Updated: Nov 5, 2019
This article was taken from the Valley Dispatch and was written by Ms. Rebecca Duda and was published on January 26, 2017. Please visit this article and her award winning Lowell Sun blog here: http://blogs.lowellsun.com/history/.
"Each year one of the great joys of Christmas for me is to hear from former students. Sometimes they reach out while they are home on winter break from college others send cards, and others send emails excitedly sharing their current achievements in high school. Regardless of how long ago I had them as students or what path they chose after middle school, it is always wonderful to hear from them. This past Christmas was no different. I heard from several former students. One of them, Daniel Russell, told me of a new project he undertook with a fellow classmate, Bridget Provost, at Lowell Catholic High School this past school year.
While in their freshman year at Lowell Catholic High School, Daniel Russell and Bridget Provost felt inspired to organize a speakers’ series for the school. Their goal was to bring to the school a wide and varied group of leaders in different fields to the school. High school is a time for students to explore and learn about the world around them. Russell and Provost felt creating a speakers’ series would help expose students at Lowell Catholic to a diverse topics and fields of study.
So, the two students worked to organize speakers to come to Lowell Catholic in 2016. On March 9, 2016 the first leader to speak to the students at Lowell Catholic was Emmy award-winning Rob Nelson. Nelson spoke to the student body via Skype and discussed his work as a biologist, television personality and filmmaker. The program was a success and it was extremely well received by the students. Russell and Provost began looking for a second speaker for that year.
The second leader they invited to Lowell Catholic was Dr. Vanessa Kerry. Kerry is the founder and CEO of Seed Global Health who Provost met while attending the 2017 Egon Zehnder Leaders & Daughters conference in Boston. After reaching out to Kerry, she agreed to come to Lowell Catholic and be part of the speakers’ series. She spoke to the students in April 2017. Kerry’s talk focused on global health and what high schoolers can do to help. In addition, she talked to the students about what it is like to find what your passion is and that sometimes you have to make sacrifices to pursue it.
Russell and Provost decided after the success of these first two speakers to expand the program beyond Lowell Catholic High School. They wanted to reach the entire Lowell community and inspire others whether they attend Lowell Catholic or another school, to pursue their dreams. According to Russell, “After talking with multiple options for sponsors we started with the up and coming non-profit Made in Lowell and worked with its CEO Gabby Davis. We are now working with Gabby and UMass Lowell to find a venue and date for Congresswoman Niki Tsongas to come and give a talk on her life in public service. We are also working with people like Senator Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey, Governor Baker and more to plan future events!”
As I talk with Russell about the project, his enthusiasm is palpable. Being his former teacher, I can write with pride that he has become the high school student, and leader, I always knew he would. He has a very bright future in front of him and he is now leading by example by creating the Leaders in Lowell program and by building partnerships with fellow students, most notably Bridget Provost. Teamwork, collaboration, and leadership are all qualities which will serve them both well in the future.
I am excited to see who will be part of the 2018 Leaders in Lowell speakers’ series. I will be supporting their initiative by purchasing a sponsorship. I urge others to do the same. (https://www.leadersinlowell.org/sponsorship-opportunities).
However, I am even more excited for next Christmas and to hear about all the amazing things my former students accomplished in 2018."