Last night we celebrated the Kendall Square Association's Third Thursday event co-sponsored and hosted by Google and the Community Charter School of Cambridge. As with nearly every Third Thursday event since our intrepid outreach and networking committee started this program last year, most all of us learned something new about our neighborhood and our neighbors.
I'm not sure if the draw was the talk by Steve Vinter of Google (and a member of the KSA board of directors) or the offer of Free Food and Drink with catering by Jules or the fact that it was literally just a block away, but we had our largest turnout to date with well over 100 people showing up, mingling and taking tours over the two building complex that makes up the CCSC.
I do have to say that the most exciting part of the night was meeting such an incredible group of young motivated High School students. Their robotics team showed off some neat bowling ball and tennis ball moving technology- most likely their response to being told, once too often, to clean up their floor - this Bot did it very well while being controlled by a computer.
Even more impressive, however, was Paula Evans Founder's Talk about the success of this intimate and engaging High School program. Every member of their first three graduating classes (2009-2011) gained college admissions and 95% of them are enrolled now in college and CCSC was one of only three schools in the state to have 100% of the 10th graders score proficient on the mandated MCAS tests. Let me repeat that statement by Paula, 100% OF THE GRADUATES WERE ACCEPTED AT COLLEGES.
Congratulations on an amazingly important feat. With so much emphasis around Kendall Square on STEM performance this group stands out! I'll add that after meeting a whole cross section of sophomores, juniors and seniors who joined us last night, I am not surprised. These folks help each other, are articulate and mutually supportive. Art projects adorned the halls and walls, printed certificates of completion and recognition were everywhere and they didn't look like the old school of every kid gets a complement - This guys and gals earned their place. A job well done.
Among the many local celebrities were spotted Joe Tulirmieri and Tracy Mercer of the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, a big supporter of all this activity here. Also helping out was Carolyn Goff of Eastern Bank, Committee co-chairs Lena Sharp of Alexandria Real Estate and Sarah Gallop representing MIT. The ever wonderful Walter Sullivan who is a community booster in his own right was there along with the better half of the Spiro Boys who is pictured with the business development team from Veolia Energy.
I was all prepared for my quarterly faceoff with Steve in my ongoing discussion over paperNpixels but Google has all these fascinating capabilities in their new products, Currents & Producer, so I simply enjoyed listening to additional methods of self publishing now available If you haven't heard, Google turned my android (and your ipad) into real-time, on-line curating, magazine tools. The fact that Steve has only physically carried around two books this year (loaners) and both he and my wife have large virtual libraries in their eReaders, made my all too heavy book bag weary shoulders jealous...'cept for the fact I've now got 3 books in my smartphone which I use for just about everything but phone calls.
My tour hosts Christy, Sara and Jose made sure I had many good photo opps as they proudly gave me a top to bottom tour of the place they work at from 8 to 4 and insured I was impressed with the space, activities and friends that populate the buildings. Future lawyers, social workers, business people- they've got their plans and dreams and i was glad to be included in their thoughtful conversations. Watch out world - here they come.