High School

The National Ocean Science Bowl Team competed with some of the best schools in the entire country and placed 11th overall in the competition held this past weekend at MIT in Cambridge.

In addition, the FHS NOSB A Team led by Captain Toua Vang, and members Kato Bouthsarath, Vence Henry, Sam Boudreau, and Nevin Arseneault, brought won the Judy McDowell Award for Excellence in Collaboration and Problem Solving.

Student activism and school safety.

That's the purpose of the Students for Action of Fitchburg High School United Way Youth Venture team.

"We want to specify that we're not a gun-safety or school-shooting group," said Michaela Wakefield, a senior and president of the Students for Action of FHS. "We want to give students the tools to speak out against something that they aren't OK with. So we want to bridge that gap between see something, say something.

"It's more of a movement to get kids to become activists, not only for themselves but to also advocate for others who might not have a voice."

The group is comprised of eight students, including Natasha Ussrey, Cristina Pureco, Matthew Kroch, Ngoc Tang, Emily Baldini, Kato Bouthsarath and Peter Bragdon.

Read more here.

Fitchburg High sophomore Jake Thibeault and junior Ethan Chandler are excited for the first Karate For Kids Golf Tournament

Chandler is the founder of Karate For Kids -- a United Way Youth Venture program at FHS. The goal of Karate For Kids is to provide local at-risk youth, who may not be able to afford it, an experience that encourages character development.

The original idea was to provide at-risk kids a karate experience even if they could not afford one. Recently, the venture club has discussed using funds to provide experiences beyond karate that continue to embrace character development.

"We have thought about scholarships for youth soccer, baseball and basketball," Chandler said. "In the future, I hope to see Karate For Kids turn into an organization that provides hundreds of at-risk youth around the state opportunities they will need to further their character development."

Chandler's desire to help others comes naturally, he says.

"I have always wanted to be able to give back to my community in any way I can," he said. "I have always wanted to make sure that money shouldn't hold back kids from getting an experience they could benefit from. Also, it means more to me to give back to the kids of our community. Kids are our future and the more opportunities they get now, the better future they will have."

Chandler officially launched his Youth Venture on February 14, 2017.

Read more here.

A celebration took place last week for 91 students from Fitchburg and Leominster who will graduate from high school this year after participating in Project Healthcare and getting a jump-start on their college education.

The celebration was organized by Mount Wachusett Community College and took place at the Wachusett Mountain Ski Area. Project Healthcare is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is operated by MWCC. It provides free healthcare classes to students through a dual enrollment program. All of the students in the program attend Fitchburg High School, Leominster High School, or Leominster Center for Technical Education Innovation.

The classes are taught to prepare the students for future careers in healthcare fields and were taught directly in their high schools. A total of 32 Project Healthcare students are anticipated to be CNA certified by June.

The Fitchburg High School students who participated in Project Healthcare are:

Cizara Al-Aziz, Madison Alejandro, Genesis Alvarez Bergodere, Emma Auger, Kiara Baez, Josiah Begor, William Coleman, Khoi Dang Nguyen, Tatyana Diaz, Alexis Dimond, Brooke Feltus, Andrew Foster, Ulysses Fowler, Jorge Gaitan Jr., Justine Gaynor, Joshua Gonzalez, Kobe Hoang, Jayda Kolaco, Destiny Lamoreaux, Pa-Zhong Lee, Sophia Mahone, Bibianna Massses, Abrianna McCall, Marissa McInnis Ramos, Juliana Mejia, Rohanji Novas, Juan Pedraza, Alana Perry, Ciara Perry, William Phommatham, Elizabeth Quiles, Yanailiz Rivera, Hilario Rodreguez IV, Cristal Rosado Perez, Suliannah Souryyavongsa, Katalina Tejada, Jackson Truax, William Vargo, Willie Vongphachacnh, and Kaylin Wiseman.

Read more here.

Fitchburg High Schools Students for Action (S4AFHS), a United Way Youth Venture group, were honored as a group at the North Central MA 7th annual Stand Against Racism Community Dinner.

Stand Against Racism is a signature campaign of YWCA USA to build community among those who work for racial justice and to raise awareness about the negative impact of institutional and structural racism in our communities.

FHS senior Michaela Wakefield was recognized as the 1st Human Rights Commission Associate Commissioner.

Along with Wakefield, Kato Boutsarath and Matthew Kroche are also S4AFHS members.

Also, FHS student Rohanji Novas read a poem, which was warmly received by the audience.

Students on Fitchburg High School's Envirothon team are so passionate about the environment and working to solve problems within their community that the team received the 2019 Secretary's Award for Excellence in Environmental Education based on their work for the 2018 MA Envirothon Community Awards.

The team received the Secretary's Award during a ceremony at the Statehouse in Boston on Monday.

The team's project, guided by teachers Sarah Johnson and Ann Taft, focused on learning about stormwater in the city and then shared this information to increase awareness about preventing stormwater pollution.

"I am thrilled that the team is being recognized for their hard work," said Johnson. "The students put in a lot of time and effort outside of the regular school day to research this specific environmental issue and prepare for the Envirothon competition.

Read more here.

Four Fitchburg High art students -- Jordan Santiago, Mariana Estrada, Pa-Zhong Lee and Alexis Ortwein -- were all chosen by teacher Keenan Cassidy for artwork that is being featured in the Youth Art Month exhibit currently on display in the Higgins Education wing of the Worcester Art Museum.

"We're cultivating some personal voices here, trying new things, telling your own story, expressing your own narratives through your own artwork," Cassidy said. "Individuality is key. I'm just proud of them because this is a pretty major show. There's a lot of private-school kids and people who have a lot of exposure to art, so I'm just happy to see a little slice of Fitchburg High represented in the show.

"All kinds of people see it. It's a high-traffic area. This is all of Central Mass. It's a pretty packed show."

Read more here.

There's a certain power associated with voting.

Fitchburg High School freshman Nicole Robinson knows a little more about that power after researching and writing an essay through the Veterans of Foreign Wars on the voice of democracy.

Robinson's audio-essay competition submission about "Why My Vote Matters" certainly stood out to members of the VFW.

"I wrote about how it's very important, because if you don't vote, you're giving other people the power to make choices for you," said Robinson, who received an Outstanding Spokesperson for Freedom award. "If you do vote, you at least have a little bit of input about who runs our country."

Robinson, 14, was presented a certificate and scholarship during the VFW's award presentation recently at the DoubleTree by Hilton Leominster Hotel.

"I was the most proud when I actually got to DoubleTree," Robinson said. "At first, I was like, 'Oh, it's pretty cool,' but when I saw all the people around me ... I was the only freshman and there were all seniors in my division. Getting fifth place out of nine seniors was crazy. That was the most exciting part."

Read more here.

Fitchburg High School junior Ethan Chandler has been honored for his exemplary volunteer service with a President's Volunteer Service Award.

This award, which recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and their country, was granted by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program.

"It's a great honor to work hard on something and get recognized for something," said Chandler.

On Feb. 14, 2017, Chandler officially launched his United Way Youth Venture, "Karate For Kids" to provide children the karate experience that he had when growing up.

Karate For Kids has been impacting the community ever since. Last year, Karate For Kids awarded the program's first scholarship to Reingold Elementary School student, Me'Yah Newton. The $600 scholarship provided six months of karate training at Family Martial Arts Center in Fitchburg. Newton's scholarship was renewed for another six months on Dec. 27.

"A lot of people think you start it to get recognition, scholarships or be popular or whatever it may be, but I started it because I've been doing karate all my life and it's changed my life for so many things," Chandler said. "There was so much stuff in my life that I wouldn't have been able to get through if it wasn't for the things that I learned in karate, so I think that everyone should have that opportunity.

Read more here.

High School English teacher Garrett Zecker is constantly trying to find ways to engage his senior classes with projects to help them understand that everyone plays a big role in building a positive community.

Zecker's students are currently working on an ambitious project, fueled by the Community Read Program choice of "Everything I Never Told You," by author Celeste Ng.

The students are using the themes of the book -- hidden lives and struggles invisible to everyone -- to create mixed-media pieces, including form writing, art, sculpture, music, photography, drawing and paintings -- to express their kind of unseen place as members of the community.

"It is an anxious event because my art work will be presented to the community," said FHS senior Anthony Silverio.

The students' work will be on display at the Fitchburg Art Museum for the month of March in the community gallery.

"They all have stories and ideas to share, most of which our city is unaware of," Zecker said. "What better way to do it than by asking them to use the book's themes to drive whatever creative endeavor they are most comfortable with and displaying it at the center of art and culture in our region? Most people I know have never had a work of art in an art museum, and suddenly here are 45 enthusiastic young men and women from all socioeconomic backgrounds pouring their hearts out in a way that also gets them a major project to put on their resumes."

Read more here.

Fitchburg High School recognized 79 Class of 2019 John and Abigail Adams Scholars. The Adams Scholarship is based on a student’s performance on the high school MCAS English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science and Technology/Engineering tests.

FHS recipients are: Zechariah Adamu, Madison Alejandro, Karlie Allen, Steven Angomas, Samantha Aponte, Rocco Arciprete, Madison Armstrong, Ethan Aubuchon, Emma Auger, Emily Baldini, Josiah Begor, Gage Boucher, Samuel Boudreau, Emily Bourgault, Kato Bouthsarath, Peter Bragdon, Andrew Brooks, Jonas Bryan, Domenic Caputi, Lianna Carrion, Jameson Carroll, Logan Chesbrough, Wynne Coradeli, Mackenzie Daley, Khoi Dang Nguyen, Sean Donelan, Jeffrey Dufour, Megan Duong, Christina Estrada Aquino, Brooke Feltus, Carlos Figueroa, Allyson Floria, Gabriel Goncalves, Joshua Gonzalez, Sebastian Goyette-Connerty, Osburn Guy, Vence Henry, Taylor Hilton, Kobe Hoang, Ethan Hoecker, Skye Hutton, Abigail Jollimore, Anna Jordan, Jayda Kolaco, Matthew Kroch, Nicolas Larkin, Jake Lavigueur, Trinity Lazuka, Tai Le, Reese Leblanc, Lily Leclair, Davaris Little, Jack Lorigan, Ceara Macharie, Abrianna Mccall, Marissa Mcinnis Ramos, Alexander Mckenzie-Maxan, Tiana Muniz, Keila Negron, Rohanji Novas, Nicholas Pandolph, Stemyr Parisien, Lisa Pavan, Juan Pedraza, Ciara Perry, William Phommatham, Jada Poland, Maritza Ruiz Hernandez, Emerson Scott, Camryn Souza, Jazmin Stewart, Jorge Torres, Teyanna Torres, Jocelyne Velasquez, Taja Viera, Willie Vongphachanh, Michaela Wakefield, Jacob Walker and Traer Wilson.

Read more here.

Fitchburg senior wins full ride to college as Posse Scholar

High School senior Jacqueline Laskowski has always challenged herself in the classroom, and it's certainly paying off in a big way.

Laskowski, 17, found out last week that she was selected as a Posse Scholar and will receive a four-year scholarship to Denison University in Granville, Ohio.

"I thought I wasn't going to get it," Laskowski said. "When I got it, I wasn't really expecting it. I was in shock like, 'Wow, I'm going to college for free.' It's just crazy and I was really excited."

Laskowski's full-tuition, four-year scholarship is worth over $200,000.

Over 1,000 students from the state were initially considered for the Boston Posse Scholar. Laskowski says she is "really grateful" to be one of a limited number of students selected to attend one of Posse's partner colleges or universities.

Read more here and here.

Fitchburg High School's Emerson Scott and Andrew Brooks have been named to the group of 2018 Wendy's High School Heisman school winners.

"These are two students who have grown immensely since their freshmen year," said FHS Assistant Principal Albert Mercado said. "To see their growth -- their athletics, their academics and their service work, it has really helped them become prime examples of what the Red Raider way is."

Wendy's has put a premium on high school students excelling in the classroom and in athletes, treating people with respect and giving back to their communities. Twenty-five years ago, Wendy's founder Dave Thomas started the Wendy's High School Heisman to celebrate the positive achievements of high school seniors.

This marks the first time that two students from Fitchburg High School have been tabbed as school winners in the same year.

Last year, Fitchburg's Landon Tucker was a school winner and state finalist. Florencia Rivas (2015) and Chelsea Deloge (2010) were also school winners for FHS.

Read more here.

The Current Events Club was concerned about food being wasted in the cafeteria.

So the students from Fitchburg High School involved in the club have taken gigantic steps to reduce waste and make sure this food that is typically thrown in the trash by students is going to good use.

The students decided to create a food bin in the cafeteria as the overall solution, while also having an impact on the community by donating this food to Our Father’s House in Fitchburg.

“We think that this simple act of donating food that would be thrown away anyway will have a big impact on those in need,” said Current Events Club President and Fitchburg High junior Elle Scott.

Current Events Club members deliver the food at least once per week, donating an average of 60 food items per week. Last week, the club delivered an all-time high of 80 food items.

Read more here.

Fitchburg’s Mateo remembers what’s important

Following their victory last Friday over Groton-Dunstable, Fitchburg High coach Tom DiGeronimo and athletic director Ray Cosenzareceived an email from a Crusader parent.

One would think the email was to deliver a complaint, but this one was different.

The email came from Charity MacDonald, whose son, Lain, has cerebral palsy and is an integral part of the Groton-Dunstable football family.

Lain, his mom wrote, was on the sideline for the football game, wearing his No. 49 jersey, but because of the cold weather, Lain had trouble maneuvering his wheelchair to the postgame handshake line.

After the teams exchanged handshakes, hugs and fist bumps, Lain was resigned to the fact that he missed the show of camaraderie and respect.

“I could see (Lain’s) disappointment,” Charity wrote. “I joined him to help get him to the end zone and at that very moment, a Fitchburg player came out of the crowd, across the field and patiently waited to give Lain a fist bump and tell him it was a ‘good game.’

“Lain had the biggest smile on his face, despite the game score,” she continued. “It was important to him that someone would go out of their way to take the time and effort to do this for him. No one directed him to do it, and very few people saw it. It was a quiet kindness that touched my heart.”

The Fitchburg player was Jose Mateo, who has been nominated by Groton-Dunstable athletic director Mike McCarthy for an MIAA Sportsmanship Award.

“This goes beyond any statistic that happens on the football field,” DiGeronimo said. “I am so proud of our young man who represented Fitchburg High School the right way.”

“With all of the negative we see surrounding our youth, it is important the efforts of positive receive recognition,” Charity wrote. “This small gesture speaks to the character of (Mateo), his coaches, his parents and his team. Thank you for making such a difference. No matter how small you think it is, sometimes it is the world to the other person.”

Read more here.

The faces of the student-athletes say it all.

The ear-to-ear smiles, the laughter, the applauses, the hugs and high-fives for everyone and the sheer joy of participating in athletics is exactly what makes Special Olympics Unified Sports so impactful to everyone involved.

At Fitchburg High School, the experience of participating in Unified Sports has been such a special experience to all the athletes, coaches and fans.

“We have been involved with Unified track since its inception as one of six or seven schools in the state that started the pilot program,” Fitchburg Athletic Director Ray Cosenza said.

“We joined unified basketball the first year it started and it has been one of the most positive programs we offer. Attending a Unified basketball game is so uplifting and fun. It is great for our Unified athletes, our Unified partners and for our entire athletic department and school. It’s a wonderful program.”

According to the Special Olympics Massachusetts web site, “the Unified Sports program expands sports opportunities for participants seeking new challenges and dramatically increases their inclusion in the community, by helping to break down the barriers that have historically kept people with and without intellectual disabilities apart.

At the same time, Unified Sports provides a valuable sports opportunity to individuals with intellectual disabilities who are not presently involved with Special Olympics, especially those with mild disabilities.”

Teacher Bryan Baxter took control of the head-coaching duties this season for Fitchburg High, and calls the experience “truly amazing.”

“All of the players have been incredible,” Baxter said.

Read more here.

Twenty Fitchburg High School students mastered the skills, concepts and content necessary to earn prestigious Advanced Placement Scholar Awards, which were based on the 2018 AP exams administered in May.

The College Board's AP program provides students the opportunity to earn college credit through rigorous college-level work in high school.

At Fitchburg High School, 15 AP courses are offered.

The College Board recognizes four levels of achievement based on student performance and AP exams. The highest level of academic distinction is National AP Scholar, followed by AP Scholar with Distinction, AP Scholar with Honor and AP Scholar.

Two students qualified for the AP Scholar with Distinction Award by earning an average score of 3.5 or higher on all AP exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams.

The honorees are Judith M. Hanson and Hannah A. Neilon, both of the Class of 2018.

Three students received the AP Scholar with Honor Award after earning an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams. The awarded scholars include, Logan H. Cormier and Essence K. Perry -- both from the Class of 2018 -- and Samuel F. Boudreau, Class of 2019.

Fifteen students were awarded the AP Scholar distinction by earning a score of 3 or higher on three or more AP exams. Recipients include, Josiah M. Bergor (2019), Kato P. Bouthsarath (2019), Logan C. Chesbrough (2019), Wynne Cordaeli (2019), Hannah E. Faulkner (2018), Brianna P. Harnden (2018), Charles W. Jackson (2018), Kyle R. Koutonen (2018), Logan H. Miles (2018), Michael J. Nowd (2018), Erin E. St. Germain (2018), Landon R. Tucker (2018), Jocelyne Velasquez (2019), Lurenne Velazquez Carasquillo (2018) and Taja D. Viera (2019).

"Please join me in celebrating these scholars, as their hard work has paid off in dividends," said Fitchburg High Principal Jeremy Roche. "We are so proud of our students for accepting the rigor that comes with Advanced Placement courses. Without a doubt, these students are more prepared now to tackle the high workload that often comes with post-secondary opportunities.

"We are so excited for our students and their AP recognition. We are focused on growing this program and look forward to recognizing even more students next year. In the near future, we will be adding additional AP courses and the instructional support necessary to achieve even greater success."

Read more here.

A love for karate movies as a kid got Ethan Chandler interested in training in the martial art.

Now as a junior at Fitchburg High School, he is sharing that passion with at-risk youth in the city through the organization he founded, Karate for Kids.

"It gives them a place to go if they don't have one," the 16-year-old said. "It's about helping kids in the community get through challenges they face."

Chandler launched Karate for Kids in February 2017. The organization serves children between the ages of 6 and 12 and trains them at the Family Martial Arts Center on Airport Road, which is where Chandler started karate when he was 6 and later earned a black belt.

Chandler hopes karate can help children learn life skills and an activity they can look forward to, like it did for him.

"Karate has always taught me to use self control and about the indomitable spirit," Chandler said.

Read more here and here.

A whopping 40 FHS students were honoredduring the 36th annual Fitchburg High School Scholars’ Banquet: Emily Agreda, Alexander Alejandro, Rumana Ashraf, Dianna Castro, Austin Chandler, Damon Charette, Lindsay Connors, Logan Cormier, Kylie Dudek, Hannah Faulkner, Lydia Gnoza, Judith Hanson, Brianna Harnden, Emily Hill, Charles Jackson, Audrey Johnson, Kyle Koutonen, Logan Miles, Hannah Neilon, Sharon Nelson, Michael Nowd, Jael Omeler, Michael Pawson, Yoen Pedraza, Kammarie Pelland, Nasharie Peralta, Essence Perry, Erin Primeau Jazmyne Rodriguez, Rachely Romero, Erin St. Germain, Makenzy Scachetti Thompson, Agustina Silvera, Chad Therrien, Marisa Trainque, Landon Tucker, Lurenne Velasquez Carrasquillo, Ashley Villa, Jada Walker, Hannah Wilder.

These 40 students receivee a certificate for their amazing academic accomplishments.

“In my 13 years here, this is the largest group I have seen,” said FPS Superintendent Andre Ravenelle.

The criteria to quality for the FHS Scholars’ Banquet is each student must have at least a 3.7 GPA over 7.5 semesters and have attended FHS for at least two years.

Read more here.

Students at Fitchburg High School worked all year and studied soil, water, wildlife, forestry and focused on community issues to prepare for a presentation of their findings at the 31st annual Massachusetts Envirothon Competition last Friday.

In its first Envirothon ever, the team placed seventh overall out of 26 teams, while earning fifth in soil ecostation and receiving the Community Research Award, Community Action Award and Best Use of Current Theme T-Shirt Award at the competition held at the Blackstone River Canal Heritage State Park in Uxbridge.

"Overall, they did very well," said adviser Sarah Johnson, who is assisted by Ann Taft. "As the coach, my hope is that students took away from this experience a sense of environmental stewardship and a desire to become further involved in their community's environmental issues.

Read more here.

Big hearts deliver for little feet.

In May, Fitchburg High's Chapter of the National Honor Society organized a 5K for Little Feet Road Race, which was designed to raise money and provide sneakers for underprivileged children in the Fitchburg Public Schools and to help support the Fitchburg High School Unified Track Program.

The event turned out to be such a smashing success -- thanks to generous donations and an abundance of runners at the 5K -- that the NHS was able to recently purchase a whopping 101 pairs of running shoes.

"NHS is an organization built on excellence in scholarship, leadership, character and service," NHS Adviser Julie Alexander said.

"We work hard for the benefit of those in need. The 5K is an example of our ongoing commitment to Fitchburg and to our ongoing commitment of volunteering our time and abilities for the creation of a better tomorrow.

"I feel so privileged to be associated with this special group of young people. Their energy, enthusiasm, and willingness to serve our community makes me very proud. They show us that there is good in the world. In fact, they demonstrate it every day."

NHS members, Hannah Neilon and Hannah Faulkner, caravanned across Fitchburg last week and made deliveries to the nurses at each elementary and middle school within the district.

"The nurses greeted us with such warmth and excitement," said Alexander. "Many shared how they look forward to this each year and how needed the shoes are. They were elated to hear how many shoes we were able to purchase.

"Many of the nurses also recognized Hannah Faulkner and Hannah Neilon. They were impressed that both had returned post graduation to make the deliveries."

Read more here.

What big hearts for some little feet.

Sunday's 5K for Little Feet Road Race -- an event organized by Fitchburg High's National Honor Society (NHS) chapter, which is designed to provide sneakers for underprivileged children in Fitchburg Public Schools and to help support the Fitchburg High School Unified Track Program -- turned out to be the best so far, says senior and NHS secretary Erin Primeau.

"I'd say the event was a huge success, we had over 100 participants and raised a little over $4,000, enough to donate 100 pairs of sneakers," she said. "The rain held off just enough for the race to finish. We had the biggest turnout, with not only individuals from Fitchburg High School and even the city of Fitchburg, but runners all the way from Worcester signed up to run the event.

Read more here.

Big hearts for little feet.

Fitchburg High's chapter of the National Honor Society is doing great things for children in need.

The 5K for Little Feet Road Race -- a Fitchburg High School event organized by the NHS -- is designed to provide sneakers for underprivileged children in the Fitchburg Public Schools and to help support the Fitchburg High School Unified Track Program.

"I really like what they do because I think getting shoes for kids is something that is needed in this community," said Fitchburg High track star Hannah Neilon, who is also the treasurer of the NHS. "I think it can get overlooked, so I like what they're trying to do and how running relates to having good shoes and how that's what the event is providing. I really like being involved with this."

Read more here.

Fitchburg High School senior Landon Tucker has been selected as the recipient of the MIAA Student-Athlete of the Month Award for April.

Tucker is a three-sport varsity athlete, competing in soccer, indoor track and outdoor track. He served as captain of the soccer team his junior and senior years.

Across all three sports, Tucker has earned several sportsmanship and achievement awards. Most notably are the Rotary Club Student of the Month award, the Worcester County Superintendents Association Award, Mid-Wach Soccer MVP award and selection as a National Coca Cola Scholar. As a National Coca Cola Scholar, he is one of 150 in the nation among 90,000 applicants.

Academically, Tucker challenges himself with the most demanding curriculum offered while excelling with a 4.65 GPA, and ranks second in his class of 278 seniors. Tucker is a forerunner among his peers, serving in many leadership roles including class president, National Honor Society vice president, president and founder of the current events club, president of the interact club and member of the Athletic Student Advisory Council.

Read more here.

Fitchburg High School senior Hannah Neilon has been selected as the recipient of the MIAA Student-Athlete of the Month Award for February.

Neilon is a three-sport varsity, competing in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track, and has been a two-year captain for all three teams. This past winter, Neilon went undefeated in the 600 meters during dual meets, finishing her high school career having never lost a dual meet race at that distance. Neilon won the District E championship in the 600 for the second year in a row, breaking her own school record. She also anchored the 4x400-meter relay team, which won the league title and currently holds the school's all-time record in the event.

"Hannah has been one of the most coachable kids I've ever dealt with," Fitchburg cross country coach Jack Scott said. "She is an extremely dedicated worker with an endless desire to improve. Put her in any situation as an athlete and she will find a way to come out of it successfully."

Academically, Neilon challenges herself with a demanding curriculum of honors and advanced-placement courses, while maintaining a 4.54 GPA, ranking fourth out of 270 students in her class. She is a member and officer of the National Honor Society, serving as treasurer. Neilon has also served as a class officer for the past three years.

In the fall, Neilon will attend Tufts University, where she was accepted early decision.

Read more here.

While this year's Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizens don't necessarily have pre-Revolutionary War ties, they all have ideas about what it means to be an American.

"I believe that it's every right of every American citizen to have the right to advocate and believe in what they think," said Fitchburg High School senior Rumana Ashraf.

Ashraf was one of seven high school seniors from schools around the region to be recognized by the Daughters of the American Revolution Saturday morning at the Leominster Veterans Memorial Center. (She) hopes to become a physician, and has been published in the Sentinel & Enterprise, highlighting the value she places on free speech."

Read more here.

High School juniors Lisa Pavan and Matthew Kroch have recently been selected to serve on the State Student Advisory Council.

Both Pavan and Kroch are also student reps on the Fitchburg School Committee.

"Matthew is one of the most earnest, sincere, hard working individuals that I have had the benefit of working with as an educator," Fitchburg High Principal Jeremy Roche said. "Education should be about progress towards growth and improvement and Matthew exhibits that ideal on a daily basis. We are so fortunate that he is a Red Raider representing our school."

Roche had wonderful things to say about Pavan, too.

"I have come to know Lisa as engaging, intelligent, positive, and dedicated to success," Roche said. "She is a true 'go-getter' who does not allow any roadblocks to detract from her goal. At the same time, she is warm, funny, and loves Fitchburg High School. She will be an amazing addition to the State Student Advisory Council."

Roche says Pavan and Kroch's selections to the State Student Advisory Council are well deserved.

"That Lisa and Matthew were selected should come as no surprise, as they bring intelligence, sincerity, a sense of purpose and Red Raider Pride to all they do," he said. "They will not only represent FHS well, but also the commonwealth of Massachusetts."

Read more here.

High School juniors Michaela Wakefield and Vence Henry won prizes for the inaugural Fitchburg Public School STEM Poetry Contest.

Their works, "Star Sailors" by Vence Henry, and "Logos, Pathos, Ethos," by Michaela Wakefield were selected by FPS alumna, and Fitchburg Public School's first STEM Academy Scholar Tara Sweeney.

"I learned about Henrietta Lacks in ninth grade," said Wakefield. "Her life really inspired me."

For Henry, the creative spark came from the night sky.

"Science is more than math and numbers," he told Fitchburg School Committee on Monday. "Since the beginning of time we've looked to the stars for inspiration."

Read more here.

Eighteen members of Fitchburg High School’s Honors Academy were informed in a ceremony Monday morning they had been granted acceptance into the Honors Program at Fitchburg State University, with annually renewable scholarships and access to specialized coursework.

Fitchburg State President Richard S. Lapidus was joined by Fitchburg Mayor Stephen L. DiNatale, Fitchburg High School Principal Jeremy Roche and other leaders from the university and city for the announcement. The Fitchburg State athletic mascot Freddy the Falcon joined the students for a group photo.

The Honors Academy at Fitchburg High School has been closely aligned with Fitchburg State since its inception, with students taking dual enrollment courses, gaining access to university resources and participating in other university activities. All of the students recognized Monday had already been informed of their acceptance to the university, but their acceptance into its Honors Program was new.

“Obviously your four years of hard work is paying off,” President Lapidus told the students. “We’d love to have you join us in the fall. You’re great representatives of Fitchburg High.”

Read more here.

Goodrich Academy science teacher Sara Goguen's room certainly received a needed facelift, along with new STEM equipment, supplies and professional development through a grant awarded by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center during the 2016-17 school year.

"This is a beautiful space," Goguen said. "Sometimes I sit around at my desk and look around and smile. It's amazing."

The awarded amount was $105, 345.

"It's amazing and it's so moving," said Ryan Mudawar, Director, Academic & Workforce Programs for Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. "This STEM learning space was lacking the fundamentals, so it was a no-brainer to us that this grant would be funded. This is one of these grants where it really does feel good. You know you're changing lives here because students are going to get hands-on access and experiences with life-science equipment.

"A small amount of money can go a long way. They were able to do so much with it."

Read more here.


The April 5, 2018 Leading the Nation event at the Massachusetts State House will feature three one-minute videos highlighting student success in public schools across the commonwealth. An FHS Broadcast class creatied this entry highlighting Project Healthcare, a partnership with Mount Wachusett Community College.

The goal of the Project Healthcare is to increase the number of underrepresented minority and disadvantaged healthcare providers by creating a high school to college pipeline of students who plan to enter the healthcare field. The program offers counseling, coaching, field trips, guest speakers, and dual enrollment courses for 9th through 12th graders. This grant is federally funded by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

Like most public meetings in the city, English was the prevailing language at Thursday night's event requesting community input on the proposed Economic Development Strategic plan.

However, Fitchburg is also a city where over a quarter of the population reported speaking a language other than English, according to data from the United States Census Bureau.

The six "language ambassadors" at Thursday night's event were one response to the issue.

The ambassadors, all Fitchburg High School students, offered translation services into four languages: Spanish, French, Laotian and Arabic.

Read more here.

The Goodrich Academy Student Council might be fairly new, but it certainly has made an immediate impact in the community.

The students at Goodrich latch onto a meaningful initiative and work together to make sure it helps out people in need.

"This Student Council formed immediately," Goodrich Principal Alexis Curry said. "They'd seen their peers struggle with a place to sleep at night -- they know it happens here pretty regularly -- and they took on that initiative first. Every one of them has showed up and worked hard. I'm proud because they've made the commitment. They are good kids."

History teacher Brad McNamara serves as the Student Council adviser. He says it's been a rewarding experience to watch students want to give back and help others in need.

Read more here.


Michaela Wakefield is blazing her own path to future college success.

The Fitchburg High student has accomplished some rare feats by earning two scholarships in only her junior year.

“It’s not typical for juniors to secure a scholarship, never mind two,” Fitchburg High School Assistant Principal Albert Mercado said. “The opportunities are there, but I don’t think students are, in their mind frame, aware of that or the parents or guardians are aware of that.”

First, Wakefield earned second place for a “Voice of Democracy Essay Competition,” co-sponsored by the Townsend VFW and its Auxiliary and Pepperell VFW, and recently won first place in a “Women Making A Difference Essay Contest.” The scholarship is provided by Fitchburg State University and the Leominster Public Library.

“It’s really important for me to enter scholarships that I’m passionate about,” said Wakefield, “because I find it easier to write about stuff like that because I have more of an opinion or viewpoint.”

Read more here and here.

Landon Tucker's dream is now a reality.

Tucker, a Fitchburg High School senior and Honors Academy student, is beaming with pride after recently being selected as a Posse Scholar and receiving a four-year scholarship to Union College in Schenectady, N.Y.

"It's definitely exciting," said Tucker, who is ranked second academically in his class. "Throughout the whole process they were always showing videos of people getting it. They were excited, cheering and crying and things like that.

"I definitely felt a lot of emotions. I called my dad right after and teared up a little bit. It was definitely exciting that all the hard work paid off."

Over 1,000 students from the state were considered for the Boston Posse Scholar, and Tucker was one of only 10 to be selected.

Read more here.

Landon Tucker Video.mov

Fitchburg High School seniors Brianna Harnden and Judith Hanson were recognized for achieving National Merit Scholar status by the School Committee.

Brianna and Judith are among the nation's top 50,000 students, based on their PSAT scores as juniors. "It's really quite an honor," said Superintendent André Ravenelle, as he thanked the students for representing the district with such outstanding scholarship.

Brianna is also a School Committee student representative this year.

Congratulations Scholars!


Landon Tucker’s heart is full when he is able to help others.

The Fitchburg senior is also being recognized as someone who gives back to his community.

The president of the Current Events Club was recently named one of the top runners-up in the 2018 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards in Massachusetts.

“It’s not just me, though, it’s through the Current Events Club that we all put in together,” said Tucker, who will receive an engraved bronze Distinguished Finalist medallion to commemorate this prestigious award. “As a group, we’ve tackled five or six projects that we just launched this year. We really took this year by storm and tried to do as much as we could and give back as much as we could.

“It was really exciting to hear that we were being recognized, and I felt the club was being recognized for the work that they’ve done over the year.”

Tucker – like everyone on the Current Events Club – has a passion for lending a helping hand.

“By doing these small tasks and giving back locally or giving back to Massachusetts or globally, it really gets me involved and helps me stay connected with the world around me,” said Tucker, a Posse Scholar who received a four-year scholarship to Union College in Schenectady, N.Y.

The Current Events Club has built up its membership from one to 25 students this year.

The club is responsible for several initiatives, including raising money for Hurricane Maria, donating 900 articles of clothing to homeless teens, and conducting a “Duct Tape Mr. D” fundraiser with the proceeds going toward the restoration of historic Crocker Field and Crocker Elementary School.

“It was a dream and a vision as of last year that we really wanted to start a club that gave the students at Fitchburg High School an opportunity to do the community service that they wanted to do,” Tucker said. “I wanted everyone in the group to do something that was meaningful to them and contributed in some way. The vision became a reality.”

Assistant Principal Albert Mercado said he’s proud of everyone involved.

“It’s really a recognition of (Tucker’s) leadership and all the students in the Current Events Club and what they’ve been able to do,” Mercado said.

He added: “For the school, it really is a testament of what I believe Fitchburg Public Schools is all about.”

Tucker says it’s all about wanting to give back and finding out what makes you happy about giving back. He has a message for anyone that is thinking about helping others.

“I want people to realize that there are a lot of issues out there and people think that they are insignificant, like they can’t contribute to it,” he said. “A lot of people in the Current Events Club had doubts at first, but it all has to start somewhere and it starts with a few minor changes that lead to big changes.”

The auditorium was filled with pride at Fitchburg High last week, as the Fitchburg High School Chapter of the National Honor Society welcomed 40 new members.

"There's just so much hope," said Fitchburg Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Paula Giaquinto, a 1969 FHS graduate. "I've been doing this since 1973. There's a lot of hope in the kids. They are so sincere. It reminds me not to be jaded. They are sweet, sincere and full of optimism and hope. It's wonderful."

The National Honor Society (NHS) is one of the oldest, largest and most prestigious student-recognition programs in the nation.

More than just an honor roll, the NHS serves to recognize those students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, service, leadership and character. Students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.6 or higher by their junior year in order to be invited to apply for membership.

Read more here.

There's no substitute for experience.

So when Fitchburg High School alumni -- many still attending college -- came back to the school on Wednesday morning, the Class of 2018 made sure to listen up.

Sixteen alumni gathered in the auditorium and comprised a panel on stage to speak with current seniors and give them a fresh and well-reasoned perspective of the college experience.

Read more here.

Fitchburg High School football coach and Assistant Principal Tom DiGeronimo will do just about anything for his alma mater.

Yes, even get duct-taped.

DiGeronimo -- a 1982 FHS graduate and a 2001 Hall of Famer -- was a willing participant when asked by Fitchburg High's Current Events Club if he would headline the "Duct Tape Mr. D" fundraiser, with proceeds going to the restoration of Crocker Field.

"This is great; I'll do anything for our students," DiGeronimo said while still duct-taped to the wall in the cafeteria on Friday. "We have the best students around and it's a good cause. We made an executive decision, half (of the proceeds) are going to go to Crocker Field and the other half is going to go to Crocker Elementary School to help them get any supplies they need. We can all learn from what they've done, how resilient their staff and students are with the unfortunate events that have happened."

Read more here.

Duct Tape Mr. D Day.mp4

Recently, students in Mrs. Goguen's Biotechnology class at Goodrich Academy practiced genetic engineering. The students used materials and equipment provided through the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Grant to attempt to grow and modify bacteria in a way that would cause it to glow. Although the results did not turn out as expected, students gained experience in using sterile techniques, preparing and streaking plates, and using scientific tools such as the incubator and micro-pipettes.

Like true scientists, students were also able to identify some experimental errors which may have affected their results.

One student commented that they had never done experiments like that in their previous school.

Robot Raiders.mp4

The Fitchburg High School honors robotics team loves a challenge.

And building a robot isn't a simple task.

The 11 students known as “Robot Raiders” have been fine-turning their robots in class and taking them out to recent VEX Robotics competitions in Derry, N.H., and Framingham.

“I’m having a lot of fun here because they are really cool here and I think the activities that we’re doing are good for the future,” said FHS senior Karmjit Singh. “I’m a big fan of electronics and building stuff because I want to become a computer scientist. There’s coding and programming, so I get some experience with that. The whole atmosphere is good and everyone is a good sport about it. I’m enjoying myself.”

Senior Amaya Muldrow says there are difficulties in building and the process to fix mistakes is all about trial and error.

“We have to build up so we don’t make the same mistake again,” she said. “It’s all just a learning experience.”

Read more here.