2009 Men and Women of the Year: Revere High School staff, teachers and students

December 30, 2009
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Revere of 2009 has been a changing place.

It is a place where transience among residents has become even more prevalent than in the past. People come and people go in a way that those who have been in Revere for a long time have never seen. Neighborhoods that were once made up of families who had been there for years are now places where there are new faces in many homes every year.

Such things tend to break down community and disengage people from one another. That has happened in Revere, and there are entire swaths of the city that are not plugged in to Revere and all it has to offer. It’s as if there are two – or even three or four – different worlds existing at the same time in the same place.

But there is one uniting force in the city and it is the Revere High School (RHS).

Almost everyone in the community has a stake in the school – no matter what circle they’re a part of – and RHS has been delivering outstanding academic results for all kids year upon year.

A few weeks ago, it was named one of the top high schools in the state by U.S. News & World Report. Previously, the school has won multiple national and state awards – too many to recite here and all of them distinguished and deserved.

Revere High School is a point of pride in Revere and for that reason the staff, teachers, administrators and students of RHS are our Men and Women of the Year for 2009.

As pointed out by Superintendent Paul Dakin recently, RHS has become a jewel of the community because everyone gets a fair shake there, no matter what family they’re from, what language they speak or what difficulty they may bring with them.

In an urban school like Revere – where all different races, languages and peoples are lumped into one pot – it can be easy to have low expectations or even no expectations.

It’s not the case at RHS.

“Over the last few years, we’ve gone from a high school that had no real goals to be the best urban school in the state to a philosophy that we can be successful and our students can be as successful as anyone else anywhere else,” said Dakin. “It’s been driven and driven into everyone, but now they’re feeling it. The culture of the staff and teachers and students is that all kids can succeed and exceed expectations and the program has come to work for all kids – not just the middle kids, not just the top kids and not just the kids who only speak English.”

Everyone has backed up those expectations with a lot of hard work from the teaching staff to the students themselves and all the way to the cafeteria staff (which also has won numerous awards).

This year the teachers and others took a furlough day in order to save jobs and preserve the educational goals of the school. That meant they took days without pay in order to continue being the best.

The Revere teacher’s union is a strong advocate for its teachers, but doesn’t get in the way of education – which is more than can be said for other unions, such as the one in Boston.

Additionally, Principal David DeRuosi has been a tireless leader at the helm, dedicating much of his day to keeping the high school orderly and making sure students know that he expects them to treat school as if it is their job. That means no ridiculous behavior and bringing a seriousness to school that one would bring to a job.

However, he has also done tremendous work in making sure that struggling students get the attention they need.

Meanwhile, students have responded, winning awards for all sorts of things and taking off for colleges and universities that wouldn’t have even considered Revere kids a decade ago.

All of these things have come together to make RHS worthy of the Journal’s Men and Women (and young men and young women) of the Year for 2009.

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