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Spanish class at South Boston Catholic Academy is much more than learning the Spanish language, it is also about exposing the children to different Hispanic cultures, showing them how the Spanish varies from one region to another and from one country to another and colorful traditions, games and festivities that occur in Hispanic countries, children learn the differences we have between countries and the similarities we have between people.  Children learn the names of the parts of the body by playing Loteria (Mexican bingo) and traditions such as All Souls Day, in Mexico it is dia de los muertos (Day of the Dead) held on November 1 and 2 with food, music and altars.  This is done in honor and memory of loved ones.  Our students enjoy learning about the many wonderful customs and traditions, as well as, learning to speak and understand the Spanish language.

South Boston Catholic Academy is an academically rigorous, supportive Catholic Elementary School Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEAS&C).  South Boston Catholic Academy (www.SBCatholicAcademy.org) is currently accepting applications for all classes PreK-Grade 6.  We have Before School and After School Programs available and have small class size; high acceptance rate to Parochial, Private and Boston Exam Schools.  Please contact: Mrs. Barbara Keohane with any questions or for a tour of the School at b.keohane@sbcatholicacademy.org or phone 617-268-2326 for more information.

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The first annual Stephanie Uftring Memorial Scholarship Walk took place on Saturday, November 5. Over one hundred walkers showed up at the Columbia Yacht Club to participate in this event while honoring the memory of this lovely lady.

Stephanie Uftring was a lifelong South Boston resident who lost her battle to Colon Cancer in 2014. She was only 48 years old. She grew up in Boston Housing and was proud of her upbringing. She attended Saint Augustine Grammar School, Sacred Heart High School, and Johnson and Wales College. Education was important to her. Stephanie worked hard during the day and as a waitress at night. She always had a smile on her face and became well-known for calling her beloved customers “Lovey.” Stephanie was the vice-president of the Irish American Society and volunteered for many community endeavors. Helping others was one of her top priorities in life.

“This is a wonderful tribute to someone who lost her battle with Colon Cancer at the age of 48,” said Cheryl Flaherty, a dear friend and scholarship organizer. “This memorial scholarship fund was established in her name to give back to the community she loved so much. This is a wonderful tribute to someone who is truly missed by her family and friends. She would be very pleased with the turnout on Saturday (November 5) in her honor and thrilled to see funds continue to come in supporting education for the children of South Boston.”

Last year, on Saturday, May 21, the first annual Stephanie Uftring Memorial Scholarship award’s ceremony was held at the South Boston Yacht Club. Wil Patrick Hingston, who attends Archbishop William’s High School in Braintree, was the essay winner and received a $2,500 check towards his tuition. Maxwell Milan from South Boston Catholic Academy and Nyla Anderson from Saint Peter’s were the $1,000 drawing contest award recipients.

“Last year, we provided $4,500 in scholarships to South Boston students,” Flaherty stated further. “And we are looking forward to doing it again in 2017. We will provide application information for next year’s awards in January 2017.

“I would also like to say a special thank you to (the members) of the Columbia Yacht Club, the Quietman Memorial Fund, the L Street Tavern,” she concluded. “And to all the donors and walkers who made this year’s inaugural memorial walk in her name such a great success! Lovey is smiling down on all of us!”

See you at the scholarship awards ceremony next year.

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South Boston is a neighborhood that values its veterans.  Highly.

In a literal sense, there were Veterans Day observances all over South Boston.  The Thomas J. Fitzgerald Post (VFW, #561) made its annual march, which formed up promptly 9:30 a.m. last Friday morning, November 11.  Led by pipers, this march concluded at St. Brigid Church, where a Memorial Mass for South Boston’s veterans was said.  The JROTC detachment from South Boston High School also took part.

The “Fallen Heroes” memorial observance took place in the Seaport/Waterfront District that morning.  Patriot Homes, the development in the old South Boston Police Station for housing needy veterans, opened and was dedicated that morning as well.  The sponsoring agency of Patriot Homes is the South Boston Neighborhood Development Corporation (the SBNDC); its address is 273 D Street.

A traditional observance took place in Fort Independence.  It was the ceremonial flag burning on the Parade Ground of Fort Independence, courtesy of the Castle Island Association (the CIA).  At least in America, it is the custom to gather old, worn, or defaced flags together and solemnly burn them en masse.  This is done with appropriate reverence and ceremony, as a gesture of respect for the national colors.  Here in South Boston, that burning takes place on Veterans Day.

This ceremony has an interesting sidelight, which is actually grimly humorous in its way.  Many enemies of the U.S.A. take great delight in publicly burning the American flag.  What these people don’t understand is that burning of a flag is really the most courteous way to dispose of it.  The aged or damaged flag ends up as a few ashes – no further defacement is possible.  And therefore, the laugh’s on them.  Thanks, friends.

After the participating units were posted on the Parade Ground, in front of the 25 by 40 foot, 1,000 square foot flag on the Fort’s parapet wall, John Scannell led the “Star Spangled Banner”.  Sr. Florence Kahler then gave a well-spoken patriotic reading.  The Sergeant-at-Arms of the Scottish-American Veterans (Bill Wolf, Commanding) lit the grate filled with flags to be burnt.  A brisk northwest breeze aided the process, which was marked by a bagpipe rendition of “Amazing Grace”.  After these flags turned to ash, the ceremony came to an end.  The colors were struck and the units were dismissed.

REMINDER:   South Boston Online is seeking stories and/or histories of all kinds from World War I, which America entered on April 6, 1917, and which ended on Armistice Day, November 11, 1918, at 11 a.m.  Please get in touch with us if you would like to help.  That period of history must not be lost and forgotten.  We plan to write a series of historical/commemorative articles during the two years between now and the 100th Anniversary of Armistice/Veterans Day on Sunday, November 11, 2018.

Thank you in advance.

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Mayor Martin J. Walsh today joined Congressman Stephen Lynch, the South Boston Neighborhood Development Corporation and Caritas Communities, Inc. to celebrate the dedication and ribbon cutting for Patriot Homes in South Boston. The more than $12 million redevelopment of the former City of Boston D6 police station will create 24 new affordable apartments for veterans.

 

“Our veterans who have fought to uphold the values of American freedom deserve access to safe, affordable housing,” said Mayor Walsh. “By working with South Boston Neighborhood Development Corporation and our partners, we were able to transform an underutilized City-owned property into housing for veterans. Through this project, we are one step closer to housing all our Boston veterans.”

 

The 16,979 square-foot development included the rehabilitation of the former South Boston D6 Police station into 12 units, and including the new construction of 12 units on Athens Street which created a total of 24 affordable housing units. The new housing has 12 studios, 2- 1 BR and 10 – 2BR apartments geared to the Veteran community.  Six units will serve veterans at or below 30% AMI, while eight units will serve veterans at 50% AMI and ten units  will be for veterans earning 60% AMI. Residents will also benefit from a multipurpose community room, and the South Boston Neighborhood Development Corporation will also occupy one of the building’s two ground-floor commercial spaces.

 

In accordance with the City of Boston’s Green Affordable Housing Program, the redevelopment of former station utilized several green building design techniques, earning it the development the distinction of being LEED-Homes “Silver” certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. The project also meets the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star standards.

 

“South Boston has a long history of military service and a higher percentage of Veterans than many other neighborhoods in the city,” said Donna Brown Executive Director of Sought Boston NDC. “With rents rapidly increasing, Patriot Homes will help deserving Veterans to continue to live here, in our community, with the resources they need. We are grateful to have had strong support from the City of Boston, as well as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, to complete this project.”

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On Thursday evening, November 10, at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel, Sister Maryadele Robinson and Billy Higgins, were recognized by The Charitable Irish Society as recipients of the Silver Key Award; for their commitment in helping new immigrants “meet their potential and to contribute to the rich fabric of American life…”

Established in 1737 by merchants and traders, with Belfast backgrounds, this society is the oldest Irish Society in the Americas. The purpose of this organization is to “provide aid and assistance to newly-arrived Irish immigrants in the Boston area as they face the multiple challenges of adjusting to and assimilating into a new city and country.” Always inspired by their motto of “With Good Will Doing Service” this society’s mission of assisting immigrants in need has been constant. Consistent with the Irish traditions of hospitality and charity, the society has expanded its focus and outreach to immigrants from other countries as well.

Two well-known South Bostonians, William “Billy” Higgins and Sister Maryadele Robinson, humbly accepted their awards. Throughout the years Billy Higgins has been generous donating to various educational and athletic endeavors for children in the Boston area. Additionally, after being emotionally moved by a visit to the Southill section of Limerick, Ireland in 1985, Billy “has raised funds to establish and support schools and educational services, including providing computers and other technological support for the schools and afterschool programs.”

Sister Maryadele, who recently retired from the Laboure Center as the Director of Catholic Charities Shaughnessy Family Center, worked tirelessly for twenty-eight years. As director, she expanded its original mission of providing services to immigrant families in need of assistance, providing outreach and other community-based services. So over the years, the Center has evolved, providing job training in health care/home health aide programs, social work for families and individuals, youth programs for teenagers, mentoring programs, along with public health and wellness endeavors. Sister Maryadele remains active at the Center as “Director Emerita.”

Marilyn and Gerard Doherty from Charlestown, who have been active in numerous political, educational, social, and philanthropic endeavors throughout their lives, were also recipients of this coveted award.

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   It takes more than a single photograph to capture the effect of a so-called “Supermoon”.  The orb itself, viewed alone without any surrounding scenery, is huge and brilliantly tinged with perhaps a bit of orange.  Whether that’s caused by smog, moisture, or atmospheric refraction is a good question.

But certainly, the Supermoon last Sunday and Monday came as close to Earth as our satellite ever gets – 221,000 miles away instead of its normal distance of 238,000.  That’s 8% or 17,000 miles closer.  Travelling 17,000 miles on Earth would take you from Boston to the North Pole and then down the Pacific side of the globe all the way to the South Pole.

The reason for the Supermoon coming close to Earth is simple – all orbits in space are elliptical – slightly “egg-shaped” in other words.  As the Earth orbits the sun, the moon comes closer now and then, when the gravity of both Earth and Sun affect it together and when it is on the shortest segment of its egg-shaped orbit.

Maybe an image of the Supermoon last Sunday and Monday hovering over Pleasure Bay at very high tide will show just how super a Supermoon really is.  You’ll see some atmospheric refraction around it, for which you’ll have to forgive South Boston Online – we don’t have astronomical photography equipment.

The last Supermoon occurred in 1948.  That was the year that Harry Truman (D) upset Thomas E. Dewey (R) in the Presidential election.  That was also the year that the Cleveland Indians beat the Boston Red Sox in the first pennant playoff game ever, and then went on to take the World Series from the (then) Boston Braves in six games.

Well, the Indians couldn’t win the World Series this time around, although they came awfully close.  And in this year’s Presidential Election, the Republican beat the Democrat.  Do you suppose the Supermoon has some kind of influence over these happenings?  No matter!  The next Supermoon is just 18 years away in 2034.  Then, we’ll see.