Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Winter Break Is Near, A Message for Seniors, & Dallas Jackson

All but a half school-day stand before us and winter break, which represent the last few hours of the 2020 school year.  Remember school and life before 11 March 2020? Difficult to believe that this painful ordeal began only 10-months ago?

During a recent drive to school, a song came on the radio and one of my daughters asked to change the station because it reminded her of March, and the feelings elicited were intense enough to warrant a change of song. 

For my daughter, the song was a reminder of the pandemic's beginning, a reminder about as gentile as winter in Fairbanks, Alaska. What a stark juxtaposition between our daily life and the look and feel of school before the onset of COVID-19 and now.

Thankfully, there is light emerging from afar. The arrival of a vaccine is the best holiday gift I can imagine. Operation Warp Speed is a public-private partnership initiated by the U.S. government to facilitate and accelerate the development of COVID-19 vaccines. 

The announcement of this project promised deliverables by January 2021. Considering the quickest vaccine to market was for the mumps, which required four years, it was natural for people to be skeptical, and count me among the skeptics. The welcome news of a vaccine is a win for science. Further proof that humanity is particularly adept at solving difficult problems threatening our species.

The CCHS COVID Task Force met for the first time in May.  A fantastic group who worked diligently to help create the conditions for a safe return to in-person learning. Further, this group remained committed to salvaging extracurriculars in some form of fashion. As we near break, I want to thank them again for their efforts and the Superintendent and the entire team members of CPS and CCHS. A team effort made it possible, and never has the adage "it takes a village...." proven to be more appropriate at characterizing the team effort of the community, students, staff, etc. to make this work. 

During the summer months of planning, it is doubtful you could convince even the most ardent optimists to commit to a wager of in-person learning in December 2020, but we remain open and it is a testament to all involved.  

In closing, I tend to speak incessantly about a book I am reading or a podcast I am enjoying, so at the expense of an eye roll of those closest to me, I offer a few suggestions. This is but one of my annoying qualities, and much to the chagrin of those closest to me, I possess annoying qualities in lavish measure. 

Malcolm Gladwell's Obscure Virus Club highlights humanity's temptation to point to a singular event or individual to celebrate monumental achievements, but it is often the small contributions of many individuals compounding over time.  

People I (Mostly) Admire is the newest podcast from the Freakonomics Radio Network. Moncef Slaoui: “It’s Unfortunate That It Takes a Crisis for This to Happen” 

"Born in Morocco and raised mostly by a single mother, Moncef Slaoui is now one of the world’s most influential scientists. As the head of Operation Warp Speed — the U.S. government’s Covid-19 vaccine program — Slaoui has overseen the development and distribution of a new vaccine at a pace once deemed impossible."

For anyone interested, I am reading Ben Macintyre's Agent Sonya. (cue the eye roll) I have read all his books, and they are fantastic. One point of clarification, by read I mean consume a few pages before falling asleep.

I wish everyone a happy, healthy, and safe winter break.  It is a homework free break for all students and staff, so please take the time to rest, relax, reflect, and be grateful.  Please read on for an important announcement for seniors, and some work from an amazing, multi-talented student, Dallas Jackson.  The assignment was for one of Mr. Chris Gauthier's classes. His abilities and past achievements are exceptional, and I know he is quite proud of Dallas. 

With Gratitude,

Michael J. Mastrullo, Principal

A Message From the Chair of Guidance, Dr. Alison Nowicki

Dear Seniors!

Can you believe that we are almost to January??  I'm sure everyone is looking forward to some rest and relaxation over the vacation week!  That being said, there are some upcoming college deadlines that will happen over break.  Please make sure to check your SCOIR Applying list to make sure that it is accurate and that each college you want to apply to has been acknowledged.  If the college is not listed there, or if it is not acknowledged, your materials will not be sent.

Remember - there are two steps you need to take: 1) Add a college to the Applying list, and 2) complete a transcript request form for each college.  Once both of those steps have been taken, you will be all set.

Please make sure to look everything over tonight!  We will not be sending materials after the end of the day tomorrow for those early January deadlines.  Thanks so much for your help!  You are almost there!!

Dallas Jackson

This assignment is designed to get to start thinking about your McDonalization project. 

In your proposal please do the following:

1. Describe what you are going to focus on and how you are going to apply Ritzer's theory (in other words, what points are you planning to make about your chosen subject?) 

2. Describe how you are going to create your project (see the project description below for ideas)



In the tradition of great sociologists, George Ritzer’s notion of “McDonaldization” calls into question the assumption that efficiency and uniformity for profit is progress.  Ritzer sees a McDonaldized world as a place where relations between people break apart and creativity is destroyed.  This may be gloomy, but we should credit Ritzer for neatly summarizing the down side of something many of us take for granted and questioning something that many of us believe we have to accept.


Ritzer's article was written in 1993 and a lot has changed since then--your job is to update it.  In the spirit of Ritzer, this assignment attempts to give you the creativity to express that you have learned and can update his theory in whatever way makes sense to you.  In other words, human creativity and expression is encouraged.  You can either write the paper described below or you can show that you have learned the material in another way (music, art, dance, graphic design etc.).  


If you write the paper, please make it at least three pages.  If you opt for a different expression please make sure to include a written description of what you have done.  


Please address one of the following (or one of your own):

1. How the Internet is leading to the McDonaldization of art: consider music, visual art, writing, film etc.

2. How the cell phone has McDonaldized our lives.

3. How Facebook, Instagram or other social media has McDonaldized our lives.

4. The McDonaldization of Concord Carlisle High School (in other words are there things that we do for the sake of efficiency that get in the way of your learning or dehumanize students and teachers?). 

CCHS Chorus Music Video Premiere - "You Raise Me Up"

CCHS Chorus  Music Video Premiere - You Raise Me Up

This video is the product of months of work by a dedicated production team and the students in Chorus.  The students were not singing when this was videotaped, they were lip-synching.  The audio was done separately.  Owen Curtin, of Colonial Sound, synched over 60 individual tracks (each student made their own at home) and blended them into magic.  It was directed by the parent of 2 Chorus kids (and 1 Chorus alum), Joseph Maar, who just happens to be an Emmy winning director.  Isabelle Germino of Minuteman Media Network was our cinematographer and senior editor.  We are so proud of this video and we hope you enjoy it!


-Deb Smith, Director of Choirs

CCHS Chorus

Music Video Premiere

You Raise Me Up

Broadcasting on 

Minuteman Media Network all through Holiday Break!

Tune in December 22-January 5

at 12pm, 3pm and 6pm!

Watch on Concord and Carlisle Comcast channels 8 and 99 

or online at https://www.minuteman.media/2407/Public 


View on YouTube starting December 22:

Minuteman Media Network

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Impending Snow & Its Impact on School, Early College Decisions, Debate Club, & Nia Hislop

Our first snow day appears likely tomorrow, but the hallmark of 2020 is very little of the status quo remains and snow and its impact on school is no exception.  The good news for 75% of the student body, is the way we treat weather disruptions this year allows for a fixed last day of school, which is currently slated for 15 June. 

Seniors, I am sorry to say, but your traditional snow day complete with sleeping late and a missed day of school never to be made up is a thing of the past. This is a state mandate and not my declaration, but I still find it necessary to apologize. 

The decision to call a snow day is a decision that rests with the Superintendent. That announcement could come tonight or tomorrow morning.  Nevertheless, this is the plan if snow makes it impossible to physically attend school tomorrow. On that note, if this happens the building is closed to all students and staff and anyone not responsible for snow removal.

If snow closes the building tomorrow:

Classes will meet as planned but all will meet virtually with no in-person learning. The schedule will not change tomorrow, Thursday, or Friday regardless of whether or not we have snow tomorrow. Power outages are possible and teachers will notify you of contingency plans should that occur. 

Attention Seniors & Parents: Early Decision & The College Process

Winter recess is but a few days away, and seniors can't even celebrate a potential snow day on the horizon. The great Class of 2021 has endured much, more than most, and many months of sacrifice lay ahead. It will test their patience and resolve. Past is never a perfect guide to predict the future, but it is typically a useful tool, but the unprecedented nature of our lives leaves little blueprint to follow. 

College decisions are trickling in, and they are met with excitement and cheers for some and disappointment, frustration, and tears for others. College applications across the country exceed historical norms, which only adds to the anxiety or frustration if the desired outcome is not achieved. 

It is not fair; however, what you have and continue to endure has made you more resilient and battle-hardened than you are likely aware. You must emerge from this experience more resilient than bitter.  

Suppose you are one of the students waiting for a college decision. In that case, I know it feels like the most critical thing in the entire world, and I am not going to try and convince you it does not matter because it matters to you, and that is reason enough to recognize that it matters. I do want to offer some perspective. 

Let's take a brief journey to the future. To fast forward past this pandemic is a luxury most of us wish for, but I want to leap even farther into the future to the year 2040. You are now thirty-eight years old. Maybe you landed a great job in Boston, Silicon Valley, or LA. 

Perhaps it turned out differently, and you are starting another business after a few successes and failures. Or, maybe you just finished post-graduate work, and you are getting married to the person of your dreams. 

Perhaps 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 of these scenarios, or visualize where you hope to be at the age of thirty-eight. The present moment: good, bad, or indifferent, will have far less impact than you might think.  

I want to remind every student waiting with bated breath that the college you choose will not define you. If you have decided to forego college and pursue a different path, well, this post-high school decision will not define you either. However, you will be defined by how you treat people and what you do with the opportunities that lay ahead. 

Regardless of the path chosen, I urge you to weigh this moment with proper proportion. Congratulations to all of those who received a yes from the college of their choice. I am so happy for you. Be proud. Be excited. Be humble. As poet Wendell Berry said, "you do not know the road; you have committed to a way."

The reality is, we have made this moment in time for seniors far more significant than it warrants, and we all shoulder some of the burden for this.  

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 mistake.  

In moments like this, it is difficult, but necessary, to keep perspective. In some respects, this year is defined by hardship, and if the most devastating moment of the year is a rejection letter, then life is good. Know that your family and friends are proud of you, no matter what, and so are we!  

I share a New York Times article I read years ago. Below is a portion of the article I find particularly poignant. I included a portion of it below. It will all work out. I promise!


Michael J. Mastrullo

Letter to their son

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

How to Survive the College Admissions Madness

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

CCHS Debate Team

The CCHS debate team has been enjoying a very successful season. The team has joined the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA), the Massachusetts Speech and Debate League (MSDL), and the Boston Catholic Forensic League (BCFL - not religiously affiliated). The team is currently comprised of 16 members, and 4 teams have qualified for the Massachusetts State Tournament which will be held on April 10 & 11. Qualifiers so far are Richard Li & Molly Branigan, Grace Waldeck & Evelyn Reidy, Alisha Bhatt & Maddie Edmondson (all 3 teams in Public Forum debate), and Darcy Keenan Mills (in Lincoln Douglas Debate).

Parental support has been crucial since parents receive training and serve as judges for the competitions. Many thanks to Ling Liu, John Branigan, Scott Edmondson, Kerry Moffitt, Adam Adourian, Yongli Ji, and Joy Shen for their service to the team. 

CCHS is coached by Tim Averill of Waring School in Beverly MA, who has been coaching debate since 1971 and took interest in CCHS when parents asked for help and his grandson Wilbur Moffitt joined the team in September of this year.

CCHS is actively recruiting new students, and all interested students are invited to attend our weekly meetings, held on Mondays (via Zoom) at 3:30 PM. For more information, contact Tim at CCHS staff member, Emily McKneight. 

Nia Hislop Named Girls Soccer DCL MVP

Congratulations to junior Nia Hislop for being named the Girls Soccer DCL MVP this year! In addition, Nia was named to the All-Emass, All-State, and All-New England teams (only 11 players in Massachusetts were named All-New England).

Monday, December 7, 2020

Remembering Pearl Harbor, NHS Fall Clean-Up, Cooper Jones, National Signing Day & more

We woke to quite a different morning than Americans did 79 years today. The attack on Pearl Harbor arrived in the early morning on December 7, 1941, "A day that will live in infamy." A date forever time-stamped into the minds of Americans. 

The attack thrust a reluctant country into World War II, a war that ravaged much of Europe and beyond for nearly two years at that point. The Axis Powers attempted to strike a crushing blow against the United States with the hopes of breaking the will of the country before she even entered the war. Thankfully for all of us, the will of that generation would not bend to the want of the enemy.  

It is worth noting that the country spearheading the attack on December 7, 1941, is one of our closest allies in 2020, an essential partner in the defense of democracy. History has taught us that the Allied Powers led by the United States prevailed in the end, but on this fateful day, that was far from a foregone conclusion. 

The attack undoubtedly frightened millions of Americans. The future looked bleak with an uncertain outcome and a quiet understanding of what it would take if we were to prevail.  Millions of Americans sacrificed much for a victory, and more than 400,000 gave the ultimate sacrifice. They prevailed, and although we face a very different enemy in COVID-19, let us draw strength that we too can and will prevail. 

The war changed the course of history: for our country, humanity, and families forever changed bear the scars of this dreadful conflict that uncovered unspeakable evil. 

We are the benefactors of the sacrifice of this generation. The end of the war ushered in a reign of prosperity that marches on, albeit with ebbs and flows, to this day. I can think of no better way to thank and honor the men and women of that generation than to highlight some of our exceptional students. In some respects, these students are their legacy, and it is one to be proud of.  

With Gratitude,

Michael J. Mastrullo 

Pictured above is Andrew Kamionek, Zuhayr Huseni, Anas Benhamida, and  Linda Xu 

NHS / COA Fall Clean up Weekend a Success!

Over two weekends in November, more than thirty members of the National Honor Society volunteered to assist Concord senior citizens with fall clean up work. Students completed a range of tasks including raking leaves, pruning perennials, and planting bulbs at ten different homes. This was the first of what is intended to be an annual collaboration between the CCHS National Honor Society and the Concord Council on Aging.

"It was refreshing to be able to work together with my peers. Lots of community service opportunities have been put to a halt because of COVID-19, but the members of the National Honor Society were all happy we were able to get outside and do community service together." 

-Linda Xu

While the yard work was laborious, it was really satisfying seeing the final product of a raked yard! It was super fun to work with my friends in such nice weather and you can definitely tell just how grateful the seniors are to have a helping hand! -Akshaya Seetharam 

Akshaya Seetharam, Joe Vann, and Stephanie Donovan raking 

Will Delise and Tal Kronrad cleaning out a flower bed

Annie Creamer and Anna Jasinski pruning hydrangeas

Nick and Christian Healy, Ryan Nigborwicz, Joachim Laurent, Arya Naidu, and Vishal Chandra dumping a tarp full of leaves over a stone wall 

- submitted by Vicky Chan and Madeleine Pooler

Cooper Jones Named DCL MVP

Congratulations to senior Cooper Jones for being named the DCL MVP this year! In addition, Cooper was named to the all-Emass, all-state, and all New England teams (only 11 players in Massachusetts were named all New England).

Senior Citizen Luncheon

Last month CCHS Class Government members kept the annual senior citizen Thanksgiving luncheon alive. Students and staff packaged and distributed 260 Thanksgiving lunches to senior citizens throughout Concord and Carlisle. 

All meals were produced in-house by Bryce MacKnight and his incredible staff. Thank you to the Parents Association, the Concord and Carlisle councils on aging, as well as the Concord and Carlisle friends of the aging. Also, thank you to all the generous people who kindly made financial contributions to make this event a success. 

Thanks to all the students who made this event possible and a special thank you to CCHS seniors Zoe Jackson and Julia Clark who put in a tremendous amount of effort mapping delivery routes and managing pickup locations.  Well done, all!

Tess Wood - Global Competence Certificate work with Project Literacy

By Becky Teiwes

We are proud to highlight CCHS senior, Tess Wood, and her Global Competence Certificate work with Project Literacy in Watertown, MA.

On November 10th, 2020, as part of her final presentation for the Global Competence Certificate, Tess Wood gave an incredible summary of the work she did as a volunteer with Project Literacy, a non-profit located in the Watertown Public Library that offers free services to adults learning to read, write, or speak English. Below is an excerpt from her essay:

"I stood there quietly for a moment, seeing how intertwined Daniel’s English ability was with a broader sense of identity. It’s true that language can tell you a person’s story, in some ways. Daniel’s Brazilian accent signals that he comes from somewhere else and that English isn’t his first language. But, when you only hear his accent, you don’t see the hours he spends on the homework assignments I give him. You don’t hear him ask question after question, some of which even I struggle to answer, about the subtleties he’s noticed in someone’s English. You don’t fundamentally understand what it's like to be him: to not speak the dominant language in a society that all-too-often quantifies an English ability with a larger judgment of intelligence."

To read Tess's complete essay, click here. And to see her Google Slide Presentation highlighting her experience, click here.

If you have questions about the Global Competence Certificate, please reach out to Rachel Washa at rwasha@concordcarlisle.org or click on this link for more info. 

National Signing Day

Congratulations to the following students for signing their National Letter of Intent to continue their academic and athletic careers at the next level.  We are so proud of all you have done and look forward to following your career in college.

Pictured below in order:

Roman Ercoli- St. Anselm

Sophia Eckler - Providence

Ryan Grace - Quinnipiac

Gabrielle Mirak - West Point

Connor Trant - St. Joseph's

Charlie Reichle - Georgetown

Marisa Ih

IMSCC is celebrating 40 years of music lessons in our schools with faculty performances posted online through the end of 2020. On October 30, the featured performer of the week was IMSCC alum and recent CCHS graduate Marisa Ih, clarinetist. Marisa's performance, in collaboration with student pianist Naomi Yamaguchi, is online here. Marisa is currently a freshman at Oberlin Conservatory. IMSCC congratulates these students!