Interview with Alexis, Class of 2019

Photo of Alexis sitting on the risers in Mrs. Cordio's room.


1.  Did you choose Sizer or did your parents? Why?

My mom chose Sizer because she said it was the best school around. She did research on the internet. I decided to come here after I heard all about it from her. I think it’s a great school. I was literally failing all of my classes before and here I was able to receive a lot of help and after school help that brought my grades up.

2.  What is your favorite subject and why?

Chorus. Why? Because Mrs. Cordio teaches us how to use our vocal chords and its pretty amazing what we can do with our voices. I’m also a song writer and like to mix different types of music and make my own. She gives me a place to do that and be creative.

3.  Who is your hero and why?

My uncle Julio. He’s a really special person. He is a professional boxer and lives in Puerto Rico. I was struggling and going through a hard time and he came here for me. He taught me about respecting others and taught me to look at my actions and where they lead. He tries to teach me what not to do. He checks in and calls me and gives me great advice. He is my mentor.

4.  Do you participate in any clubs, sports, etc?

Right now I participate in chorus because I love music. Other than that I am usually working or with my girlfriend or with my family.

5.  Is there anything you’d share with a student who is considering coming to Sizer School?

Sizer School helps me move closer to making my dreams a reality. This community helps each other. So, even if you think you have a small dream, people get excited with you and make it a big deal here. I’m doing a coat drive and this school is really helping me make it successful. I’d like to let people know that if they have a coat, any size, please pass it along so we can get it into the hands of someone who needs it.


Ms. Vazquez: Where would you like to take your picture?

Alexis: In Mrs. Cordio’s room.

Ms. Vazquez: Of course, I should have guessed.

Alexis: *smiles*

As interviews go there are times when a particular answer to a standard question allows us to stray in another direction with other questions. Alexis shared a very touching story with me about his father reaching out to him after a decade of no contact and asked for his forgiveness. Most teens and even most adults would have turned away, choosing to focus on the hurt that has been created. Alexis is not like most teens, he chose to forgive and let go of the hurt. He chose to forgive. That story in and of itself speaks to the strong moral character of this young man and proves that no matter where he chooses to go in life, so long as he does so with that same sense of community, the spirit of love and the act of forgiveness, he will be able to make all of his dreams a reality.



3D Printing for Every Student

All Sizer students have an account on the school’s network that allows them to print paper reports and other academic work – but starting next week, they’ll also have an account with the 3D printer in the Library.

The story of Sizer’s 3D printer started back in the fall of 2013 when Sizer agreed to pilot the use of a NVBOTS 3D printer designed specifically for school use. The device proved so popular that the following year we included a 3D printing as part of our 7th and 8th grade technology classes with Mr Aubuchon. The 8th graders made braille dog tags to supplement a unit in English on Helen Keller, and the 7th graders made bookmarks to go with a fairy tale assignment for English.

This year the creative use of this device continues, and is a source of interest for all classes. Our 7th graders are designing and printing small containers with lids that will be used their math classes to predict and measure volume.  The 9th graders will soon begin an interdisciplinary project on change and will have the choice to print 3D objects for this project.

Now that the school has integrated 3D printing into the curriculum, Mr. Sullivan has created accounts for each student. Next week when students get their passwords they will be able to upload their designs directly to the printer’s server, and will be approved by Ms Tarantino or Mr Aubuchon for printing.

Ms Tarantino will be working with Advisors to get every student their password.  All students should pay attention to the Friday Flash for tips each week on how to design for the printer. 



Why give every student an account with access to 3D printing?

We’ve decided to do this for a few reasons:

1.    A part of our school’s vision statement says we will, “do what it takes to inspire passionate, creative and life-long learners.” This is one way to help achieve that vision.

2.    Since receiving our first 3D printer in the fall of 2013, Sizer has always had a policy that any student can get an account for the 3D Printer if they take a few online lessons using Tinkercad, a free 3D design software service.  In the fall of 2014, we began including 3D printing as a part of our required Middle School Technology class.  At this point (January 2016) the majority of our 7th, 8th, and 9th graders have been introduced to designing for 3D printing and have used the printer in class.  We are now removing the requirement that students must take a few online lessons before being given an account.

3.    Over 13 years ago when our school opened, it was common for a student to be given an account that allowed them to print reports and academic work on two-dimensional paper with a laser printer.  We feel it is time to include three-dimensional work too.

Will students be able to print anything they want?

No, students will be able to upload anything they want to the print server, but from there a teacher (currently either Mr Aubuchon, the Technology teacher or Ms Tarantino, the Curriculum &Technology Integration Coach) will have to approve all items before printing.

Does the printer have to be used only for school work?

In general yes.  All print jobs must be part of classwork or Sizer clubs.  Classes at sizer offers students many opportunities for independent or group projects and clubs offers additional opportunities for students to design and print.

Will students be charged to print?

Not this year. We don’t know about future years.  The cost for the 3D printer and its supplies have been donated for the past two years.

Do students have to share their email or other private information to use the printer?

No. The student accounts do not require email to access and students are only allowed to upload designs to the print server. They are unable to chat or exchange information with other people on this server. It is very similar to the process of sending a print job to a regular laser printer at school. 


Happy Printing!


Recycled Rodeo at Sizer

If you happened to step into the atrium Thursday morning, you may have wondered what you were seeing! If you were here early, you saw an old trailer frame, some pieces that looked like junk, and some rolls of colored tape. As the morning progressed, and Ms. Clarke’s third and fourth period art students worked with a special guest, the materials started to transform into a rolling art piece.

The special guest was Jerry Beck, a Fitchburg resident who is the executive director of the Revolving Museum.  This is the second time Mr. Beck has collaborated with Sizer students on a special project. This type of artwork is part of the "Recyled Rodeo," which encourages students to turn recyled materials into creative art pieces. According to an interview with Mr. Beck from the Worcester Telegram and Gazette,

“There is a certain magic that happens when children are given the tools, encouragement and permission to create art...What we are helping kids to understand is that art isn’t just an object in a museum. Involving kids in art as a social practice is something we do to help them understand collaboration and expression and the power of art as an aesthetic process. This is really the cutting edge of how we can make an impact in our communities.”

By lunchtime, the assortment of odd items were unrecognizable, and many people passing through the atrium stopped to comment on what they were seeing, and how they were interpreting it.  When it was time to go, students wheeled the former trailer out the front door and put it on the trailer hitch on Mr. Beck’s car.  Perhaps you saw it as it passed through the streets of town, sun glittering off the material.

One of Ms. Clarke’s students reflected on the experience, saying it was different working on such a large project, and it was the first time he had worked on a piece with other people at the same time.  He did note the experience involved many senses-including “the potent smell of the tape.” He would be happy to have the opportunity to do it again– “it was a lot fun.”

For more information about Recyled Rodeo, click here to see the Worcester Telegram article.


Spreading Some TCA this Winter


Winter is a hectic time for everyone - but this year Sizer students and staff have taken a moment to remember how important it is to show appreciation, warmth, and care. The theme of the school's library, "How do we Care for Ourselves," is echoed in the activities and actions of our students. Some have organized a winter coat drive, while another group has started a food pantry for the Sizer community members. Our mission of THINK, CARE, and ACT couldn't be more clearly displayed than through these initiatives. In truly thinking and caring about ourselves and our surroundings, we are driven to action to make a difference. And, sometimes the act of helping someone else turns out to be the greatest form of self-care. 

On the glass window of the Library: "One way we care for ourselves is by looking out for others. When we help somebody, it helps us care for ouselves because it can help us feel good." 

Lindsey, and 11th grader, is an avid knitter and crocheter during Mrs. Calcaterra's loom arts SWOOP class. She is also a junior member of the Board of Directors for the organization Winter Warmers. This local non-profit helps people in need by giving away hand-made hats, scarves, and mittens for the coldest months. 

And while Lindsey is making her own items, the rest of the SWOOP class has also been working on a staggering number of loom-knitted hats that will be given away to people who need them. These hats will first be displayed on a decorated holiday tree at the Townsend Public Library and then donated to several local charities including Winter Warmers

Many different singers, dancers, and other performers came together during the Winter Benefit Concert, where guests were asked to bring in canned goods for the Sizer food pantry. The event was a huge success and they were able to collect enough supplies to stock our food pantry for the holidays. The students were passionate and dedicated their entire Saturday to be part of this event, organized by Ms. Vazquez.

For the Sizer students, our staff created a wonderful Giving "Tree" where staff and families could purchase holiday gifts for fellow families in need. Within a few hours of the tags being hung, all the names were taken by staff, parents, and students eager to help out a fellow Sizerite. And the Library staff even purchased scholastic books for each grade level, so that all students could pick out a new book for an extra holiday gift. 

Part of Sizer's Vision Statement asserts that "We do what it takes to inspire passionate, creative, and life-long learners who achieve personal greatness, are prepared for the future, and engage with and give back to the world." It is clear from all the wonderful initiatives happening this winter that our students are going above and beyond to make a lasting difference in this community. 


Interview with Matt, Class of 2018

Matt Marr, Class of 2018, will be going to Fitchburg State University next year to study Game Design. Matt has been a student at Sizer School since the seventh grade and in an interview with Ms. Craigen, described his seven year journey with Sizer.


Coming from Gardner Public Schools and homeschooling, Matt described himself as not being “very socially inclined” when he started in the middle of his seventh grade year. A friend had recommended Sizer to him and after doing a tour of the school, he was surprised by the smaller classroom settings and individualized attention that teachers were able to give the students. Soon after, he found himself falling in love with Sizer School’s mission and getting involved in multiple different activities at the school including athletics and after school programs.


Matt described his teachers at Sizer as “a good change” and attributed his abilities to overcome personal and emotional obstacles to his teachers and guidance counselors. It was in his two ninth grade years that Matt found his passion for singing and performing, participating in both Chorus and Sizer Theater Arts (SiTA). With his mother being a member of Sizer’s PTSO, he has volunteered for multiple events such as Open Mic Night, House of the Rising Starts, and spaghetti suppers.


In tenth grade he was persuaded by Mr. Prescott, Athletic Director and Cross Country Coach, to join the Cross Country team. Admittedly hesitant at first because of his distaste for exercising, Matt was surprised when he found a true passion for running.


“Mr. Prescott has said before that I’m the heart of the team. The truth is, he’s the one that really made me enthusiastic about running. One person that also made me happy to run and someone who inspired me to keep running is Julie Gambill [Class of 2016]. It has surprised me to notice it, but kids have started to look up to me as their role model too”.


After his first year of Cross Country, Matt also joined the Track and Field team alongside Coach Prescott. His advice to anyone is “Exercise is good for your physical and mental health! It will make you happier. Do it! Run! You’ll get better”. He plans to participate in Cross Country at Fitchburg State University in the Fall.


In addition to athletics, Matt successfully launched a Dungeons and Dragons after school club in the Winter of 2018 after multiple years of trial and error. He learned from his previous mistakes, adapted his approach, and started his senior year with optimism and positivity. With this and help from his peers and 12th grade teacher, Mrs. Sweeney, he created balance with academics and emotional stress; this allowed him to start this club after having tried three times before. Matt is passing the club leader responsibilities over to his peers and their intent is to continue meeting in the 2018-19 school year.


When asked what advice he would give to anyone who is considering coming to Sizer next year, he said, “We’re willing to help no matter where you come from and no matter what you’re background … we are always willing to help. We will be your shoulder to cry on if you need, your backup system if you’re having trouble with someone; but most importantly we are all your friends. And no matter what, we are here for you”.



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