Get Ready For Friday’s HS Furniture ‘Give Away’ By Knowing The Rules Of The Road

Photo: It’s yours, that’s if you can carry it home.

On Friday, July 2, from 9 a.m. to noon, Belmont residents will have the opportunity to come to the Belmont High School building and take furniture that cannot be used in the new high school wing or other school or town buildings.

Over the past year, the Belmont School Administration and the Belmont Middle and High School Building Committee conducted a thorough inventory of furniture and equipment to determine what could be used in the new building and what needed to be replaced. All of these items, as well as teaching and administrative materials, will be moved to the Skip Viglorolo (The ‘Skip’) skating rink for storage during the summer while construction on the new high school wing is completed.

Next, other schools and town departments will have an opportunity to go through the high school building to identify surplus furniture that can be repurposed to meet their needs. Other school districts will also have an opportunity to tour the building and take fixtures, like lockers, that they need for their schools. (Actually, this is how Belmont acquired lockers as our student population grew.)

Finally, on Friday, July 2, just before the site is turned over to the contractor to be demolished to prepare the site for the 7-8 grade Middle School building, any remaining surplus furniture will be made available to Belmont residents. 

Surplus items, after the redistribution to other departments, could include:

  • student desks and chairs,
  • file cabinets,
  • round and rectangular tables,
  • office chairs, and
  • display cases.

So here are the rules of the road for this Friday!

  • All surplus furniture is free; no money is required or will be accepted.
  • Surplus furniture will be distributed on a “first come, first served” basis; items cannot be held for pick-up at a later time or date.
  • Participants are responsible for carrying items out of the building; movers will NOT be on site to assist.
  • This opportunity is only available on Friday, July 2; the district cannot accommodate alternative days or times.
  • During this event, building access will be restricted; available surplus furniture will be displayed in several first floor spaces; these days are not to be used for a final nostalgic tour of the building.

Belmont High’s Sarah Firth Takes Consecutive All-State Pole Vault Titles [VIDEO]

Photo: Belmont High’s Sarah Firth (third from left) and the other medalists at the 2021 MIAA All-State Track and Field meet (courtesy photo)

Despite a pandemic and a more than a two-year wait, Belmont High Senior Sarah Firth vaulted to consecutive MIAA All-State pole vault titles clearing 11-feet, 6-inches at the event held in Westborough on Wednesday, June 23. Firth’s victory came 747 days after she won her first state title jumping 11′ 9″ in June 2019. The 2020 outdoor track season was cancelled.

“I think having to wait so long to compete again made this victory extra sweet,” Firth told the Belmontonian.

Firth beat out Westborough High sophomore Melinda Haagensen who equaled the 11′ 6″ mark but Firth made the height on her first attempt. In fact, she cleared all her vaults on the first try.

Belmont High School’s Sarah Firth’s winning vault (11′ 6″) at the 2021 MIAA All-State Meet. (Courtesy video)

“The competition was the cleanest I’ve ever had. Even though I didn’t make a personal best at 12 feet like I wanted to, I didn’t miss any jumps the entire meet,” said Firth. “Overall, I felt the best I’ve felt all season. At the North Division 1 meet last week [she retained her 2019 sectional title with an 11 foot vault] I hadn’t jumped my best due to the heat and humidity. However, at All-States, every jump felt really light and springy, and I felt ready to go,” she said.

“There were a lot of people there, so I was also feeding off the crowd. The next two competitors, Haagensen and Megan Frazee [third place from Westford Academy], both had excellent days as well. It’s more fun to win when there are great competitors spurring you on,” she said.

“Although the second state meet was definitely a lot more stressful than the first because I had higher expectations for myself going in, it was still a great way to end the season. I’m glad I was able to finish my high school career on a high,” said Firth.

Unlike many high school athletes affected by COVID-19, Firth not only couldn’t compete, she lost a year of high-level training.

“The missed year definitely impacted me because I had to work to get back to where I had been sophomore year, instead of pushing forwards. I had qualified for the High School Indoor Nationals in 2020, but the meet was cancelled the night before due to COVID-19, and I wasn’t able to train regularly until about March of this year,” she said.

Belmont High School’s Sarah Firth at the Middlesex League Championships in 2021. (Courtesy photo)

Notwithstanding all the hurdles that stood before her, Firth said the past two years taught her that “hard work combined with passion can help you reach new heights, both literally and figuratively.”

Firth’s athletic career will continue in the coming academic year as she’ll take her skills on the runway and in the classroom four-and-a-half miles up the road to Tufts University where she’ll add running the 100-meter hurdles to her track resume.

“It was difficult to decide where to go school, especially since I wasn’t able to go on any visits to meet the teams and coaches or check out the facilities in person until after I had to commit. I also struggled for a long time to make the decision whether to do Division 1 or Division 3 sports, because all of the other schools looking at me were D1. Ultimately, however, I just felt most at home at Tufts, and I knew it was the right decision after I committed,” she said.

“I’m really excited to become a Jumbo next year, and to hopefully compete at NCAA Nationals!”


During Current Heat Wave, Beech Street Center Will Become Town’s ‘Cooling Center’


Due to the current period of high heat and humidity – New England is under a heat advisory with Heat Index Values between 98 and 104 degrees through Wednesday afternoon – the Town of Belmont encourages everyone to stay cool and hydrated and to check on elderly friends and neighbors while following good social distancing practices. 

The Beech St Center, 266 Beech St, will be open as a ‘Cooling Center’ today, Monday, June 28, until 4 p.m.

Seniors with questions about staying cool during this especially warm period are encouraged to contact the Beech Street Center by phone at 617-993-2970.

Please help Belmont save energy by reducing your electricity consumption between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. 

Reducing electricity consumption helps Belmont Light maintain a safe electric delivery system and ultimately saves you money on your bill.

Beginning Monday, Concord Ave. Undergoing Street Construction At New High School

Photo: An image from the Belmont Police Department of the impacted location

With the high school wing of the new Belmont Middle and High School just weeks from opening in September, construction will get underway on Monday, June 28 on the new intersection and completing the road work connected to the high school on Concord Avenue, according to Belmont Police.

Police are advising motorists to avoid this area if possible.

The work will focus on the intersection of Goden Street and Concord Avenue where the entrance/exit for the new building will be located, including installing a new set of traffic lights at the intersection and modifying the center traffic Island in the location.

Waverley VFW Post Bestow Scholarships To Belmont High Seniors

Photo: Chantal Dunn and Kenneth Teng with their scholarship certificates

A pair of Belmont High School 2021 graduates were named co-honorees of annual scholarship from Belmont’s Waverley VFW Post 1272.

Chantal Dunn and Kenneth Teng were presented the Post’s scholarship certicates by John Kuterbach, a life member of the VFW who served in Afghanistan and currently a member of the Post color guard.

Dunn and Teng wrote about their experience and achievements while at Belmont High.

“I will be attending Wesleyan University in the fall. During high school I performed with the Performing Arts Company and enjoyed dancing and acting in musicals such as Little Shop of Horrors,” said Dunn. “I also love to sing, and was an active part of groups like Chamber Singers, the Madrigals, and Senior a Cappella. Every spring, I was a varsity sprinter on the track team and this year I had the opportunity to be an Outdoor Track captain.”

“I spent many years involved with the music program. I played the saxophone and was lucky enough to be a part of the Marching Band for four years,” said Teng. “I also worked at the BASEC program at Burbank Elementary School as a teaching assistant and taught English lessons online to students in China. This fall, I will be attending Northeastern University. I greatly value my time at Belmont High School but I am also very excited to see what the future holds for me”.


Chenery Educator Zmijewski Lin Named Teacher Of The Year By National History Day

Photo: Suzanne Zmijewski Lim, Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award winner in the Junior Division (6th to 8th grades) by the National History Day Contest

When Suzanne Zmijewski Lim, an eighth-grade history educator at the Chenery Middle School, heard she was named the Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award winner in the Junior Division (6th to 8th grades) by the National History Day Contest, her first reaction was to burst into tears.

“The Zmijewski women are happy criers, and I was so honored to be chosen,” said Zmijewski Lim in an email interview with the Belmontonian.

The award is sponsored by Patricia Behring in recognition of the pivotal role teachers play in the lives of students. As the winner of this award, she will receive $10,000, according to a press release from the NHDC. Zmijewski Lim received the award during National History Day’s live-streamed National Contest Awards Ceremony on Saturday, June 19.

“I have put my heart and soul into History Day during my entire 26-year career (plus another year when I did my student teaching at Belmont High School), so I was grateful that my work was recognized in this way, especially in such a difficult year,” she said.

By studying history, students learn about cause and effect, how to have civil discourse, and how to evaluate and make arguments.

Suzanne Zmijewski Lim, Chenery Middle School

National History Day is a year-long interdisciplinary program focused on historical research, interpretation, and creative expression for students in grades 6-12. A student-led project by design, NHD asks students to conduct primary- and secondary-source research on a historical topic of their choosing and present their work through a documentary film, website, performance, paper, or exhibit. Students can compete at local, regional, state, and national levels with the opportunity to win prizes and recognition for themselves and their school. Approximately 6,000 students annually participate across the Commonwealth, sponsored in the state by the Massachusetts Historical Society.

With increasing demands are placed on the middle school curriculum in the past decade highlighted by an increased emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and advanced maths classes, Zmijewski Lin believes it is equally important to study history, as it helps people understand their world and their government.

“History is useful as middle school students develop their own identity and figure out how they can contribute to their community and nation. By studying history, students learn about cause and effect, how to have civil discourse, and how to evaluate and make arguments,” she said.

Zmijewski Lin said those Chenery students who seek academic challenges are drawn to the National History Day competition.

“While it is open to all 8th graders, I often invite students I know would love it or who would benefit from pushing themselves to learn new skills. A number of parents also contact me directly because they have heard of History Day and want their students involved. There is a lot of choices within History Day including topic, partners, and type of project, so students get excited about exploring subjects they are passionate about,” she noted.

As examples of students who tested themselves with NHD projects, Zmijewski Lin points to rising Belmont High School 9th graders Sam Geiger and Isabella Hu. 

“In addition to spending hours researching his topic ‘How Feminism in the 1920s Affected Fashion,’ Sam made a professional-looking website and was able to connect to his new sewing hobby by making a dress as part of his project. Isabella wrote an amazing paper on the use of spy satellites during the Cold War which went all the way to Nationals. Both of them really threw themselves into the project, learning and practicing many skills along the way,” she said.  

Zmijewski Lin’s work and passion for NHD was recognized by state and national colleagues.

“Sue is an exceptionally talented teacher, admired by colleagues, administration, and students alike,” said Dr. Elyssa Tardif, director of education at the Massachusetts Historical Society. “Her warmth and guidance are remembered by students years after they’ve left her classroom. In fact, one past NHD student wrote: ‘your class, as well as the whole NHD experience, helped me love learning and believe in myself more.’ Sue embodies the best of what NHD teachers can offer students, and we are incredibly proud to have her representing the entire NHD in Massachusetts program.”

And how will Zmijewski Lin use the award to promote history and NHD activities in Belmont schools? 

“That is a great question! I actually haven’t had a chance to catch my breath after hearing that I won the award, so I will have to think about that over the summer,” she said.

To learn more about how to get involved in NHD, visit

Town Cuts the Ribbon On DPW Renovation/Addition But Says It Will Be Back Within A Decade For A New Facility

Photo: The ribbon cutting at the DPW renovation and addition with Highway Division Director Mike Santoro doing the honors

After decades of “inhuman working conditions,” the day finally came that employees at the Department of Public Work have a place worthy of their hard work as the town officially opened the newly renovated building and addition which has been in operation for a couple of months.

“I really want to thank my building committee, they were just awesome,” said Ann Marie Mahoney, chair of the Belmont Police Department/Department of Public Works Building Committee which oversaw the renovation work at both the DPW and police headquarters since Town Meet approved the appropriation back in 2016.

But before residents feel content with the $1.6 million spent on the current project, it remains only a temporary fix as a new DPW facility – with a price tag in the range of $25-$30 million – is less than a decade a way as a complete renovation of the entire plant is just not cost effective.

“Wonderful as this is, I do want to remind people that the clock is ticking,” said Mahoney. “When we started, we said 10 years for a permeant building … so put that on your calendars.”

Mahoney also called out architect Ted Galante of THE GALANTE ARCHITECTURE STUDIO in Cambridge as the “creative genius” behind this relatively inexpensive project as well as the recently wrapped up renovation of the Belmont Police Department headquarters.

“I think the biggest challenge for this project was how do you invest in a building wisely but do it in a cost effective way, to provide the DPW with their needs so that it can be a much better place while knowing it will be replaced in a relatively short time,” said Galante.

After the ribbon was cut by Highway Division Director and 40-year DPW veteran Mike Santoro, the committee took a tour of the building which featured segregated facilities for male and female workers to shower, change, and take a break, a conference room while new bays for repairs and maintenance of the department’s vehicles have been installed.

The chief improvements for those who work out of the building “is it brings a sense of dignity to the place,” said Mahoney.

“When I started here all we had was a small area with lockers but no showers and the bathroom facilities were inadequate. We would take a curtain meant to clean the trucks and use it for privacy,” said John Sheridan, a 12-year veteran of the department. “Now we have that privacy; nice locker rooms, a nice kitchen. As you can see, it’s a world of difference.”

Belmont Town Day Set For A Late Summer Return

Photo: The return of Town Day is coming in September.

After a postponement and an expected delay, Belmont’s long-running Town Day celebration is returning to Belmont Center although a bit later than its usual time.

The Select Board voted on Monday, June 21 to approve a request by the Belmont Center Business Association to hold the 30th annual Belmont Town Day on Saturday, Sept. 4, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Leonard Street in the hub of the its business center.

Residents and visitors can expect the usual attractions: a dog contest (Belmont’s version of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show), kiddy rides, carnival games and food, a dunk tank, business and groups tables, food for sale and the like.

Due to Belmont’s austerity budget, town services such as police and fire details and DPW crews, will now be paid by the sponsors. Select Board member Mark Paolillo did ask if the business association would be responsible for cleaning up at the conclusion of the pony ride, which Town Administrator Patrice Garvin said they would be.

“Maybe they have been fertilizing the grass and that’s why it’s been growing really well,” said Paolillo.

No One Puts The Marauders In A Corner As Belmont High Grabs ‘GBH High School Quiz Show Championship On The Final Question [VIDEO]

Photo: The champion Belmont High School team winning the 12th edition of ‘GBH High School Quiz Show

In a thriller between last year’s finalists, Belmont High School overtook returning two-time winners Boston Latin on the final question of the match to eke out the most slender of victories, 1070-1060, to be crowned champions of the 12th season of GBH High School Quiz Show.

With Belmont trailing Latin by 10 points – 990 to 1,000 – the final question of the match asked by long-time host Billy Costa in the lightning round was which 1980s film does Patrick Swayze say ‘Nobody puts Baby in a corner”: Dirty Dancing or Sixteen Candles?

As viewers of a certain age were likely screaming “Dirty Dancing!!!!” at their televisions, computer screens or smartphones, the Belmont quartet punched in more collective right answers to pull ahead of the Latin squad to grab the championship at the buzzer.

Belmont was represented by four talented seniors: Tor Metelmann, Margo Danahy, Bennett Mohr and Nathan Sheffield.

In a tight match from the start, the two teams could never pull away from the other during the several segments – Toss-up Round, Head-to-Head, Category Round, and Lightning Round – of the quiz. But in the end, it was the strength of Belmont as a team that will bring the coveted High School Quiz Show trophy to the new trophy case in the high school wing of the Belmont Middle and High School when it opens in September.

High School Quiz Show is Boston public media producer GBH’s award-winning, fast-paced academic competition for Massachusetts high school students. Aside from Jeopardy!High School Quiz Show is the most popular academic quiz show on American television. 

Marauders Enter Spring Playoffs With A Pair Of Belmont Favorites At Division 1 North Track Championships

Photo: Belmont High athletes and teams are in playoff and championship action this weekend

A pair of Belmont High field performers and a powerhouse Marauder team will be headlining the return this weekend of sports tournaments and championship meets sponsored by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association.

Senior pole vaulter Sarah Firth will attempt to take the Division 1 North title while junior Sofia Hospodar has the co-longest triple jump in the division this outdoor season at 36-feet, 6-inches. Firth, who won both the All-State and New England titles in 2019, has the best height in the state of 11 feet, 6-inches. Firth will also run the 100-meter hurdles at the meet held in North Andover.

This season marks the return to the pitch of Belmont High Rugby, out to defend its 2019 Division 1 state title. The 4-0 Marauders is the second seed by way of a coin flip with fellow undefeated Milton, the two-time state Division 2 champions who were promoted into the top league this year.

Belmont will host three-seed Boston College High, whose only loss this season was to Belmont, in a semifinal match on Wednesday, June 23 at 6:30 p.m. on Harris Field.

Belmont Boys’ Lacrosse (5-7) will take on hosts North Attleborough High (6-7) in an 8-9 match-up on Friday, June 18 art 4 p.m., with the winner having the tall task of visiting first ranked Medfield High School (14-1) on Monday.

Belmont High Baseball, ranked 21 (3-8), will have a long trek on Friday, June 18, as they hike up to Haverhill to play 12th ranked Whittier Regional Vocational Tech (7-6) at 1 p.m.

Belmont Boys’ Tennis travels to Concord Carlisle at Noon, Friday, June 18, as the hosts, ranked 6th, will challenge number 11 Marauders.

In competition in the D1N meet completed on Thursday, June 17, Belmont junior Jackson Coelho took 4th in the 800 meters in 1-minute, 57.04 seconds while senior Colby Woo cleared 11-feet, 6-inches in the pole vault for 5th.

At the D1N outdoor track championship meet, Belmont Girls’ will be represented by seniors Leya El-Chanati (100, 200 and long jump); Isabel Burger (1 mile), Rachel November (400 hurdles), the 4×800 relay; while seniors Samantha Lim and Knar Krafian joins Firth in the 100 hurdles.