A Four-Star Celebration at the Galvin
Re-dedication of the Galvin Middle School in Wakefield, Massachusetts
It was a night to celebrate, and on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014 hundreds of Wakefield residents filled Veterans Memorial Auditorium to join with town officials, members of the Galvin family, students and school administrators past and present to rededicate the new John Rogers Galvin Middle School.
After he formally greeted dignitaries in attendance, the first name spoken by Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio, who served as master of ceremonies, was that of the late John Encarnacao.
“No one worked harder for this building from its conception to its completion than John Encarnacao, our chairman of the Permanent Building Committee,” Maio said. “Unfortunately, John cannot be with us here today due to his recent passing. But he was able to see the school open and that gave him great joy and pride.”
Maio then called for a moment of silence for John Encarnacao.
Maio thanked the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), which funded approximately half of the $74 million cost of building the new school, before introducing MSBA Executive Director Jack McCarthy.
McCarthy praised construction firm Bond Brothers, design firm Tappe Associates and project manager Joslin, Lesser & Associates for doing “an unbelievable job” in building the new school. He said that projects like the Galvin reminded him that the reason citizens vote to raise their own taxes to build new schools is because of the children.
Brian Falvey, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said that the new Galvin was not just a school, but “a community asset.” Falvey spoke of the school and the new auditorium in particular as the seat of democratic processes like Town Meeting where projects like the Galvin Middle School are debated and decided.
“The gratitude goes to the people of Wakefield for using the democratic process in making this school a reality,” Falvey said.
Patrick Glynn, a selectman and chairman of the Galvin Middle School Advisory Committee, said that Saturday’s ceremony was “yet another example of how Wakefield is headed in the right direction. It is my sincere hope that this school provides the young students of Wakefield the foundation to build a first-class education.”
School Committee Chairman Christopher Callanan talked about the history of school buildings on the present Galvin site, dating back to his own days as a student. By constructing the new school, Callanan said, the town was “providing students with a foundation that was better and stronger than we had ourselves.”
School Superintendent Dr. Stephen Zrike spoke of Gen. John R. Galvin, for whom the school is named, as “a living legend, a decorated military hero from Wakefield who serves as a constant reminder to our youth as they walk through these hallways of character, service and courage.”
Speaking for Galvin students and staff, Zrike thanked the citizens of Wakefield “for providing us with the extraordinary edifice that will transform learning in our community. We will assure you that this was money well-spent.”
Frank Hayes, vice president of Bond Brothers Construction and a Wakefield resident, thanked his own team as well the designers and town officials. But he reserved his biggest thank you for the citizens of Wakefield.
“Progress like this is not possible unless it’s the will of the people,” Hayes said.
Joseph Bertrand, secretary of the Permanent Building Committee, noted that several individuals for whom spaces were named in the old school are having corresponding spaces named for them in the new school, including the Willard B. Atwell Wing, the Edna May Paulson Learning Commons and the Bernard Plansky Gymnasium.
Bertrand also announced that the new Athletic Field to be built near Main Street will be named for beloved former Galvin Principal Dr. Paula Mullen.
The cafeteria in new school, Bertrand observed, is named for former Galvin head custodian Mike Angelo who also coached countless kids in youth sports and photographed them for the Daily Item.
Finally, Bertrand announced the naming of the John B. Encarnacao Administrative Suite after the longtime selectman, School Committee member and chairman of the Permanent Building Committee who was a driving force behind the new Galvin project. Encarnacao passed away just over two weeks ago.
“So John, we’re almost done,” Bertrand said in one of the evening’s most poignant moments. “Thank you, my friend.”
Maio then introduced a video produced by WCAT and narrated by Mark Curley on the life of Four-Star General John R. Galvin who was born in 1929 and grew up in Wakefield, graduating from Wakefield High School in 1947. A graduate of West Point Military Academy, Galvin served two tours of duty in Vietnam. From June 1987 to June 1992, Gen. Galvin served as the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe and the Commander-in-Chief, United States European Command.
Maio introduced all four of Galvin’s daughters before calling upon Kathleen Galvin to say a few words.
Kathleen Galvin said that her father “so wishes that he could be here in person,” noting that her father took great pride in the new school and all of the people who made it possible. She read a letter of thanks from her father, which said in part, “I hope that every student who passes through the Galvin Middle School will be inspired and educated to, in the words of a great Army slogan, “Be all you can be.’”
Galvin Middle School Principal Mark Bedrosian introduced four Galvin Middle students, one from each grade. Galvin 5th grader Allida Kelleher, 6th grader Matthew Cunningham, 7th grader Melanie Benedetto and 8th grader George Rossi each spoke about aspects of General Galvin’s life and career as a soldier, author, educator and artist.
The evening featured music by the Wakefield High School Chamber singers under the direction of Ann Morel and the Wakefield High School Wind Ensemble under the direction of Thomas Bankert.
Following the formal ceremony, attendees were invited to collation in the Mike Angelo Cafeteria.
[This story originally appeared in the November 17, 2014 Wakefield Daily Item.]
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Tags: Allida Kelleher, Chris Callanan, dedication, Galvin Middle School, General John R. Galvin, Joe Bertrand, John Encarnacao, Kathleen Galvin, Mark Sardella, Massachusetts, Mike Angelo, Pat Glynn, re-dedication, schools, Steve Maio, Wakefield Daily Item, Wakefield MA