WPS Athletic Hall of Fame Committee Call for Volunteers

Graphic: Worcester Public Schools Athletic Hall of Fame logo above text that reads "seeking new committee members" and and image of a football, basketball, soccer ball, baseball, volleyball, and tennis ball.

Were sports an important part of your high school career? Do you have a student athlete in the Worcester Public Schools?

The Worcester Public Schools Athletic Hall of Fame Committee is seeking members to help identify outstanding alumni athletes and plan the spring banquet in May. Proceeds from the event support teams through the purchase of new uniforms and equipment.

The next meeting of the committee is Monday, September 26 at the Field House at Berkshire Bank Field at Foley Stadium.

To learn more, contact Dave Shea at sheadavid@worcesterschools.net.

WEDF Announces Honorees for 11th Annual Distinguished Alumni & Friends of the Worcester Public Schools Awards

The Worcester Educational Development Foundation, Inc. (WEDF) is proud to announce the 2022 Class of Distinguished Alumni of the Worcester Public Schools. A celebration of their achievements will be held on October 27, 2022 at the College of the Holy Cross.

Honorees are:
Orlando Baxter – Entertainer
Nina Barber and Miriam Barber (posthumous) – Educators
Brian D’Andrea – Attorney
Lainey Feingold – Disability Rights Lawyer and Author
Rosemary F. Ford – Philanthropist
James Laurie – Journalist and Author
Barbara Abramoff Levy – Musician, Conductor and Historical Interpreter
Aaron Lubowitz – Private Equity and Investment Banker
Sean Mitchell – Public Servant
José Rolón – Public Figure, LGBTQ+ Advocate and Wedding Planner
The Reverend Jonathan Slavinskas – Spiritual and Community Leader

Quinsigamond Community College is the recipient of the Friend of Education Award.

According to Thomas V. Murray, Jr., chairman of the committee, “We are once again delighted to present such a notable and diverse group of alumni who received their educational foundation in the Worcester Public Schools. We look forward to celebrating their achievements.”

Major sponsors for this year’s event are Lamoureux Pagano Associates, Saint-Gobain and UniBank. Dinner tickets for the event are $75 and will be available to purchase soon. For more information on the event, call 774-389-0740 or email info@wedfwps.org.

WEDF Congratulates 2022 Scholarship and Award Recipients

Graphic: A piggy bank wears a graduation cap and sits next to a diploma. Text Reads: "Announcing 2022 Scholarship and Award Recipients".

Worcester Educational Development Foundation is pleased to announce 2022 scholarship and award recipients, including the Dr. Lee Gurel Award for Teaching and Learning Advanced Placement English, Elizabeth “Betty” Reidy Scholarships, the Nina and Miriam Barber Scholarship, North High Alumni Association Scholarships, and the Ryan P. Quinn Memorial Award.

Dr. Lee Gurel Award

Recipients: Bryce Maloney (student) & Kitren Farrel (teacher)

The 2022 Dr. Lee Gurel Award for Teaching and Learning Advanced Placement English has been awarded to student Bryce Maloney of South High Community School and his teacher, Kitren Farrell. Mr. Maloney was chosen by lottery from the pool of Worcester Public Schools students who achieved the highest ranking score on the AP English examination.

Dr. Lee Gurel is a Distinguished Alumnus of the Worcester Public Schools. He established the award in 2006 in honor of his eighth grade English teacher, Miss Wilmot, who taught at the former Woodland Street Preparatory School in south Worcester. He donated an endowment for the award to thank the Worcester Public Schools for the educational foundation he received that prepared him to eventually become a nationally recognized psychologist

Elizabeth “Betty” Reidy Scholarships

Recipients: Donna Le, Genesis Ramirez & Dionelis Texidor

Betty Reidy was a North High graduate and lifelong Worcester resident who dedicated her life to improving the quality of life for individuals in our community. She graduated from Emanuel College, received her Master’s in Social Work from Boston College, and later an Honorary Doctorate from Assumption College. She nurtured her own children to go on and become highly successful individuals.

As a testament to her commitment to children and families, her family established the Elizabeth “Betty” Reidy Scholarship for North High School graduates who intend to pursue a course of study and career in nursing, education, social work, counseling, or the ministry. The 2022 Betty Reidy scholarship recipients are Donna Le, Genesis Ramirez, and Dionelis Texidor.

A photo of Nina and Miriam Barber with their Great Aunt Myrtle in 1929.

Nina & Miriam Barber Scholarship

Recipient: Jaida Hough

Nina and Miriam Barber were sisters who graduated from North High School, Nina in the class of 1928 and Miriam in the class of 1929. Raised by their mother in a single-parent home, they were encouraged by their great aunt to go on to college. Both graduated from Middlebury College and became teachers of world languages. 

The Nina and Miriam Barber Scholarship recognizes a female North High School graduate with preference for an aspiring world language teacher. The 2022 recipient is Jaida Hough.

North High Alumni Association Scholarships

Recipients: Elvis Adomako, Ashley Brito, Nhi Huynh, Mallory Perez, Donny Stapleton & Lenny Tran

In late 2021, WEDF became the fiscal agent of the North High Alumni Association. Each year, the association awards scholarships recognizing student accomplishments in academics, athletics, leadership, and the arts. 2022 recipients are Elvis Adomako (athletic), Ashley Brito (athletic), Nhi Huynh (academic), Mallory Perez (art), Donny Stapleton (leadership), and Lenny Tran (academic).

Ryan P. Quinn Memorial Award

Recipient: Kolby Miller

The recipient of the 2022 Ryan P. Quinn Memorial Award is Kolby Miller, a recent graduate of Burncoat High School and an accomplished student-athlete. 

Ryan P. Quinn, Burncoat High School class of 1996, was a star soccer player and golfer, earning Varsity Letters in both sports. Sadly, Ryan passed away in June of 2014. In memory of Ryan, the Quinn Family partnered with WEDF in 2016, to establish the Ryan P. Quinn Memorial Award for graduating Varsity Athletes of Burncoat High School. 

Connected Scholars: 2022 Computer Scholarships

A group of students hold new computers.

Last year, WEDF started Connected Scholars, a scholarship program that provides college-bound seniors with brand new laptops for graduation. In 2021, WEDF presented 31 seniors with computers; this year 50 seniors received them. 

A recent grant for the class of 2023 has been received and WEDF will continue soliciting donations for this program. We extend our sincere gratitude to the George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Foundation, the Hoche-Scofield Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee, and Berkshire Bank for supporting the Connected Scholars.

About the Program

WEDF wanted to make a larger impact so Worcester students would be able to transition into the next stage of their education prepared for everything that lies ahead of them. Part of this is outfitting students with the tools they need to get the most out of their collegiate studies.

Seniors who wished to apply for the program were required to meet the following qualifications:
• Acceptance at a two- or four-year college or university
• Positive attitude and strong work ethic

WEDF was fortunate to have plenty of support from guidance departments within the district, and especially that of Whitney Goodwin, the College and Career Readiness Liaison. As a result, the foundation was able to provide computers to 50 WPS graduates from eight high schools.

We are so pleased with the success of this program and look forward to continuing to build it in the future!

If you would like to help provide computers to graduating seniors in 2023, click below to donate.

2022 Connected Scholars

Hannah Afriyie • Worcester Technical High School • University of Massachusetts Amherst
Lloydia Agyemang • South High School • Northeastern University
Lizmarie Alicia Pena • Worcester Technical High School • Worcester State University
Xio Alvarado • South High School • Clark University
Rosan Alzuhairi • Worcester Technical High School • Quinsigamond Community College
Danice Andre Diaz • Doherty Memorial High School • Quinsigamond Community College
Afua Asare • South High School • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Maureen Bittner • South High School • Bay Path University
Rhylie Bray • Gerald Creamer Center • Worcester State University
Nathan Bui • South High School • Worcester State University
Tyler Burns • North High School • Assumption University
Mah Oumou Camara • North High School • Quinsigamond Community College
Hailey Choruzek • Doherty Memorial High School • Quinsigamond Community College
Jonathan Cruz • South High School • Quinsigamond Community College
Hayder Daffie • North High School • Worcester State University
Janes Delice • Claremont Academy • Worcester State University
Maryanna Dornelas • Worcester Technical High School • Bunker Hill Community College
Beninskee Dorvilien • North High School • Quinsigamond Community College
Favour Enwereuzor • Worcester Technical High School • Assumption University
Adonay Estrada • North High School • Quinsigamond Community College
Antoinette Gruanue • University Park Campus School • University of Bridgeport
Chyanne Guzman-Rios • Doherty Memorial High School • University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
Janyia Hampton Hutchins • South High School • Nichols College
Yeiliani Hernandez Colon • Burncoat High School • Quinsigamond Community College
Virginia Hilli • Burncoat High School • Quinsigamond Community College
Aya Ishwa Murad • Worcester Technical High School • Quinsigamond Community College
Musa Kabundi • University Park Campus School • Worcester State University
Tiffany Kago • Doherty Memorial High School • Navy / St. John’s University
Mackayla Kent • Burncoat High School • Quinsigamond Community College or Mass Art
Jasmine Kibunja • Doherty Memorial High School • TBD
Isaiah Kparyea • Doherty Memorial High School • Endicott College
Sieda Mohamud • Worcester Technical High School • Worcester State University
Uendi Mullaj • Doherty Memorial High School • Assumption University
Cherise Namaganda • North High School • Worcester State University
Desire Ndihokubwayo • North High School • Bridgewater State University
Diana Nguyen • Worcester Technical High School • Tufts University
Lionel Nieves • Burncoat High School • Quinsigamond Community College
Rena Nurhussien • Worcester Technical High School • Boston University
Chase Owen • South High School • Clark University
Kayden Pham • Doherty Memorial High School • Clark University
Derek Quinones • North High School • Worcester State University
Isaiah Reyes • Burncoat High School • Quinsigamond Community College
Isa Reyes • Worcester Technical High School • Anna Maria College
Billie Jo Servie • North High School • Worcester State University
Randy Torres • Doherty Memorial High School • Quinsigamond Community College
Harry Valle • Burncoat High School • Quinsigamond Community College
Michael Vazquez • Doherty Memorial High School • Assumption University
Jaden Vega • Burncoat High School • Quinsigamond Community College
Evelin  Zacarias Cruz • Claremont Academy • Worcester State University
Jenkins Zziwa • North High School • Worcester Polytechnic Institute

WEDF Announces Spring 2022 Mini-Grant Recipients

A group of students work in a garden

In Spring 2022, the Worcester Educational Development Foundation, Inc. funded more than $9,500 in mini-grants for educators in the Worcester Public Schools.

The grants funded extraordinary projects to enhance and enrich teaching and learning in WEDF’s areas of focus: Arts and Culture, College and Career Readiness, Health and Wellness, and Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics. In addition, some funds were available specifically for gardening and landscaping projects.

The grants were funded through WEDF’s Distinguished Alumni & Friends of the Worcester Public Schools event, the Office of District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr., individual donations, and the general funds of the WEDF.

Congratulations to all of the grant recipients, and a huge thank you to our grant review committee!

2022 Mini-Grant Award Recipients

Jennifer Adams • La Familia Dual Language School • Math Mundo
Scott Bodamer • Claremont Academy • Tomatosphere
Jessie Carleton • Woodland Academy • Sculpture Manipulatives for Art Room
Chris Comeaux • North High School • Molding System & Materials
Sarah Cramer • Claremont Academy • Roller Coaster Physics: Riding with Acceleration and Gravitational Forces
Brianna Embury • Goddard School of Science & Technology • Classroom Keyboard Pianos
Julie Feeney • Burncoat Middle School • Una Celebración: Celebrating Latinx Culture Through Dance
Judy Freedman • WPS Transition Program/New Citizen’s Center – Young Adult • Baseball in Education
Emily Galante • Burncoat Street Preparatory Academy • Burncoat Prep Community Care
Daniel Gay • New Citizen’s Center – Young Adult • One World Music Ensemble
Jason Harthan • Forest Grove Middle School • Fabricating Prosthetic Hands for Children in Need
Gail Holland-Default • Worcester Technical High School • Wild Voices
Steven Johnson • North High School • North High School ESports Team
Alana Juneau • Worcester Arts Magnet School • Presenting Our Creativity
Kim Marshall • Wawecus Road School/West Tatnuck School • Packing Peanuts Palooza
Brian McCullock • South High Community School • Travel to MICCA Concert Festival
Cheryl Perron • Lake View School • Starting Fresh at Lake View
Tracy Pomeroy • Lincoln Street School • Flourish With Flowers
Sarah Sanders • Burncoat Middle School • Worcester 300
Megan Schreiber • Worcester East Middle School • Theatrical Makeup
Marissa Skeates • Worcester Arts Magnet School • Watch Our Garden Grow!
Allissa Szymcik • Roosevelt School • Music is Why Our Hearts Have Beats
Kristin Tupper • Jacob Hiatt Magnet School • STEAM Ahead for Learning

WPS Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony to be Held on May 13, 2022

Icon of an athlete with a large star behind them; Worcester Public Schools Athletic Hall of Fame; May 13, 2022; Union Station

The Worcester Public Schools Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held on Friday, May 13, 2022.  The ceremony will be held at Worcester Union Station.  A reception at 5:00 p.m. will be followed by dinner at 6:00 p.m.

The WPS Athletic Hall of Fame selects and honors deserving athletes, coaches, teams, and other outstanding contributors to athletic programs of the Worcester Public Schools.

Successful candidates have brought honor to the Worcester Public Schools through their outstanding participation in the athletic program and have distinguish themselves in their organizations and community through exceptional achievements and/or service. Honorees serve as extraordinary role models of character, courage, leadership and citizenship.

Honorees:

Robert Bailey, Burncoat High School
Steven Brunelle – Doherty Memorial High School
Lenny Carlson – North High School
Richard Eid – Classical High School
Robert Goodney – Worcester Boys Trade School
Steven Hennigan – South High School
John Mcgrath – North High School
Michelle Legacy Montville – Doherty Memorial High School
Michael Lynch – South High School
Tijean Pluverge – Doherty Memorial High School
Matthew Powers – Burncoat High School
Jewel White – Doherty Memorial High School

Unlike surrounding towns, the Worcester Public Schools charges no athletic fees to ensure equal access for all students. WPS Athletics serves 1,500-1,700 students on 156 teams playing 30 sports. Playing sports builds key life skills including teamwork, confidence, and strategies for health and wellness. Our athletes need to be safe on the field and look their best which means using up-to-date equipment and wearing high-quality uniforms. You can support our sports by making a donation through WEDF:

WEDF Welcomes New Board Members

Worcester Educational Development Foundation is pleased to announce four new additions to our Board of Directors.  See a full board list here.

Jermoh Kamara, MPH, CHES

Photo of Jermoh Kamara

Jermoh Kamara is a Worcester Public Schools graduate having attended Canterbury Street School, Sullivan Middle, and South High where she was a member of the National Honor Society and Vice President of the Class of 2011.

Today she is a public health professional, working as the Director of Wellness and Health Equity at the YWCA of Central Massachusetts, with 10 years of experience in international and national, and community health. She earned her BS in Health Policy and Management & BA in Community Health from Providence College, Master’s in Public Health from New York Medical College and is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES).  She has taught courses at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Clark University.

Jermoh was also recently elected and serves as a member on the Worcester School Committee in 2021, the first African born immigrant to be elected. She is a second year volunteer board member of the Worcester League of Women Voters and serves on the leadership of the Massachusetts Organization of African Descendants (MOAD).

Stacey Luster, J.D.

Photo of Stacey Luster

Stacey Luster is a 3rd generation Worcesterite, who secured her place in Worcester’s history by becoming the only African-American woman to be elected to the Worcester City Council. Stacey is a proud graduate of South High who went on to graduate from St. John’s University in New York, Boston University School of Law and is admitted to practice law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Stacey has given back to the community in many volunteer capacities, including responding to community needs by becoming the Co-Founder of Black Families Together and the Black Excellence Academy. Stacey has also served on the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, the Worcester Business Development Corporation, YWCA of Central Massachusetts, the Worcester Art Museum, Fallon Community Health Plan, Greater Worcester Community Foundation and Board of Trustees Chairperson for Quinsigamond Community College. Presently, Stacey is serving as a Board Member of Ascentria Care Alliance, Director of Country Bank and the President of the Board of Trustees for Mechanics Hall.

Stacey is a consummate public servant, who has dedicated her professional life to public education, through leadership positions at the executive level of the Worcester Public Schools, Quinsigamond Community College and currently in her role as General Counsel/Assistant to the President at Worcester State University. 

Photo of Sue Popinchalk

Sue Popinchalk  

Sue is originally from PA and graduated with a BS in Ceramic Engineering from Penn State University. She was recruited by the Abrasives Division (Norton) of Saint-Gobain after college and has recently taken a new position with the CertainTeed Roofing Division as their World Class Manufacturing/Operational Excellence Champion. 

Her family lives in Worcester and she has 2 daughters who have attended Worcester public schools. Kate graduated from South High in 2021 and is currently a freshman at Northeastern and Lauren is a junior in Burncoat’s Hanover Insurance Academy of the Arts. Her husband Seth is the manager of the advanced support group of the Mathworks.

Matthew Wally

Photo of Matthew Wally

Matthew Wally is currently employed by UniBank for Savings as Vice President, Audit/ CRA/ Fair Lending. Mr. Wally is Vice president of the Quinsigamond Community College Foundation, a member of the Finance Committee of the Regional Environmental Council, a member of the Audit Committee for RCAP Solutions, a Trustee Associate for the Nativity School of Worcester, and a member of the Worcester Retirement Board.

Mr. Wally, a former City Councilor for the city of Worcester, has also served as a Director for the Greater Worcester Community Foundation, Matthew 25, and Habitat for Humanity MetroWest/Greater Worcester. He is also involved in the Worcester Tree Initiative, the Endangered Structure Committee for Preservation Worcester, and the the Massachusetts Community and Banking Council. 

Mr.Wally has received awards for his outstanding leadership from the Central MA Housing Alliance, the Worcester Community Action Council and Matthew 25. Mr. Wally is a graduate Burncoat High School and received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the College of the Holy Cross and a master’s degree in Community Development & Planning from Clark University.  He is married to Katie Bagdis Wally, an attorney with Mountain Dearborn and together they have a son named Conor and a daughter named Rose.

Nominations Open for the 2022 Distinguished Alumni of the Worcester Public Schools Awards!

The Worcester Educational Development Foundation is pleased to announce that nominations are now open for the annual Distinguished Alumni of the Worcester Public Schools awards! The program was established in 2011 by WEDF to honor and recognize alumni of Worcester Public Schools who:

  • Have made exemplary contributions to their professional fields, the Worcester community, Worcester Public Schools and/or the betterment of society
  • Serve as outstanding role models for current Worcester Public Schools students
  • Have achieved outstanding success in academics, the arts, community service, business, humanitarian efforts, research and various other fields

This year’s ceremony is scheduled for October 27, 2022 at a banquet held to honor the awardees at the College of the Holy Cross. 

If you know of any alumni who meet the above criteria, we strongly encourage you to submit their names to the Foundation. Online and printable nomination forms are available below.

In addition to filling out the basic information about the alumnus, be sure to include a one-page narrative describing your nominee’s accomplishments and why you’re nominating them. Supplementary documents such as newspaper articles about their accomplishments and resumes are also helpful in the review process. If you know of an exemplary candidate, but don’t have time to compile a full nomination, feel free to email your idea to advancement@wedfwps.org.

Further instructions are available on the nomination form. Learn more about the event here.

We look forward to seeing this year’s nominees, and selecting the next class of Distinguished Alumni! Be sure to spread the word!

Connected Scholars Campaign Reaches Half-Way Mark

Graphic: Words read "Connected Scholars: Computer Scholarships for WPS graduating seniors". Three students with new computers stand with their guidance counselor. The words "We're half-way to our goal" appear above a battery icon with two of four bars full.

Connected Scholars, a WEDF initiative designed to provide computer scholarships for students in the Worcester Public Schools, is half-way to its goal for the 2021/2022 school year. $40,000 has been raised thus far, which will equip 50 students with new laptops for the next phase of their education. Working closely with guidance counselors in the city’s high schools, WEDF ultimately hopes to raise $80,000 and provide 100 students who have shown a strong work ethic and positive attitude in high school.

WEDF aims to provide equal access to educational resources for all students, and a computer is now essential in all areas of schooling. WEDF is seeking support from foundations, corporations, organizations, and individuals who are willing and interested in helping students who are working hard to make their dreams come true. A full computer scholarship is $ 800, but any amount makes a difference! Leadership support has come from the George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Foundation, the Hoche-Scofield Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee, and Berkshire Bank.

Mini Grants for Teachers Available Spring 2022

Text reads "Now accepting applications for Spring 2022 Mini Grants" next to an image showing a smiling teacher and engaged students.

Made possible by the Distinguished Alumni & Friends of the Worcester Public Schools event, the Office of District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr., individual donations, and the general funds of the WEDF

The Worcester Educational Development Foundation, Inc. (WEDF), founded to improve educational opportunities for the students and teachers in the Worcester Public Schools, announces the availability of funds for small grants of up to $500 each.

Eligibility

Instructional staff members in the district may apply for a grant of up to $ 500 to fund extraordinary projects for students in WEDF’s areas of focus. Projects that connect WPS alumni with classrooms are encouraged. WEDF’s four focus areas are:

  • Arts and Culture.
  • College and Career Readiness.
  • Health and Wellness.
  • Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
    • Gardening Grant Opportunity: In Spring 2022, some funds are available specifically for gardening and landscaping projects

Fund Use

Funds may be used for instructional and non-instructional materials, transportation and fees for field trips or competitions (preference for field trips within Worcester/Worcester County), and consultants. Funds may not be used for stipends or salary for WPS personnel.

Gardening or landscaping grant funds may be used only for plants and plant materials (mulch, soil, seeds).

Application

An application (no more than two pages) is required and must be signed or approved via email by the building principal or immediate supervisor.  The application must clearly state:

  • how the learning need connects to one of WEDF’s focal areas.
  • how that need will be met through the grant’s activities.
  • why these activities are special, unique and enjoyable.
  • how the program will be evaluated (i.e., how success will be determined).

A line-item budget must be included. Attachments are not allowed.

Awards

Awards will be determined by a broad-based review committee based on the scoring rubric that is posted here.

Requests may be made at any time before May 1, 2022. Applications will be reviewed and awarded on a rolling basis while funds last. Notification of status of award will be made within two weeks of submission. Projects must be completed by May 31, 2022.

Translate »