Returning Back to CRLS a Second Time, on the Other Side


Lucy Messineo-Witt

Pictured: Ms. DiClemente ‘82 in her office.

Grace Austin, Contributing Writer

With a new wave of teachers and staff at CRLS, over 70 faculty members are alumni of the high school.

For some, the Cambridge public high school they attended was not Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, but was either the Cambridge Latin High School or Rindge Technical School.

The merge into CRLS occured in 1977. Learning Community R Dean of Students Maria DiClemente ’82 recollects, “My class went through the merger of the two schools, so there was some controversy about the name and many walkouts associated with this. I suppose this is similar to now, however for different reasons.”

While the merging of two schools was a major change, there have also been physical renovations and changes that have created a new atmosphere in the school. School Clerk Yemisi Oluwole ’85 remembers, “Physically, the building has gone through a major renovation that has changed the atmosphere of the school. The old school had a lot of character, but CRLS today shows color and vibrancy, creating a lot of positive energy.”

Additionally, several alumni observed that the demographics of the school have remained diverse. With a diverse community, economics teacher George Skelton ’09 believes that “students are more conscious of other people’s feelings” and “everyone is more inclusive.”

However, the socioeconomic diversity appears to have shrunk over the past several decades. To Learning Community S Dean of Students Jamalh Prince ’88, there is a more polarized student population in terms of socioeconomic status.

The new installation of Chromebooks to every student has also been a remarkable change to many alumni. Mr. Skelton exclaims, “The laptops for every student is a great change that I see.” The renovations and technology have made CRLS a notable school in terms of resource accessibility.

The old school had a lot of character, but CRLS today shows color and vibrancy, creating a lot of positive energy.”

When asked about why they returned to CRLS to work, the alumni had a variety of responses. Many noted that the welcoming environment was a major factor bringing them back.

Ms. Oluwole reflects, “I retired from corporate life and wanted to do something in tune with my values. This environment allowed me to be more myself.”

Science teacher Tobe Stomberg ’86 agrees that the supportive environment motivated her to return to her alma mater, recalling that “even though the job seemed rigorous and challenging, the climate of CRLS was a compelling reason to return.”

The terrorist attack on 9/11 brought Assistant Principal Bobby Tynes ’82 back to Cambridge from California. He states, “When 9/11 happened, I wanted to come back home to be with my family and to work with students from my own city. I was lucky enough, after applying to be a dean, to be chosen and hired to work right back where I started. It’s great to be here, and I love my job.”

Both Ms. DiClemente and Mr. Prince’s motives for coming back to Cambridge included the passion they had for helping others and giving back to their community. This mentality focused on fostering community was common among alumni.

Looking forward, alumni faculty have an optimistic view on what CRLS and the students it welcomes can become. Faculty have observed the physical changes at CRLS, as well as the capabilities of students, and have high hopes for what students can achieve. According to Mr. Tynes, “Tomorrow can only be great if the leaders of today commit to helping the leaders of tomorrow tap into their best selves, reach within, and develop their own visions of the future and of the world.”

This piece also appears in our September 2018 print edition.