Chenery’s Soap Box Derby Club Impress In First-Ever Competition

Photo: The first ever Chenery Middle School Soap Box Derby Team.

The Chenery Middle School’s Soap Box Derby Team, led by Coach Leon Dyer, had a lot of fun on its first-ever competition in the Indoor Rally Race held in the parking garage of the Cambridgeside Galleria Mall the weekend of March 3. The team competed in the morning race on Sunday, March 4.

The team fared well in its first-ever event. Liam Mitchell came in 2nd (with Liam’s last race being a difference of .03 second), James Barmakian came in 5th and Ian Goentzel came in 8th (taking over the spot of Eamon Khan, a 7th grader who had to leave early).

The Chenery Team started almost a year ago taking a field trip in June 2017 to the Arlington Soap Box Derby Championship. After seeing that event, the group of students was sold in building a few cars. Over the past few months, Barmakian, Goentzel, Mitchell and Khan and coach Leon Dyer built four Super Stock Soap Box Derby cars in the Tech Ed classroom at Chenery Middle School.

Ryan Bauer, a Chenery 7th grader who has been participating in Soap Box Derby racing for roughly four years, served as the team’s racing advisor. He was first in his Stock division at the Cambridge race. Ryan was great at answering questions about the cars and competitions.

The team is planning to compete in one or two additional events before the Championship Race in Arlington on June 2. Moving forward, we are looking to add up to six additional cars to the fleet and a trailer giving a total of 8 to 10 students the opportunity to build, learn, race, and compete in Soap Box Derby.

If interested in sponsoring a Soap Box Derby Car, please email Dyer at

The Soap Box Derby is a youth soapbox car racing program which has been run in the United States since 1934. World Championship finals are held each July at Derby Downs in Akron, Ohio. Cars competing in this and related events are unpowered, relying completely upon gravity to move. There are three types of Soap Box Derby Cars. Stock, Super Stock, and Master’s Class.

A Musical For Today: BHS PAC Performing ‘9 To 5, The Musical’ March 22-24

Photo: The performance poster for “9 to 5, The Musical”

With the nation focused on the #MeToo and Time’s Up movement, country singer Dolly Parton said last month that now is a good time to remake her hit 1980’s film, “9 to 5,” one of the first to highlight sexual harassment of women in the workforce.

So it’s timely that the Belmont High School Performing Arts Company shines a light on a major social issue with its spring staging of Parton’s musical version of “9 to 5.” Based on the hit movie, “9 to 5, The Musical” features music and lyrics by Parton. It is upbeat, funny, full of great singing & dance numbers and delivers a message about empowerment that is relevant and important today.

“9 to 5, The Musical” will take place at Belmont High School’s auditorium on Thursday, and Friday, March 22 and 23 at 7 p.m. and two performances on Saturday, March 24, a matinee at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Tickets on sale online and at Champions in Belmont Center.
ADULTS: $15 in advance, $18 at the door
STUDENTS: $10 (Belmont High students get half-price tickets for Thursday’s performance)

According to Performing Arts Company’s award-winning Producer and Director Ezra Flam, selecting “9 to 5” occurred after talking to the students “and looking for a show that met all of these demands and felt like it would inspire and excite the cast/crew and artistic team.”

“I didn’t know anything about 9 to 5 other than that it was ‘the Dolly Parton’ musical, and I didn’t know of any other high schools that had done the show. However, after we did one of the songs from the show at Broadway Night [in the fall], I decided to give it a read. I was only halfway through the script when I knew this was the show for us,” said Flam.

“The heart of the show is a friendship between three women, which inspires all of them to find strength in themselves and in one another. The backdrop of the show is a musical comedy: the songs are fun, there’s lots of humor, and tons of dance,” said Flam.

“However, against that backdrop is also a serious look at gender inequality in the workplace. We have taken the opportunity to talk in rehearsal about gender discrimination, sexual harassment, fair labor practices and the ways in which the landscape has – and hasn’t – changed in the last 40 years. With the current national awareness about many of these issues, students have been able to make some meaningful and thoughtful connections between the events of the show, the modern world, and their own lives,” said Flam

“9 to 5: The Musical” is set in the late 1970s at the fictional Consolidated Industries. Three female employees – Violet, Judy, and Doralee – are tired of being overlooked, belittled and harassed by their boss. What starts out as a fantasy of getting rid of him turns into a comical reality when they end up kidnapping him by accident. The three women then take control of the office and institute a series of new policies, which increase employee morale and productivity.

The original movie, starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Parton, was made in 1980, and the musical adaptation was written in 2008. Besides the title song was written for the movie, the rest of the music was written by Parton for the musical.

“9 to 5” is appropriate for Middle School and older audience members. The show contains language and moments that may not be appropriate for younger audiences: parents may want to read a synopsis or watch the movie before deciding to bring young kids. Scenes depict sexual harassment, adult situations, and some adult language.

“This production showcases what the Performing Arts Company does best: give our actors and stage crew the chance to learn about theater by creating a fully realized production,” said Flam.

“As always, the singing and dancing are sure to be a real highlight. There’s a wonderfully fun sequence of scenes when the three main characters fantasize about getting rid of the boss which takes us from a jazzy noir-inspired dance to a rodeo hoedown to a live-action animated fairy-tale. The opening number of Act 2 features tap dance, and there’s much more fun choreography throughout,” said Flam.

“The music in this show is also a challenge for students, but once they have been meeting well. Many songs feature complicated vocal harmonies and the cast sounds strong. 13 student musicians have been rehearsing with Orchestra Director Margot Reavey and will help bring all of that music to life,” he said

“It’s also been fun for the tech crew to find a way to make the late 1970s feel bright and vibrant. We have pumped up some of the classic colors of the era to give it a bit of a pop feel, and the scenery, costumes, lighting, and props will definitely lend a fun vibe to the overall experience,” said Flam.

Blizzard To Blitz Belmont Tuesday, Causing Commuter Chaos During Whiteout Conditions

Photo: Good luck going out.

Near blizzard conditions will envelop Belmont beginning shortly before midnight and last for nearly 24 hours as a late winter nor’easter will sock the region with 10 to 18 inches of snow and sustained winds that could lead to power outages and tree damage to personal property.

The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning at noon, Monday, March 12 that would take effect from 11 p.m. Monday and last until 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 13. 

The service noted the near blizzard conditions in eastern Massachusetts will result in blowing and drifting snow. 

According to the NWS, a blizzard is a severe snowstorm characterized by strong sustained winds of at least 35 mph and lasting for a prolonged period of time, typically three hours or more.

The service said travel will be very difficult, especially during the Tuesday morning commute when snowfall rates of 1 to 3 inches per hour are possible. The Tuesday afternoon commute is also expected to be impacted. If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.

Belmont Tracksters Bring Home All-American Honors from Nationals

Photo: Flanked by Belmont High’s Boys’ (Bill Brotchie) and Girls’ (Brian Dunn) indoor track coaches are Belmont High’s All-Americans: (from left) Calvin Perkins, Max Serrano-Wu, Anoush Krafian, Emily Duffy and Soleil Tseng. 

In a week that saw Belmont High sports teams fall by the wayside seeking state championships, five Belmont High track athletes have come home from New York City as All-Americans after their performances in the New Balance National Indoor track meet held Friday through Sunday, March 9 – 11 at the New Balance Armory.

Senior Anoush Krafian took fifth in the girls’ pentathlon, less than a week after capturing the Massachusetts state pentathlon crown. Competing against the best in the country, the Dartmouth-bound multi-event athlete scored 3,392 points, edging out Chloe Royce from St. Lambe, Quebec, Canada (3,387) for fifth. She trailed the winner of the event, junior Anna Hall of Littleton, Colorado, who scored an impressive 4,054 points.

In the five events which were completed in six hours, Krafian placed sixth in the 60-meter hurdles (9.01 seconds, a PR), 11th in the shot put (27 feet, 4 1/2 inches), 6th in the long jump (17 feet, 4 inches), 4th in the high jump (despite being one of the shorter participants with a leap of 5 feet, 5 inches) and 10th in the 800 meter run (2:35.02).

Awarded All-American status were the four members of the mixed 4×400 meter relay, run for the first time at the meet. Seniors Max Serrano-Wu, Emily Duffy, and Calvin Perkins (who anchored in a scorching 48.23) joined sophomore Soleil Tseng in running the baton in 3 minutes, 38.73 seconds to come home in 6th place. The event was won by a team from Nansemond River, Suffolk, Virginia in 3:32.40. 

Belmont In Blizzard’s Sights: Numbers, Websites To Have On Hand For Nor’easter 3

Photo: Here it comes!

With the third nor’easter in the past two weeks barreling towards Belmont with forecasts of up to a foot-and-a-half of drifting snow and blizzard conditions, residents who were anticipating a day of Netflix and cooking could find their homes in the dark due to down power lines like so much of the Northern suburbs after last week’s storm.

Below are a few sites and phone numbers to keep close-by during the Belmont Blizzard “just in case.”

  • Call 911 only if the emergency is life-threatening.
  • If the power goes out, call Belmont Light’s notification number at 617-993-2800. You can see the location of outages in Belmont on a real-time map here.
  • A question about snowplowing on public streets? Call the DPW’s Highway Division 617-993-2690.
  • Everything you need to know about the storm and town resources can be found online at 
  • Get updates on all sorts of town information at the Belmont Police twitter page,, and at the Town Administrator’s site.

Central Catholic Defense Shuts Down Belmont Girls’ Hoops in North Sectional Finals

Photo: Senior co-captains (from left) Carly Christofori, Jenny Call and Greta Propp leaving the court after falling to Central Catholic, 43-35, in the Division 1 North Sectional finals.

When the buzzer sounded at the Tsongas Arena Saturday night, March 10, it was fitting that Belmont High Girls’ Basketball co-captains where standing united for a final time on a basketball court. But it wasn’t to celebrate a first-ever finals victory but to be joined in heartache as the three senior leaders – Jenny Call, Carly Christofori, and Greta Propp – headed off after Belmont (19-4) fell to an undermanned Central Catholic High School (21-2) squad, 43-35, in the Division 1 North Sectional finals held in Lowell.

The teammates, who first played together in the MIAA North semifinals as freshmen three years ago, attempted to put a brave face on the loss but tears began as their teammates attempted to comfort them after the trio came close once again – reaching the sectional finals as sophomores and semifinals as freshmen and juniors – to holding up a championship trophy.

For Christofori, the team she led from the point guard position showed what it was made of despite trailing throughout the 32 minutes.

“It’s really sad but knowing we put everything into it this whole season and we played to the end of the game, that showed something about our team,” said Christofori after the game. “If we lost, we lost together and we worked hard for the entire game.”

In a game that highlighted team defense, Central Catholic – which was missing two starters including its team leader injured the night before in its semifinals against Lowell High – targeted the heart of Belmont’s offense as its avenue to victory. In fact, sophomore Nadeshka Bridgewater (5 points), the Central Catholic player who had the greatest impact on the finals outcome, likely would not have been on the court if it wasn’t for starter Ava Bradley being on crutches.

Central Catholic’s Head Coach Casey Grange started the quick 5’2″ guard to do one thing; pester Christofori. And Bridgewater did just that, playing a tight man-to-man defense on Belmont’s senior point guard who found it difficult to execute the Marauders’ offense or to get off a shot either from distance or on the drive. The tactic accomplished its mission in spades; where Belmont was hitting an average of eight threes in the playoffs, Central Catholic held Belmont to just three from beyond the arc. And when Belmont came inside, Central Catholic would swarm inside the paint taking away Belmont’s drives from the outside.

“[Bridgewater] definitely made the difference in the game,” said Head Coach Melissa Hart.

“They knew they had to shut down Carly and they worked really hard to take her out of the game,” said Belmont’s Assistant Head Coach Steve Conley. “She’s the guts of the team.” 

In front of a pro-Raiders’ arena, the Raiders raced out to a 7-1 lead midway through the first quarter when Belmont responded, first with a three from junior Megan Tan (a Marauder high 9 points) then a tough two from Propp (6 points) to cut the lead to 7-6. A three from freshman Adrianna Niles (who scored 10 of her 11 points in the first) upped the Raiders’ lead to 12-8 before Belmont’s center Jess Giorgio (7 points to go along with 6 rebounds) hit a pair from the paint to tie the contest at 12 after one.

Central Catholic would use its physical defense to cause Belmont turnover problems and hold Belmont to two baskets (a mid-range jumper by sixth-man Jane Mahon (2 points) and a Tan drive) and open up the court as the Raiders’ Kaylee Thomas hit two from distance (six of her game-high 17 points) to build an eight-point lead, 24-16, at the half.

There was a glimmer of hope in the third when Call hit her trademark three-pointer – she ends her four years as the team’s career leader in threes – at the 7:00 mark followed by a pair by Propp from the free throw line and a spinning layup by Giorgio to keep the game close at 26-23 at 5:35. But a basket and a three from Thomas upped the Raiders’ lead to 31-23 midway through the quarter. But a Tan fast-break layup and a transition three by Christofori (her only points of the game) would see Belmont chopped the lead to five (33-28) entering the final eight minutes.

The final quarter turned out to be a march to the free throw line as Belmont committed its seventh foul early. After making two of four from the line, Central Catholic got the lead to six when the Marauders went on its final run of the game. Call drove and scored while being fouled to cut the lead to three, 34-31, then Propp was hit going up and made her free throws to cut Belmont’s deficit to one, 34-33, with five minutes to play.

But after that spurt, Belmont would be forced see the Raiders head to the free throw line on four consecutive trips down the court as the Raiders’ went 6 for 8 to increase the lead to 40-33 with a minute and a half remaining. A foul on Call resulted in Belmont cutting the lead to five, 40-35, but it came with 49.6 left. Needing the ball, Belmont fouled and while senior Maura Smith (2 points) missed a pair, Belmont could not capitalize on two trips down the court.

In the final quarter, Central Catholic scored all its 11 points from the line on 20 attempts, compared to the Marauders going to the charity stripe six times making five.

“They definitely earned it. They made up turn the ball over and got us out of our game,” said Hart. “And then, they made more baskets then we did.”

And while the past four years – which the Marauders have gone 66-26 in league and playoff play – has been a testament to the growth in the program, Hart lamented the five seniors – including Ally Shapazian and Kylie Rhone – couldn’t make an appointment to play for the Eastern Mass championship at the TD Boston Garden.

“Those seniors worked so hard all four years. It’s a shame it had to end here,” said Hart.

Belmont Girls’ Hoops Crush Woburn in Semis, Playing North Final Saturday at 6 PM


The latest edition of the Belmont vs Woburn girls basketball rivalry was less a grudge match – both teams winning at home during league play – than a straight up beat down as the Marauders thoroughly outplayed the number 1 seeded Tanners in the Division 1 North semifinals to walk off the court with a 58-47 victory on Thursday, March 8 at Burlington High School.

Belmont (19-3) will meet number 2 seed Central Catholic High School of Lawrence (21-2) in the North Sectional finals at 6 p.m. at Lowell’s Tsongas Arena after the Raiders defeated Lowell, 56-43, on Friday. 

Against Woburn, senior point guard Carly Christofori was her own highlight reel, barely missing a triple-double scoring 18 points (including four threes) to go along with 11 rebounds and 9 assists to quarterback the Marauders’ offense with the finesse of a veteran Middlesex League All-Star.  

“We played Woburn twice this year … and we end up [Middlesex League Liberty] co-champs. So when we heard we were playing them in the tournament, we were really excited for this game and pumped up because we knew we could compete against a bigger town and a big team like Woburn,” said the four-year starter who reaches her second North final on Saturday.

“Carly was immense, what can you say?” said Belmont Head Coach Melissa Hart. “Her shooting was so great, especially the threes. I don’t think she missed any tonight.”

While Belmont was impressive on the offensive side of the ball, it was the team’s half-court defensive scheme which was the game’s difference maker. After coming off an 83 point performance against Beverly, the Tanners found the Marauders’ match-up zone defense suffocating, allowing Woburn only single digits (5 in the first and 7 in the second) in the first two quarters.

“The kids were talking, moving and rebounding all night. Woburn didn’t have as good a shooting night as they sometimes have,” said Hart. “It was that our girls were right there all the time.”

Junior center Jess Giorgio gave Belmont a spark in the first quarter with four points in the paint, a pair of assists and a block in the first eight minutes.

“Before the game, the whole team was so excited to meet Woburn because we said the whole year that the real game was going to happen at the tournament,” said Giorgio.

Belmont blew the doors off the game in the second quarter. In the final 4:48, the Marauders outplayed the Tanners to the tune of a 16-2 run highlighted by a barrage of consecutive threes starting with senior Kylie Rhone, and followed by Christofori with the final two treys from junior guard Megan Tan (13 points to go with her 27 against Andover) the final bomb coming with 8 seconds remaining to give Belmont a 31-12 lead at the half.

If there is a bugaboo for Belmont teams in the past three playoff seasons, it’s been a tendency to come out flat in the third quarter and see a lead evaporate. But on Thursday, Belmont came out firing with Greta Propp powering for a layup for the first points in the half to push the lead up to 21, 33-12. For every Tanner basket, the Marauders had a response; Jenny Call hitting a three and Jane Mahon popping a mid-range jumper to keep the lead at 21, 38-17, midway through the quarter. A Christofori killer three off the dribble with 58.1 seconds remaining built Belmont’s lead to its largest margin of the game, 23 points (45-22) effectively putting the game in the Belmont win column.

The fourth quarter had a sense of inevitability of the outcome. Woburn would cut the lead to 13 – with the help of less than stellar free throw shooting by the Marauders which shot 6 for 20 from the charity stripe – and had a chance to bring it to 10 with 1:20 to go but missed free throws ended the mini-surge well short of troubling Hart or her team. When the buzzer sounded, Belmont took to the floor to celebrate. 

“We knew we could win and this just proves we belong in Division 1 with any team,” said Christofori. 

MBTA Commuter Rail Train Struck Man at Brighton Street Crossing


The MBTA Transit Police reported a man was hit by a Fitchburg-bound commuter rail train at the Brighton Street crossing at approximately 9:10 p.m. on Thursday, March 8.

The Transit Police, which has jurisdiction on MBTA property, said the man, believed to be in his 60s, suffered life-threatening injuries. Belmont Fire and Emergency Medical Service treated and transported the victim to an “area hospital.” 

While the incident is under investigation, foul play is not suspected. 

The Brighton Street crossing has seen its share of incidents including a man killed by a train in February 2009 and a woman seriously injured after her vehicle was caught between the gates in December 2016. 

Tripleheader Thursday: Belmont Hockey, Hoops Semifinals Crammed Into One Afternoon

Photo: Belmont v Woburn at Woburn. (credit: David Flanagan)

Blame it on the nor’easter. Besides nearly a foot of snow and an awful morning commute, the big spring snow storm has rearranged the MIAA playoff schedule to where three Belmont High sports teams will be playing nearly simultaneously on Thursday evening, March 8, making it a heartbreaking decision for fans and some families which games they can or can’t attend.

The big move creating this triple play of Belmont playoff action occurred Wednesday, March 7 when the MIAA, the governing board of interscholastic sports in Massachusetts, postponed a slew of hockey matches including the Division 1 North sectional semis between Belmont, 12-6-4, and Waltham, 15-5-2, to be held at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell due to the increasing severity of a coastal snow storm. The board moved the contest up a day to Thursday at 5:30 p.m. Belmont will seek to continue its inspired streak of victories including defeating defending Super 8 state champions Arlington, 3-2, on a last minute goal. The winner plays in the North finals on Wednesday, March 14 in Lowell.

The move by one day puts Belmont Hockey in direct competition for fans and attention with Belmont’s two basketball teams who are playing its own doubleheader. At the exact moment the puck is dropped in Lowell, tip off is scheduled for the grudge match between two of the best in the Division 1 North sectional as fourth-seed Belmont Girls’, 18-3, takes on number one Woburn, 19-12, taking place at Burlington High School. The game is the third between the Middlesex League rivals with each team winning at home and sharing the league title. The winner will play on Saturday, March 10 at Lowell’s Tsongas Arena.

Immediately after the game, fourth-ranked Belmont Boys’, 17-5, will also meet Woburn, at Burlington High with a 7:30 p.m. start. The eighth seed Tanners, 15-7, will attempt to break its winless streak this season against the Marauders, beaten at home, 69-67, and at Belmont, 85-57. Belmont has won 10 consecutive games and are one win away from playing at the Tsongas Arena for the Division 2 North title on Saturday, March 10.

Breaking: Belmont Parking Ban Begins 10 PM Wednesday; Trash Will Be Collected Thursday

Photo: Parking ban declared.

Due to the intensifying Nor’easter in eastern Massachusetts, Belmont will be under a Snow Emergency Parking Ban on all roadways and municipal and Belmont Public School parking lots beginning at 10 p.m., Wednesday, March 7, until further notice, according to Belmont Police and town officials.

All vehicles parked in violation of the ban will be towed at the owner’s expense.

Trash and recycling will be picked up as scheduled on Thursday, March 8.

If you have any questions please call 617-993-2698.