5 Things You Need to Know Today in Worcester – April 2

 by TWIW StaffApril 2, 2021

In today’s daily 5 Things You Need to Know feature, ThisWeekinWorcester.com explores five important items and stories that Worcester and Central Massachusetts residents should keep a close eye on.

These five things can cover a whole range of subjects and issues that we feel are pertinent to understanding what’s going on in the city and the cities and towns surrounding Worcester.

In today’s edition – Friday, April 2 - changes are made to the MCAS schedule and graduation requirements by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Holy Cross commencement address will feature a U.S. Ambassador, the Worcester Public Library celebrates National Poetry Month, Cornerstone Bank is accepting applications for scholarships, and Old Sturbridge Village raises the first new shop on its common in 50 years.


Changes to MCAS Schedule, Graduation Requirements

Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education [ESE] Jeffrey C. Riley announced Thursday, April 1, he will recommend to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education modifications to the state graduation requirements for the Class of 2022.

With the Board’s approval, the Commissioner’s recommendation will change the competency determination [CD] requirement in English language arts [ELA] and mathematics for students in the Class of 2022.

The result is the MCAS will no longer be required for current 11th graders.

ESE scheduled MCAS administration to open on May 3.

Current juniors and seniors may still take the test this spring to qualify for the Adams Scholarship and Koplik Certificate of Mastery. Juniors who do not participate this spring may test for scholarships during the retest period in fall 2021.

ESE will offer remote administration of the ELA, mathematics and science assessments this spring for grades 3 through 8 to accommodate families who elect remotely learning through the end of the school year. The Department will provide school districts with additional information in the coming weeks.


U.S. Ambassador to Deliver 2021 Holy Cross Commencement

The College of the Holy Cross will hold an in-person commencement ceremony for its 175th graduating class on Friday, May 21.

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations, will deliver the commencement address.

Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield, a career diplomat, returned to public service in February 2021 sworn into her new role by the Vice President of the United States. She had retired from a 35-year career with the U.S. Foreign Service in 2017.

From 2013 to 2017 she served as the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, where she led the bureau focused on the development and management of U.S. policy toward sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to this appointment, in 2012 and 2013, she served as Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources, leading a team in charge of the State Department’s 70,000-strong workforce.

Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield will receive an honorary degree during Commencement.

The College will also award honorary degrees to Dr. Michael Collins ’77, Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Reverend David Beckmann, one of the foremost U.S. advocates for people struggling with hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world, and Sister Donna Markham, president of Catholic Charities USA.


Worcester Public Library Celebrates National Poetry Month

The Worcester Public Library [WPL] celebrates National Poetry Month in April with two upcoming events.

On Wednesday, April 14, WPL and the City of Worcester’s Cultural Development Division hosts “A Writing Workshop with Worcester’s Poets Laureate,” at 7 PM.

Worcester Poets Laureate Juan Matos and Amina Mohammed will conduct a virtual poetry writing workshop for experienced poets and novices ages 16 and up. the Poets Laureate will share some of their works and guide attendees through creating their own poetry.

On Wednesday, April 21, WPL presents “Sisters Outsider: A Virtual Panel of Black Women Creating Poetry,” at 7 PM. Expect great verse and conversation with poets Rush Frazier, Tina Gaffney, Amina Mohammed, Xaulanda Thorpe and Ashley Wonder.

Information and registration for these events, as well as WPL poetry booklists, other links of interest, and poetry events from other organizations is available.


Cornerstone Bank to Award Sixteen Scholarships

Cornerstone Bank will award sixteen $2,000 scholarships to 2021 high school graduates in central Massachusetts. The bank hopes to help 2021 high school graduates throughout their community pursue higher education and foster advancement in the fields of business and finance.

Students selected for scholarship awards will demonstrate achievement in academics, extracurricular activities, and community involvement.

To apply, students must:

  • Be a 2021 high school graduate
  • Reside within 10 miles of a Cornerstone Bank branch or office
  • Anticipate being a full-time student at an accredited, degree-granting institution of higher education
  • Anticipate studying in a business or financial field
  • Demonstrate achievement and high standards in academics, extracurricular activities, and community involvement
  • Submit an official transcript and GPA from their guidance office

Applicants must also submit a one-page typed essay in response to one of the following questions:

1. Are there any challenges you have had to overcome in your high school career?


2. What are your goals for the future, and how will this scholarship assist you in meeting them?

Applications can be sent to [email protected], or mail to Cornerstone Bank Scholarship Committee: P.O. Box 370, Southbridge, MA, 01550. Selected recipients will bde announced by the week of May 24, 2021. For more information see the Cornerstone Bank website.


Old Sturbridge Village Raises New Shop on the Common

Old Sturbridge Village [OSV] raised the frame on a new cabinetmaking shop on Wednesday, March 31, 2021. This new structure will be the first addition in over fifty years to the Village’s Common and will be located south of the Meeting House.

The Village has employed both historic and modern building methods in the construction of the Cabinetmaking Shop, which is patterned after period structures operated by early nineteenth-century New England craftsmen.

The building will include a wood-burning stove, as did many free-standing shops of the period, and a small external woodshed, based on George Bradley’s shop in Newtown, Connecticut.

Costumed interpreters will construct the shop during the days that the Village is open; Campus Operations staff will continue the work on days when Old Sturbridge Village is closed.

YouTube video


Lead image courtesy: Old Sturbridge Village/Facebook

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