiguity is a fool's bargain.  For those that receive a yes tomorrow.  Congratulations.  I am so happy for you.  Be proud.  Be excited.  Be humble. As Berry said, "you do not know the road; you have committed to a way."

I can't help but lament at what the college application process has become.  Why can't this process be standardized, so students are spared the grueling process of completing different supplements for each school? When did the college application process morph into the equivalent of another rigorous class?  Is it necessary to place such pressure and time commitments on high school students? Is there not admissions counselors at colleges across the land who are watching their own children grind away at a process that seems unnecessarily arduous?  The last two rhetorical questions can be answered merely, no & yes.  

Last year I witnessed a video online of a young student sitting by the computer awaiting notification from the college of his choice.  He was surrounded by family all hovering about and peering over his shoulder.  Undoubtedly with a pounding heart, he opened the email from the institution of his choice.  A double-click away from the next four years of his life. 

They simultaneously read the email and pandemonium erupted in the room.  A great, triumphant moment for the young man and his family.  It made me smile.  Watching a dream come true for a young man or woman is always smile-worthy.  Of course, the video went viral because he heard the word yes.  This will play out millions of times across the country in the coming weeks.    

It is impossible for me not to wonder, what would the reaction be if the 3 letter reply he hoped for (yes) was replaced with the dreaded 2 letter answer, NO! Knowing his family is anxiously awaiting a yes, I imagine "no" would have been crushing.

I fully recognize sitting in my position it is easy to tell students, don't worry, it will all work out, but I honestly believe it will.  If you do not get into college #1, #2, or even numbers 3, 4, or 5, it will work out; you will end up where you belong.  The college that accepts you is lucky to have you, and to the ones that said no, well use that rejection as fuel to demonstrate their colossal mistake.  

In moments like this, it is difficult, but nonetheless necessary, to keep perspective. If the most devastating moment of the year is a rejection letter, then life is splendid.  Know that your family and friends are proud of you no matter what.  

I include an article written by CCHS senior, Chao Cheng, and I am sharing a New York Times article I read nearly three years ago.  Below is a portion of the article I find particularly poignant.  After being turned down by the colleges of his choice, a mother found a beleaguered and devastated son.  She wrote him a letter.  I included a portion of it below.  It will all work out. I promise!

Dear Matt,

On the night before you receive your first college response, we wanted to let you know that we could not be any prouder of you than we are today. Whether or not you get accepted does not determine how proud we are of everything you have accomplished and the wonderful person you have become. That will not change based on what admissions officers decide about your future. We will celebrate with joy wherever you get accepted — and the happier you are with those responses, the happier we will be. But your worth as a person, a student and our son is not diminished or influenced in the least by what these colleges have decided.

If it does not go your way, you’ll take a different route to get where you want. There is not a single college in this country that would not be lucky to have you, and you are capable of succeeding at any of them.

We love you as deep as the ocean, as high as the sky, all the way around the world and back again — and to wherever you are headed.

Mom and Dad

Frank Bruni is an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times. This essay is adapted from his book, “Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania.”

How to Survive the College Admissions Madness

On Applying to College

With the November 1st early application deadline just two weeks away, many seniors are heavily preoccupied with assembling all the required materials necessary for their applications: transcripts, essays, recommendations, the Common App, and more. During the application process, it isn’t hard to feel a sense of despair, a feeling that you really should have paid more attention during freshman year, so maybe you would have a higher GPA, and maybe then would your dream school want you. One suddenly comes to a realization that college is just around the corner, and with it comes the gateway to life as an independent adult – and that everything you’ve done with your life up until this point matters, whether it be those years of playing the violin or all those afternoons volunteering at the local community center.

Perhaps it is because, as young as we are, we have not truly been exposed to many other grand-scale issues such as maintaining a stable income, or perhaps it is because we are so excited for it. All things considered, we place a huge emphasis on going to college that is arguably unwarranted and exaggerated. It is not without reason, of course; college, and higher education in general, opens up a multitude of opportunities for one’s life. It is a place and time where one will end up with life-long friends and memories, and it is where one truly leaves the shackles of teenage life behind and embraces the world, independent at last. For these reasons, and many more, it is indeed quite important where one goes to college and what one makes of it.

But not for the purpose you think. Sure, being accepted to a prestigious institution merits joy and satisfaction, but you shouldn’t get hung up on not being able to attend the school of your dreams. College is what you make of it, and there’s not point in wistfully wondering about your life had you gone to a different school. It is a time to discover yourself and your passions, and regardless of what college you attend, you will have the opportunity to do those things and much more. As residents of Massachusetts, one of the best educated states in the US, we are already miles above the average teenager of the world. 

Wherever you end up, you can be sure that you have access to amazing resources and amazing people. And in the long run, in the scope of your entire life, whatever you will have been destined to accomplish, destined to become, is dependent on yourself, and not the college you go to. YOU define who you are, not the admissions officers at schools across the country who have no idea what you look like or what you want. College is a stepping stone to the rest of your life, and if you don’t get into your dream school, it isn’t the end – learn from it and become a better person.
Ultimately, if you take away nothing else, I hope you will keep this simple message in mind:
Don’t let your college define you… let yourself define who you are.

Friday, December 8, 2017

XC, Soccer, John Griffin, Improv, Music Awards, V-Ball, CCHS Farm, CCCC, Unite with Light, Weatherfest & More

Evaluating and celebrating the achievements and accomplishments of CCHS students over any arbitrarily chosen time period will undoubtedly yield some impressive results.  The last few weeks are extraordinary even by the loftiest of standards.  

In the past few weeks, the CC Weather Club launched a weather balloon and will soon analyze the results after its recovery near the coast of Nova Scotia.  The Boys Cross Country team finished 4th in the state capping another remarkable season, and our theater program performed four knockout performances of Shakespeare's The Tempest.  

The Boys Soccer Team won a state championship when CCHS senior, Logan Dick scored a goal cementing a double-overtime victory in thrilling fashion.  CCHS set an all-time record with 40 students accepted into the MMEA Eastern District Festival; outpacing all schools in our district. Orchestra and band witnessed thirty-two students accepted into districts with a fantastic nineteen All-State Recommendations, a school record.  

The volleyball team went undefeated in the small school division of the DCL, and won the overall DCL league with a record of 17-1, finishing 9th  in the state in division 1 with a final record of 18-2.  

Perhaps the most impressive accomplishment is owned by our Girls Cross Country Team. They capped an undefeated season with a DCL championship and a state championship. Most impressively, it was a complete team effort marked by solid performances by all runners.  

With all this success we can anticipate several coaches and students receiving recognition over the course of the next few weeks.  Congratulations to Sarah Reichheld, Kyle Jackson, and Carly Blue for being named Globe All-Scholastic, and coaches Hanna Bruno and Ray Pavlik for Coach of the Year honors. 

Congratulations to all student-athletes, coaches, and music performers.  

Weatherfest & Launch
By Charles Peachey
A few weeks CC Weather Services hosted our first ever Weatherfest event.  Pam Gardner from Channel 4 Boston along with folks from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration were on hand to lend support to our bolstering program.   There was a balloon launch from the upper turf field as well as an interactive weather themed fair.  The event included weather demos, music, some games and a raffle...even a food truck!  

National History Bee
9th grader John Griffin recently competed in Boston Area Finals for the National History Bee.  Remarkably, John earned second place for the Boston area, competing against kids in the JV section of 9th and 10th graders. He will now be attending the National History Bee in Arlington, VA in March or April 2018. Congratulations, John.  

By Steve Wells
Check out this short video featuring CCHS graduate Will Palmer ('17) on his experience with the Concord-Carlisle Community Connections (CCCC) program, a career mentoring program: Will Palmer CCCC Promotional Video

This program is a great and easy way to build up your college profile or just learn about something interesting outside of CCHS.  If you want more information about the program, please email me or visit our website:

To apply, visit  Applications are due tomorrow!

"CCHS sophomores, juniors, and seniors are invited to participate in the Concord-Carlisle Community Connections (CCCC) program ( in the second semester of this school year. This program connects students with community professionals and residents from a varied career fields. The program, which requires only eight hours of meeting time between students and mentors, as well as attendance at a program orientation meeting and final event in May, awards 1.25 credits for successful completion.  

This program seeks to provide an improved appreciation for the value of making real-life connections in order to develop life skills and insights into the world outside the classroom. It is expected that student participation in this program will facilitate intergenerational exchanges of ideas and life experiences between students and mentors.  These connections provide an opportunity for students to learn more about the challenges and adversities faced by people and organizations in their daily pursuits and the competing choices and sacrifices often required, and the adversity often faced and overcome, in achieving personal and professional goals. Community mentors are encouraged to expose students to notions of the importance of teamwork and collaboration, developing interpersonal and problem-solving skills, building personal networks, the need for personal interaction in the workplace, and appreciating human differences, among other teachings.

If you need further information, please contact Mr. Wells, the CCCC Faculty Coordinator, at" Applications are due by December 14th.  

Unite with Light
By Morgan Labadini
Support two great charities and help bring the community together with Unite with Light! Unite with Light is a nonprofit hoping to bring the community together and raise money to be donated to Cradles to Crayons and Harlem Lacrosse. On Sunday, December 10, those who have purchased the Unite with Light kits will light luminaries on their driveways or paths. The luminary kits are $20 and contain 10 white, wax coated paper bags, candles, plastic containers, and tape. Unite with Light was started by CCHS and CMS students and is supported by youth volunteers. We hope this charitable event helps to further unite our community. There are two ways to get involved: kids can help out (while earning community service hours) and families can purchase kits.  Please visit or email:

Kits are on sale at Crosby's & Ferns.  

CCHS Hydroponic Farm
Thanks to the generosity of the Parents Association, CCHS students are enjoying their first harvest from the hydroponic farm.  Special thanks to CCHS teachers, Tom Keane and Ray Pavlik for making this excellent opportunity available to students in our Pathways Program.  

Carlisle Mosquito Article

Photo Credit: Thomas Kim ‘19
Twice Told Tales MFA Field Trip
By Alex Spence
On Tuesday, November 14th, Mr. Rivera, Ms. Winkler, and I traveled with the juniors in History & Literature: A Twice Told Tale to the Museum of Fine Arts for a tour of art of the ancient world: Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean. A great deal of the course is centered on the relationship between history and art. The atmosphere aboard the bus to Boston was abuzz with excitement, and when from my seat at the front of the bus I overheard conversations that included “cuneiform” and “Dionysus in pottery,” I knew that we were going to have a fantastic day.

The better part of the day was spent marveling at art that was either created at the same time period or geographic location as the course literature or that depicts scenes from works we’ve read together. Two highlights included an examination of a four-thousand-year-old wax seal of Gilgamesh and a tour of relics from the Golden Age of Greece. 

We had a thrilling morning in Boston's world-class museum. Yet, as much as we enjoyed the guided tour, the dessert of the day was an opportunity to work closely with master artists on ceramic techniques of the ancient Mediterranean world. The time spent learning the different materials, artistic methods, and narrative techniques employed by artists over a thousand years ago served as a wonderful entrance into our deeper learning about ancient Greek theatre and culture.

On behalf of History & Literature: A Twice Told Tale, Mr. Rivera and I would like to thank the CCHS Parents Association and the Grant Committee for funding the day’s MFA adventure!

Teacher Tuesday
This week we feature CCHS Math Department Chair, Sue Ravelese.  Read on for an excerpt and a link to the full article.  

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of teaching is learning along-side my students. I enjoy listening to my students discuss their ideas with other students as they develop their understanding. I particularly like hearing them disagree and enthusiastically try to convince each other that their viewpoint is the correct one. I look forward to my students asking me questions that I need to think about and sharing insights that get me to see things from a different perspective.

Global Literacy Certificate Recipients
By The World Language Department

The Global Literacy Certificate Program at CCH S is a program designed to foster global and cross-cultural awareness in high school students. It aims to support students in acquiring a forward-looking global perspective and gaining cultural competence.

These students listed below have done service learning in cultural settings different from their own and have demonstrated an understanding of the importance of linguistic and cultural competence as well as acquiring skills necessary for communicating effectively with people across geographic, cultural and language divides.  In addition, they have a deep appreciation and regard for diversity and the ability to interact respectfully with others at home and around the world.

Presenters: October 19th-- 1) Lisa Owen, 2) Elizabeth (Lili) Shoup,  3) Alejandro Cancio

October 26th-- 4) Carly Blue, 5) Paola Loy, 6) Nancy Jin and Lucy Jin

Google Drive folder containing all 6 Google Slide Presentations 

Photo Album

Google Doc containing student written summary of their presentations

From left to right - Charles Wang, David Jiang, Chao Cheng, Kenny Liu. 

Academic Bowl
The Academic Bowl Team recently took part in the WGBH Quiz Bowl Super Sunday qualifying round.  The results are not yet in, but we are hoping to advance to the round of 16 for televised shows.  Congratulations to the students and faculty adviser, Todd Sawyer.

Pep Band Performs at CROP Walk
By David Gresko
Members of the CCHS Pep Band performed on October 20th at the CROP Walk in Concord. CROP Hunger Walks help to provide food and water, as well as resources that empower people to meet their own needs. From seeds and tools to wells and water systems, the key is people working together to identify their own development priorities, their strengths, and their needs.

Learning Commons Blog

By David Gresko
"PRISM" is a non-stop musical kaleidoscope, showcasing the talented student musicians of the Concord Carlisle High School Bands and Orchestras. A variety of musical styles and ensembles will be presented throughout the performing space, creating an interactive experience for the audience. You have never seen a concert like this!

This benefit concert will help fund the Alfred W. Dentino Excellence in Music Fund. Proceeds will help fund:
District and State events
Private Lesson Scholarships
Clinicians and Guest Conductors
Japan 2019 Scholarship Fund

Community & Light
By Deb Smith
I would like to cordially invite the community to our special visiting artist concert featuring renowned song leader, composer, conductor and author Nick Page.  It's going to be a wonderful experience for performers and audience alike, as Mr. Page invites all to be a part of the music making.    It's free and all are welcome!

“Nick Page is both a natural and a schooled musician, with a boundless enthusiasm and ability for the awakening song.  He is a collector of folk tunes from around the world, and a gifted teacher.'" Alice Parker

“The unique Mr. Page was a great success here in New Orleans:  I loved the fact that he had the audience singing and dancing along!  He had our children’s choir playing instruments, dancing on stage, and everyone had a ball!  There was a great sense of community as we all shared the precious gift of music.”  Melissa Brocato, Honors Choir Chair for Louisiana ACDA

“Nick Page embraces the whole world in his soul and in his music.  He is a skillful, passionate, and respectful interpreter of world music who backs up his work with knowledge and context.  As composer, teacher, and song leader, Nick inspires people through song like few others, empowering them in the process.”  Emily Ellsworth, Glen Ellen Children’s Choir."

Improv Night
By Ryan Palmer
The CCHS Improv Club Presents: RIOT - an Improv Show at 7pm on December 15th in the Black Box Theater. Tickets are pay what you can at the door. We hope to see you there!

CCHS Newspaper
Defining Family, Music and Movie Reviews, School and National Sports, and More!

Additional Photos

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Important Update: Vaping And Its Dangers

Each year the American Cancer Society sponsors the Great American Smokeout. The third Wednesday of November smokers across the nation are encouraged to quit smoking.  The good news is our Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data showed a decline in teen use of tobacco products.  Better yet, YRBS data showed a decrease in all risky behaviors.  A more recent trend, commonly referred to as vaping, is a significant cause for concern.  Schools and parents across the Commonwealth and nation are grappling with this alarming trend, and we are no exception.  

With the rise in popularity of e-cigarettes and vaporizers, along with the prevalence of vape shops popping up on seemingly every corner, we wanted to share some critical information. The purpose of this correspondence is to inform and educate, solicit help, provide resources, and outline school consequences for students who are caught vaping, or found in possession of vape products on school grounds or a school-related function.  

As part of a principal's network, last week I received correspondence from more than 30 principals in Massachusetts all expressing concern with the increase in vaping amongst their student body.  I fear parents are not aware of this growth, or they are being led to believe the risks are negligible.  We discussed the health effects and school consequences with students during Advisory today.  You can see a portion of the presentation here.

School Consequences
We have witnessed an uptick in activity at CCHS.  This is not a matter we are taking lightly. In accordance with our handbook, students in possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia (including vapes) will be suspended from school. Further, this is a violation of the MIAA chemical health rules and will result in loss of eligibility for a portion of the season. 

The recent increase prompted us to delve deeper into the topic of vaping, and our research leaves me nervous as a principal and father.  

Vape Products 

Vaping is the act of inhaling a vapor produced by an electronic vaporizer or e-cigarette. Pictured above are but a few examples of vapes.  The vapor can contain nicotine along with substances far worse. The liquids that are vaporized come in many different flavors; some emitting a fruit like odor, and students are led to believe vape juice is not harmful.  

Eerily similar to cigarette advertising generations ago, vapes are often marketed as innocuous and/or a healthier alternative to smoking. Not surprisingly, adolescents are a target audience.  Vapes can be used quickly and often without detection since little residual odor results from vaping, and they are usually small and easily disguised.

Vape juice is not regulated by the FDA, and therefore we often don’t know what is in the juice, nor do we know the long-term effects of inhaling these chemicals, particularly on the developing lungs and brains of teenagers.

Vaporizers/e-cigarettes (“vape pens”) come in all different shapes. Some common styles we see look like a thick pen, a stylus for an iPad, a flash drive, or a small flask with a round chimney coming off the top.  The devices are tiny and can easily be hidden on a person or blend in with standard backpack items.  Like cigarettes, stores cannot sell vaping items to people under the age of 18.  In Concord, the minimum age to purchase vaping materials is 21, and vaping is prohibited in any public indoor space in Concord.  However, students report buying the devices online or from older siblings or friends. 

Vape Device

Nicotine, Diacetyl, Marijuana & Other Vape Products
There is a considerable concern for a product called diacetyl that can found in vape products.  According to the American Lung Association Website,  "over a decade ago, workers in a microwave popcorn factory were sickened by breathing in diacetyl—the buttery-flavored chemical in foods like popcorn, caramel and dairy products. While this flavoring may be tasty, it was linked to deaths and hundreds of cases of bronchiolitis obliterans, a serious and irreversible lung disease. As a result, the major popcorn manufacturers removed diacetyl from their products, but some people are still being exposed to diacetyl - not through food flavorings as a worksite hazard, but through e-cigarette vapor."

Nicotine and marijuana can be vaped with little fear of detection unless caught in the act. I asked one of our school nurses, Kari-Ann DeCapua, to research other drugs that can be vaped.  The results are horrifying. One site lists the following drugs:

Bath salts
Liquid THC 
Hash oil
Synthetic marijuana (spice or K2)
Psychedelics (DMT)

A contact at a college police department informed us that any drug dissolvable in glycerin can be vaped. Drugs that can be dissolved in glycerin include; ecstasy, molly (both MDA and MDMA), meth, and other amphetamines, heroin, codeine, Percocet, Ritalin, Xanax, acid, DMT, mushrooms, or even just muscle relaxers or over-the-counter medications.  

Our goal is to partner with parents to help support our students in making positive and healthy decisions.  We encourage you to have a conversation with your child about this topic. 

Below I have included some resources and pictures for your review.  Please scroll to the bottom of the page to read some common misconceptions associated with vaping and e-cigarettes provided by the American Lung Association.  For more information, please visit their website.

Surgeon General Parent Tip Sheet

National Institute on Drug Abuse 

2016 Surgeon General's Report: E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults

American Lung Association Information

MYTH: E-cigarettes can help smokers quit.

FACT: The FDA hasn't found any e-cigarette to be safe and effective in helping smokers quit.

Instead of quitting, many e-cigarette users are continuing to use e-cigarettes while still using conventional cigarettes. In 2015, 59 percent of the people who recently used e-cigarettes also currently smoked conventional cigarettes. The U.S. Surgeon General has found that even smoking a few cigarettes a day is dangerous to your health.
When smokers are ready to quit, they should talk with their doctors about using one of the seven FDA-approved medications proven to be safe and effective in helping smokers quit. They can also contact the American Lung Association to find a program that is right for them.

MYTH: E-cigarettes aren't marketed to kids.

FACT: E-cigarette use among middle and high school students more than tripled from 2013 to 2015.

With aggressive industry tactics such as cartoon characters and candy flavors including bubble gum, fruit loops, chocolate and strawberry, it's no surprise studies show a dramatic increase in kids using e-cigarettes. For the first time ever, teens are smoking e-cigarettes more than traditional cigarettes.

MYTH: There's no secondhand emissions from e-cigarettes.

FACT: E-cigarettes expose others to secondhand emissions.

The aerosol (vapor) emitted by e-cigarettes and exhaled by users contains carcinogens, such as formaldehyde, according to early studies. Little is known about these emissions or the potential harm they can cause.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

A Veterans Day Thank You, The Least I can do!

On Saturday we pause to thank our nation's Veterans.  Regardless of what side of the aisle you align yourself with politically, regardless of your position on a given conflict or war, irrespective of your position on a president's foreign policy, it is essential, in my opinion, that we as a country support the men and women of the armed forces.  

Some men and women enlist in the hope of a better life; some, like Pat Tilman, enlist out of a sense of duty and patriotism. Pat Tilman, a name all Americans should know and celebrate, enlisted in 2002 after witnessing the horrors of 9/11.  That is not what makes Pat Tillman’s story unique.  

He decided to put his professional football career on hold to join the U.S. military; he walked away from a successful football career with the Arizona Cardinals, and a 3.6 million dollar contract, to join the U.S. Army. "Sports embodied many of the qualities I deem meaningful," he said in 2002. "However, these last few years, and especially after recent events, I've come to appreciate just how shallow and insignificant my role is.” I dare say you can count on one hand the number of individuals who would do what he did.   In a fateful twist of irony, Pat Tilman was killed by friendly fire.  

The military is not about the individual, however.  It is about team and unity. Nothing exemplifies the armed forces belief that all Veterans should be respected equally more than the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is perpetually guarded by sentinels from the 4th Battalion of the 3rd United States Infantry Regiment known by its nickname, "The Old Guard."

Although the Tomb of the Unknowns holds the remains of only a few individuals, the monument honors the many unidentified soldiers who gave their lives in armed conflict. The first 24-hour posted guard began at midnight, July 2, 1937. The Tomb of the Unknowns has been guarded continuously, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, since that time.  

Not only is it perpetually guarded, but the soldiers never break routine even after Arlington National Cemetary closes and nobody is watching.  The soldier "walking the mat" does not wear rank insignia, so as not to outrank the Unknowns, whatever their ranks may have been. 

Watching a soldier “Walk the mat” until relieved of duty at the Changing of the Guard should be required viewing for all Americans.  It is beautiful.  It embodies the qualities instilled in the military: commitment, leadership, discipline, organization, teamwork, and sacrifice. 

To date, I have traced my roots as far back as my grandparents.  I am proud to say that both my grandfathers, my uncle, and my father all served in the Army.  

One grandfather served in the Pacific during WWII.  The other parachuted into France the night before the D-Day invasion.  I have often wondered how he felt boarding the plane. Surrounded by scared men to his left and right, what was going through his mind as he shuffled to the door, jumped from the plan, and floated to the ground? He was wounded in the war but survived. My uncle was shot in the jungles of Vietnam.  Also wounded but survived. 

I was too young to thank my grandfathers for their service, and I never told my uncle that I was grateful and proud.  Opportunities missed, so thank you, Henry, thank you, Tom, thank you, David, thank you, James.  I draw strength from their service, as whatever the perceived hardship I am enduring at any given time pales in comparison. 

It is not just about the men and women in uniform, however. It is also about the sacrifice of military families along with the millions of veterans who live humbly among us.  You pass them at the mall.  You pass them at the grocery store.   They are living in your town, and you pass future veterans in our halls. 

I encourage you to find a Veterans Day ceremony on Saturday.  Sit quietly and listen, and when the service is over walk up to a Veteran and say thank you. It is the least we can do. 

With Gratitude,

Michael J. Mastrullo

Monday, November 6, 2017

Ethan Young, CC Weather Balloon, Denmark Exchange, Rivers Stewardship, Harlem Lacrosse & More

Denmark Exchange
By Greg Coan
The 2017-18 Denmark Exchange has kicked off to a fantastic start as our guests from Denmark spent a week visiting CCHS and Boston. The group consisted of 19 students, 2 teachers and the principal from our sister school in Slagelse, Denmark.  We had 15 wonderful host families who supported and transported our guests during the week's activities. Our 15 CCHS students will travel to Denmark in April.

Highlights include:

• Columbus Day staff hike up Mt. Wachusett 

• A crossover with the Japan Exchange as the Goar family hosted a Thanksgiving dinner with Anna, a Danish exchange student and their family friends, the McNally's and Runa, their Japanese exchange student and two of her friends. 

• A lot of pumpkin carving 

• Visits to Boston and Cambridge

• Visits to Walden Pond 

• Visits to Concord Museum and Minuteman Park

• Class shadowing in school

• A goodbye bonfire and hayrides at Verrill Farm 

Weather Balloon
On behalf of the students and staff at CCHS, I want to thank the Concord Education Fund for making the balloon project possible.  I have included a synopsis of the experience from CCHS senior, Charles Peachey.  It was written last week, and I have an update.  The balloon was located in Carlisle a mere 4 miles from there calculations.  Well done, all.

By Charles Peachey

To start our momentous journey we arrived at the high school at 6 am in order to load up the bus on time.  As soon as the last piece of gear was on the bus we started our two hours and ten-minute journey out to our launch site of Berkshire Waldorf High School and Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School out in Great Barrington, MA.

Upon arrival, we were greeted with a crowd of around 20 students parents and teachers from the surrounding area who all were very interested in our balloon launch. From selecting our launch site to giving us coffee the locals really made us feel welcome. While we got set up some members of our Concord Carlisle Weather Services educated the crowd on the ins and outs of the weather balloon and surrounding meteorological factors attached to that balloon. Everyone there was so interested always asking questions and trying to find out more. By the end of that day, they could have built their own balloon.

The launch procedures them self couldn't have gone much better. Everyone knew exactly what their role was in the assembly of the balloon. That level of organization gave us a very smooth launch and assembly procedure that helped ease any tensions from surrounding onlookers. From what we could see all experiments by the end of our preparations were working just like they should be, so we stepped back and started filling the balloon. Meticulously watching as the latex weather balloon expanded and got bigger the excitement grew more and more. With people surrounding this balloon with their cameras and phones and live streams, we couldn't have made for a better launch. With the little wind we had at the time it was a very smooth release and very exciting last ascent.

As for the recovery that didn't go as smoothly. Due to two different mechanical failures with our GPS devices, we lost contact with the balloon. Frantically we called the company in charge of our satellite coverage asking if there was anything we could do to fix this. Unfortunately, there was nothing we could do, so the got hard to work on a solution and so did we. The entire two hours ten-minute bus ride home all 13 passengers did not stop thinking about a solution. We are still trying to come up with what went wrong, but we are actively working with ways to recover our balloon. If there is any information as to where the balloon is felt free to contact or

Even in the failure in recovery our second year of the weather balloon launch went very well. We had a great time putting together the balloon and educating our local community. There is also one more launch scheduled for November 16th after school at the upper fields that we are working towards now. We would also like to thank the entire school for coming out to witness our tethered launch during advisory.

Harlem Lacrosse
By Maureen Dibble & Louis Salemy
On behalf of Harlem Lacrosse, we would like to extend our sincerest thanks to the Concord and Carlisle communities for participating in the sixth annual Harlem Lacrosse weekend. This year, 25 families from Concord and Carlisle opened their homes to 90 of our students from Harlem.  Weekend activities included a lacrosse clinic on Saturday morning followed by a tour of the Old North Bridge (Concord Museum), the Old Manse, and the Robbins House.

The weekend culminated in a lacrosse tournament at CCHS on Sunday that drew 500 participants.  Special thanks goes to the 50 CCHS boys and girls lacrosse players who volunteered and helped coach the 30 participating teams.  These high schoolers excelled in their roles as mentors and coaches and displayed strong leadership skills.  In a brief time frame, they were able to mold their players comprised of youth from different geographies, backgrounds, and lacrosse abilities into cohesive teams.

Concord and Carlisle can take pride that Harlem Lacrosse was founded by 2004 CCHS graduate and lacrosse player Simon Cataldo.  Simon learned the value of public education, diversity, and empathy growing up in Concord and learning in its public schools.  Those values that are embodied by our community are now intrinsic to our local partnership with Harlem Lacrosse.

From its founding in 2011 with only 10 players in one city, Harlem Lacrosse now serves 1,000 students and is in five cities.  We are especially proud that Harlem Lacrosse now has a presence in Boston and is serving 150 students at three public schools in Mattapan and Dorchester.

Rivers Stewardship
By Michael Goodwin
Each Wednesday, Rivers and Revolutions students head into the field to engage in their stewardship projects. This work allows students in the program to leverage their learning in the service of other individuals and organizations. Twelve of our current students have been working with Kim Rivers’ fifth-grade class at Willard Elementary School, providing interdisciplinary experiential instruction in and out of the classroom.

This past week, we hosted the Willard students here at the high school, offering a hands-on lesson surrounding the poem “Where Many Rivers Meet” by David Whyte. Our high school students were more than impressed by the depth of insight offered by these younger students, and collectively the entire group came to a greater understanding of the relationship of the hydrologic cycle and the trajectory of our own lives. At the conclusion of the lesson, the fifth graders offered a wide range of feedback to our students, speaking in large part to their appreciation of the ways in which we all worked together to explore the text. Speaking to why the day worked well for her, fifth-grader Beverly Henry-Hanson said: “I liked not getting looked down on. I like to be treated as an equal.”

This kind of cross-district collaboration provides a powerful learning opportunity for all involved, and we are looking forward to five more full days together. Willard Stewards include: Olivia Maione, Johnny Hudson, Frankairis Rosario, Kelly Leonard, Jeff Cohen, Ben Walton, Phoebe Hall, Elsa Simonton, CJ Israel, Haley Kohler
Emma Sofia Wipper, Maddy Gorewitz

Other stewardship projects this semester include: Pathways life skills curriculum, METCO 50th anniversary tribute, invasive species removal, and the design of an outdoor classroom space at CCHS.

All the water below me came from above.
All the clouds living in the mountains
gave it to the rivers
who gave it to the sea, which was their dying.
And so I float on cloud become water,
central sea surrounded by white mountains,
the water salt, once fresh,
clouds fall and stream rush, tree root and tide bank
leading to the rivers' mouths
and the mouths of the rivers sing into the sea,
the stories buried in the mountains
give out into the sea
and the sea remembers
and sings back

Ethan Young Pictured on Left

Ethan Young
Pathways said farewell to one of the most hard-working students last week.  Ethan Young came to Concord-Carlisle High School after attending the Riverview School until age 18.  In his time since returning to CCHS, Ethan gained skills in academic as well as vocational pursuits.  Ethan is an avid fan of weather, and thoroughly enjoyed Earth Science with Mr. Pavlik.  Ethan produced a movie for that class about one of his favorite topics, tornados!

Ethan has been a long-time volunteer at Cooperative Elder Services, Inc.  He also volunteered with other Pathways students the Goodnow Library, Drumlin Farm, Acton Food Pantry, and Discovery Museum.  In recent weeks, Ethan had a lot of fun at the new Pathways vocational location, Buddy Dog of Sudbury.  Ethan has been an independent traveler over the last few years, using public transportation to get to and from school and work.

The celebration of Ethan's success here at CCHS had a Christmas theme, and it was the most wonderful time of the year!  The crowd enjoyed various video tributes to Ethan and wished Ethan well.  We look forward to seeing Ethan at future movie nights and hearing more about his success in the future!  Special thanks to all the members of our Pathways program who helped Ethan succeed.  Good luck, Ethan.

This year marked the 11th anniversary of the Lois Wells Memorial Kicks for Cancer. Lois is the mother of our very own Steve Wells.

As part of the fundraiser, jerseys are sold to the public; 100% of the proceeds go to Dana Farber to support women's cancer research. We are very proud to announce that our 2017 KFC donation total to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute will be $62,592.30.

2017 - $$62,592.30
2016 - $60,021.00
2015 - $46,940.00
2014 - $44,307.65
2013 - $33,409.01
2012 - $28,989.96
2011 - $28,273.27
2010 - $17,051.00
2009 - $10,124.25
2008 - $11,032.40
2007 - $8,000.00


Alumni Spotlight (Connor Lofdahl- Trombone, Class of 2016)
By David Gresko

Check out what Connor has been up to the University of North Texas, one of the top jazz programs in the country.

Connor is now a sophomore at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas studying jazz trombone – and loving every minute of it! He currently plays in the prestigious Two O’Clock Lab Band, which is the second highest level of the nine big bands in the Jazz Studies Division. He is also lead trombone in the Latin Jazz Lab Band and recently joined the Denton-based Latin jazz and salsa band Los Wedos.

 Previously, he played lead in the Four and Three O’Clock Lab Bands as well as the contemporary jazz fusion ensemble The Zebras and a classical trombone quartet. He has had several gigs as a sub (sometimes even for money!) both on and off campus, most recently in the Rebel Alliance Jazz Ensemble, including an upcoming recording session with trumpeter Bobby Shew – but the most exciting gig so far was when he was flown out to Santa Fe to play with the Georgia Bridgwater Orchestra for George W. Bush’s goddaughter's wedding! 

Raising a Student-Athlete Presentation
Monday, November 6th at 7 PM
Location:  Concord Carlisle High School Auditorium

Please consider attending “Raising a Student-Athlete: Sports Parenting in the 21st Century”, presented by Adam H. Naylor, EdD, CC-AASP, this coming Monday evening at CCHS (offered for free and sponsored by the Center for Parents and Teachers).

Dr. Naylor will lead this discussion focused on supporting children's health and their ability to thrive throughout their sporting experiences. Consideration will be given to the parent’s and coach's role in developing confident and resilient young athletes and how to manage the stress of increasingly complicated sporting decisions which families face. All Parents and Coaches are encouraged to attend.  

Please learn more about this program and sign up at or at: