Authors Posts by The Martha's Vineyard Times

The Martha's Vineyard Times

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The Martha’s Vineyard Bonsai Club wishes to thank all of the 348 people who came by the exhibit and voted for their favorite bonsai tree. The winner is Don Sibley with his beautiful 28-year-old Japanese Maple grown from seed. The runner up was Ernie Carlomagno from Donaroma’s Nursery with his beautiful very old, very large forest. It was nice to see that all of the following people who entered trees received votes, which proves that there is something for everyone at the Fair. They were Eric Turner, Carolyn Flynn, Vito Palermo, Dan Whiting, Betty Trider, Karen English, Marvin Rosenkrantz, and Rick Bayley.

Carolyn Flynn

Edgartown

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To the Editor:

I received a frantic call from a distant relative who sent me a card, only to have it returned by our lovely postal people as it was sent to my street address rather than my P.O. Box.  A common error, yes?

This lead me to major sadness wondering how many other letters, cards, etc. I never get.

How many out there think I am dead or gone — moved, who knows? I am reasonably certain there are others in West Tisbury (other towns too?) like me wondering too.

Why can’t this be fixed? Why do my UPS, FEDEX, my auto registration, and insurance papers all say Vineyard Haven? Vineyard Haven isn’t even a town, for crying out loud. It is an annex of Tisbury.

Forty-two years I’ve been in West Tisbury. I want my mail. Anyone else?

Frustrated in 2014.

Joanne Scott
West Tisbury

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To the Editor:

Enough already. It is high time that The Times stopped making its letters column available to the vaporous screeds of Peter Robb (Aug. 20, “Just plain tired”). Mr. Robb has no clue about how to construct a persuasive argument by offering verifiable evidence. Instead he trades in rank, unsupported, and insupportable assertion, sweeping generalization, and false claims. Ergo, “After nearly six years of the Obama presidency the evidence clearly suggests he is failing. His poll numbers continue to drop…He is mired in weekly scandals. He has grown the welfare state and imposed socialized medicine.” And on and on he continues in this vein. Mr. Robb purports to know what the majority of Americans want (smaller government, lower taxes, strong borders, a strong military, reducing the debt and transparency). He conveniently overlooks the fact that President Obama is what the majority of Americans want, having voted for him twice.

It is not my purpose to defend everything President Obama has done, or to claim he is holy perfection. But it is my purpose to remind The Times of its own statement about letters to the editor: “All letters are subject to editing for style, taste, sense, and conciseness…We publish most letters but not all. The editor chooses.”

Mr. Robb’s letters fail on these grounds. We’ve heard from him ad nauseam. The Times demeans itself by publishing this kind of drivel.

Nicholas W. Puner

West Tisbury

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To the Editor:

There would be no need to visit Lourdes to witness miracles if drivers would simply observe Handicapped Parking signs at the Vineyard Haven post office or at Cronig’s.

A.E. St-Germain

Vineyard Haven

At the Edgartown Bridge Club at the Howes House on Monday, August 18, 10 tables were in play.  North-South winners Paul Howes and Bill Cline, followed by Barbara Besse and David Sokol in second, Diana Dozier and Gerry Averill in third, and Sandy and Michael Lindheimer in fourth. Finishing in first place East-West were Mollie Whalen and Joe Ashcroft, followed by Molly Mattoon and Judy Cronig in second, Carol Whitmarsh and Sari Lipkin in third, and Linda Smith and Louise Reed in fourth.

At the Martha’s Vineyard Bridge Club on Tuesday, August 19, nine tables were in play for a club championship. Finishing first overall were Bea Phear and Nancy Neil, followed by Barbara Besse and Sandy Lindheimer in second, Barbara McLagan and Rich Alpert in third, Michael Lindheimer and Bob Iadicicco in fourth, and John O’Keefe and Andrew Jacknain in fifth.  Also placing in the North-South direction were Sari Lipkin and Carol Whitmarsh in second place, Gerry Averill and Anita Persson in third, and Eric Stricoff and Rhonda Cohen in fourth.

At the Island Bridge Club in West Tisbury on Thursday August 21, seven tables were in play. In the North-South direction Ed Russell and Deirdre Ling finished first, followed by Bob Henry and Barbara Besse in second, and Foster Osborne and Charlie Harff in third.  East-West winners were Sandy and Michael Lindheimer, followed by Gerry Averill and Pamela Furtsch in second, and Carol Whitmarsh and Sari Lipkin in third.

At the Bridge Club of Martha’s Vineyard on Saturday August 23, seven tables were in play.  Finishing first North-South were Duncan Walton and Ann Brown, followed by Eric Stricoff and Rhonda Cohen in second, and Charity Randolph and Calvin Bass in third. East-West winners were Brook Robards and Jim Kaplan, followed by Hester Boxill and Charleyne Roberts-Hayden in second, and Tillie Foster and Emily Robertson in third.

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To the Editor:

On Monday, August 18, I was driving down Edgartown/Vineyard Haven Road when my tire went flat and I pulled over. It was 5:30 pm. I made the call to have someone come fix it and was told that they had a three-hour window to arrive.

My son and I waited. Many people stopped to help but no one could get the bolts loose. We had been waiting about two hours when a woman named Kate Harris stopped on her way to work. She told me that her husband, Matt, was a mechanic who worked at Cars Unlimited and maybe he could help. She called him.

When Matt showed up, he couldn’t undo the bolts either, but he went home and got a metal tube to put over the wrench handle to gain more leverage and came back. Soon he had the tire changed and by 8:20 pm we were on our way. No other help came. When I called and told them that their help was no longer needed they said, “We still have 10 minutes before the three hours is up.” Yeah, thanks a lot.

Matt works at Cars Unlimited.

Thank you so much Matt for helping us. We appreciate your kindness so much. Thank you to Officer Edwards who stopped to help us. Thank you to all of the people and the biker who stopped and tried to get that darn tire off.

William, my son, couldn’t believe all the help that was offered. “You know, this would never happen where I come from,” he said. “We are lucky to live here.” We are very blessed to live on this beautiful Island.

Betsy Burmeister

Vineyard Haven

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Although last winter was particularly severe both in its cold and snow cover, many Vineyarders complained early this summer that there were more ticks than ever. This is intriguing because the proliferation of these pests in earlier years was often ascribed to relatively mild winters. There may be other examples of such dubious assumptions, which have led to flawed proposals for controlling ticks.

The apparent contradiction of received wisdom about the arachnids reminded me of a campaign last year to reduce their number by slashing the Vineyard’s deer population (MV Times,  Aug. 29, 2013, “Sam Telford from Tufts talks tough on ticks”; Vineyard Gazette, Jan. 31, 2013). Although the main advocate for drastically reducing or extirpating deer, Sam Telford, has made a strong argument for re-approving the vaccine against the disease, which became yet another victim of our litigious culture when it was withdrawn from the market after lawsuits, my experience suggests that his direct linkage between the number of deer and cases of Lyme disease is weaker, and is based on a failure to compare different eco-systems.

Here’s the current doctrine: the main vector for Lyme disease is deer ticks — that much is certainly true — as Mr. Telford says, up to 94 percent of female ticks have fed on deer. This is where I become suspicious for a couple of reasons. First, because of the words “up to,” which indicate that there is a range. The second is because the specific numbers of both ticks and deer in such diverse environments as wetland forests and grasslands, and most importantly the ratio between them, is essential to understanding the true significance of any numbers, and the factors behind them. Ninety-four percent of 100 ticks per acre with two deer would be utterly different, to take an extreme example, in its impact on humans, than 94 percent of 10,000 ticks per acre with one deer.

My reasons for suspecting that Mr. Telford’s conclusions are based on an incomplete analysis are founded on decades of life outdoors on the Vineyard. Here’s what I’ve noticed. When my family and I walk along mown paths in oak forests between Menemsha and the Brickyard in June and July, we almost invariably pick up a few deer ticks, despite the fact that we can see for considerable distances under the trees, and deer are usually absent or sparse. But after 20 years and tens of thousands of hours of yard work and thrashing through brush in a sassafras, beech, maple and tupelo (Beetlebung) forest in Aquinnah during the same months, we have yet to pick up a single tick, although deer are visible all day long in an area with far more places to hide.

Mr. Telford might be tempted to respond that these observations are just the anecdotal experiences of one man and his family, but I’d suggest that the difference has been too great and consistent over decades to be easily dismissed. It would be wiser to find the reasons behind the observations than to dismiss them. Here’s my hypothesis.

The abundance of deer and near absence of ticks in Aquinnah’s lush wetland forest, and abundance of ticks despite a lower number of deer in Chilmark’s dry oak forest suggest that the differences go deeper than the relationship between deer and their parasites. In fact, it suggests that it has something to do with the types of forest. One of the chief differences between them is that oak forests produce more starch in the form of acorns that squirrels can hoard, leaving plenty for other rodents such as white-footed mice, which serve as the hosts for immature deer ticks. The mice are a crucial carrier of the ticks, which thrive, even when there aren’t many deer, if the rodents are plentiful.

The evidence from our forest in Aquinnah also suggests that the contrary is true — that the ticks nearly disappear when there are plenty of deer, but few mice. This difference has been so flagrant in my experience that I think the common term for Ixodes scapularis, “deer tick”, is a misnomer, which misdirects attention towards the wrong animal, just because it is a bigger and more obvious target. The ticks should probably be renamed the “white-footed mouse tick,” “oak tick,” or “acorn tick.”

This brings me to the question of good versus bad solutions. Mr. Telford “makes no bones that his primary short-term objective is to significantly reduce the deer population on the Island” by killing them. Perhaps he should watch a TED talk by Alan Savory in which Mr. Savory says that his greatest regret is that he told African governments to cull ten of thousands of elephants in order to manage their reserves, causing the extermination of 40,000 elephants, although his analysis turned out to be backwards.

There are two better ways to reduce the number of Ixodes scapularis on the Island than unleashing a shooting-fest, one of which is so well-known that I was surprised that Mr. Telford did not mention it. It involves the use of tickicide-treated rollers at passive feeding stations for white-tailed deer. According to Cornell University, study after study (Carroll et al 2002, Pound et al 2000, Pound et al 2000b, Solberg et al 2003) has shown large reductions in tick populations following the use of such devices.

Another entirely compatible solution would be to favor vegetation that does not produce surplus starch for mice. I imagine that this solution would be preferable to people who would rather see a few trees removed from their views, than the disappearance of deer, which provide the countryside with much of its charm.

If I were a hunter, and I am indirectly, in the sense that I have allowed specific hunters to hunt on my land, I would also be opposed to Mr. Telford’s plan, since it would result in the rapid reduction of the very deer hunters enjoy stalking. It might be fun at first, but would end up destroying a pastime that many people enjoy.

One thing I agree on with Mr. Telford is that the problem of Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases is huge and must be addressed. The question is simply, how? The answer is probably to attack the problem in several ways at once. One way is to continue encouraging sustainable hunting, since it plays a positive role in maintaining the Island’s ecological balance. Another way that should be implemented simultaneously is to install feeding stations or salt licks with tickicide-treated rollers in oak forests and other infested environments. A third one is to favor vegetation that does not encourage the proliferation of mice and their ticks. The fourth way, which Mr. Telford and I agree on whole-heartedly, is to push for the re-approval or improvement of the vaccine.

In the meantime, we should be wary of listening to any calls to manage nature through destructive intervention or violence, since such approaches have caused enormous unintended consequences in the past.

Duncan Caldwell is a Fellow at theMarine and Paleobiological Research Institute of Vineyard Haven and a Lecturer in prehistory, Doctoral module, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris.

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To the Editor:

We had a record turnout and a high level of interest during the Fair at the M.V. Antique Power Museum, that included a just married couple with the bride in her wedding gown.

Many thanks to MV Times reporter Pat Waring for the interesting and accurate article (Aug. 21, “Power Museum is a Fairgrounds treasure”) and photographer Michael Cummo for the eye-catching photos.

The next event at the Antique Power Museum  will be the 27th annual engine and car show in conjunction with the Local Food Harvest Festival on October 4 (rain date Oct. 5). The Antique Power Museum is also open by appointment. For information, see us on Facebook, call 508-693-6039 or e-mail 2hartmanga@gmail.com.

George Hartman

West Tisbury

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Lily Lubin, left, and Anna Marques.

Wondering where your friends and classmates from the class of 2014 are headed? Check out our interactive map to see graduates all over the globe.

Salutatorian Barra Peak.

Salutatorian Barra Peak. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Barra Peak

Graduate of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School class of 2014

What elementary school did you go to?

Tisbury Elementary School.

Have you always lived on Martha’s Vineyard?

Yes.

What advice would you give yourself four years ago, when you were first entering high school?

Force yourself to go outside your comfort zone — just a little bit — and try new things. Really make an effort to meet new people.

What are you most excited about right now?

Living in a city where there’s all kinds of things going on all the time.

What did you enjoy most during your time in high school?

The classes. MVRHS has some awesome teachers, which means there are lots of really, interesting, engaging classes in all the disciplines. I learned a ton!

What are your plans for the future? (For the fall: college, internship, job, travel, program, etc.)

I’m starting at Harvard College this fall.

Did you have a mentor, teacher, or family member that helped you in a large way during high school?

My mom was extremely helpful and influential during high school. Not only did she provide support when I was struggling or frustrated, she taught me most of what I know about writing. She taught me how to edit. Having that at home made high school much easier.

Do you have any funny or embarrassing stories from high school or even elementary school that you wouldn’t mind sharing with us?

Unfortunately not. I was usually the quiet kid observing from the sidelines. Nothing exceptionally funny or embarrassing happened to me.

What has been a highlight of your summer so far?

Working at Camp Jabberwocky. I got roped in to be a counselor at the last minute (totally unplanned, at least by me) and it ended up being a great experience. I met a lot of really cool people.

If you are leaving, what will you miss most?

The water! And trees, and wind. Living in a city, I won’t have access to any of them.

Avery-Lazes.JPGAvery Lazes

Graduate of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School class of 2014

What elementary school did you go to?

Marthas Vineyard Public Charter School.

Have you always lived on MV?

I moved from Long Island New York when I was 4.

What advice would you give yourself four years ago, when you were first entering high school?

Focus on your academic classes but find electives that you enjoy so you can really enjoy going to school.

What are you most excited about right now?

I am currently most excited about two things. I’m a volunteering for my first time at camp jabberwocky and am having an incredible experience and I am also a month away from starting my first year at berklee college of music in Boston which I am also extremely excited about.

What did you enjoy most during your time in high school?

Without a doubt my favorite times in high school were my classes in the culinary arts department as well as the music department.

Did you have a mentor, teacher or family member that helped you in a large way during high school?

Lots of people helped me in high school but I’d say that the people that helped me the most while actually in school were Jack O’Malley (culinary arts teacher) and Mike Tinus (music teacher).

Charlotte Benjamin.

Charlotte Benjamin. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Charlotte Benjamin

Graduate of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School class of 2014

What elementary school did you go to?

I went to the Edgartown school until fourth grade and then moved to West Tisbury.

Have you always lived on MV?

Yes.

What advice would you give yourself four years ago, when you were first entering high school? (What tips would you give underclassmen?)

Popularity seemed so important my freshman year. I wish I hadn’t cared so much about what everyone else thought, I think it held me back socially. Also if you’re going to be late to school in the morning, you might as well go out to breakfast.

What are you most excited about right now?

Moving to New York City to go to college next month!

What did you enjoy most during your time in high school?

I had the opportunity to do a senior project in the last semester of my senior year. I wrote and recorded my own album and uploaded it to bandcamp and soundcloud. The senior project program at the high school gives you so much freedom to be creative and do something you love, I was surprised at how few students took advantage of it.

What are your plans for the future? (For the fall: college, internship, job, travel, program, etc.)

Marymount Manhattan College! Wooh!

Do you have any funny or embarrassing stories from high school or even elementary school that you wouldn’t mind sharing with us?

The Powderpuff games at the high school are usually pretty heavily attended. I remember going my freshman year and accidentally tripping over an upperclassman’s foot in the stands, stumbling, trying to catch my balance for about 30 feet and finally falling flat on my face. The worst part was everyone in the stands had a perfect view of the incident and there was a chorus of sympathetic ‘ooh’s’ all in perfect unison as soon as I hit the ground.

What has been a highlight of your summer so far?

I’ve been playing so much music this summer with Elijah Berlow and Zoe Zeeman. We’ve been doing gigs at bars and restaurants, even some private parties. It’s crazy to me that there are people that will give you money to do something you love with your friends.

Shane Metters, left, and father Garry Metters.

Shane Metters, left, and father Garry Metters. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Shane Metters

Graduate of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School class of 2014

What elementary school did you attend?

I went to the Tisbury School from kindergarten all the way to high school.

Have you always lived on the Vineyard?

I moved down to the Vineyard after spending the first few months of my life in my grandmother’s apartment in Bar Harbor Maine.

What advice would you give yourself four years ago, when you were first entering high school? (What tips would you give underclassmen?)

For advice, I would tell underclassmen to take in as much knowledge as they can while they’re still young and don’t be afraid to try something you may think could be a blast.

What are you most excited about right now?

At this very minute I’m most excited about finally getting this barge into Vineyard Haven after a long ride from Cuttyhunk. I’m also extremely happy to be moving on in my next chapter to see what life has to offer.

What did you enjoy most during your time in high school?

What I enjoyed most from high school was being around such a great group of kids who are all into something completely different from one another and to know that they supported each other even if they barely knew them.

What are your plans for the future? (For the fall: college, internship, job, travel, program, etc.)

For the future, in 2 weeks I’m headed to massachusetts maritime academy located right in Bourne to continue an education for my passion for the water.

Did you have a mentor, teacher or family member that helped you in a large way during high school?

John Packer has been a mentor to me since I was about 10 years old. He taught me how to operate heavy machinery and to handle barges in all types of situations.

What has been a highlight of your summer so far?

The highlight of my summer has been being around such great people who care for you in every which way. I have to say I’ll miss a lot of the faces I’m used to seeing everyday but am excited to meet new ones down the road.

Sam Permar was the master of ceremony.

Sam Permar

Graduate of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School class of 2014

What elementary school did you attend?

I went to the West Tisbury School from kindergarten until 5th grade, and the Oak Bluffs School for middle school.

Have you always lived on the Vineyard?

I’ve lived on the island since I was one year old- I was born in West Chester, PA, but my family moved here seventeen years ago.

What advice would you give yourself four years ago, when you were first entering high school?

I would tell myself four years ago not to try so hard to fit within a certain group of people- I think that the happiest people are those who are open to everyone. It took me a couple of years in high school to figure that out.

What did you enjoy most during your time in high school?

I enjoyed getting closer with different people every year due to the shifting classes and schedules each year. Every year, I met new people that I am still very close with. I might not have even met them if I didn’t encounter them in those classes or activities.

What are your plans for the future? (For the fall: college, internship, job, travel, program, etc.)

This fall, I’ll attend New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where I’ll be studying acting in the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, a studio that is based on Strasberg’s acting techniques. I’m incredibly excited to be going to Tisch- it’s been my dream since I knew what college was. My schedule includes acting training three days a week on a 9-5 schedule and academic classes on the remaining two days, and that is exactly what I want as a college student throughout the next four years. I’m also so thrilled to be living right in New York City, immersed in city life.

What tips would you give underclassmen?

My advice for underclassmen is that when thinking about colleges, it’s not just about how good you look on paper and what your GPA is- it’s also about who you are as a person and what you’ve experienced to get you to where you are now.

Lacerda-Teles-Geddis.JPGKeilla Geddis

Graduate of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School class of 2014

Which elementary school did you attend?

I went to the Charter School.

Have you always lived on the Vineyard?

Yes, I have always lived on MV.

What advice would you give yourself four years ago, when you were first entering high school?

The best advice I could give would be to take your time. Its always exciting to rush into being in the next year above. But then high school flies by fast and you end up missing it. And also be yourself, you’ll make your own friends without trying to act like someone else just ‘cause you look up to them. Enjoy your friends, and take advantage of the education you’re given. Because you’ll look back on it, and when you do you’ll want to appreciate it.

What are you most excited about right now?

Right now I’m most excited to start beauty school. I want to learn everything.

What did you enjoy most during your time in high school?

While I was in high school I really enjoyed being with my friends the most. I liked study halls, art class, and personal training.

What are your plans for the future? (For the fall: college, internship, job, travel, program, etc.)

My future plans right now are to get through beauty school, go to college in California. Possibly open up salon after a couple years. And major in interior decor.

Did you have a mentor, teacher or family member that helped you in a large way during high school?

I had a teacher,  Mrs. Norton. She helped me tremendously. And I could never thank her enough.

What has been a highlight of your summer so far?

The highlight of my summer so far I would say is just working and making money and modeling.

What will you miss most about Martha’s Vineyard?

What I will miss most when I leave is the beautiful summer setting. I love my island, it’s my home.

Lily Lubin, left, and Anna Marques.

Lily Lubin, left, and Anna Marques. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Lily Lubin

Graduate of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School class of 2014

What elementary school did you go to?

I went to the Charter School from 4th grade on. Before that, I moved around schools in Boston and Newton.

Have you always lived on MV?

No, I lived here until I was 5, then I moved to Boston for 3 years. I came back the summer before my 4th grade year.

What advice would you give yourself four years ago, when you were first entering high school? (What tips would you give underclassmen?)

I would tell myself to try different things, classes, sports, musicals, clubs. I definitely did sports and the musicals freshman year but clubs are fun and you get to find out what you like. Also talk to your teachers, reach out. It doesn’t matter if people think it’s weird you’re friends with a teacher, the teachers of MVRHS have had wonderful amazing lives, and it would be great to hear stories and learn from them outside of class.

What are you most excited about right now?

I’m really excited to go off to college in 2 weeks. It’s a big step and I’m moving (back) to Boston. After 9 years on the Vineyard, the change is going to be nice, but it’s still close to home.

What did you enjoy most during your time in high school?

I really loved talking to the teachers during breaks or before classes, you really got to know a lot about them and they’ve done lots of cool things. I think I spent more time this last year in Ms. Kurtz’s room than the cafeteria.

What are your plans for the future? (For the fall: college, internship, job, travel, program, etc.)

I’m going to Emerson College this fall to study Film. I want to be a director in the movie business. It’s a big dream but film is my passion and college is meant for you to learn what you love.

Did you have a mentor, teacher, or family member that helped you in a large way during high school?

I had a couple of teachers that really helped. Mr. Sawyer actually helped me discover my love for film and we could always chat about movies. Mr. Wilson was also very important, he helped me with assignments even after I moved up from his class. And Ms. Kurtz, I started Freshman year with her by my side as an Oompa- Loompa and we just became friends.( Those were the three people I had write my recommendation letter, you don’t have to say all three)

Do you have any funny or embarrassing stories from high school or even elementary school that you wouldn’t mind sharing with us?

Well I was awkward all throughout high school, so I have lots of stories. A favorite was when I was an Oompa Loompa in the Willy Wonka musical freshman year. During the teaser performance I had to do a cartwheel in front of the whole school and my wig fell off. There was silence and then I heard somebody yell “HER WIG FELL OFF.” Everyone started laughing, and I laughed too.

What has been a highlight of your summer so far?

I went to Disney World with my best friend Ina Thigith as a celebration for graduating. It was a great week and I love Disney so much.

If you are leaving, what will you miss most? Also, where is your favorite place to be on the island?

I’ll miss my teachers and mentors, my cat, my wonderfully vast movie collection (sadly I cannot bring them all with me.) And of course my family. I don’t have one favorite place on the island, but I love the outdoor tables at Mocha Motts. It’s always fun to get a Peach Iced Tea (ask for iced tea with peach syrup) and chat with a friend.

Jesse Herman

Graduate of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School class of 2014

What elementary school did you go to?

I went to Edgartown Elementary School

Have you always lived on MV?

My mother moved to Martha’s Vineyard from Brooklyn, NY when I was a baby because she thought I would have a better life here.

What advice would you give yourself four years ago, when you were first entering high school? (What tips would you give underclassmen?)

I would just tell them that anything that you do in high school will be dwarfed by your accomplishments as an adult or as a contributing member of society. Don’t take everything too seriously. There was a lot of ridiculous drama that in the end was meaningless and stupid. I hate to say it but by the time its all over is when you really figure everything out.  Work hard and get good grades, and remember its just high school.

What are you most excited about right now?

I am excited to move into my dorm and start college.

What did you enjoy most during your time in high school?

I enjoyed the friends I made and a lot of the teachers I had. There are some fantastic teachers at M.V.R.H.S

What are your plans for the future? (For the fall: college, internship, job, travel, program, etc.)

I am going to go to college at S.U.N.Y Albany in the fall.

What has been a highlight of your summer so far?

The highlight of my summer was seeing Derek Jeter play one last time at Yankee Stadium

If you are leaving, what will you miss most?

It will be hard to miss the island because it is part of what I am. I have lived in Edgartown for over 15 years. I carry that with me everywhere I go and I will never forget the places I used to hang out as a kid.

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Martha's Vineyard superintendent of schools James H. Weiss.

The Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools are ready to open for students on Thursday, September 4, after a busy summer of hiring, planning, and facilities projects.

Unlike last year, the superintendent’s office in Vineyard Haven is fully staffed and ready for opening day. At this point last year, we were still awaiting the selection and arrival of a new assistant superintendent, director of student support services, and early childhood coordinator. Thankfully, those positions were filled during the year with Matt D’Andrea as the assistant superintendent, Phil Campbell as the new director of student support services, and Midge Jacobs and Alecia Barnes sharing the early childhood duties.

The big changes this year are at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS), where we have an almost totally new leadership team. Leading MVRHS will be Gilbert Traverso, who comes to the Island from Springfield where he was the principal of the Putnam Academy. Joining Andrew Berry as an assistant principal will be long-time science teacher Elliott Bennett. The school’s new special education director is Nancy Dugan, who replaces Will Verbits. Nancy worked in Barnstable for many years and comes to the Island from Mashpee, where she served as assistant special education director. Finally, replacing Robert Drobneck as vocational director is Ty Hobbs, who traveled all the way from Alaska to head our vocational programs.

Guidance director Michael McCarthy and technology director Woody Filley will need to provide the historical perspective to their fellow teammates, based upon their many years of service to the students of the Vineyard.

Over the summer, we replaced roofs on the Tisbury and Chilmark Schools, moved several shared services programs to new locations, and did some renovations at the high school. We also purchased two new off-Island buses as well as several smaller special education buses. The process for replacing the superintendent’s office is moving forward with the selection of an owner’s project manager (OPM) and the investigation of various methods of construction – modular or stick-built, for example.

In the curriculum and instruction area, we are moving forward with the shift from MCAS to PARCC testing at the elementary level as well as the continued implementation of the new educator evaluation system. Elementary schools across the Island will all offer a full year of honors algebra to capable eighth graders, as well as pre-algebra to many more. This will have an impact upon the high school in years to come and is the result of many years of work. World language has also seen renewed emphasis at the elementary level with a more structured Spanish program. At the high school, Portuguese returns as an offering as we phase out German, and the nursing assistant program continues to grow into a full Chapter 74-approved program.

This year is special because in November there will be an election for the members of the Up-Island Regional School District school committee, which only happens every four years.

As I was preparing my comments for the opening convocation at the Performing Arts Center on September 2, I came across some interesting facts about the superintendent’s office that were researched a few years ago by Chris Baer, the high school’s art, technology, and design department chairman. These facts show how far we have come. Before 1895, each town on the Island not only had its own school, but its own superintendent. The first Island-wide superintendent of schools was Clifton Alden Snell of Edgartown, who served from 1895 to 1900. It is my pleasure to carry on that tradition and serve as the Island’s superintendent for my 10th year.

Superintendent James Weiss was hired to lead the Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools in 2005.