Archive for the ‘School’ Category

Grand College Tour 2012

Posted: August 28, 2012 in Family, School, Vacation

The boys did some great things this summer. Jake attended soccer camps both with John Smith Camps at Merrimack College and with Soccer Plus at Northfield-Mt. Hermon School. Josh participated in a six-week architecture program for high school Juniors at the Syracuse University Summer College and then spent a week as a volunteer at North Woods Camp.

But… What really capped off the summer was the “Grand College Tour of 2012” – 11 states, 10 colleges, 2500+ miles, and one Waffle House. Along the way, we threw in some fun too!

It all started in New York City. We left on Saturday morning, found our hotel, kicked around the city a bit, and then took the train to Yankee Stadium. We’d all been to the OLD stadium during its last season so it was fun to check out the NEW one. We were even treated to a flyover by the USAF Thunderbirds.

Since the Red Sox won, we think this may have been a plot to confuse Boston fans…

We also had a chance to check out the 9/11 memorial! We’d seen it from the outside before but this time we planned ahead and got passes to go inside.

The “college” part of GCT2012 got underway with a “drive by” at Cooper Union. No campus here, just a cool building or two. This is a pretty elite school and would be a stretch for Josh, but it was fun to check it out.

We got back to earth with a tour of the campus at Pratt Institute. A true campus within the city of New York was pretty cool. We enjoyed all of the art around the campus.

Next we were off to Philadelphia. We stayed in a great hotel right next to Independence Hall so we got to play tourists a bit on our arrival and later quenched our thirsts at Rotten Ralph’s.

In the evening, we celebrated Shawn’s birthday with a meal at Buddakan. Awesome asian food here in an upscale setting!

Next we visited Drexel University and had a nice chat with one of the Professors there about their unique program. Josh liked the urban setting and the proximity to the city.

Then we were off to Penn State. We toured the campus and had dinner at the Corner Room in the great town of State College followed by ice cream at the Berkey Creamery. We talked with the Architecture department and toured the studios. Josh was more impressed here than he expected!

The University of Virginia was next.  We strolled Charlottesville’s pedestrian areas, checked out the South Street Brewery, and enjoyed a nice dinner at the Blue Light Grill while being serenaded by the Mennonites.

We took the standard UVa campus tour and enjoyed the history and tradition. After that, we tried to sneak into the architecture building and happened upon the Dean of Architecture who set us up with a great tour of the facilities and information on the school. Josh was less impressed than he thought he’d be here.

Virginia Tech was added on the fly based on some feedback from other schools. We checked in at the visitor’s center and then took a self-guided tour of the camps and wandered our way through the architecture building.  Josh liked the campus a lot.

Next we arrived in Charlotte which was a much cooler city than we anticipated. We toured the downtown area and the “Music Factory” (including some great beers at VBGB) and were really pretty impressed. We even found a pizza parlor where we celebrated Jake’s 16th birthday with a ride on Muffin!! Later, we discovered TACOMAC and its great beer selection!

We found the University of North Carolina at Charlotte to be pretty impressive with it’s expansive recent construction. Clearly a growing school!  It’s large commuter population was a bit of a turn off though.

We checked in at North Carolina State next and found our way around the big campus. Some neat stuff going on in the architecture department here!

The Southern terminus of our trip was Clemson University in South Carolina. A great campus and a beautiful new architecture building but both mom and dad were happy to hear Josh say this seemed too far from home. We dined at the Pot Belly Deli before starting our drive back north.

We stopped for dinner in historic Fredericksburg and happened upon the Capital Ale House for a nice dinner before wearily pulling into Baltimore.

The next morning, it was back South a bit to the The University of Maryland. John and Josh managed to sneak into the locked and deserted architecture building for a bit of a tour and watched the traffic snarl as the freshmen moved into the dorms. Another campus that Josh seemed to really like.

We spent the rest of the day exploring the city of Baltimore. A nice lunch at Tír na nÓg, overlooking the harbor, was followed by a nap for the boys and a couple beers for mom and dad before heading to see Cirque du Soleil perform. Josh stopped for an iced mocha after that and that was followed by a traditional crab dinner at Captain James Crabhouse – a fun experience but we all agreed that lobsters are superior!!

Finally, on our way home the next morning, we made the ultimate stop… The Waffle House. We found the omelets quite fluffy and the waffles much to our liking!

That was our trip! We learned a lot along the way – about being a family in a car together for nine days, about college towns, about campuses, and about what Josh might and might not like about these schools.  And all the way, Jake was a good sport and maybe got some ideas of his own. For now, we’re happy to be staying home for Labor Day weekend.

2012 Prom Two

Posted: June 7, 2012 in Prom, School

As if one prom wasn’t enough, Josh attended the North Reading High School Senior Prom with his pal Becca. They gathered with several other couples at a friend’s house for pictures and preparations before jumping into the limo bus with a few close buddies…

They headed off to the Black Swan Country Club for an evening of dining and dancing. What happens at the prom stays at the prom but reports are that all had a good time before returning to town for the closely-chaperoned overnight post-party at another friend’s house.

Though the seniors took the day off, Josh, being a Junior, had to get up and make to to school the next morning. We’re pretty sure he thinks it was all worth it!

Joshua Honored

Posted: May 17, 2012 in School

On May 17, 2012, Joshua was inducted into the National Honor Society at his high school.

Josh wouldn’t totally let on, but we know he was pretty excited to be included.

Grams and Grampa were present along with the remainder of the immediate family.

We’re all very proud of Josh’s achievement!

Junior Prom 2012

Posted: April 28, 2012 in Prom, School

The story was not immediately forthcoming. It wasn’t till chatting with another parent that we heard about how Josh invited his date, Madison, to the Junior Prom. There was at least one balloon and some chocolate involved and clearly, it worked.

Josh and a buddy got dressed at our place and, looking quite sharp making Mom quite proud. They made the trip to a local country club where they’d meet up with friends and dates.

Maddie showed up shortly thereafter looking stunning in her flowery dress that waved in the cold breeze. Corsages were exchanged and Dad stepped in for just a moment to make things secure.

The girls in the colorful dresses radiated in the late afternoon sun!

The boys, as always, were just a bunch of knuckleheads.

But you put them together and… They look pretty darn good!

We took countless pictures to create an album that would rival your typical wedding before sending the happy couple off to the Hillview for the Grand March and the Prom itself. What happens at the Prom, stays at the Prom but… We heard they all had a good time.

Ragazzi Italiani

Posted: April 24, 2012 in Italy, School, Travel

Much like the trip that Josh made to Spain a couple of years back, our high school this year organized a trip to to Italy! This time, both Joshua and Jacob joined the crowd!

After an early morning luggage inspection, they piled on a bus into the city. They flew out of Boston via New York arriving in Milan the next morning for a brief tour.

After a bit of a stroll in the city, they’d board a luxury coach (bus) for travel to Venice where they’d complete their long first day.

The next day in Venice, they’d take a guided tour of the city including the Dodge’s Palace and the famous canals. They’d see a demonstration of the making of Murano Glass and Jake would crush St Mark’s Campanile.

The following day they’d move on to Florence where they’d see the Chiesa di Santa Croce and Ponte Vechio.

On the next day, they’d visit the mountain village of San Gimignano in the hills outside Florence.

It also happened to be Josh’s birthday!! We were thrilled to see that it was suitably celebrated and documented in the picture below we found on the principle’s blog.

The next day was on to Assisi and the Basilica of St. Francis under azure skies.


And then into Rome itself for The Vatican and St. Peter’s,  and then the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.


Here’s Josh and his pal Cristina at the top of the Spanish Steps.

The group would later enjoy a nighttime tour of Rome under the lights!

When they headed home at the end of their trip, they were tired but enriched by a great trip!

Winter Sports 2011-12

Posted: March 13, 2012 in School, Sports

The winter sports season kicked off with some extended fall sports!! After playing the last few years with Benfica as a defensive back and unused backup goalkeeper, Josh got the roll he wanted with a new club, Mass Premier Soccer. He made his debut as starting keeper with the MPS Knights at a Thanksgiving weekend showcase tournament. His team went three games without allowing a single goal! Nice start!

Jake made a debut of his own as he went out for the indoor track team at the high school. He made his first 300m appearance in December at North Andover. He was a bit nervous, having never competed in a track meet before, but quickly found his stride and performed like an old pro!

The wrestling season kicked off with Josh leaning out to move down a weight this year and compete at the 145lb class. He was pretty dominant (9-1) in most of the JV matches he wrestled and competitive (3-2) in the Varsity slots that he got.

Next to start was Jake’s indoor soccer season with the Black Hornets. They played at a new facility in Danvers this year on Saturday nights.The competition was a bit variable – a mix of pickup teams that were really no match for the Hornets and some club teams that were very competitive. It made for some good action and a lot of fun!

Gaining confidence in his abilities, Jake gave the 40yd dash a try at a JV meet – running quick enough to win his heat! A quick rest and he’d take off to win his 300m heat as well!

Josh scored his first Varsity points wrestling up at 152 against Malden Catholic. His first period pin even scored him a picture in the local newspaper!

Jake competed in the MSTCA statewide Freshman/Sophomore meet at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston. He had a pretty good day – first running a personal best in the 300m and then helping power the 4x400m relay team to a fifth place medal!

Josh and some pals from his club team joined up to form an indoor team competing at Soccer Etc. in Beverly. Seventeen year-olds playing on a hockey rink-sized field makes for a pretty fast game!

There were many more games and meets – mostly quite successful!!

Though Josh didn’t get to compete, his wrestling team made it to the State Dual Meet championship. After a bye in the first round, they drew the number one seed and eventual champion in their second round match and failed to advance further. But there was some fun and exciting action and it was a great year for the team!!

Finally, the winter season finished up in early March with the winter sports awards! Jake received a JV certificate for his efforts on the track team and Josh a varsity letter for wrestling!

We officially laid the season to rest with the March 13th wrestling banquet where Josh was recognized with an Ironman award for attendance, more apologies for his name being skipped at the sports night, and a little ribbing from his coach for finishing third place in the “Piggy Award” post-season weight gain contest!

Indoor soccer continues for several more weeks, but we’ve already had the first outdoor soccer games!!  Bring on the spring!!

Josh Feeds North Reading

Posted: November 11, 2011 in School

Josh and his buddy Erik were chairmen of the North Reading High School Student Council food drive held this October to benefit the North Reading Food Pantry.

They had a number of programs going on within the school including a contest where homerooms earned points for various food items and competed for a pizza lunch.

They spent one Saturday in front of the local supermarket handing out shopping lists of most needed items and asking shoppers to help “Fill the Cart” for the food pantry. This proved so successful that we had to quit when our vehicles filled up!

All the food was brought back to our garage where the guys counted and sorted it. With the help of a neighbor’s truck, we then delivered it all directly to the food pantry and helped to sort and store it!

A couple of other loads of food came directly from the school and, in the end, they collected nearly 5,000 food items!  Here’s the story from our local newspaper!

Way to go guys!