5 Things You Need To Know Today In Worcester - October 20

 by TWIW StaffOctober 20, 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 - Wednesday, October 20 - Worcester Public Schools kicks-off Coats for Kids 2021, Massachusetts students post the best ACT scores in the nation, Major Taylor Museum ribbon cutting scheduled, a free axe throwing open house this weekend at Far Shot and the Massachusetts Fire Marshall offers tips for Halloween fire safety.

Worcester Public Schools Coats for Kids Program Nears Kick-Off

Worcester Public Schools Coats for Kids Program will soon kick-off its campaign the school year. The program provides new winter outerwear to Worcester children in need.

Funding for the program comes through donations to the Worcester Educational Development Foundation [WEDF], the fiscal agent of the program. All donations are tax deductible.

See different ways you can support the program at the Coats for Kids website.

Student in Massachusetts Post Best ACT Scores in the U.S.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education announced on Tuesday, October 19, that students in Massachusetts led the nation in ACT store in 2021.

The ACT is a standardized test used for college admissions in the United States

Massachusetts 2021 public and private high school graduates who elected to take the ACT had an average composite score of 27.6 out of a possible 36. That score is up from an average composite score of 26 in 2020. The average composite score for public school graduates was 27.9.

The national average for public and private school students was 20.3, a slight decrease from last year’s 20.6. In addition, 70% of Massachusetts graduates met all four ACT college readiness benchmarks, up from 59% last year and above the national average of 25%.

Massachusetts students lead the nation in percentage of 2021 ACT test takers meeting the math (81%), science (79%) and reading (83%) benchmarks. Both Massachusetts and Connecticut test takers tied, with 81% meeting the English benchmark.

Both nationally and in Massachusetts, fewer graduating seniors took the ACT in 2021 than in 2020 or 2019. Nationally, the number of ACT test takers dropped 27% between 2019 and 2021. In Massachusetts, it dropped 64%, from 15,713 in 2019 to 5,676 in 2021. Approximately 7% of the Massachusetts class of 2021 took the ACT.

The majority of graduating seniors in Massachusetts historically take the SAT.

Major Taylor Museum Ribbon Cutting

The Major Taylor Museum, at the former Worcester County Courthouse at 2 Main Street, hosts a ribbon cutting ceremony at 8 AM on Friday, October 29, at 8 AM.

The museum is in honor of Marshall Walter "Major" Taylor, known as the Worcester Whirlwind, who was the first African American world champion cyclist in 1899 and the second black world champion in any sport. Taylor moved to Worcester in 1896.

The project is by Trinity Financial, developer of Courthouse Lofts.

Free Axe Throwing Open House in Worcester

Far Shot Worcester at 44 Front Street hosts an open house for its Grand Opening weekend on Friday, October 22 and Saturday, October 23 from 5 PM to 9 PM.

The events feature free axe throwing for those 12-years-old and up with coaching and all equipment provided. Far Shot will also be handing out prizes and giveaways.

Attendees must RSVP to participate.

Halloween Safety Tips from State Fire Marshall

With spooky season upon us, Massachusetts Fire Marshall Peter Ostroskey reminds parents and guardians of the number of different areas good safety practices are important for Halloween.

Trick or Treating

  • Smaller children should always be with an adult. It’s best to take little ones out early. If older children are going out without you, go over the ground rules first!
  • Know what neighborhoods they will be in.
  • Don’t allow them in areas with which you are not completely comfortable.
  • Have the children stay in a group.
  • Let them know what time to be home.
  • Give them a cell phone to use if necessary.
  • Use sidewalks.
  • Cross only at the corners, never dart out between parked cars.
  • Cover one side of the street at a time, no criss-crossing.
  • Never go inside someone’s home unless it is a friend’s.
  • Never accept a ride in a car.
  • Only approach houses where the outside lights are on as a signal of welcome.
  • Bring their bags home to be checked by an adult before eating a single treat.


  • Children should carry a flashlight and their costumes should be bright-colored or have reflective tape to highlight them.
  • Be sure all parts of the costume are labeled flame retardant.
  • Costumes should not have trailing material or tails long enough to cause falls.
  • Pointed objects such as swords and devils forks should be made of soft material.
  • If your child wears a mask instead of make-up on their face, double check that the eye holes are large enough to see through clearly.
  • Children should wear sturdy shoes and temperature appropriate clothing underneath their costumes.


  • Firecrackers, cherry bombs, and party poppers cause many injuries and fires on Halloween.
  • These are dangerous and should not be used by children, teens or adults. Besides the physical danger and the fire hazards involved, fireworks are illegal in Massachusetts.


  • Use a small flashlight or battery-operated candle in pumpkins instead of an open-flame candle.
  • Keep dried leaves and cornstalks away from all flames and heat sources.
  • Only use flame-proof crepe paper.

Checking Treats and Welcoming Trick-or-Treaters

  • Make sure your own home is well-lit and that there is a clear path to your door. Bicycles and lawn furniture can trip youngsters in the dark.
  • Throw out anything that appears tampered with, home-made foods or home-packaged foods unless you are certain of the source.
  • Inspect fruit closely and take away treats that may not be age appropriate.
  • Young children may choke on things like hard candy or peanuts.

Change Your Clocks, Check Your Alarms

  • Each year around Halloween, we turn the clocks back one hour. This is also a good time to check your smoke alarms.
  • This year, buy batteries along with your Halloween candy and on Sunday, November 1 change your clocks and check your smoke alarms.
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