With a mix of glitz and glory, the 200th celebration marking the English High School of Boston’s 200th anniversary wowed the 300-plus alumni and supporters attending the Gala at the Marriott Boston Copley Place Hotel on October 1. Legendary World War II Tuskegee Airman Enoch ‘Woody’ Woodhouse II (age 95, Class of ’44) was honored with a Lifetime Service Alumni Award. Gov. Charlie Baker recently promoted him to Brigadier General.
In her guest video address, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden brought greetings, referring to her own lifelong devotion to education, emphasizing the importance of public education, commending EHS as the pioneering first public high school in America and its unbroken history of educating immigrants and their offspring. EHS 2022 alum and co-emcee Blanca Ramirez told the audience, “When I miss the place that gave me hope, determination and the opportunity to breathe again, I will visit our home -- English High School.”
Other EHS alumni luminaries in attendance included former Mass. Attorney General Francis Bellotti, retired Judge Thomas Connors, former MBTA General Manager Bob Prince, and retired Brigadier General Joseph Carter.
While students from Boston Public Schools visit the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University for field trips to learn about trees, this Arbor Day the Arboretum brought trees to Boston students. In honor of the Arboretum’s 150th anniversary, three trees from the Arboretum’s nurseries were planted with students and teachers at two Boston Public high schools. Organized to teach students about trees and tree care and to beautify their school campuses, the tree plantings also offered an opportunity to foster collaboration between the Arboretum and local schools and introduce students to plant-related careers. At Jamaica Plain's English High School, an 11th grade class taught by Thomas Hayes helped Arboretum staff plant a Judd cherry tree (Prunus × juddii), an ornamental cultivar introduced by the Arboretum and named for an early propagator. As the tree was planted in a sunny corner of the school’s track and field—where it will shade spectators and fatigued runners—students expressed their excitement to care for the tree in its crucial first year and leave their mark on their alma mater.
English High School, the first and oldest American public high school, launched "The Great Missing Alumni Hunt," as it seeks 9,000 alums as it nears its 200th birthday. But there’s no need for the authorities to issue any missing person reports or all-points bulletins, or post flyers in the post office.
As The English High School Association gears up to celebrate the Boston school’s 200th birthday on October 2 (a virtual event), the group is using the milestone to update alumni profile information and reconnect with those who have fallen off the rolls of America’s first and oldest public high school.
“Our records include over 17,000 alumni but we don’t have the latest profile info for about 9,000 of them," said Michael Thomas, English High’s Class of 1967, President/CEO of the Alumni Association and Chair of the 200th anniversary celebration. "We’re asking class leaders to redouble their efforts to locate as many fellow alumni as possible before the virtual birthday party. There’s a fresh sense of excitement in the air at English and we want everyone to participate.”
Thomas is asking anyone who graduated from English High in Boston and anyone related to or friendly with alumni to tell them about the 200th birthday and to forward their contact info.
Teachers working on their TikTok dances, reading Mary Oliver poetry, dancing with their children, lip synching to pop hits, and more dancing. Those are some of the scenes that are part of an inspiring video made by English High School faculty and staff for students. ESL teacher Cristina Hernandez-Persia dropped the breaking news video to her personal YouTube page on Monday. "As we finish this school year with remote learning, we want our students to remember that physical distance does not keep us apart. So, to our students, and to those who may not be our student, we will finish strong, together," wrote Hernandez-Persia.
YouthHarbors recently announced the expansion of its services to English High School to support students who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness, with the support of a two-year grant from The Stone Foundation. YouthHarbors will soon have a full-time case manager at the Jamaica Plain high school to provide students with support in the areas of housing, education, employment, health and independent living skill development. The case manager will work closely with the school’s student support team to identify the needs of students and assess any barriers that may prevent a student from graduating. Support from the case manager will be offered both in and outside of the classroom for 35 or more students and their families. The case manager will spend five days a week at English High meeting one-on-one with students, and developing a service plan to measure progress toward achieving their individual goals.
With English High School students gathered in a packed gym, Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill into law that boosts investment in public schools by $1.5 billion annually over the next seven years. Baker was joined by numerous elected officials and business leaders, including Mayor Marty Walsh, Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, Boston School Committee Chairman Michael Loconto, State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, City Councilors Matt O'Malley and Annissa Essaibi-George, and more on Nov. 26. The Student Opportunity Act will particularly provide new funding to school districts with high percentages of low-income students and English Language learners who often live in some of the highest-need communities. “This is a monumental moment for the future of our Commonwealth.
English High School will be the site for an at-large Boston City Council candidates public forum on Oct. 28. Seven out of the eight candidates are confirmed that they will attend as of Oct. 25. The lone candidate not confirmed is incumbent At-Large City Councilor Althea Garrison.
Three Jamaica Plain schools are among 60 Boston Public Schools that will receive $350,000 in grants to fund more than 30 arts partners across the city. The students of the Hennigan K-8 School, English High School, and Community Academy, will continue to receive their quality arts education programs throughout the 2019-2020 school year. The annual grants are part of the successful Boston Public Schools (BPS) Arts Expansion initiative, which is celebrating its 10th year in bringing quality arts instruction to underserved neighborhoods. The city of Boston, BPS and EdVestors announced this latest round of funding as part of this week’s seventh annual BPS Citywide Arts Festival, a three-day celebration featuring more than 1,100 BPS student performers and exhibitors. “We are grateful to our partners in Boston Public Schools Arts Expansion who have worked tirelessly for 10 years to bring equity and access to arts education to our schools and inspiration to our students, many of whom are showcasing their talents at the festival today,” said Mayor Martin Walsh via press release.
There will be a community meeting to discuss the traffic diverter pilot project that was previously installed on Dungarven Road in the Stonybrook neighborhood on May 8. The Boston Transportation Department (BTD) installed the pilot traffic diverter on Dungarven Road, which was just south of the intersection with Gartland Street, on June 15, 2018 and removed in October 2018. At the upcoming meeting, the BTD will share a summary of data and observations collected before, during and after the traffic diverter was installed. Resident feedback that was collected will also be shared, and residents will be able to provide feedback at the meeting. The strategy of the diverter was supposed to:
Discourage people from driving the wrong way on Washington Street
Discourage drivers from cutting through Hatoff’s driveways
Discourage and eventually end wrong-way driving on Williams Street
Reduce the number of people navigating the low-visibility intersection of Dungarven/Kenton
Reduce the volume of thru traffic on Kenton Road
This public meeting will be at 6:30 pm on May 8 at English High School (144 McBride St.).
The community is invited to a public meeting to discuss the Boston Public Schools' BuildBPS plan on Jan. 10 at English High School. Interim Superintendent Laura Perille, a Jamaica Plain resident, and school committee members will be on hand to discuss the plan, its impacts on neighborhoods and to answer questions. The BuildBPS plan calls for some old schools to close, new schools to be built, and other schools to expand, including growing the amount of K-6 schools. Jamaica Plain's Manning School wants to be one of the schools to add a sixth grade. In December the school committee voted to close the former West Roxbury High School building, which houses Urban Science Academy and West Roxbury Academy.