Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Cambridge’s City Council and School Committee hold a roundtable Monday to hear about Celebrate CRLS plans. (Photo: Marc Levy)

“Celebrate CRLS!”

That was the message delivered recently by a committee led by former Cambridge mayor Frank Duehay to a Nov. 15 joint meeting of the Cambridge City Council and School Committee at City Hall.

The roundtable meeting provided a forum for the committee to present plans to celebrate the completion of Cambridge Rindge & Latin School renovations, scheduled for September. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will mark the completion of the CRLS campus, which includes the renovated War Memorial building and Cambridge Public Library.

“This celebration is not just about the building,” said presenter Andy Farrar, secretary of the Celebrate CRLS Committee, “or about the creation of a sensational campus. It is about the people … the people who learn in, teach at and come to the Cambridge Rindge & Latin School.”

“CRLS was ranked 16th in 2009 of 161 schools profiled by Boston magazine and Babson College, and was ranked first in that year for its arts programs,” said Farrar, noting CRLS is the second-oldest public high school in the United States, after Boston Latin. “The graduation rate is over 97%, with a college acceptance rate of 89%. CRLS offers an outstanding occupational curriculum in the Rindge School of Technical Arts, as well as a broad range of Advanced Placement, college preparatory and honors classes. The school additionally supports 23 athletic teams and 45 clubs.

“This is a school on the move,” he said.

Celebrate CRLS is an initiative designed to involve and support of all of the constituencies — parents, students, staff, alumni, local institutions and the general community — associated with the high school in an extended celebration of the school and its achievements.

The Celebrate CRLS Committee, which has more than 50 members serving on either the steering, operational or advisory committees within the larger group, feels Cambridge is in a unique position, at a time when many communities are forced to reduce educational support and funding and when public education is under close scrutiny, to demonstrate its commitment to a diverse, dynamic and high-performing pubic high school.

The yearlong event being planned to celebrate the school intends to support and enhance the perception of CRLS by alumni, parents, local institutions and the community. The committee believes this experience can alter these groups’ long-term relationship with the school.

Seen as a “once in a generation” opportunity, events will honor current and former students and staff, welcome back alumni for social and supportive events, recognize the critical role parents play in school life and invite the Cambridge community into the school for an “up close and personal” introduction to CRLS.

The committee additionally hopes the process will “energize the entire Cambridge community,” including the business, academic and nonprofit sectors to support the only public high school in the city.

A calendar of planned events and a listing of the members of the committee can be found at the group’s website,

The committee welcomes volunteers to its advisory and operational committees. Information about the committees is available on the website, as well as specific needs that the committee has, such as help in public relations and event planning.

Other than the website, the committee can be reached by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling Ruby Pierce Donohue at (617) 492-4712.

Information can also be found on Facebook by searching “CRLS” and becoming a member of the Celebrate CRLS Group.