Celebrate CRLS Project Kicks off with Sneak Peek Event of Nearly Renovated Campus


1951 CHLS photo

Pictured: Cambridge High and Latin School graduates, Class of 1951, at the “Sneak Peek” for alumni recently held at CRLS.  From left, Joan Swarms, Carole Lee, Marie Fratto, Former Mayor Frank H. Duehay, Lloyd Sicari and Mel Rubin. (Photo by Larry Aaronson).

More than 75 persons, including over 50 representative alumni of Cambridge public high schools spanning eight decades of graduates, attended the recent “Sneak Peek” event at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. “Sneak Peek” was the first event in a year-long series sponsored by the “Celebrate CRLS” Committee to mark the completion of the CRLS campus renovation and commemorate the past, present and future of CRLS.

The “Sneak Peek” featured tours of the nearly completed CRLS renovation, the renovated Cambridge War Memorial Recreation Center and the new Cambridge Public Library. This “sensational” high school campus is expected to be fully ready for occupancy in September and that occasion will be marked by a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony shortly thereafter.

Events open to the community and to alumni will continue through the 2011-2012 school year.  The “Celebrate CRLS “Committee has been formed to support and enhance the perception of CRLS by parents, alumni residents and institutions.

In 2009, CRLS was ranked 16th of 161 high schools in Massachusetts profiled by Boston Magazine and Babson College. It was ranked first for its arts program. The graduation rate is over 97% with a college acceptance rate of 89%. The school offers an outstanding array of occupational programs as well as a broad range of advanced placement, college preparatory and honors programs, over 30 clubs and many diverse athletic and extracurricular opportunities.

At the “Sneak Peek,” Cheryl Watson, CRLS Class of 1984 and events chair for Celebrate CRLS, welcomed the alumni, who were treated to lunch served by RSTA Culinary Arts students after CRLS students led them on tours of the still-being-renovated CRLS building.  The group was further welcomed by Cambridge Mayor David Maher and former Mayor Frank H. Duehay, CHLS Class of 1951.

Duehay stated: “In addition to having alumni view these spectacular new facilities for the first time, the “Sneak Peek” emphasized a primary goal of “Celebrate CRLS” -- to inform the Cambridge community and alumni that they are welcome, indeed urged, to interact with the school and to learn about what is going on there today.”

The theme of “CRLS Today” was addressed by Principal Dr. Chris Saheed, RSTA Executive Director Dr. Mike Ananis and 2011-2012 Acting Principal Damon Smith.  Superintendent Jeff Young provided closing remarks.

Ted Darling, Rindge Technical School Class of 1972 found that the “Sneak Peek” connected him with other alumni adding that he “especially enjoyed the tour of the renovated old Rindge building because it brought back so many great memories.”

Nancy Woods, Library Trustee and former CRLS parent, said she was impressed that “so many of the invitees showed up, from the Class of 1936 to the Class of 2010.  Everyone seemed so enthusiastic about the school and about Cambridge as a place to live.  I gave a tour of the newly renovated and expanded library – the alums were so pleased that the original building was so beautifully restored.”

The Celebrate CRLS Committee – which has more than 50 members serving on its advisory and steering committees – wishes to demonstrate to the community and to alumni its support of and commitment to a diverse, dynamic and high performing public high school at a time when public education is often under attack nationally.

Recently retired CRLS faculty member Larry Aaronson found that “it has been wonderfully affirming to work collaboratively with other retirees, alumni and community leaders to celebrate and publicize that in an age of daunting fiscal challenges, the City of Cambridge is investing nearly $300 million in creating this exciting urban complex of school, library and athletic facilities.”

Events during 2011-2012 will showcase the academic, artistic and social strengths of the school; honor current students and staff; recognize the critical role that parents play in school life; welcome back alumni for social and supportive events and invite the larger Cambridge community into the school for an “up close and personal” introduction to CRLS.

Steve Surette, also a recently retired CRLS teacher, invites graduates of the city’s secondary schools to submit their memories of their years at the high schools to a special edition of the magazine Growing Up in North Cambridge that will be published in August. He can be reached at surettegraphics@rcn.com.

A calendar of planned events and a listing of the members of the committee can be found on the Celebrate CRLS website (www.celebratecrls.org) and the organization is on Facebook as well.

The committee welcomes new volunteers.  Information about these opportunities is available on the website.

Other than the website, the group can be reached by e-mail at celebratecrls@celebratecrls.org, or by calling Ruby Pierce Donohue at 617-492-4712. 

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