Cougar Courier: The Year in Review Edition 2020-21

While most retrospective glimpses into an academic year would begin with back to school orientation or the first day of classes,  COVID-19 was for the second straight year a defining factor of Austin Prep's academic year. As a result, the 2020-2021 academic year reached back into the early summer of 2020 as Austin Prep planned to welcome students back to campus after the state mandated closure of the previous year. This effort culminated in the release of Austin Prep's reopening plan, and an August 11th webinar for parents hosted by Head of School, James Hickey, Ph.D.
 
“Any decision we make for Austin Prep always will rely upon our unwavering commitment to examine challenges through the prism of Austin Prep’s mission, uncompromisingly keep the health and safety of the Austin Prep community paramount, and continue to deliver the singular educational experience for which Austin Prep is known,” Dr. Hickey said. “Our reopening plan provides a flexible roadmap for our journey in the days and months ahead. It was specifically crafted to provide Austin Prep with the flexibility to adapt to the changing conditions that the pandemic will require us to meet.”
 
Once we reopened with our students' well-being on the forefront, the focus was on ensuring that the Austin Prep Journey continued, and that members of our community enjoyed the traditional opportunities they were accustomed to, all while thriving despite unique circumstances. Socially distanced school masses and lectures, livestreamed arts events, rescheduled and restructured athletics seasons, and traditional year-end activities for the Senior Class were among the experiences that came as a result of our collective creativity and dedication to our shared values. The year required flexibility, patience, and understanding, and we emerged a better School because of it.
 

We invite you to take a look back on the stories of 2020-21 that helped shape the Austin Prep community.


 

September

The 2020-2021 Academic Year Begins, Reuniting Classmates

firstday

Austin Prep Students returned for the first day of classes.

 

After nearly six months away from campus, and following many weeks of planning during the spring and summer, Austin Prep welcomed students back to campus on Tuesday, September 8th for the first day of classes. Students in Cohort A participated in on campus learning, while classmates in Cohort B joined classrooms remotely. On Thursday, September 10th, students in Cohort B were on campus and Cohort A participated remotely. Cohorts rotated weekly with a specific cohort on campus three days one week, followed by two days the next week. To view photos from the first week of class, click here.

Austin Prep administrators worked throughout the summer to recreate, reframe, and reimagine life on campus to keep the Austin Prep community as safe as possible during the global pandemic. During this short period of time, every aspect of school operations – from campus arrival and dismissal, to dining hall protocol, and academic schedules – were reevaluated with the health and safety of community members the priority.

sept 10

Austin Prep Students returned for their first day of classes.

 

Preparations made for both on campus and remote learning were extensive. Campus upgrades in advance of the school year amounted to an investment of nearly $1,000,000, which has included improvements to technology, advanced disinfecting equipment, additional personnel – including a second school nurse – and campus infrastructure such as new HEPA filters and HVAC upgrades.

Additionally, classrooms were set up to mitigate the spread of illness and increase social distancing.  Each classroom had unique configurations and distancing, and the School worked closely with Reading’s Department of Public Health in regards to dining hall sanitation, occupancy, and food distribution.

"The significant investment that we have made in technology will provide students with the opportunity to engage with their classmates and teachers in real time. This technology includes upgrades in cameras and microphones that will enhance the remote learning experience,” Assistant Head of School and Head of Upper School William Driscoll, Ed.D. said.

 “In such an unsettling time, it gives us great comfort to know that our children are able to return to the Austin Prep campus this fall and have a sense of normalcy,” Amy Sperling, P’22, ‘25 said.  “It is very clear to us that the School has put a lot of time, effort and resources into a very thorough and safe reopening plan. We are confident that our children are in the hands of caring and capable professionals.”

Students Prepare for Start of Year Through Orientation

gym

Prior to the start of classes, students were on campus for a week of orientation activities from Monday, August 31st through Thursday, September 3rd.  Classes received welcomes from Dr. HickeyDr. Driscoll,  Mr. Michael McLaughlin, Head of Middle School, and others.  While on campus, students received instructions on new health standards and precautions, particularly safety procedures in the dining hall. Their days on campus concluded with an opportunity to meet advisors and run through a modified schedule of their classes.  To view more photos from orientation, click here.

Field Hockey Added as Varsity Sport

field hockey

When athletics made its long awaited return to Austin Prep, there was a new sport offering for the fall. Girls Field Hockey began its inaugural season this year, and Austin Prep carried both a varsity and developmental sub-varsity program. Girls Field Hockey was a club sport during the 2019-2020 academic year.

The team was coached by Ms. Brianna Robbins, a former collegiate field hockey player who also serves as the Executive Assistant and Events Coordinator at Austin Prep.  "What I am most excited for this season is seeing our team grow, and for us to finally play as Austin Prep’s first Varsity Field Hockey team,"  Patricia Bibeau '22 said. "As our program numbers continue to grow, the more our team comes together."

Athletics Tryouts Begin

athletics staff

Mr. Patrick Driscoll '97 (right) and members of the Athletic Department staff wrapping up preparations for the return of athletics at Austin Prep.

 

The Fall Athletic season officially began on September 29th with Fall Sports tryouts. It was the first Austin Prep Athletics activity since the Girls Ice Hockey team qualified for the 2020 MIAA State Championship in March 2020.  The 2020-2021 Austin Prep athletic year would not have been possible without the hard work and flexibility of coaches, administrators, students, and parents. 

Austin Prep Hosts Virtual Back-to-School Night

back to school

Mrs. Leann Blais hosted Middle School parents during Thursday's Back-to-School.

 

Austin Prep hosted its annual Back-to-School Night, with this year's event held virtually due to social gathering guidelines. Despite those restrictions, the night provided faculty and parents a brief opportunity to review course curriculum and goals for the class. The night was made possible in part due to Austin Prep's technology capabilities. At the busiest point of the night, Austin Prep hosted 65 class meetings simultaneously, with over 4,000 individual Zoom meeting parent log-ins over the course of the evening. 

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Efforts a Focus During Academic Year

drk lecture

Dr. Crystal Kuykendall led professional development sessions with faculty and staff on August 27th.

 

As a part of Austin Prep's expanding commitment to advance equity and inclusion, various initiatives and professional development opportunities took place on campus this year. Austin Prep partnered with Dr. Crystal Kuykendall, the 2020 St. Augustine Lecture Series speaker and an accomplished educator, attorney, author, and recognized expert to assist with diversity programming and initiatives. Dr. Kuykendall was on campus during faculty orientation week to conduct training for the faculty and staff to heighten awareness around the damaging impact of implicit bias.
 

DEI Team

Fr. Patrick Armano, Fr. Jorge Reyes, O.S.A. and Mr. Jaycob Morales focused their work this year on making Austin Prep a more inclusive and equitable community.

 

Austin Prep has also expanded the staff to support the important work of making Austin Prep more inclusive and equitable. Over the summer, Jaycob Morales was hired as our new Coordinator of Community and Inclusion. Additionally, Austin Prep announced the appointment of Father Jorge Reyes, O.S.A., an Augustinian Friar, as Director of Mission and Inclusion.  Mr. Morales and Father Reyes teamed with Father Patrick Armano, School Chaplain, to focus efforts on advancing mission and making Austin Prep a more inclusive and equitable community. 


 

October

Austin Prep Claims Third Consecutive Nason Award

nason award

Austin Prep added a third Boston Globe Nason Award to add to the awards won in 2017-2018 and 2018-2019.

 

For the third consecutive year, and despite the cancellation of the spring 2020 season, Austin Prep was named as the recipient of the 2019-2020 Boston Globe Nason Award. This award recognizes overall athletics excellence among Catholic co-educational schools across the Commonwealth, with overall, regular-season winning percentage as the criteria for selection. For more information on all the Boston Globe Scholastic Awards, including the Nason Award, click here.

Despite Hybrid Learning Model, Science Labs Continue at Austin Prep

chemistry lab

Chemistry students take part in a lab in Ms. Elizabeth Farrell's class.

 

One of the many areas of the Austin Prep experience that had to be reimagined in the school reopening plan were science labs. Despite social distancing guidelines which impacted how many students could be in a classroom, while simultaneously engaging students in a cohort learning from home, science labs were still a part of the curriculum at Austin Prep. Science teachers reworked labs to be within the new guidelines posed by the pandemic, creatively discovered ways for the students to stay socially distanced but still perform lab experiments, and worked to engage students learning remotely from home while lab experiments took place in class.

New Academic Program Provides Support to Children of Faculty and Staff

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Children of faculty and staff participating in Austin Prep's Academic Support Program.

 

aep

 

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many within our society to reimagine various aspects of daily life. One such dilemma facing parents was the challenge of balancing professional obligations with family needs, an obstacle especially prevalent with those who work in various areas in elementary and secondary education institutions.

In the spirit of the Austin Prep mission, the School developed the Academic Support Program, a program for Faculty and Staff to assist in the navigation of the delicate balance between professional fulfillment and family needs. At the time, hybrid and remote instruction delivery models were common practice throughout most school systems in our neighboring communities. The Academic Support Program offered a structured and inspiring environment for our employees’ school age children to engage in their individual remote learning plans, unique to their schools, while their parents fulfilled the responsibilities of their respective roles with Austin Prep. 

The Academic Support Program was met with much success, as well as gratitude on behalf of our Austin Prep Faculty and Staff Community. The Program was staffed with educational leaders who are passionate about promoting a fluid, creative, and encouraging space for the young students, who represent grades ranging from 1st to 5th. The implementation of this program reminds us all that during this time of uncertainty, when our community is faced with adversity, we can explore ways to identify a solution.

“Our goal is to provide a conducive, and supervised, environment for children of Faculty and Staff to allow them to independently engage in their respective remote learning plans while their parents fulfill obligations of their position with Austin Prep,” Mrs. Kelley Ferretti, Human Resources Generalist said. “I am thrilled to be part of creating something so innovative and new for our Austin Prep employees and their families.”

Flu Shot Clinic a Success

piccini

Mr. Piccini was one of over 240 Austin Prep community members who received a flu shot on campus.

 

In a year in which flu shots were highly recommended, Austin Prep hosted two successful Flu Vaccination Clinics for the school community on campus, with over 240 community members receiving a flu shot. 

Austin Prep Names New Board Member

commencement
 

Ruben Reyes, M.D., P'24, '26, a parent of two current Austin Prep students, was welcomed as the newest member to the Austin Prep Board of Trustees. A board certified hematologist, he has extensive experience in Hematology and Oncology clinical practice, clinical research and drug development. 

Dr. Reyes currently serves as Senior Medical Director, Global Head Hematology Therapeutic Area at Paraxel International, a global biopharmaceutical services company.  In this role, Dr. Reyes has served as the global or North American regional medical monitor for phase I, II and III studies on acute myeloid leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphomas, melanoma, and ovarian, lung, pancreatic and gastric cancers. He also served as the lead physician for the creation of the Gene & Cell Therapy Working Group at Paraxel, and as the principal investigator on an extensive list of grants and clinical trial contracts.

Prior to that, Dr. Reyes served as an Assistant Professor of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, at the University of Kansas Medical Center. In this role, Dr. Reyes taught medical students, residents and fellows, and supervised pharmacy and psychology students rotating in the hospital ward. His philosophy of teaching was based on active learning with an emphasis in honest decisions and compassionate care.

Dr. Reyes has served on advisory boards for Millenium, Alexion, and Pfizer, and is a member of The American Society of Hematology, The American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the South West Oncology Group.  

Dr. Reyes received his M.D. from the Higher Institute of Medical Science of Santiago de Cuba, where he was named the Golden Diploma Graduate, which is the most prestigious award in Cuban Higher Education. He has completed fellowships and residencies at the University of Miami, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and East Carolina University. He currently resides in Andover with his wife Emma, daughter Paula '24 and son Steven '26.

Middle School Students Receive New iPads

middle school ipads

 

The Technology Department distributed new iPads to Middle School students, with iPad distribution taking place during  scheduled class times. Students returned all their old equipment and received a tutorial from Technology Department staff on how to set-up and log-in to their new equipment, as well as how to move all of the content they needed from their old device to their new device.

Dr. Kuykendall Speaks to Student Community

kuykendall october

Dr. Crystal Kuykendall spoke to Middle School students in October.

 

Dr. Crystal Kuykendall led five presentations for the student community: one presentation for the Middle School and one presentation for each Upper School class. Additionally, Dr. Kuykendall engaged with faculty and staff, continuing recent dialogue to advance diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives on campus. A central theme of Dr. Kuykendall's presentation revolved around our own individual stories, and how we fail to notice stereotypes if we listen to only one story. Dr. Kuykendall closed the presentation emphasizing to students the importance of CPR: Compassion and Courage, Patience and Persistence, and Respect and Resiliency.

Autumn at Austin Virtual Edition

midweek update

 

We brought alumni back to campus safely with Autumn at Austin: Virtual Homecoming. To help celebrate, Austin Prep  students TJ Dysart '21 and Marvin Twombley '21 took their Midweek Update to the weekend to entertain us with parodies and humor centered around our faculty who are alumni.

Click HERE to Watch Mid-WeekEND Update

In addition to TJ and Marvin, Midweek Update was brought to you over the years by Alyssa Cross '21, Executive Producer, Cinematographer, Editor, and Writer; Ashley Murdock '21, Executive Producer, Cinematographer, Editor, and Writer, and Conor Long '21, Writer.

Austin Prep Presents...Thriller!

To celebrate Halloween, members of APS Media and our Middle School Dancers proudly presented Austin Prep's annual interpretation of "Thriller." Enjoy the "Tale of Haunted Austin..."


 

November

Austin Prep Presents Launches With NCAA Division I Athletic Director

Austin Prep Presents

 

Austin Prep successfully launched Austin Prep Presents, a virtual speaker series designed to provide a platform for distinguished Austin Prep alumni to connect with fellow alumni and current Austin Prep students, parents, faculty and staff, while reflecting on Austin Prep experiences that helped shape their lives. Panelists had the opportunity to discuss current trends and their contributions in their field, and expand on the career path that led to their current role. The series of talks began in November and ran through June and focused on areas ranging from media relations, finance, arts, and more, and were open to the entire school community.

The series debuted November 10th with “College Athletics During a Pandemic” featuring Jim Knowlton ’78, the current Director of Athletics at the University of California, Berkeley. Mr. Knowlton covered several areas of interest including but not limited to the impact the pandemic has had on the short-term future of college athletics, NCAA recruiting and impact on high school juniors, and the financial impact on colleges. The full schedule of Austin Prep Presents speakers can be found on our website here.

Austin Prep Celebrates Convocation Mass

convocation

 

Despite occurring later in the year than usual, the Austin Prep community came together on Tuesday, November 17th for the annual tradition of Convocation Mass, which marked the official start of Austin Prep’s 59th academic year. The entire Senior Class of 2021 was joined by members of the sixth grade Class of 2027 and select School faculty and staff in Richard J. Meelia Hall for the Mass. Due to restrictions placed on gatherings, the Mass was livestreamed to the remaining Austin Prep students, either in classrooms on campus or learning remotely from home, as well as the parent community.  Click here to view photos from the Mass.

With banners representing all seven Austin Prep classes surrounding the stage, TJ Dysart ’21, School-Wide President, welcomed his fellow classmates. Dysart acknowledged that while recent months have been difficult, and settling into a routine to start the school year has been a challenge, our School community moves forward guided by our mission and values.

“Our mission isn’t measured in miles, meters, yards, or even six feet. Our mission is measured by the goodness in our hearts and contributions that we make in our communities,” Dysart said. “It’s important for us to not just speak about our mission, but to live it.”

Each academic year, Austin Prep adopts a theme to help advance the School’s mission. For the 2020-2021 academic year, Austin Prep’s theme comes from the words of Jesus from St. John’s Gospel: “I pray that they all may be one.” The theme resonated throughout the Convocation Mass, with Fr. Patrick Armano, School Chaplain, referencing the theme during his homily.

“We are one community that is made up of individuals, and in order to truly become united, in order to truly become one, each of us has to put our best effort towards that unity by what we do in our own lives,” Fr. Armano said. “That unity requires the effort of each of us, to focus on the bettering of ourselves, so that we can focus on building those around us up.”

Head of School, James Hickey, Ph.D. noted that as another academic year begins, our nation is divided, but Austin Prep’s enduring mission helps support our pursuit of unity. “Think about that: It was the prayer of the son of God that we should all come together,” Dr. Hickey said, referring to this year’s school theme. “We can do that by honoring the command of Jesus, to treat others the way we would want to be treated.”

“As an Augustinian community committed to veritas, unitas, and caritas, we need to model behavior and acts of kindness and compassion that bring people together,” Dr. Hickey added.

At the conclusion of the Mass, the Senior Class of 2021, led by Senior Class Officers Kayla Russell ’21 and Arya Gupta ’21, continued with tradition and hoisted the class banner to the rafters of Meelia Hall, where it remained until being lowered prior to the Baccalaureate Liturgy for the Class of 2021 in May.

Lower Fields Ribbon Cutting and Blessing

 
ribbon cutting aerial

Dr. Hickey speaks to members of the School community at the lower fields athletic complex ribbon cutting and blessing.

 

After Convocation Mass, Austin Prep celebrated a special blessing and ribbon cutting ceremony, marking the official opening of our lower fields athletic complex. Following a welcome from Head of School James Hickey, Ph.D., the new tennis courts and baseball field were blessed by Father Patrick Armano, School Chaplain. In attendance for the event were Austin Prep faculty and staff, and coaches and members of the baseball, field hockey, and tennis teams. Two separate ribbons cuttings took place - one for each facility - with Assistant Head for Enrollment and Athletics and Head Baseball Coach Jonathan Pollard '97 having the ribbon cutting honors on the baseball field. To view photos from the event, click here.

Also a part of the ceremony was a special blessing of a time capsule for the Class of 2020. After their May, 2020 graduation, members of the Class of 2020 submitted mementos which were collected by the school and will be buried at a to be determined location at the lower fields athletic complex.

Austin Prep Sponsors Thanksgiving Basket Initiative

thanksgiving st mary

Members of the Austin Prep community delivered Thanksgiving Baskets to St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Lawrence before the holiday.

 

This Thanksgiving, Austin Prep partnered with Saint Mary of the Assumption Parish in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Saint Mary was founded by the Augustinian Friars over 150 years ago, and the connections between that Parish and our school are roots that run deep  to our founding in 1961. 

Austin Prep students and families helped create 25 Thanksgiving baskets, which were delivered to St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Lawrence before the holiday. 

baskets

 

Student government leaders, Coordinator of Students Activities Mr. Pat Costello, Coordinator of Community Engagement and InclusionMr. Jaycob Morales and Director of Inclusion and Mission, Fr. Jorge Reyes, O.S.A. helped coordinate the Thanksgiving initiative.  Students who delivered the baskets include: TJ Dysart '21, Marvin Twombley '21, Liam Prigmore '21,  Brianna Fountain '21, Ben Sperling '22, Kip Lebaron '21, Kate Beckel '23, Kat Millett '24, and Victoria Tenreiro '25.

Elbeery '21 Leads a String of NCAA Commitments

elbeery

Notable Austin Prep senior student-athletes committed to continue their athletic careers at NCAA institutions, starting in November as Jake Elbeery '21 signed his National Letter of Intent to continue his baseball career at the University of Richmond.

Other student-athletes who committed this year to continue their athletic careers after Austin Prep included: Sal Lococo '21, Tufts University, Football; Gabby Vachon '21, Bentley University, Girls Soccer; Michael Gizzi, Regis College, Boys Basketball; and Paul Collins '21, Stonehill College, Football.


 

December

Austin Prep Supports Chamber's Santa's Tour

santa

 

Austin Prep served as the Signature Sponsor for the Reading-North Reading Chamber of Commerce's Santa's Holiday Tour, which took place Sunday, November 29th. The tour, which followed a route through neighborhoods in Reading and North Reading, replaced the annual Christmas Tree lighting hosted by the Chamber. To see us in action, click here. Austin Prep is proud to continue to support our various community partners, including the Chamber of Commerce.

Lessons and Carols Brings Holiday Spirit to Austin Prep

lessons and carols

Austin Prep students came together for a special Lessons and Carols performance on Friday.

 

Holiday traditions continued at Austin Prep with a special edition of Lessons and Carols, which was livestreamed from the Chapel of St. Augustine on Friday, December 11th. Determined not to let our current challenges interrupt our most cherished annual events, and working within social distancing rules, students, faculty, and staff forged forward with the commitment that “the show must go on.” To learn more about this process,  read the inaugural edition of Austin Prep: Journey of the Heartwhich was released monthly, detailing the ways that, even in a public health crises, our community remains steadfast and vibrant in pursuit of our mission. Photos from Lessons and Carols can be viewed here, and you can watch the show below: 

Lessons and Carols, Continued...

virtual seniors

 

Seniors Mary Hueston '21 and Gaby Pearson '21 created their own virtual concert after Lessons and Carols. Check out their wonderful performance, here.

St. Augustine Lumen Award Recipients Named

celia lumen

Ms. Celia Barletta (center) was presented the 2020 St. Augustine Lumen Award. Also pictured are Trustees Mike Bravo P'18, '20, Sun-Min Han P'20, Joey Carregal '05 and Board Chair Dan Bouchard P'10, '14, '15.

 

Ms. Marla Pascucci-Byrne P’26 and Ms. Celia Barletta were named this year’s recipients of Austin Prep’s St. Augustine Lumen Award. The Lumen Award was established by the Austin Prep Board of Trustees to recognize outstanding teachers.

marla lumen

Ms. Marla Pascucci-Byrne P'26 was presented the 2020 St. Augustine Lumen Award. Also pictured are Trustees Mike Bravo P'18, '20, Sun-Min Han P'20, Joey Carregal '05 and Board Chair Dan Bouchard P'10, '14, '15.

 

 

Trustee Joey Carregal ’05 introduced and announced both winners and added unique perspective as a former student celebrating his former teachers. Head of School James Hickey, Ph.D. and Board of Trustees Chair Dan Bouchard P’10, ’14, ’15 presented Ms. Pascucci-Byrne and Ms. Barletta with a certificate and stipend to fund future professional development opportunities.

The award was presented Tuesday, December 8th at a faculty meeting, which was attended by faculty, staff, and members of the Austin Prep Board of Trustees.

The Nutcracker Tradition at Austin Prep Continues

nutcracker

 

Holiday traditions continued at Austin Prep with a special performance of The Nutcracker, which was livestreamed from the Richard J. Meelia Hall on Wednesday, December 16th. It was the 23rd year The Nutcracker was performed at Austin Prep. Determined not to let our current challenges interrupt our most cherished annual events, and working within social distancing rules, students, faculty, and staff forged forward with the commitment that “the show must go on.”  Check out our Twitter feed for live tweets from the show, and you can watch the show below: 

 

Christmas Giving Initiative

loading bus

Austin Prep students loaded gifts on to school buses for distribution.

 

Similar to Thanksgiving, Austin Prep sponsored a Christmas giving initiative. The project, coordinated through each student’s advisory, allowed us to continue our connection with local families during the holiday season, and to live our values of veritas, unitas, and caritas, by embracing others and sharing our blessings. Gifts were organized in the dining hall on Friday and loaded on Austin Prep buses for distribution.  Click here to view photos from the day.

Santa's Austin Prep Journey

Santa Claus' Christmas Journey included a stop at Austin Prep, and it was a fun two weeks with him between Lessons and Carols and Christmas Day. He was on a mission:  finding the ONE member of the Austin Prep community landing on his naughty list. Santa appeared in The Nutcracker, the library, the Chapel of St. Augustine, and other spaces on campus looking for that one person. He even made it to Dr. Hickey's office, and was amazed that students and staff were granted an old fashioned snow day. That decision definitely confirmed Dr. Hickey's place on the nice list. To watch that meeting, click here.

Who would have thought the naughty person would be Mr. McLaughlin? He is so nice!  To view the entire Austin Prep Santa Claus experience, click the video link above! Until next year...


 

January

Virtual Mass for Life, Justice, and Peace

MLK Day Mass

Mr. Raymond Kabunga, Fr. Patrick Armano, Olivia Doherty '22, and Mr. Stephen Williams celebrated a special virtual mass.

 

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, all members of the Austin Prep community were invited to join Fr. Patrick Armano, School Chaplain, on Monday, January 18th for a special virtual Mass for life, justice, and peace, celebrated from the Chapel of Saint Augustine on the Austin Prep campus. 

Student-Athletes Honor Martin Luther King Jr. Over the Holiday Weekend

mlk stickers

 

Over the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday weekend, members of our Boys and Girls Basketball and Boys and Girls Hockey teams wore armbands and helmet stickers on the court and ice to recognize and celebrate Dr. King's legacy and impact on our society. The armbands and stickers were worn throughout Black History Month.

Cubby Cares Mentorship Program

cubby cares

Seniors TJ Brosnan, Faith Moran, Ryan Noyes, Brianna Fountain, and Arya Gupta were among the leaders of the Cubby Cares Mentorship Program.

 

 

Austin Prep unveiled a new program entitled "Cubby Cares,"  an innovative mentoring program between Upper School Green Key Ambassadors and new Middle School students. Spearheaded by Faith Moran '21 under the direction of Mrs. Brenda Simblaris, Assistant Director of Admissions, Cubby Cares is an effort to build supportive and cohesive relationships between Upper School and Middle School students.  In the spirit of Unitas, this program assists in building community in the hallways of Austin Prep. Assisting Faith in her efforts were TJ Brosnan '21, Ryan Noyes '21, Brianna Fountain '21, Arya Gupta '21, Arpi Sharma '21, and Sal Lococo '21.  A total of 60 sophomore, junior and senior Green Key Ambassadors meet a minimum of once a month with their 6th or 7th grade mentees to provide them with support and guidance within the Austin Prep community.  Middle schoolers have opportunities to seek out advice from their Upper School peers and simply build friendships with their mentors.  Part of growing personally and within our school community is relationship building and discovering your academic and personal interests.  

Austin Prep Admissions Efforts Thrive Despite Adversity

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Newly accepted Austin Prep students received a special accepted student package. 

 

Admissions season is always a stressful time for any school. By adding a global pandemic to that equation, admissions offices everywhere were put under a level of pressure never felt before. Austin Prep and the Office of Admissions was no exception to this reality. With the loss of in-person shadow days, school fairs and the annual Open House in October, Austin Prep’s Admissions staff had to go back to the drawing board and completely reinvent the admissions process. 

This Admissions cycle has seen the introduction of virtual shadow days, a complete redesign of our merit scholarship process, and a virtual Open House. The virtual Open House replaced the traditional in person Fall Open House, and featured department specific, 90 minute sessions spanning an entire week. These innovative and unique initiatives resulted in a 34% jump in completed applications and a 41% increase in accepted students during this admissions cycle. As was true with the 2020-21 academic year, the 2021-22 academic year resulted in an Admissions waitlist for many classes.

"Austin Prep is incredibly blessed to have had a record-breaking admissions season, but quite simply, this would never have been accomplished without our entire community.  The Office of Admissions is incredibly thankful to everyone who played invaluable roles in guiding the future of our school through such challenging times," Director of Admissions, Steve Silverthorn said. "The leadership of Dr. Hickey in keeping our campus open to our students, the faculty for creating and implementing a curriculum conducive to hybrid learning, our facilities department for keeping our campus safe, the department chairs and coaching staff for the countless handwritten notes to newly accepted students, the athletic department's relentless efforts to keep our students physically active and socially connected, the parents who supported our school on social media, in their communities and at virtual events, and most importantly, our students who hosted shadow students and spoke at all admissions event, all attributed to our success this year."

We are a community guided by the Augustinian values of veritas, unitas, and caritas.  The entire community rallying to support Austin Prep throughout this Admissions cycle is one of the most powerful examples of living mission our school has seen. Veritas empowered us with the confidence to accept the many challenges we knew we would undoubtedly face; Unitas inspired everyone to apply their skills and passions to work together in order to keep our school true to what we aim to offer; and Caritas guided our entire community with the unwavering commitment to protecting our school against any and all uncertainties.    

Austin Prep Adds Two to Board of Trustees

han and family

John and Sun-Min Han  P'20 with daughter Mia '20 at the Girls Soccer Senior Game in the Fall of 2019

 

 

Austin Prep  announced that John and Sun-Min Han P’20, of Burlington, were named as members of the School's Board of Trustees, Mr. and Mrs. Han are parents to four daughters, including recent Austin Prep graduate Mia ’20.

Mr. Han has an extensive background in engineering and science related research fields. In 1991, Mr. Han founded Rubix Composites, Inc. where he currently serves as President and CEO. Rubix Composites, Inc. is a leading manufacturer of structural insulation and specialty refractory products for a variety of industrial high temperature heating applications. With funding support from Department of Defense and Energy grants to develop insulation alternatives to asbestos, Rubix Composites was founded to provide reliable solutions for difficult engineering challenges. Mrs. Han supports the operations at Rubix Composites by serving as the Workplace Manager and accountant.

Prior to founding Rubix Composites, Mr. Han served as an Application Engineer with Hexcel Corporation and as a Materials Engineer with IBM. Mr. Han received his B.S. and M.Eng. degrees in Material Science Engineering, both from Cornell University. Mr. Han is a member of the American Ceramic Society and Industrial Heating Association.

Mrs. Han received her B.A. Degree in English from Rutgers. She held various administrative roles within the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government Admissions and National Security Program offices before committing completely to raising her four daughters and assisting with the operations at Rubix Composites. Mrs. Han has been active in volunteering as a member of the Trustees of Reservations, and in the Burlington Schools and with the Austin Prep Parents Association.

Education has been an important component of the Han family story. Mr. and Mrs. Han immigrated to the United States from South Korea as young children. Both of Mr. Han's parents were school teachers – a highly respected profession in South Korea – yet moved the family to the United States for greater educational opportunities as the family viewed a quality education as a way to thrive. As a result of various grant and scholarship programs, Mr. Han was able to attend boarding school at St. Mark’s School in Southborough, MA. Educational opportunities also guided Mrs. Han's family, as they eventually landed in New Jersey as a result of her musically inclined sisters’ desire to attend the Juilliard School in New York City.

The Hans look forward to continuing to support education based initiatives by expanding their role with Austin Prep. They are grateful for their family, educational, and business success in the United States, as they believe no other place could have afforded their family these opportunities, and hope to be able to support future Austin Prep families in a similar manner.


 

February

Austin Prep Celebrates National Girls & Women in Sports Day

ardito sisters

Molly and Grace Ardito '21 were among the female members of the Austin Prep Athletics community highlighted for National Girls & Women in Sports Day.

 

In February, Austin Prep took part in celebrating National Girls & Women in Sports Day. This year, Austin Prep had 312 female student athletes, nearly 80% of the overall female student population. They were coached by 40 female coaches on 30 girls teams, and we are proud of their contributions to the Austin Prep community. To learn more about how sports has impacted their lives, click the links to hear from Ellie Walsh '21Head Girls Hockey Coach Steph Wood, and Administrative Assistant to Athletics and Head JV Girls Basketball Coach Stephanie Bramante.

Skiers Take Top Spots at the Interscholastic Races

ski team

Deanna Dinitto'21 and Sydney Pilla '23 with Coach A.J. Reusch

 

 

The Girls Ski Team had a tremendous performance at the Interscholastic Races.  Captain Deanna Dinitto '21 had an overall 1st place finish in the Interscholastic Race, with a 1st place finish in Slalom and a 2nd place finish in Giant Slalom.  Sydney Pilla '23 had a 3rd Place overall finish with a Top 5 in both Slalom and Giant Slalom. 

Junior Elizabeth Morin Publishes First Book

liz morin

 

When Elizabeth Morin '25  was 11 she wrote her first book. She put it on the internet and over 150,000 people read it, inspiring her to take writing more seriously.  The result was The Last One, Elizabeth's first published work.

Elizabeth started the book in April 2020 and the book was published in December 2020. While most book publications take a year or longer, her writing was expedited as Elizabeth was a part of a writing challenge that helped move the process along.

"My book took me about a month to write, but that’s because I was a part of camp Nanowrimo which is a month long writing challenge," Elizabeth said. "After writing, I spent about six months editing, and after several in depth edits and re-writes, I decided I wanted to self publish it. There were a few different options I could have gone with but Amazon publishing was the best choice for me. I had help setting up a kindle direct publishing account, then I sent in the book and it was on the market a few days later."

Elizabeth is appreciative of the support of the Austin Prep community, particularly her teachers and friends who have encouraged her to pursue writing. She was also inspired by Ray Bradbury's “There Will Come Soft Rains," a piece she read in 8th and 9th grade English which always stuck with her.

"The story is great, it involves advanced technology and an accident that takes out the population. It is similar to my book, but I won’t spoil anything," Elizabeth said.

Flags Representing Students' Backgrounds Raised in Dining Hall

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A small representation of the flags raised in the dining hall last week.

 

Last Fall, Austin Prep students were surveyed to highlight and recognize individual backgrounds, family traditions, cultural identity, and nationality, with a goal of better understanding our own individual history and differences. One outcome of the exercise came to fruition over the winter break.  Using information provided by students regarding their family heritage, 55 flags representing countries that Austin Prep students identified as having a connection with were raised in the dining hall. 

Austin Prep Celebrates Black History Month

MLK board

 

At Austin Prep, the foundation of our community is our Catholic and Augustinian tradition. This underpins our educational approach to develop a community that reflects the diversity of the human family. In the Confessions, St. Augustine of Hippo wrote that we are members of the same family and we must respect the inherent dignity of all human beings. This commitment is continuous and not relegated to a single month. Rather, our approach is infused with all our efforts to augment our core values of veritas, unitas and caritas

We highlighted our ongoing commitment to fostering respect for all people during our celebration of Black History Month. Led by Mr. Jaycob Morales, Coordinator of Inclusion and Community Engagement, Austin Prep planned numerous activities for staff and students throughout the month of February to honor the achievements of Black Americans and their contributions to our country and world.  In addition to the special activities planned for Black History Month, we highlighted in various outlets the many year-round components of our curriculum which guide us towards the overarching objective to form graduates who are lifelong learners, passionate global citizens, curious collaborative scholars, and compassionate servants.

As a part of our continued celebration of Black History Month, Austin Prep hosted Dr. Crystal Kuykendall for a special webinar for our parent community. Through brief explorations of historical components and developments, Dr. Kuykendall provided a thought-provoking overview of some of the benefits the study of Black history brings to members of the Austin Prep community. 


 

March

The Entire Class of 2021 is Back!

 
senior day

Dr. Hickey addressed the Class of 2021 at a special Senior Class meeting.

 

The entire senior class was invited to be on campus for the academic day on Monday, March 8th. Seniors attended their regularly scheduled classes as well as a class meeting to discuss their senior spring. While the year to that point had presented a great deal of challenge, the time seniors spent together that Monday brought joy and excitement after a long winter.

Austin Prep continued to evaluate the latest trends in public health data and consulted with medical and public health experts to develop a timeline for discontinuing the hybrid model and transitioning to full return to campus. Austin Prep remained compliant with public health mitigation protocols and the reopening plan remained the blueprint to keep the community as safe as possible, and continued to develop a careful and incremental plan for increasing the number of students who will be on campus over the next several weeks. 

Spirit Week Benefits St. Jude Children's Hospital

st jude

Austin Prep Community members were spotted wearing buttons in support of St. Jude this week.

 

Spirit Week had a successful return to Austin Prep, complete with themed dress down days and daily contests for both staff and students. Money raised this week through the sale of Spirit Week participatory bracelets benefited St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.  The mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment, with a commitment to no child being denied treatment based on race, religion or a family's ability to pay. We raised $5,800 in support of St. Jude. Well done, Austin Prep!

National Junior Honor Society Class Inducted

On March 1, the Austin Prep Chapter of the National Junior Honor Society held a virtual induction ceremony for 19 new members of the Chapter. You can view the program for the event by clicking here. As a part of that ceremony, inductees delivered reflections on the five pillars of the Society - scholarship, service, leadership, citizenship, and character.

This year's Inspirational Teacher Award was presented to Ms. Meghan Chapman, Mathematics Faculty by Andre Bashirians ‘26.

Parents of Admitted Students Welcomed to Campus by Staff and Students

admitted students
admitted students2

Austin Prep students served as panelists at the recent forums for parents of admitted students.

 

In March, Austin Prep wrapped up a series of six small forums for parents of admitted students. The forums, held in the dining hall with limited attendance in accordance with local guidelines, were opportunities for prospective parents to meet Head of School Dr. James Hickey and other members of the Austin Prep faculty and leadership team. Through these events, parents were able to learn more about the school’s important mission, which guides tradition, innovation, and the strategic vision. Separate events were held for the Upper School and Middle School. As in past years, the forums also provided parents an opportunity to hear from a special student panel, and an opportunity to meet other parents considering Austin Prep. We are grateful for all those parents who attended, as well as our student panelists who embodied our school values as they answered questions from parents.

Entrepreneur Ava Carter Featured in The Readings Magazine

ava carter

 

Austin Prep's Ava Carter '24, and her brother Trevor, were featured in the Spring 2021 edition of The Readings magazine. The siblings have been hard at work building a business and developing a new, unique product: a shower shoe that cleans and exfoliates the foot and ankle. Motivated by the show "Shark Tank," Ava and Trevor have conducted research and developed a prototype of the product, named Squeaky Clean Feet, which currently has a patent pending.

"Our idea has definitely come a long way, "Ava said in The Readings magazine. "When we began talking about the shoe, we didn't know how it was going to look. It's been an educational process along the way. It's been really cool to be a part of this."

You can access the entire edition of the Spring 2021 edition of The Readings Magazine here, with the story on Ava on pages 72 - 75.

Academic Decathlon Team Finishes 6th at State Finals 

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The Austin Prep Academic Decathlon team finished in sixth place at the 2021 Massachusetts Academic Decathlon State Finals conducted online on Saturday, March 6th. The team ended the contest with 24,401.8 points. This year's national Academic Decathlon theme was the Cold War.

Catherine Jalbert '22 and Victoria Withycombe '22 each won gold medals in the Interview competition with scores of 965/1000 and 905/1000 respectively. Victoria also won bronze medals in Speech and Science. Michelle Laferriere '23 was the highest scoring Austin Prep student in the competition, earning a total of 5,712 points. 

Austin Prep Celebrates Liturgy for Peace and Justice

Peace and Justice

Fr. Jorge Reyes, O.S.A., Director of Mission and Inclusion, presided over the Liturgy on Monday.

 

In light of tragedies impacting the Asian American community, and to ask for God's intercession to confront the evil of racism and violence, Austin Prep hosted a mass on Monday, March 22nd to celebrate a Liturgy for Peace and Justice.  Fr. Jorge Reyes, O.S.A., Director of Mission and Inclusion, presided over the Liturgy and Fr. Patrick Armano, School Chaplain, concelebrated.  The Liturgy took place in the Chapel of St. Augustine and was live streamed across campus for faculty, staff, and students, as well as for students learning remotely from home.  Because of social distancing, only a small delegation of students and staff were able to attend in person.  

The liturgy was held, in part, in response to the violence in Atlanta in which 8 people were murdered, most of whom were of Asian descent.  “As an Augustinian Catholic community, we are outraged and horrified by the loss of life and condemn all acts of violence and all acts of racism,” Head of School James Hickey, Ph.D. said. “Every act of racism and violence is a failure to acknowledge and respect that we are created in God’s image and that every human person has worth and dignity.”

Student lectors at the service included Faith Moran ’21, Brianna Fountain, ’21, Maddie Wakelin ’24 and Bella Conte ’24.

Stations of the Cross Tradition Continues

Entering Holy Week, Austin Prep continued the annual tradition in our community with the Stations of the Cross.  This year's Stations of the Cross, narrated by our own Mr. Roger Stone with an introduction from Dr. James Hickey, Head of School, included the following performers: Emerson Byrne '26, Sasha Callaway '23, Olivia Cann '23, Samantha Cecchini '23, Rachel Coons '24, Olivia Gedaminsky '24, Lyla Graichen '24, Jaya Gupta '24, Jared Hickey '24, Kylie McDonald '24, Imogen Moro '25, Maggie O'Brien '26, Abby O'Keefe '24, Lily O'Neill '23, Emma Simpson '23, Sophia Taylor '23, and Mikolena Zirpolo '24. You can watch the performance by clicking in the box above.

Students Interview Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Awardee 

Austin Prep celebrated Women's History Month in March, during which time we will recognized the contributions, achievements and influence of women on the history and culture of the United States and the world, but also locally and in the Austin Prep Community. TJ Dysart '21 and Marvin Twombley '21 interviewed Pamela Everhart, Senior Vice President at Fidelity Investments. Ms. Everhart recently won the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Pinnacle Award for her work in the community. We thank Ms. Everhart for the time spent with our students. You can watch the full interview above.


 

April

We are All Back!

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In April, our entire student body returned to campus for a modified in-person return to classes, and we celebrated our community being together again with an "Opening Day" theme. The full return of students was the culmination of months of hard work and planning by many within our School community, and we thank our students and parents for their patience, cooperation, and resiliency all along the way.  Despite the extra car and foot traffic, everything went well, and as noted, blessed are they who pull all the way forward.

School Community Creates Easter Baskets

easter baskets

Austin Prep students delivered Easter baskets to Saint Mary of the Assumption Parish in Lawrence.

 

This Easter, Austin Prep partnered with Saint Mary of the Assumption Parish in Lawrence. Saint Mary's was founded by the Augustinian Friars over 150 years ago, and the connections between that Parish and our school are roots that run deep. Fr. Jorge Reyes, O.S.A., Director of Mission and Inclusion, frequently celebrates Mass at Saint Mary and is involved in the life of the parish.

Students and faculty contributed vegetables, sides, themed paper products and lots of Easter candy for Meal and Egg Hunt Kit baskets to accompany a pork shoulder for each family's Easter meal. Members of the Austin Prep Chapter of the National Junior Honor Society sorted goods and then created 55 beautiful Easter baskets which were delivered to the parish the next day. The generosity of Austin Prep was so great that we were able to also fill the shelves of the Lazarus House Ministry Food Pantry in Lawrence as well. You can view photos from the entire process here.

This important community service project reflects the decision of the Austin Prep Chapters of the National Honor Society and National Junior Honor Society to focus on the topic of food insecurity this year through their readings, discussions, and service work. 

Grandparents' Day Celebrated with Virtual Mass

Although the state of Massachusetts continued to ease restrictions regarding large gatherings, Austin Prep remained vigilant and committed to keeping our community safe. With everyone’s safety in mind, we celebrated Grandparents' Day with a virtual mass. This is a very special day for our community and we know that our students are who they are as a result of the wonderful families they come from.

Rest assured, we look forward to hosting Grandparents' Day when it is completely safe to do so. Thank you again to all our grandparents for the impact you have had on all our students' lives. We look forward to hosting you when the opportunity allows.

Emma Kilbride '21 Essay Continues to Claim Honors

emma kilbride

 

Emma Kilbride's '21 piece “The Palimpsest of Anne,” continued to earn recognition, both regionally and nationally. Emma won a National Gold medal, which is the highest national honor that a work can receive from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. She also won the American Voices Medal for the Massachusetts region, designating her piece as the number one essay in the Commonwealth. You can read her essay here.

"My piece is about my relationship with my grandmother and how that relationship changed as her dementia progressed. I illustrate this through games of Scrabble played throughout my childhood, as playing the game was our favorite thing to do together. She passed away just weeks after I wrote this piece, so I hope that it will continue to be a loving tribute to her," Emma said.

Emma has always loved to read and write, starting as a young child and taking her to where she is today. Planning to study political science or gender studies in college, Emma still wants to study writing in some capacity once her Austin Prep journey comes to an end.

"There are so many wonderful English teachers at Austin Prep that have helped me along the way. I am very appreciative to them."

Giving Day a Success!

confetti

Co-hosts TJ Dystart '21 and Trustee Joey Carregal '05, set off confetti rockets with Head of School Dr. James Hickey upon completion of Wednesday night's Day of Giving telethon.

 

THANK YOU!!!  We are so incredibly thankful to everyone who supported us on Austin Prep's Day of Giving! The Austin Prep Community contributed over $200,000 to help support the Annual Fund. Your generosity this year will have an incredible impact as we raise the bar in support of the COVID-19 Relief Fund. The fund supports unanticipated technology requirements, teacher professional development, student support services, health and safety initiatives, and financial assistance to families in need.

Also, thank you to all those who tuned in to our first live streamed Day of Giving telethon in Austin Prep history, and in particular,  those who made the event an overwhelming success! Our production, technology, facilities, and development teams prepared for many weeks to host this event, and without their dedication and commitment, events such as this would not be possible.  We would also like to thank all our special guests who took the time to join us for the evening.  For a glimpse at some of the behind the scenes work that made the show a reality, click on the video below.

 

Austin Prep Chapter of National Honor Society Inducts New Members

NHS officers

Dr. Abbey Denaro '05, center, was the keynote speaker at the National Honor Society induction. She is pictured with NHS officers Ariana Clark '21, Emma Kilbride '21,  Kate Simpson '21, and Emily Pessina '21.

 

 

Forty-eight students were inducted into the National Honor Society. Inductees were in attendance in the Chapel of St. Augustine as the event was live streamed for family members to view from home. The program for the evening can be viewed here.

Mrs. Stephanie Choate, National Honor Society Moderator, led off the evening stating, "Like all things this year, this ceremony is much different than normal. I can definitely say that the absence of family and friends in the pews this year is palpable because while this night is about the accomplishments of the students sitting in the room, we cannot forget the people that supported you: your family, friends, teachers, coaches, staff and administration at Austin Prep. And while their absence is definitely felt tonight, I know that there are a lot of people beaming with pride as they watch this from home."

"Despite the obstacles Covid threw our way, the officers and other members of NHS worked tirelessly to still complete initiatives and make a difference," Choate added.

National Honor Society President Emma Kilbride '21 welcomed NHS Officers Emily Pessina '21, Ariana Clark '21 and Kate Simpson '21, who reflected on the four pillars of NHS: character, service, scholarship, and leadership. A fourth officer, Molly Dugan '21, was not in attendance.

In his remarks, Head of School James Hickey, Ph.D. made reference to the book The Road to Character by New York Times Columnist David Brooks. "Brooks argues there are two types of virtues, what he calls the resume virtues and the eulogy virtues," Dr. Hickey said. "Resume virtues are skills and achievements, such as high test scores, and workplace promotions that often lead to bigger bank accounts and public praise or recognition.  On the other side are eulogy virtues, the qualities of character...your humility, integrity, kindness, compassion, the love you have in your heart."

"Despite the adoration of resume virtues, we all know deep down inside at the core of our being, that eulogy virtues are what really matter," Dr. Hickey said.

The evening closed with remarks from Dr. Abbey Denaro '05, a National Honor Society member, who has also been inducted into the National Leadership Honor Society and the National Chiropractic Honor Society. She credits her experiences at Austin Prep as a tremendous launching pad for her extended studies and career success in the chiropractic field.

"So I challenge you tonight. I challenge you to start thinking about what it is you dream about. And I don’t care what it is – it doesn’t have to be anything exceptionally noteworthy, like winning the Nobel Peace Prize. But every little thing in your life that’s important to you. Excelling academically, achieving fitness goals, ranking higher in your athletics, making changes in your circle – whether that’s helping your family, helping your neighbors, community or if you have bigger picture," Denaro said.

"Our world is on the brink of some major changes. We need changes – all changes – big ones and small ones. And we need the people who are going to make those changes. "

Bramante Named Girls Varsity Basketball Coach

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Stephanie Bramante, pictured with Director of Athletics & Summer Programs Pat Driscoll '97 and Head of School Dr. James Hickey, was announced Thursday as Austin Prep's new Head Girls Varsity Basketball Coach.

 

 

Director of Athletics & Summer Programs Pat Driscoll '97 announced that Stephanie Bramante was named Austin Prep’s next Head Varsity Girls Basketball Coach. Bramante currently serves as the Administrative Assistant in the Athletics Department, and in the past served as the Head Junior Varsity Basketball Coach and Assistant Varsity Coach.

A four year varsity basketball player at Stoneham High School and team captain as a senior, Bramante had an outstanding prep career, winning the Middlesex League Championship during her 2012-2013 season.  She competed in showcase AAU tournaments across New England and was recruited to play at Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI.

While at Roger Williams, Bramante was a regular on the School's academic Dean’s List and was named to the RWU and conference All-Academic team in the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 seasons. She was named Team Defensive Player of the Year in 2017, and selected as a Co-Captain during her senior year. During her senior season, Roger Williams finished with a 15-3 conference and 23-6 overall record. competing in the Division III NCAA tournament in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania for just the second time in program history in March 2018.

Shortly after graduating from Roger Williams University, Stephanie accepted a graduate assistant position at Providence College working for Student-Athlete Services while obtaining her Master’s Degree in Education.

“It has been a pleasure to coach within the program for the past two years as the Head Junior Varsity Coach, and to now have this opportunity is such a dream come true. I am thankful for the people in my life who have mentored me and supported me throughout my basketball career to get me to where I am today," Bramante said.

Fr. Bryan Hehir Addresses Community as St. Augustine Lecturer

Hehir

 

Fr. Bryan Hehir, a Roman Catholic priest, theologian, and teacher of ethics, added perspective and context to Austin Prep’s shared theme for the 2020-21 academic year as this year’s St. Augustine Lecturer. The lecture was livestreamed April 26th across campus, with the Junior Class attending in person in Richard J. Meelia Hall. The event featured a welcome from School-Wide Student Body President TJ Dysart '21 and Head of School James Hickey, Ph.D., with members of the Junior Class participating in a question and answer segment with Fr. Hehir at the conclusion of his lecture. You can view photos from the lecture here.

The St. Augustine Lecture Series is a hallmark of the Austin Prep experience, designed to enrich the intellectual life of the school community by exposing students to accomplished individuals who share their experiences and lessons learned in life.

Fr. Hehir first provided historical roots and background to this year’s School theme, the words of Jesus from St. John’s Gospel, “I pray that they all may be one.”

“That phrase has stood before us, down through the centuries,” Fr. Hehir stated. “And because we are human and imperfect, unfortunately the phrase is still an aspiration. It’s what we hope to be. An aspiration, a mandate, a command, but unfulfilled.”

Fr. Hehir drew broader parallels by taking the school’s theme – a religious phrase – and relocating it to a secular setting, in this case, our own country. He referred to the traditional motto of the United States, E pluribus unim – Latin for “Out of many, one” – and how we use it as a beacon to guide us through difficulties we currently face, including challenges relating to race, immigration, ethnicity and religion.  

“Great ideas usually are so rich they are always a step ahead of us. We grow into them. We violate them, we get up, and we start again,” Fr. Hehir said. “Just like ‘I pray that they all may be one’ is an aspiration, E pluribus unim is also an aspiration."

Fr. Hehir also integrated the teachings of St. Augustine into his lecture. During the question and answer segment, Olivia Doherty ’22, asked Fr. Hehir a question about what steps a school, rooted in the teachings of St. Augustine, can take to achieve unity in a community. Fr. Hehir offered praise of Austin Prep’s patron saint.

“First, understand how important St. Augustine is in the Catholic tradition. So, as you learn from St. Augustine, you must know you are in very good company.”

Fr. Bryan Hehir is the Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor of the Practice of Religion and Public Life at the Harvard Kennedy School.  He is also the Secretary of Health and Social Services on the staff of Cardinal Sean O’Malley in the Archdiocese of Boston.  Previously he served on the faculty of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service (1984-92) and on the Harvard Divinity School faculty (1993-2001) including three years as the Chair of the HDS Executive Committee.  In the Archdiocese of Boston, Fr. Hehir represents Cardinal O’Malley on four social service agencies and also serves as a liaison to Catholic health systems in the Archdiocese.  His teaching, research and writing focus on ethics and foreign policy and the role of religion in world politics and in American society. 

Spring Sports Return

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Members of the Austin Prep Girls Lacrosse program at tryouts this spring.



Austin Prep officially started the spring athletics season in April after a long two years away. Coaches and student-athletes were excited to be back on fields of competition!   It was a welcome sight to see so many students, coaches and staff interacting together, and we appreciate the patience and support of all those who made this return to play possible in very unique circumstances.

Seniors Celebrate Prom

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As classes came to an end for seniors on April 30th and their 2020-21 academic year came to a close, the Class of 2021 celebrated Senior Week, which culminated with prom at the Lanam Club on April 29th. Our seniors provided student leadership for their younger peers throughout a difficult year, and their creativity, patience, and sense of community made it possible to promote activities and events that many schools were unable to offer. It may not have been the Senior Year that they expected, but trust that it provided our students with lasting memories.  


 

May

Final Weeks of School Filled with Adventure and Field Days on Campus

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The 8th Grade took part in a special Project Adventure Day on Thursday.

 

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As we transitioned into May, the Office of  Student Life facilitated activities to help engage classmates and build friendships. Students had opportunities to enjoy a full day of outside activities with their classmates and Trainers from Project Adventure. The students enjoyed playing dodgeball and kickball as part of the day, and also participated in numerous Project Adventure team building activities to round out their afternoon.  Additionally, students enjoyed class specific field days to close the year.

Spring Athletics Start Strong

Max Hampoian '23 celebrates at a boys lacrosse game. (Photo credit Brendan Carpenter '16)

 

Despite not playing for nearly two full years (as a result of the cancellation of the Spring 2020 sports season), our Spring teams didn't miss a beat. Austin Prep Varsity Baseball, Softball, Boys Lacrosse, Girls Lacrosse, Boys Tennis, Girls Tennis and Track and Field Teams accumulated a perfect 16-0 record to start the spring season. The Baseball Team received notable coverage in the Boston Globe and Boston Herald, and Girls Lacrosse's Kerri Finneran '25 was included as a Boston Globe Player of the Week. 

Class of 2021 Celebrated During Baccalaureate Liturgy

liturgy for class of 2021

 

Austin Prep celebrated a special Baccalaureate Liturgy for the Class of 2021 Friday, May 14th from Father Seymour Field. The special program allowed for the community, including faculty, staff, and parents of the graduates, to come together for Mass, culminating in the delivering of diplomas to members of the Class of 2021. A full program for the Baccalaureate Mass can be found here. Photos from the Baccalaureate Mass can be viewed by clicking here

Celebrant Most Rev. Robert P. Reed, DD, acknowledged the challenging times in which the senior class are entering the ranks as Austin Prep alumni. "We must make certain that the Austin Prep experience continues to open hearts and minds to repair society and this world in the name of Jesus Christ, who is always a light in the darkness, and our only hope."

Emma Ricciardelli '21, Class of 2021 Salutatorian, addressed the class, focusing on the student connections and faculty support that helped guide her on her Austin Prep Journey. “We have been taught to share many of the same values,” Emma said.  "Take the values that Austin Prep has given to you and bring them to your college campuses next fall. We will all be shaped by the people, friends, and professors that we are surrounded by, but remember that we all have the ability to shape those same people who are around us."

Class of 2021 Valedictorian, Faith Moran '21, noted that while each graduating senior followed their own path toward the end of their Austin Prep experience, the Class shared one commonality: navigating the global pandemic. “Despite the many disappointments Covid has brought, the pandemic exemplified our mission for unity here at Austin. As a community, we looked out for one another and made it our mission to make the most of our senior year,” Faith said. “The diplomas we will receive represent way more than simply meeting graduation requirements. They represent finding our way to the light despite all of the setbacks. They’re a reminder that we completed high school amidst a global pandemic. They are signs that we can achieve anything we set our minds to. There will always be hard times and goals we hope to achieve. Don’t forget how our Journey at Austin has prepared us for tackling these obstacles that lie ahead. "

Austin Prep’s Head of School, James Hickey, Ph.D. P’22, ’23, ’24, '27 made reference to the book The Road to Character by New York Times Columnist David Brooks. "Brooks argues there are two types of virtues, what he calls the resume virtues and the eulogy virtues," Dr. Hickey said. "Resume virtues are skills and achievements, such as high test scores, and workplace promotions that often lead to bigger bank accounts and public praise or recognition.  On the other side are eulogy virtues, the qualities of character...your humility, integrity, kindness, compassion, the love you have in your heart."

"Despite the adoration of resume virtues, we all know deep down inside at the core of our being, that eulogy virtues are what really matter," Dr. Hickey said. "As graduates of Austin Prep, formed in the Augustinian tradition, set on a pathway in the footsteps of Augustine, you are already living lives that place eulogy values first."

The event began with a welcome from Board of Trustees Chair, Daniel Bouchard, P’10, ’14, ’15, who congratulated the Class and reflected on the "unwritten curriculum" that has benefitted his own children as they carved a path for their own lives after they departed Austin Prep. Bouchard also noted that the Class of 2021 has been collectively awarded more than $17 million in scholarships to some of the top colleges and universities in the United States.

Emma ended her Salutatorian speech in unison with her classmates, as they recited a familiar phrase from their Austin Prep journey, perhaps for the last time together: "You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until it rests in You."

Memorial Scholarship Recipients Announced

Nyree Kourkounian '22 and Katrina Michalak '22 were among Memorial Scholarship recipients for the 2021-22 Academic Year.

 

Austin Prep announced Memorial Scholarship recipients for the 2021-2022 academic year.  Students in Grades 9-11 were eligible to apply for the awards and recipients demonstrated significant academic achievement and service contributions to the Austin Prep community, among other qualities. Memorial Scholarships are available to our students due to the generosity of Austin Prep families and friends who have created funds in memory of a loved one. We are proud of our students and grateful for the support of those who make these scholarships possible.

Virtual Art Showcase

virtual art show

 

For the second year in a row, the Art and Design Department put together a virtual art show to showcase student artwork from this year.  Click here to view the showWe are really proud of the work this year, and hope you enjoy!

Spring Arts Showcase

spring show

 

On May 21, the Arts at Austin Prep presented the annual Spring Arts Showcase. Our talented students took the stage as dancers, vocalists, and instrumentalists performing numbers from classic Broadway shows. It was another amazing exhibition of the artistic talent at Austin Prep. The event was live streamed for the entire School community to enjoy. Check out photos from the night here.

Austin Open Golf Tournament a Success

Varsity shot

Chris Gerety '22 and Max Hampoian '23 hit them long and straight all day on our Varsity Shot Hole.

 

 

After having missed the opportunity to host golfers within our school community in 2020, the 33rd Annual Austin Open Golf Tournament took place Monday, May 24, 2021 at Indian Ridge Golf Club in Andover, MA. The event was a great success as we raised over $80,000 and had a full-flight of golfers with a wait list!  Photos from the event can be found here.

Proceeds supported the COVID-19 Relief Fund, enabling Austin Prep to be proactive and responsive in dealing with the broad range of challenges stemming from the Coronavirus. Our goal has been simple: keep our students and faculty healthy and safe with minimal disruptions as they pursue the promise of a quality education, and provide financial assistance to families in need.

The Annual Golf Tournament is vital in our efforts to continue to provide exceptional educational experiences for all our students. A special thank you to alumni families for their 2021 Title Sponsorships: Pimentel Construction and Quirk Construction Corp., and to the Sullivan Team for donating their 50/50 raffle winnings back to Austin Prep.

Regis Paul Little Memorial Field Dedication

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Dan Little P'20, '22, '23 and Ernie '22 and Charlie '23 Little at the Field dedication. 

 

 

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The Little and O'Donnell families at the Field dedication.

 

A ceremony was held to dedicate the Regis Paul Little Memorial Field at the Lower Fields Athletics Complex. Members of the Austin Prep community joined the Little and O’Donnell families for the special event.

Class of 2021: A Final Farewell

class of 2021 bbq

 

On the Thursday before the Baccalaureate Liturgy for the Class of 2021, the Senior Class gathered for a BBQ and a last class photo, shown above with seniors in sweatshirts representing their college or university of choice.  We wish them the best of luck as their Journey continues. #AustinAlways.


 

 

June

Eighth Graders Come Together for Final Middle School Assembly

class of 2025

The Class of 2025 at the Final Middle School Assembly.

 

 

On Friday morning Head of School James Hickey, Ph.D.,  Head of Middle School Michael McLaughlin, and National Junior Honor Society officers welcomed eighth graders to Meelia Hall for the Final Middle School Assembly celebrating the Class of 2025. Families, friends, and Middle School community members were invited to view the assembly via livestream. Select students provided reflections on their Middle School Journey, and Saint Rita of Cascia Medals were distributed to the Class as each eighth grader was recognized.  The program for the event can be found hereand you can view photos here.

"As we head into the summer, and as each of you head to the Upper School, let us reflect on this (Gospel account of the Transfiguration) and permit me a moment to impart some advice that I pray will shape your continued Journey, " Mr. McLaughlin offered in his remarks to the Class. "Find a mountain where you can retreat to and reflect from as you search within to discover your purpose and the gifts to set it in motion. Take in the view - cherish the opportunity to see things from a different perspective and appreciate the full picture. Find friends who will be loyal and dependable, who will believe in you, who will love you both in times of trouble and moments of marvelous glory. Be open to finding the mentors and motivators in your classrooms, advisories, teams, and activities who will dialogue with you."

"Let us also delight in being together, especially as we emerge from the pandemic, and echo the words of Saint Peter: 'Lord, it is good that we are here.'"

Congratulations to the Class of 2025, and best of luck as you continue on with your journey.

Tuition Raffle Winner Announced

raffle winner

Dr. Hickey, with Susan Belanger, Assistant Head for Administration and Special Projects, phone Nicole Ouellette P'19, '25 with the good news.

 

 

Congratulations to Mrs. Nicole Ouellette P'19, '25, who was the winner of this year's Tuition Raffle! The winner was drawn and announced to the community via video livestream, which was followed by a phone call from Dr. James Hickey, Head of School, to Mrs. Ouellette. The raffle prize is a credit for up to the full tuition cost for one student for the 2020-2021 or 2021-2022 academic year. This year, all 250 Tuition Raffle tickets were sold! Thank you to our entire parent community for your continued support of Austin Prep, and to those who joined us on the webinar announcement.

Austin Prep Claims Five CCL Cup Titles Over Span of Two Days

CCL Blax
CCL Glax
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CCL Base

 

It was a remarkable stretch for Austin Prep Athletics as five teams took home Catholic Central League Cup Titles on June 15th and 16th. Girls Lacrosse led off Tuesday with a 14-11 victory at Bishop Feehan. Boys Lacrosse matched that win, overcoming Bishop Fenwick 12-5 at home. In the nightcap, Baseball took down St. Mary's 10-0. On Wednesday, both Girls and Boys Tennis earned CCL Cups with victories over Bishop Feehan. Congratulations to all our student-athletes and coaches on an incredible two days!

2020 Girls Hockey, Girls Indoor Track and Field Teams Presented with Head of School Medallion

Head of School Medallion

 

The 2020 MIAA Division 5 State Champion Austin Prep Girls Indoor Track and Field Team and the MIAA Division I Co-State Champion Austin Prep Girls Hockey Team were honored June 16th with the presentation of the Head of School Medallion, as well as state championship rings. Team members, family, faculty and staff were in attendance for the event.

The Austin Prep Girls Indoor Track and Field Team peaked at the right time in February 2020, capturing the MIAA Division 5 State Championship, followed by a second place finish in the MIAA All State Meet. The team was led by Lauren Sablone’s '20 string of strong individual performances in the 55-meter dash and the 300-meter dash at the MIAA Division 5, All State, and New England meets.

The Austin Prep Girls Hockey team was crowned the MIAA Division I Co-State Champion in March 2020 by the MIAA. The team advanced to the State Final at TD Garden after a thrilling 2-1 semi-final victory over Braintree, and was ultimately crowned Co-Champions by the MIAA Board of Directors after the state final games were cancelled as a result of the evolving conditions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. While disappointing, the team earned their second consecutive trip to TD Garden, after participating in the State Final in 2019. The team finished the 2020 season with a record of 21-1-2. 

"We are honoring champions today, and when we think of champions we often think about the day the championship was won," Director of Athletics Patrick Driscoll '97 said. "Too often, we don’t think about the 6:00 a.m. practices or the late nights at the Reggie Lewis Center, then coming home, doing homework, then doing it again, again, and again. As a result, you have added to the strong legacy of athletics at Austin Prep."

James Hickey, Ph.D. presented members of the teams with the Head of School Medallion, which recognizes members of the Austin Prep community who have exceeded expectations and achieved unparalleled results. A certificate presented to each team member read: "The Head of School Medallion is reserved for distinct occasions and rare moments to salute those who unquestionably exemplify Austin Prep's Augustinian values of veritasunitas, and caritas. The medallion, given at the discretion of the Head of School, symbolizes a fellowship of Austin Prep community members who, through personal or collective achievements, have strengthened Austin Prep's heritage."

The tradition of the Head of School Medallion began in 2018. The Girls Hockey and Girls Indoor Track and Field teams join the 2018 Baseball State Championship team, the 2019 Softball State Championship Team, and former Parents Association President Susan Ardizzoni P'19 as past recipients of the honor.

To view more photos from the event, click here.

Student Writers Highlighted in Tolle Lege

tolle lege 2021

 

Austin Prep's Literary magazine, Tolle Lege, encourages students to develop their talents in the arts and writing. Some of the contents include flash fiction, poetry, digital and traditional art and photography, student manifestos, short stories, and even an excerpt from a novel. To read the Spring 2021 Edition, click here!

Happy Retirement, Dr. Blewitt and Mr. Parrella

retirees

 

As the year came to a close, we said goodbye to two legendary figures in the Austin Prep community. The 2020-2021 academic year marked the final year at Austin Prep for Mr. Vincent Parrella and Dr. Maria Blewitt, who are retiring from teaching. Mr. Parrella served as a member of the English faculty at Austin Prep for 44 years, while Dr. Maria Blewitt served as a member of the science faculty for 18 years. We wish them the best in their retirement and thank them for their dedication to the Austin Prep community.

Enjoy the Rest of Summer!

We hope you enjoyed a look back at the 2020-2021 academic year, and we look forward to connecting with you again in the fall. Have a great summer!