Friday, April 12, 2024

More than 200 parents, alumni and even parents of alumni mingled in Kendall Square on Thursday for the Friends of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School’s second Annual Bash. (Photos: Jean Cummings)

More than $65,000 was raised Thursday at the Friends of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School’s second Annual Bash, “Celebrate our Students, Invest in Our Future” – $15,000 more than last year’s initial event celebrating the nonprofit’s 10th anniversary.

Radio personality Robin Young was host and auctioneer.

“A love fest for the high school, our many community supporters and supporters-to-be,” said FOCRLS executive director Elaine Shear of the evening, at which more than 200 parents, alumni and even parents of alumni mingled at Google social space in Kendall Square with high school student performers in the World Jazz Ensemble and two student-run a cappella groups, Girls Next Door and Pitches and Do’s.

Radio personality Robin Young was host and auctioneer. In addition to putting her trademark sparkle and even some sass into goading generous folks to up their bids, she moved the crowd by explaining her affinity for the school. A Cambridge resident since 1980, she said, her two great nephews – boys of color – were profoundly positively affected by the school. Zolan, now a Wall Street Journal reporter, she said, “wanted to do everything,” and CRLS was perfect for him; her other nephew was the opposite, and the school was perfect for him also, giving him the support he needed.

Zolan became famous – and, Young revealed, threatened – because he was in the class of the younger Boston bomber and expressed on air his shock that “their best friend” could do this. “[They] went through something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I truly think that the thing that got all of these kids through this was that school,” she said, her voice breaking, “and how proud they were.”

Young shared deep Cambridge and CRLS ties with all the speakers – Damon Smith, principal at the high school for six years, whose own children are in Cambridge public schools; Mayor Marc McGovern, a fourth-generation Cantabrigian whose children are also in the schools; and state Rep. Marjorie Decker, also with children in the schools, who went from being raised in Cambridge’s public housing to the youngest woman elected to the City Council. Each spoke about the richness of the schools’ diversity, and of the need to step up to level the playing field for students who have fewer resources at home.

The evening also celebrated two CRLS seniors who were able to travel to Ecuador and Galapagos this past February. The Friends awarded a total $13,000 to six students to make the trip possible, including “service learning by helping schoolchildren in an Ecuadorian community, and a journey into the wildlife wonders of the Galapagos,” according to the group’s website. Lorra Marseille and Isaiah Robinson introduced a slideshow from the trip and talked about the importance of the experience to their self-confidence. Robinson was the recipient of the group’s first long-distance travel expenses award.

Friends of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School was founded in 2006 as a nonprofit association with “the mission to develop, support, and enrich the academic and social development programs at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School and to support the alumni of CRLS and its predecessor schools.” FOCRLS funds grants, awards and scholarships to school staff and students to enhance student experiences and “open [their] eyes to ways their learning can be applied to solving problems on a local and global scale through the arts, humanities, technologies and sciences and through direct contact with cultures, politics, languages and environments.”

The group accepts donations year-round.