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Lynn boxers excited to host event at Tech

ITEM PHOTO BY HAROLD RIVERA
The boxers at Private Jewels pose for a group picture. Front row, left to right, are Alex Sepulveda, Daniel Marte and Frank Marte. Back row, left to right, are Charlie Espinal, Nelson Carrion, Jodie Adams, Furcy Ferreras, Adam Zorrilla, Zach Calmus and Eric Atebezi. 

By HAROLD RIVERA

LYNN– Training for Saturday’s “Boxing For Hope” fundraiser at Lynn Tech is wrapping up and the group of boxers at Private Jewels Fitness is ready showcase its talent.

Private Jewels, on Summer Street, will see 11 of its boxers participate in Saturday’s event. Many of them are Lynn natives, but regardless of where they’re from, the opportunity to fight for a positive cause is one they all appreciate.

Charles Espinal, a 21-year-old Salem native, is ready to get back in the ring after a two-year hiatus.

“I took a two-year layoff from boxing,” Espinal said. “I really want everyone to know that I’m back in the game.”

Espinal, who attended Sisson Elementary School, said he’s excited for Saturday’s event. He views the fundraiser as a chance to box with some of his closest friends from Private Jewels.

“It’s not every day you get to box in your own backyard,” Espinal said. “It’s a huge opportunity. It’s a real big deal. I have a lot of my own friends and family coming to the event so I want to make sure I give them a good fight.”

Nelson Carrion, a 12-year-old KIPP student, is making his third appearance in the ring. Despite having two prior fights, Carrion will approach his match on Saturday as if it’s his first.

“It’s my third boxing match and I’m excited,” Carrion said. “I treat every boxing match like it’s my first.”

The positive message within “Boxing For Hope” is one that resonates with Carrion.

“It’s special because we’re boxing for hope,” Carrion said. “There are a lot of people around the world that need hope.”

Zach Calmus, a 25-year-old native of Marblehead, is also excited to flash his talents for a positive cause.

“Fighting here in Lynn is great because everyone loves it,” Calmus said. “The boxing interest is huge, especially when it’s for a good cause. It’s great to fight, but it’s even better to fight when you’re doing it for a good cause.”

Calmus has come away a victor in five of his last eight fights and is looking to ride that wave of momentum when he boxes on Saturday.

“I’m excited to showcase my skills in front of the community,” Calmus, who goes by the ring name “Shark Attack,” said. “I’ve won five of my last eight fights. My motivation has been at a tip-top level.”

Furcy Ferreras, a 28-year-old Peabody native, is facing a unique circumstance. Ferreras has yet to find an opponent for Saturday’s event but he’s staying on his toes in case a foe arises.

“I haven’t found a match-up so right now I’m on my even-keel mode,” Ferreras said. “Once I hear that I have a match-up my fight mode will come on.”

If he does get to participate in the event, the opportunity will be one Ferreras won’t forget anytime soon. Having spent countless hours training at Private Jewels with the group of fellow boxers and gym owner Alex Sepulveda, Ferreras knows the fighters have a special chance ahead of them.

“Lynn’s like my second home,” Ferreras said. “This is big for us. We started from the ground up. I’ve seen so many kids come through this gym. Some stay, some don’t. We have a great team of boxers now. This is the best we’ve ever been here.”

Daniel Marte also faces a unique situation in that he won’t be taking part in the fundraiser. That’s because Marte will be participating in a national tournament in West Virginia which kicks off on Friday.

“I’m excited,” Marte, an 11-year-old KIPP student, said. “One of my hardest fights took place in Missouri and he’ll be there so he’s one of the people I really want to fight.”

“My goal is to win as many fights as possible and advance to the next tournament,” Marte added.

Marte acknowledged his trainer, Sepulveda, as well as the rest of the staff and boxers at Private Jewels for pushing him to the level he’s reached.

“I’m really thankful for Private Jewels for making the boxer that I am,” Marte said, “and for helping me build progress.”

Saturday’s “Boxing For Hope” event starts at 3 p.m. Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased at Private Jewels or at the door. The event is a joint fundraising effort between Stop the Violence Lynn and Private Jewels. with the goal of continuing to provide Lynn’s youth alternative activities to decrease gun violence, drug use and gang involvement.

Over the past Three years STVL has organized three city wide peace walks, 3 youth basketball tournaments, 2 flag football events, as well as two motivational speaker series at Lynn City Hall Auditorium. All proceeds will be used to help facilitate youth violence prevention activities

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

Public safety should be polling place siting priority

ITEM FILE PHOTO
City Clerk Mary Audley

When it comes to figuring out where to put a polling place, veteran City Clerk Mary Audley summed it up perfectly on Tuesday night: “It’s very difficult to please everybody.”

Audley directed her remark to city councilors reviewing polling place locations and it is fitting to pause for a few seconds and point out how Audley juggles responsibility for the Clerk’s office as well as the city Election Department with precision and efficiency.

Her organizational talents will be on full display on Nov. 8 when the presidential election, along with other ballot decisions, should attract voters like a giant magnet. Councilors are aware of the intense public interest in the election and they are looking at polling place locations with an eye to ensuring adequate parking is available to voters.

Councilors’ support for moving Ward 3’s polling place from English High School to the new Marshall Middle School appears to make sense because of the amount of parking available on Brookline Street compared to available parking at English.

Solving parking problems in Ward 4 could prove to be a tougher task. Ward 4 voters are currently voting at the Lynn Museum downtown and they previously cast ballots at nearby North Shore Community College before the start of work on the college’s addition ruled the campus out as a polling place. With ample parking and a central location, the KIPP charter school in the Highlands ultimately seems like the best place for the ward’s polls. To their credit, KIPP administrators seem to embrace the school as a potential polling site.

Councilors have many considerations to weigh as they review polling places, but their first priority should be public safety and their last priority convenience. Voters leaving work would pour into the polls on Nov. 8 as the sun casts its last rays and darkness descends over the city. Traffic and parking safety must be paramount considerations because busy voters, anxious to run home and eat and get on with their evenings, are going to be in a rush to park and vote. Election night with all of its attendant excitement does not need to be marred by tragedy.

There is another reason to ensure convenience does not dictate polling place decisions. It is easy to confuse voting accessibility with convenience. It is essential to ensure everyone can exercise their right to vote but voting should always be an exercise of the mind, heart and legs, not necessarily in that order.

Voters must be well-informed. They should vote with passion. But getting to the polls should be a chore befitting the most basic of democratic rights that Americans have died defending.

Here’s hoping councilors carefully weigh polling place locations and here’s hoping voting never becomes a lazy task defined by a few clicks on a keyboard or a tablet.

English cruises past Winthrop

FILE PHOTO
Anthony Silfa scored 20 points for English.

By LILY DOOLIN and DILLON DURST

The Lynn English boys’ basketball team (10-4) used the depth of their bench to excel on defense, which helped them grab the win over Winthrop, 78-46.

English coach Mike Carr was happy that his team was able to carry the success the team has experienced in their last few matchups into the win.

“I like the way we’re going. We’ve turned a corner in these last few games,” he said.

Anthony Silfa led the Bulldogs with 20 points, while Javaris Hill added 12 points and an outstanding defensive performance.

Peabody 51, Marblehead 44

The Tanners (7-5) struggled at times, but were able to make a couple key baskets in the second half to lift them over Marblehead.

Junior Estrella lead Peabody with 13 points and 15 rebounds, while Matt D’Amato scored 12 points and Moisse Irizarry recorded four points, 12 rebounds, and four blocks.

Patrick Bugler led the Magicians (4-8) with 17 points and teammate Bo Millett added seven points and 11 rebounds.

KIPP 56, Salem Academy 28

Dominic Jette led the Panthers (9-4) with 18 points, while teammate Dave Metelus added 12 points and 14 rebounds. Jonathan D’Oleo chipped in 11 points for Beverly.  

Beverly 80, Saugus 60

Sam Traicoff led the Panthers with a game-high 26 points. Teammate Ryan Garrity added 10 points and eight rebounds, and Hugh Calice chipped in nine points and 10 rebounds for Beverly. Luigi Derrane also scored nine points for the Panthers.

Lynnfield 88, Georgetown 34

The Pioneers blew out the visiting Royals Tuesday evening at Lynnfield High.

Malden 79, St. John’s 78 (OT)

Facing a 20-point deficit at halftime, the Eagles rallied to force overtime before eventually falling short of a comeback over the Lancers.  Alec Buresh led St. John’s with 21 points, while teammates Spencer Danforth and Justin Connolly added 16 and 12 points, respectively.

 

KIPP eyes addition of kindergarten through grade 4

LYNN — KIPP Academy Lynn is looking to expand one more time by adding a kindergarten through fourth grade.

“We’re incredibly excited,” said Executive Director for the Massachusetts Region, Caleb Dolan. “We want to grow out starting with the kindergarten.”

Dolan said the Lynn KIPP has filed an application with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and they hope to appear before the state in early winter.

KIPP, which stands for Knowledge is Power Program, got its start in Lynn occupying classrooms at Holy Family on Bessom Street. In November 2010 officials broke ground on the High Rock school, which opened to students in grades 5 through 12 in September 2012.

Dolan said school officials are eager to start with students right out of the gate, rather than waiting to get them in the fifth grade. He said the KIPP school in Los Angeles has second-graders achieving at the fifth grade level, and he is anxious to see if they can match the results.

Dolan said KIPP’s typical fifth-grader enters the program with relatively low MCAS scores. He believes if they can start at an elementary level they will have a really strong program.

“We’re pretty psyched about it,” he said.

Where the expansion will go is another story. The High Rock school is built for only 850 students and is already nearly full. Dolan said opening a program is two years away and if it’s approved next year will be a planning year.

“We’re already doing searches and talking to people about what’s out there and what might be usable,” he said. “Maybe it will include growing into a permanent space like (High Rock).”

Going back to Holy Family might be an option Dolan could explore, except another charter school has already petitioned to open in Lynn and the address is 25 Bessom St., which is KIPP’s old home. According to the DESE Charter Applicant Information Sheet the Lynn Preparatory Charter School is proposing to open a K-8 school with a “rigorous academic” program aimed specifically at “students attending the lowest performing schools in the most economically distressed neighborhoods of the city.” The plan is to start out serving K-4 in the 2014-2015 school year then bumping up to full capacity, K-8 after a full year.

Dolan said he knows there are other charter schools looking to move into Lynn but he hopes that KIPP’s proven track record of success with its students works in their favor.

He also noted that all KIPP is doing is seeking to amend its charter, which is currently for a school offering grades 5-12.

“This would be for a K-12,” he said. “It’s just applying for an amendment. We don’t have to apply for a new school. It’s parallel but different.”

KIPP improves MCAS scores

LYNN — KIPP Academy Lynn has maintained its status at Level 2 of the five rating levels under the state’s MCAS system, but students’ scores have improved significantly over last year.

“I am very proud of the kids,” said Caleb Dolan, executive director for KIPP Academy, Massachusetts Region. “It’s funny, we have some really great teachers and it’s not like we magically brought in anyone new. We still have the same culture, we’re still having a lot of fun, and have activities and sports.”

But the school did do something different to get its top scores. Dolan said they began testing students to determine if they were struggling in a particular area. Once those scores were analyzed, the school could develop one-on-one plans for students targeting the areas where they were weakest, he said.

Dolan stopped short of calling it a “data-driven approach.” He said hearing that “can make people’s eyeballs roll back into their head.” Instead, he said it was more about common sense and giving teachers the information they needed on each student so they know who is struggling where and address it.

Chief Development Officer Jennifer Parkos said KIPP also hired operation managers for each of its schools to help alleviate some of the administrative burden and give principals more time to focus on both teacher training and working with students.

Parkos said the school’s already strong professional development program was also tweaked by building in what she called “shared observation trackers,” which principals and Dolan use to hold teachers accountable. Teachers are evaluated every other week by another teacher or a school leader, or coach. The two then have a one-on-one session where they discuss what worked and what didn’t during the given observation time. Parkos was quick to point out that the observations were all being done by other teachers or administrators and that no one new was hired for the role.

The school’s 10-hour day also allows room for teachers to implement some very targeted individual help for students who continue to struggle, she added.

Dolan also credits a team of very strong teachers and educators for the improved scores, which are perhaps best reflected in the school’s 10th grade English Language Arts scores, in which 94 percent of students scored proficient or advanced, and the freshman science scores, where 93 percent scored in proficient of advanced.

According to the state’s website 10th grade science and math scores also came in significantly higher than the state’s average. KIPP had 89 students score in the proficient or higher category compared to the state average of 80 and 88 students scored in the same category for science compared to the state average of 71.

Parkos also noted that KIPP had the second highest growth of any school in the state in seventh grade mathematics and eighth grade English Language Arts.

“There is always room to grow,” said Dolan. “The teachers got the results and they celebrated, then they celebrated with the kids and we’ll celebrate a little with the families, but they’re already figuring out how to make #2 in the state #1.”

Plan in works to bring voting back to Highlands neighborhood

LYNN —  City Clerk Mary Audley rocked the Highlands Coalition Tuesday when she told the Human Rights Commission she had a plan to bring a polling station back to the Highlands, just not to the Ford School.

“I am currently working with KIPP Academy on High Rock Street to enable me to use that facility for a polling location,” she said in a prepared statement.

The facility is new, it’s accessible to the disabled, has plenty of parking and is two-tenths of a mile from Ford School, a four-minute walk, Audley said.

“I’m a little shocked because we met with the director of KIPP maybe three weeks ago and they said they had no intention having voting there,” said Highland Coalition member Leslie Greenberg.

Greenberg and the coalition have been fighting to have voting restored at the Ford School since it was relocated to North Shore Community College nine years ago. The Human Rights Coalition has held two subcommittee hearings on the issue.

Audley told HRC members she moved the polling location in 2004 because the school is a poor setup for voting, and the ramp does not meet state standards. Principal Claire Crane said the ramp was repaired years ago but it was never re-evaluated.

At the suggestion of coalition member David Gass, Ward 2 Councilor William Trahant said he would file a City Council order to have the state’s Office on Disabilities inspect the ramp.

“It would take it off the table,” Gass said. “It was always a non-issue for us. Six hundred kids would be in danger if the ramp were not right.”

Audley said she thought the news would be exciting and that it was a good compromise for all, but not everyone saw it that way.

Crane argued that, educationally, it was important to have voting at the Ford School 

because parents came with their children and could see the process. Crane and Greenberg both called KIPP an unwelcome location.

“I thought it was the job of the Election Commission to make sure that everyone got a chance to vote,” Greenberg said. “I don’t see that happening.”

HRC Vice President Laura Mc Gaughey-Marquez commended Audley and the Election Commission for finding a compromise, but HRC member Audrey Jimenez wondered if they were asking the wrong question.

“I don’t understand why we’re saying no to the Ford School, she said. “I understand why we’re saying yes to KIPP.”

Jimenez said if every community banded together like the Highlands, it would be good for the city. She said she believed that reinstating voting at the Ford School would create a lot of good will.

Chairman Michael Tucker warned the commission that its jurisdiction is narrow and limited.

“I think we have to stay focused on our jurisdiction under the ordinance,” he said. “It doesn’t mean that we can’t try and facilitate or negotiate.”

Tucker said the board should wait until the state rules on the compliance issue at the school and see if the City Council will uphold Audley’s plan.

HRC member Pamela Freeman reminded her colleagues fighting for the right to vote should be seen as a positive.

“This is not a negative, this is a positive,” she said. “It’s really about equality; that’s what it is at the end of the day.”

“I believe this is an equitable resolution to the complaint before this commission,” Audley said. “And it will provide the voters in the Highlands a safe and convenient location to exercise their right to vote.”