High School

Police sweep for safety

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Middleton K-9 officer Rob Peachey and his dog, Kai sweep Classical High School.

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN — Police and a K-9 unit swept the city’s four high schools looking for drugs and weapons on Wednesday and came up empty.

“We found nothing,” said Oren Wright, the school’s security officer who was in charge of the exercise. “The dogs found no drugs or weapons and that’s a very good day.”

As police from Lynn, Manchester by the Sea, Middleton, Winthrop, Nashua, N.H., and the state entered the schools at around 10 a.m., the buildings were in lockdown. No one was allowed in or out while students and faculty were confined to their rooms.

That’s when Vorik, a four-year-old Belgian Malinois, and his owner, Officer Guido Marchionda from the Nashua Police Department, got to work at Classical High School. Students studying math in Room A103 were asked to drop what they were doing and gather in a nearby hallway. They did so silently as the dog sniffed more than two dozen backpacks. The task was repeated in other random classrooms, but the team failed to discover weapons or narcotics.  

The hour-long task was repeated across town at English High School, Lynn Vocational Technical Institute and the Fecteau-Leary Junior/Senior High School.

While contraband was not found this time, it sends a message to students that drugs and weapons are unwelcome in the district’s schools, Wright said.

“We want the word to get out to anyone that might want to do harm or to a student who might be thinking about bringing drugs to class,” Wright said. “These lockdowns make everyone think twice since they are random.”

If drugs or weapons are found, the student faces immediate arrest, suspension and possible expulsion, he said.

Gene Constantino, Classical’s principal who accompanied Vorik and Marchionda on their rounds searching lockers and classrooms, said the annual event is a school safety check.  

“For the last five years, we’ve used this approach to let kids know we don’t want drugs in school,” he said.

One year, he said, they found narcotics in a locker and the student was suspended. But such instances are rare, he said.

Jaye Warry, deputy superintendent of schools, said over the last few years, the search has turned up few drugs or weapons.

“By and large it’s been clean with a few exceptions,” she said. “Our goal is to assure the public that we’re watching over our schools and they’re as safe as they possibly can be. It’s our way to communicate to students that drugs are not tolerated.”

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Thomas Grillo can be reached at tgrillo@itemlive.com.

KIPP ACADEMY LYNN LOTTERY APPLICATIONS NOW AVAILABLE

KIPP Academy Lynn Elementary, Middle, and High Schools are free, open enrollment, charter public schools serving students grades K-2 and 5-12 in the 2017-2018 school year. KIPP welcomes all families interested in enrolling their children at KIPP to fill out an application to enter into the random lottery, which will be held the week of Feb. 27, 2017. Lottery applications and additional information are available at www.kippma.org/enroll or can be picked up at 90 High Rock St., and 20 Wheeler St., Suite 404.

The deadline to submit lottery forms is Friday, Feb. 24 at 5 p.m. Late applications cannot be accepted.

KIPP staff and leadership will be hosting Open Houses at 90 High Rock St. (middle and high schools) on Thursday, Jan. 26 and Thursday, Feb. 9 from 5-7 p.m.

KIPP’s program is based on a longer school day and year, academic and character development, a relentless focus on student outcomes and college graduation, and support for students to and through college and career.

If you have questions, please call:

KIPP Academy Lynn Elementary School (grades K-2)
Rebecca Hazlett 781-558-9263

KIPP Academy Lynn Middle School (grades 5-8)
Mariela Alvarez 781-598-1609 ext 1133

KIPP Academy Lynn Collegiate High School (grades 9-12)
Monica Bruno 781-598-1609 ext 1134

Classical hero ready to hit the bigtime

PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
Classical’s last-second hero, Marcus Rivera, celebrates the Rams’ 21-20 Thanksgiving Day win over English with teammate Nick LaBella.

By STEVE KRAUSE

LYNN As jazz artist Dinah Washington once sang, “What a difference a day makes.”

Lynn Classical’s Marcus Rivera woke up Thursday morning with nothing more on his mind than winning a Thanksgiving football game to cap off a bittersweet season.

He woke up Friday morning fielding phone calls from ESPN.

ALSO: Krause: Win or lose, accept the result

Video of Rivera’s improbable 83-yard kick return with no time on the clock has gone viral. It was the No. 2 play on ESPN’s Top 10 plays overnight, and representatives from the network called him first thing Friday morning

As a result, he will be featured in a future segment on the network’s signature “Sportscenter” next week. But there’s a bit of a price to pay.

“They’re going to call me at 7 in the morning,” he said.

Rivera went through the same jumble of emotions as everyone else who saw Thursday’s Classical-English game.

“I thought we were done,” he said. “I thought it was over. I thought I had lost the Thanksgiving game in my senior year.”

He thought that way because English had scored a touchdown with eight seconds left in the game that, in and of itself, was the culmination of an inspired fourth-quarter comeback.

With the score 20-15 and the game pretty much considered academic, English kicked off. Classical mishandled it, and the Bulldogs got the ball back.

Now, there was bedlam on the English side of the field as fans, who had been congregating in the scoreboard corner of the end zone, spilled onto the field.

“I just wanted it to be over,” Rivera said. “I was crushed.”

But the game was not over. The referees had called a penalty, and it was against English. The Bulldogs would have to kick it over.

This time, the squib kick took a crazy bounce right in front of Classical’s Melvin Nieves, and it practically bounced into his hands.

Both Rivera and coach Tim Phelps said that as impromptu as that play may have seemed, it was tantamount to a busted play.

“It was supposed to go the other way, left,” Phelps said. “All our blockers were set up over there, and so was their defense.”

What makes Phelps marvel is that the play ended up being a happy accident.

“If it had gone the way it was supposed to have gone, he’d have had to weave his way in and out of a whole bunch of English defenders, and who knows what would have happened.”

So how did it get messed up?

“Melvin was supposed to turn and toss it to me, but he faked instead because he thought he saw a seam,” Rivera said.

But the seam closed quickly.

“Then he looked for me,” Rivera said. “But I was too far away for him to throw the ball. We had to run to each other, and just as he was getting tackled, he tossed the ball up to me.”

Then, Rivera turned the corner and started running down the right sideline.

“All I saw was green,” he said. “I just saw three people, and one of my teammates, Chase Buono, blocked the only guy who could touch me.”

“Actually,” Phelps said, “I think Chase ended up getting two guys on that play.”

After the last English defender was dealt with (this time by Nashaun Butler), Rivera had nothing but green fields and goal posts in front of him as he turned on the jets and sprinted to the end zone.

“I didn’t believe it,” he said. “Eight seconds earlier and we’re going to lose. Now, it’s ‘I’m gonna win the Thanksgiving game for us!’”

The year ended a lot better than it began for Rivera. Three plays into the team’s opener against Gloucester, Rivera suffered an injury that left him out of action for the first four games. Compounding that was the fact that the Rams lost that game, 21-19, on a last-minute touchdown pass by the Fishermen.

“That really affected our season,” said Rivera, who was vital to Phelps’ plans this season.

He came back in Week 5 against Marblehead, and was on the field for Classical’s win two weeks ago over Malden.

It took a while for the shock to wear off.

“I think it was around 8 o’clock Thursday night,” he said, “I started seeing it on the news. That’s when it sunk in.”

A day after, Phelps was thinking of his coaching brethren across the field.

“That had to be awfully tough for Chris (Carroll) and English,” Phelps said. “But I admire the way they came back in that game. It was really a good game as it was.”


Steve Krause can be reached at skrause@itemlive.com.

Frights and sights at Swampscott harvest festival

PHOTO BY PAULA MULLER
A knight and his dragon appeared at the Harvest Festival at Swampscott High School on Sunday. The knight was Owen Gaudet accompanied by his brother Aiden Gaudet as the dragon.

By GAYLA CAWLEY

SWAMPSCOTT — Crowds flocked to the second annual Harvest Festival, organized by For the Love of Swampscott, for frights, laughs, food and a day full of family entertainment on Sunday.

The festival was held at the same time as the last outdoor farmer’s market of the season, with both at Swampscott High School and the adjacent Senior Center, and immediately after the market’s Halloween Costume Parade, where kids participated while dressed up.

Children dressed as princesses, vampires, witches, animals and their favorite movie characters finished at the parade and then explored the festival’s offerings. They made their way through the haunted house, witnessed entertainment from frequent Fenway Park performer, Davey the Clown, took part in games like the bean bag toss and pumpkin bowling and snacked on pizza and dessert from the Pizza Goddess and Cookie Monstah respectively.

Joanna O’Neil, president of the nonprofit, For the Love of Swampscott, said funds raised from the festival go back into the community. She said the idea was to have an event where people could come together. Swampscott Middle and High School students also volunteered.

“We really wanted to create an event that every demographic could enjoy,” she said.

Isabella Rakhmanov, 10, of Swampscott, said she wanted to try out the haunted house to see if she would get scared.

Meghan Nolan, of Marblehead, said her daughter Clara Quigley, 7, participated in the parade dressed as a parrot and then she noticed the festival. She said the clown was really engaging.

Barbara Kaufman, of Swampscott, came with her 3-year-old daughter, Madelyn Dupis, who was dressed as Ariel, from the Disney movie “The Little Mermaid.” She said she came because the festival sounded like a lot of fun.

“I love it,” Kaufman said. “It’s really nice to have the community come together.”


Gayla Cawley can be reached at gcawley@itemlive.com. Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley.