Robotics team will compete for world championship
SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE
By Peter Jasinski
LEOMINSTER — The Terror Bots will continue their march toward global robotic domination next week as they travel to Detroit for the FIRST Robotics world championship competition.
The 10-member team based out of the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster will be facing off against more than 400 other groups of high school and middle school students from around the U.S., Canada, Taiwan, the Netherlands, and Japan.
This is the second year in a row the local students have made it to the international competition and its members are confident that they’ll do even better this year.
“This team is super. We started this eight years ago and we didn’t have a clue,” said Jerry Westwood, one of the team’s volunteer instructors. “Last year we really had a great year and we built on that this year. I’m really proud of the team.”
Seven of the team’s 10 members will be leaving for the competition on Tuesday, but the club is still raising
funds for their travel and lodging expenses. So far $10,000 has been donated by the U.S. Department of Defense
and the medical devices manufacturer Boston Scientific. Donations are still being accepted at the club in the
days leading up to the team’s departure.
Team member JC Oquenda said he was feeling confident and excited to be returning to the competition.
“It was a really cool experience last time because it was my first year on the team and to see the team go that far
was really cool,” he said.
Leominster High School senior Brett Houck is also confident that the Terror Bots will do well in Detroit.
“I’m hoping we do pretty well,” he said. “I’m excited to be going back because this is my last year as a team
member. I didn’t think we’d make it this far, but we did.”
Fitchburg’s ‘Yeast of Eden’ exhibit a savory blend of bread and art
Sentinel & Enterprise
FITCHBURG — Flour, salt, and yeast. Together they make a staple seen around the world: bread.
At the Revolving Museum in downtown, bread has been transformed into art that celebrates its cultural significance.
The “Yeast of Eden — Bread Art Project” exhibit opened Saturday. Dough, pretzels, crackers and other bread products went into the painted figurines, crumb pictures, and silhouettes that are display at the museum.
“Every culture has bread, and food is often an art form,” said Jerry Beck, founder and director of the museum.
“The smell of bread and baking is a universal experience.
The focal point of the exhibit are seven shapes that relate to bread. One is a boot with a farmer on it, which represents the people who grow the wheat used in bread. There’s also a salt shaker, donut, coffee cup, rolling
pin and a house.
On the artwork, pretzels, crackers, matzo, croutons and stale bread are grouped together and resemble a mosaic.
The bread shapes, which are a few feet large, are glued onto plywood and sealed with several layers of urethane
to prevent molding.
More than 200 people helped make the silhouettes at Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum.
Jerry’s 11-year-old daughter, Georgie, added flourishes to the piece shaped like a rolling pin and dough.
Using pretzels and a salt glue mixture, she added a peace sign and 17 stick figurines to honor the victims of the
school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
About 20 years ago, Beck had a studio in Boston. There was a bakery nearby that threw out old bread, causing a
rat problem. To prevent the rodents from coming, he took the bread and began to use it for art.
“It went from a scary scenario to a breakthrough,” he said.
Bread and community involvement have been part of Beck’s work.
He collaborated with students, bakers and artists through the Crumbs Company on bread art projects, which
include a toast mural. At the Jewish Museum of Florida, students helped Beck create a house featuring breads
from around the world.
That involvement has continued in Fitchburg through the Bread Project exhibit.
Catherine Judge, an art teacher at Sizer School, attended the opening to see her students’ work on display.
They made the painted figures mounted on baking sheets hanging in the museum’s window front.
Beck introduced her to Country Pizza owner Steve Loukanaris, who donated the dough used for the figurines.
Students liked throwing and kneading it and had to think about how their art would change when the dough
“It’s a natural type of material that wants to become something,” she said.
“The male-to-female ratio was a pretty big difference,” she said. “In the computer field, you don’t see as many women involved. I don’t really know why, they just don’t seem to lean toward it as much.”
It was because of her studies at FSU that Rivera was hired to work at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster as a computer science programming instructor. During the year she worked there, she also helped found the local chapter of Girls Who Code, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching young women about programming.
Rivera has since gotten a new job with DRS Technologies, but has remained on at the club as instructor for Girls Who Code.
“She absolutely loves it and she’s recruiting girls all the time,” said club Executive Director Donata Martin. “I think she’s a good example of another woman, and a younger one, who is successful. She’s a role model for them.”
The club works mainly as an eight-month training course that teaches young women how to do web design, coding, edit photos and video, and even create video games. As Rivera explained, it serves as an early introduction to many of the skills that would likely be encountered in college or a computer science-related workplace.
“I love working with the kids, and when you see them learn something and get excited,” she said.
“They get to the point where they can do things by themselves and then want to show their friends.”Abby Muller, an 11-year-old from Leominster, has been in the club for almost two years and said she initially wanted to join because her father is a computer coder. She said it’s a field she’d want to someday enter, too, but she’s also considering a career in ice skating or dancing.
“I don’t really know what I’d be doing without this,” she said. “I don’t think I would have ever known about a lot of what I’ve learned, or that I could actually code something.”
Thus far, Muller has made a computer game that she modeled after the classic arcade game “Frogger” and is in the middle of developing a website.
The club meets once a week and is open to girls in grades 6 through 12. It is also planning upcoming field trips to Becker College and Google so that members can see the practical applications of what they’re learning.
“When I was their age, I really didn’t know that much about this. I didn’t really learn until I was in college,” Rivera said. “It’s an important field because it’s growing, but to get a job you really need these skills.”
Local leaders share lessons for Black History Month
GARDNER African-Americans with prominent roles in the local community took the stage at Mount Wachusett Community College on Monday to speak about their successes, challenges and belief that everyone, regardless of their differences, should be given the same opportunities.
The event was part of the college’s Tea Time Speaker series which is organized by Sharmese Gunn, a resource specialist for Gateway to College, a dual-enrollment program for students who have struggled in traditional high school settings.
“Today, we are celebrating Black History Month by celebrating the leadership of African Americans in North Central Massachusetts,” Gunn said. “African-Americans are trailblazers. … We bring such an important perspective to society. African-American history is American history.”
The event featured seven African-American panelists from the area and was moderated by Irene Hernandez, who is president of Three Pyramids Inc. and The Minority Coalition.
The college’s multipurpose room was packed for the event with students, staff and members of the public.
Hernandez began by going over the history of Africans being enslaved beginning in the 1500s, saying that created “institutional and instructional racism.”
She said even before there were Africans brought over as slaves to America, there were people of African descent who were living in the Americas, a fact that is largely unnoticed historically.
When the discussion turned to the panel, one of the focuses was discussing their road to success and the positive difference they seek to make in others’ lives.
Panelist Dana Heath said he was born in 1979 and is from Gardner. Growing up, he was surrounded by alcoholism and drug addiction in his family.
“I never had a mentor,” he said. “I didn’t even know where my food was coming from the next day.”
He now is raising his own children and has become involved in youth sports over the last several years.
He founded the Central Mass Flag Football League which he said has grown to having almost 700 local children play in last year. He also runs the Gardner Biddy Basketball program.
By coaching local youth, Heath has been able to provide to children the guidance he didn’t have as a child.
“I love watching the kids smile and have fun, be active, rather than running the streets like I was,” he said. “Playing sports, staying out of the courts; that’s what it’s all about.”
Panelist Leona Early spoke about her 30-year career at the nonprofit Montachusett Opportunity Council, an anti-poverty agency that serves 30 cities and towns in the region.
She said in current her role as vice president of community programs she is responsible for 75 percent of the programs the agency runs. By staying with the agency over the years and working hard, she was able to show the value she brings and rise to a leadership position where she provides help and advocacy for vulnerable populations.
“I want to be a voice and my job allows me to do that,” she said. “I’m here on this earth to make a difference, make a change.”
The panelists also spoke about some examples of racism and negative stereotyping they have faced over the course of their lives, with multiple panelists saying their intelligence has been doubted by others before simply because of their skin color.
Panelist Donata Martin, who is the executive director for the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, recalled that she went to a high school where she was one of the few minorities and she did quite well academically.
But when she applied for colleges, her guidance counselor submitted a very poor recommendation letter that was filled with falsities and led to colleges turning her down.
Martin said there was one school that took her side though, saying an admissions director at Boston University realized the letter couldn’t be true and made sure she was accepted there.
Now that she leads the Boys & Girls Club, Martin said, “I want to make sure the children who come to our club have the same advantages many children with money have.”
The Boys & Girls Club Martin leads also runs a program in Gardner. In addition to her role there, she serves on the board of directors for the Mount.
In general, the panelists spoke about the importance of ensuring all people, regardless of race, income level or other factors, be given an equal opportunity to succeed.
Panelists were asked about race relations and the overall issues they currently see with the country.
“We need to be able to have difficult conversations. We need to challenge the status quo,” Candace Shivers said, who is an associate professor for sociology and human services at the college.
Shivers spoke about the importance of advocacy and social activism. She said she served as the student body president while attending American International College in Springfield.
Currently, she is a leader for the union representing Mount staff and is also on the board of directors for the National Education Association which represents education professionals in Washington, D.C.
Panelist Kathy Lewis, who is president of the Tiana Angelique Notice Foundation that focuses on domestic violence and is named after her daughter who was killed by an ex-boyfriend, spoke about how discouraged she is with the political strife and inability to work together that is seen in Washington, D.C.
“I am really concerned about the climate in our nation nowadays to the point where I spend sleepless nights,” she said. “We’re in a state now in this country that we’re the disgrace of the world now.”
Lewis concluded by paraphrasing a quote by Martin Luther King Jr.
“We better learn how to get along together as brothers and sisters or we’re all going to perish together as fools,” she said.
The other panelists at the event were Angele Goss, director of the Upward Bound Math Science & North Central Mass Talent Search program at the college, and Lamont Hicks, a senior officer specialist for the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the president and founder of the Future Hoops AAU basketball program headquartered in Gardner.
GARDNER – Moderator Irene Hernandez started a Black History Month panel discussion Monday by telling the diverse audience in the packed lecture room that they are all indigenous people originating from Alkebulan – the real name of Africa – here in the Americas long before Native Americans.
African-American history in the U.S. started well before slavery, going back centuries, said Ms. Hernandez, who is project coordinator at Fitchburg Community Connections Coalition. People of color living here are not displaced, she said.
“Go see ‘Black Panther,’ ” she said. “It is not stereotypical or superficial. It talks about colonization, fatherless children, oppression, subjugation and loss of identity as displaced people.”
To fight against institutional and structural racism, “you have to know who you are and where you come from,” Ms. Hernandez said, and work toward changing social constructs so there is equity, freedom and prosperity for all to allow everyone to live side by side.
“In ‘Black Panther,’ the different tribes of the world show how great we are – intelligent and fierce, with wisdom, loyalty and honor … Our people were here in the Americas long before the Natives were. We are not black and we are not white. We are indigenous people. We are the tribes of Alkebulan – ‘mother of mankind,’ ‘garden of Eden’. Do your history and research. They were called ‘copper tones’ or ‘cinnamon’ people. Colonizers said they looked like Ethiopians because they were the darkest and thought of as ugly.”
The event was part of Mount Wachusett Community College’s Tea Time Speaker Series, held to celebrate Black History Month with a panel discussion titled “African American Leadership in North Central Massachusetts.”
Panelists included: Leona Early, vice president of community programs at Montachusett Opportunity Council; Angele B. Goss, director of Upward Bound Math Science & North Central Mass Talent Search; Dana Heath, president of Central Mass Flag Football and Gardner Biddy Basketball and assistant coach of Gardner High School football; Lamont Hicks, senior officer specialist of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and president and founder of the Future Hoops and AAU Basketball Program; Kathy Lewis, president of the Tiana Angelique Notice Memorial Foundation; Donata Martin, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg, Leominster and Gardner; and Candace Shivers, associate professor of sociology and human services at MWCC.
Each panelist shared their journeys to success and stories of challenges and obstacles they overcame, including poverty, racism and feeling marginalized.
Leadership from people of color can add a level of depth and diversity that can address marginalized populations who don’t always have a voice at the table, the panelists said. Disadvantaged children need mentors, they said, and those who feel marginalized need to find people who they comfortable with to ask questions and not feel intimidated to take a chance and step outside their comfort zone to do something different. Everyone has a responsibility to stand up and speak for those whose voices may not be heard.
Ms. Shivers said when she was hired years ago at MWCC it was “very light,” with only a handful of black faculty and staff. She said she is fortunate that at her place of employment she is able to engage in difficult conversations that may make people uncomfortable about race and may challenge the status quo.
Often, when a person of color enters a room, they have to overcome negative stereotypes just to get to “zero” and then have to work to show who they are, she said.
“People already made up their minds what and who you are,” Ms. Shivers said. “You have to overcome ‘what you’re not’ to get to zero and start from there. That is a heavy carry, especially for someone in school, overcoming things they had nothing to do with to change minds, show who they are, and, by the way, they also have to study.”
Ms. Lewis told the audience she was concerned about the climate in the nation and has spent sleepless nights over it. She called on the youth in the room to live with purpose and become leaders for a better future, citing the student activists in Parkland, Florida, who survived a school shooting Feb. 14 and are fighting for change.
“Learn who you are, fortify and enrich yourself in your history and past sacrifices and losses made for you to be here,” Ms. Lewis said. “Learn to be strong people of culture and innovations and strength and endurance and role models to children. The state of this country, we are actually the disgrace of the world now. I can’t believe what is going on in Washington, school shootings, in the news with (homicides) … It is totally out of control. The younger generations have the power to grab ahold of this mess and change it.”
She quoted the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.: “We better learn how to get along as brothers and sisters or we’re all going to perish together as fools.”
Ms. Martin said “so many children don’t dream anymore” and they need to be encouraged to pursue their passions and become scientists and engineers, for example.
“We have to start talking to them about that at an early age,” Ms. Martin said. “Their minds are open. Talk and be with them and the world is theirs.”
Laryssa M. Truesdale, 18, a senior in the Gateway program at MWCC from Gardner, is a student leader in the school’s center for civic engagement that helped organize the event.
“There were a few panelists from my hometown, so it was interesting to see their views and struggles,” Ms. Truesdale said. “All the speakers had very powerful stories of how they bounced back and kept dreaming. It really opened my eyes.”
Sentinel & Enterprise
LEOMINSTER — Paula and Chad Bouchard of Ron Bouchard Auto Stores visited the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster recently to present the club with a new van they donated to the club.
The donation was made through the Bouchard family’s RB Racing Charity.
The van, a 2017 Nissan NV worth $35,000, can seat up to 12 children and will be used to transport club members to and from events.
Club Executive Director Donata Martin said the van has already been used for a field trip and will be especially helpful in bringing kids home from the Boys & Girls Club.
LEOMINSTER — Charisse Murphy’s human services career has always seen her going to where the demand to help young women is high.
By working with organizations like YOU, Inc. or LUK, she’s been able to help girls in and around Worcester and Fitchburg, but it wasn’t until she started to consider what resources were available in her own community that she decided to do something completely new.
“I had all this training, all this education, and I live in Ayer, where, in that particular part of the state, there really aren’t that many human services,” she said. “I felt like I was helping all these young people, but not the young people I was living near.”
The solution she came up with was EmPOWER ME, a free two month curriculum for building self-confidence in girls in middle and high school. It’s been two years since Murphy came up with the idea and it’s grown to the point that she’s now partnering with the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster to offer her program to kids in the Twin Cities area.
“It’s actually cool to see that this has now become a thing,” Murphy said. “I’ll drive down a street in Ayer or Shirley now and I’ll see girls wearing EmPOWER ME shirts and I’ll be saying ‘Oh, look! Those girls are wearing our shirts. It’s a thing!'”
When she started out two years ago, Murphy was just working with a handful of fifth grade girls at Page Hilltop Elementary School in Ayer. Since then, the program has seen roughly 65 girls complete the curriculum and expanded into multiple schools.
The course tends to last eight to 10 weeks, featuring activities and conversations that are built around overarching themes like team building, self-acceptance, or healthy life style choices, depending on the age group being worked with.
Above all, Murphy explained that she hopes to create a safe space where girls can feel comfortable sharing details about their lives.
The success of EmPOWER ME in Ayer has since attracted the attention of the Boys & Girls Club in Leominster, where Murphy held her first official meeting last week.
“The difficult thing with it is there are just so many girls,” she said. “There must have been 75 or 80 the other night and they were from 5th grade to senior in high school.”
Which is why Murphy hopes her volunteer work will inspire other area residents to want to get involved. Though they’d need to be trained in how the program’s curriculum works, Murphy said she would hope that other volunteers would be able to facilitate at the Boys & Girls Club or in local schools in the future.
Given the current prevalence of sexual assault in the media and the dialogues it has prompted, Murphy admits that the work has taken on more importance.
“At the Boys & Girls Club the other night, we might not have gotten into what we’re seeing on the news, but the girls did start talking about their experiences and feeling shunned for being a girl and I think that does filter into what we’re seeing now,” she said. “If you’re faced with this, how do you handle it? I think having this safe space is where we have that conversation.”
The Worcester Telegram
By Paula J. Owen, Correspondent
FITCHBURG — In between flying in zero gravity conditions 35,000 feet up and heading to NASA to help conduct experiments in zero gravity, Tara L. Sweeney took time out last week (Nov. 6-9) to visit with area kids.
Ms. Sweeney, 44, a Fitchburg High School graduate and retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant who now lives in Las Vegas, works as flight director for Zero Gravity Corp. based in Arlington, Virginia. Her roles with the company include flight attendant, weightless laboratory scientist and flight team coach. The company specializes in parabolic flight operations that produce a microgravity environment in a Boeing 727B for private citizens, commercial customers, advanced-learning teams and government entities including NASA.
“I work on a parabolic flight crew,” she said on the phone Saturday while preparing for her flight Sunday to Orlando. “We fly a Boeing 727, 20,000 to 35,000 feet in a parabolic flight pattern. It’s like a big roller coaster in the sky. We get to a point in the parabola where we go weightless just like astronauts do by descending really fast at a 45-degree angle. At 35,000 feet, we nose the plane over and we’re diving back to earth really fast at several hundred miles an hour and experience free-fall and microgravity conditions.”
Those on board experience microgravity for 25 to 30 seconds at a time. Zero Gravity Corp. is the only provider of the service in the country, she says, and the company publishes its flight schedule on its website. People from around the world fly with the crew on adventure flights every weekend throughout the U.S. and the crew also does Hollywood movies, commercials and YouTube videos, she said.
“It’s fun,” Ms. Sweeney said. “We accomplish amazing things. Our next stop is Orlando to do NASA research with our teammates. We have flown astronauts in the past for training and for a nice joy ride.”
NASA, she said, used to fly a similar aircraft and run experiments, but the agency doesn’t do it anymore. Instead, it provides funding and flies with the Zero Gravity crew who help facilitate research.
While visiting Fitchburg schools — where she excelled as a youth in academics and sports — and the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, Ms. Sweeney said she thanked them for the success in her life and hoped her visit inspired kids to continue on their quest and for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) teachers to stay in the community.
“When I was 10 years old in fifth grade at Crocker School, I set a goal to become an astronaut,” she said. “The school district has a new hashtag it is promoting to dream what you can’t do, yet. When I walk around in a flight suit, I’m often asked, ‘Are you an astronaut?’ I told the kids, I’m not an astronaut, yet, but I’m still working really hard toward that goal. I think that resonated with the kids that I’m 44 and still working towards the goal I set at 10.
“They have a robust STEM system here in the community,” she added. “I offered to help create a STEM mentor program to bring together a cadre of scientists as a resource to continue to play an interactive role in STEM development.”
She said she was also impressed with the kids she met at the Boys & Girls Club.
“I am so thoroughly impressed with Boys & Girls Club in general and specifically the caliber of the STEM program they have created there,” she said. “I feel like I answered 100 questions from a gymnasium full of kids, and every one was thoughtful about STEM and flight and space exploration. It was such a gift. Clearly the kids spend time at the club taking STEM to heart and educating themselves and setting themselves up for success.”
She said she is planning to return in February for a STEM event there.
Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Donata J. Martin, said that after Ms. Sweeney’s presentation, several high school juniors talked to her about applying to the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Topics she covered included how global warming can be seen from outer space and if there is time change in space, Ms. Martin said.
“She returns in February during vacation week to participate in our Space Camp,” Ms. Martin said. “We found out that we have many members interested in becoming astronauts or pursuing STEM careers in the myriad of fields affiliated with the space industry. … We have adopted Tara as one of our own.”
The Sentinel & Enterprise
Peter Jasinski, Reporter
LEOMINSTER — It’s Tara Sweeney’s job to help people experience micro-gravity by flying them to an altitude of 20,000 feet before dipping the plane downward, giving passengers a feeling similar to the weightlessness they’d feel in outer space.
“We need all these kids in here to come up with the big ideas that will propel space exploration in a different way,” she said, prior to her recent visit to the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster.
Sweeney, a native of Fitchburg and proud product of its school system, shared her experiences in the Air Force and current work as a civilian with a group of eagerly listening local students on Monday. As she explained, the goal is not just to get them interested in science and math curriculum but to show them that a career like hers is possible.
“We’re very excited to have her,” said club Director Donata Martin. “She went to Fitchburg High and we have so many kids from Fitchburg, but she’s also a woman. We’re trying to encourage the girls to go on and study the sciences more so this was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up.”
Sweeney entered the U.S. Air Force Academy not long after graduating from Fitchburg High School in 1991. She’s since retired and now works for the space entertainment company Zero G, which offers weightlessness flights to paying passengers.
Apart from working with tourists, Sweeney explained that her company has also had to take on more scientific responsibilities in recent years.
“NASA no longer has its reduced-gravity office and it provides funding to companies, universities, and private individuals who continue to do all the amazing science for space exploration. They come on our plane and we then fly all the NASA research experiments,” she said.
Questions from students ranged from how much money Sweeney makes to whether evidence of global warning can be seen from space.
The visit was especially important to Hazel Metinewa, a 10-year-old from Leominster with dreams of one day becoming an astronaut.
“I like how she’s explaining everything and what it’s like when there isn’t any gravity,” she said. “And I got to learn how many miles per hour the space station goes around the planet.”
Though Sweeney explained that very few children who dream of being astronauts grow up to be adults working at the International Space Station, she also said that the future is filled with exciting possibilities for kids like Hazel Metinewa.
“With the advent of space tourism and the commercial space industry, it’s my hope that the industry blossoms and matures,” she said. “The space program has changes so much from when I was a child to where I am now and it’s about to enter a whole other phase.”
The Gardner News
Andrew Mansfield, Reporter
GARDNER- The Gardner Boys & Girls Club and the company New England Peptide have formed a strong bond together through a common passion for science.
New England Peptide lab technician Kyle Sargent, who worked as a science program instructor at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster for three years, has helped to spearhead New England Peptide’s fairly new relationship with the Gardner club.
He recently visited Gardner High School, where the club operates out of, to present the company’s donation from its fundraiser last month.
“This one, we were challenged as employees to raise funds. We decided to have a corn hole tournament,” he said. “It was a pretty successful day.”
Corn hole is a lawn game that involves two teams squaring off to toss small bean bags at a platform that is raised off the ground and has a hole in the center of it. The goal is to toss the bag into the air and have it land through the platform hole.
Sargent said many area businesses and Boys & Girls Club partners participated in the fundraising event along with the New England Peptide employees. They are led by company President and CEO Sam Massoni who has shown his support for the charitable cause.
New England Peptide is located at 65 Zub Lane in the Summit Industrial Park, which is off Route 101 near the Ashburnham border.
The company manufactures peptides, which are short amino acid chains that are similar to proteins. Peptides can be used by researchers to create medicines to treat or cure diseases.
A large portion of New England Peptide’s business is manufacturing peptides that are used for cancer research.
The biotechnology focus of the company pairs well with the club’s emphasis on STEM curriculum, which stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The Gardner club is now in its third year and operates at the high school every day after school, with a variety of educational and recreational activities for children to participate in.
The club is open for Gardner students in grades five through eight and this year, there are almost 40 members, about double the amount of members the club had in its first year pilot program.
The hope among the club’s leadership and supporters is for the Gardner club to ultimately have its own site. The parent club to the Gardner program is the Fitchburg and Leominster club, which is led by Executive Director Donata Martin.
In addition to the money being given by New England Peptide, she said there are plans to have the Gardner club’s students take field trips to the company.
“They’ll really be able to understand what goes on at the company,” she said.
Another possibility going forward is to have a student who has graduated from the club intern at the company when they are a senior in high school or in college.
Considering the mutual interest in science between the company and club, Martin described their relationship as a “good partnership” and a “win-win situation.”
Sargent indicated that New England Peptide is happy to be involved with the club, as it provides the local students a chance to learn about biotechnology, an industry that is more common out in the Boston area.
He said that he thinks last month’s corn hole fundraising tournament is “going to be an annual thing.”
“We’re looking to partner with the Boys & Girls Club in a lot of ways,” he said.