A Success: Bedford’s First Middle School Tenacity Challenge

May 6, 2017
Some of the participants in the 2017 Middle School Tenacity Challenge – Image (c) John Harris, 2017 all rights reserved – Click to view larger image

Compiled by The Bedford Citizen, with photographs by John Harris

Bedford has become accustomed to hosting the annual Tenacity Challenge at Bedford High School, but a team of students and teachers from the John Glenn Middle School shadowed the BHS event last year. Their goal? To host a Challenge for middle school students. The two-years-in-development plans came to fruition on Saturday, April 29th when JGMS hosted the first annual middle school Tenacity Challenge.  The inaugural competition was among four schools: Bedford, Wellesley, Newton, and Concord. JGMS Principal Kevin Tracey predicts this year’s success will lead to a larger event with additional schools participating in years to come.

“The positive energy was incredible,” said Tracey, “as the 6 teams battled through the Leadership event, Literary Analysis and the frenzied Math Bowl.

Images in the gallery below are (c) John Harris, 2017 all rights reserved – Double click each to view larger image

Concord took the overall award, and the JGMS team ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ earned Honorable Mention for their 2nd place overall finish.

Images in the gallery above are (c) John Harris, 2017 all rights reserved – Double click each to view larger image

Every school won awards across the three categories. Tracey continued, “As cliche as it may sound, every student and team, who walked through the door on Saturday, won in my book with their commitment to go above and beyond in preparing for the competition and the tenacious, professional and sportsmanlike manner in which they conducted themselves.”

In the competitions, students presented leadership action plans to better their schools, performed original songs or works of poetry to provide an in-depth analysis of their chosen novels, or fiercely struggled with complex math concepts in front of a live audience.

Keynote speaker Katrina Huff-Larmond – Image (c) John Harris, 2017 all rights reserved – Click to view larger image

The day also had time for social connections over lunch and shared laughter. The afternoon began with a keynote address by Katrina Huff-Larmond, a social activist and professor at Simmons, BU and Curry College who is also the first woman and person of color elected to town office in Randolph;

With close to two years invested in preparing for the competition, Tracey said JGMS would be remiss in not thanking all who helped throughout the process.  “If it was not for dedicated, caring educators like yourselves, empowering events, such as the Tenacity Challenge and other academic competitions, would never happen, “In turn, our kids may never get an opportunity to realize that it is cool to be smart, socially conscious and globally aware, and how to overcome their own individual challenges when working with peers towards a common goal,” he concluded.

The list of volunteer tasks that made the day possible ranged from original planning committees to designing and organizing events; choosing content and crafting rubrics; coaching and advising student teams; coordinating food; ordering awards; registering teams; designing and ordering t-shirts; setting up the technology that made the day possible; judging competitions; photographing or filming; interviewing; setting up and cleaning up rooms; managing large and small logistics; or simply showing up to support

Tracey gave “High-fives to the students: You directly impacted the success of Saturday’s event and I am very grateful.” He looks forward to once more working with the team again at the 2nd Annual Middle School Tenacity Challenge on Saturday, April 28, 2018. (Word to the wise: Save the Date, and plan to attend the rescheduled Bedford High School Tenacity Challenge next Saturday, May 13. )

Among the volunteers who made the JGMS Tenacity Challenge possible – Image (c) John Harris, 2017 all rights reserved – Click to view larger image

Appreciation and thanks went out to: Elizabeth Cowles, Paul Harrington, Maureen McDermott, Marcy Beinert, Lynda McGraw, Jon Sills, Claire Jones, Akil Mondesir, Chauncy Williams, Brandon Baez, Jonathan Pierre, Matt Mehler, Karen Poli, Charissa Edmonds, Dave French, Mike Zuffanti, Shirley Waters, Derek Johnson, Kristina Barbacano, Karen Burstein, Ann Greenwalt, Katrina Wright, Lauren McCarthy, Lindsey Goodhue, Sara Berinato, Karen Poli, KC Suduiko, Corinne Amirault, Kristin Frazier, Jeff LoPresti, Andrew Goetschius, Wendy Tanahashi-Works, Sarah Dorer, Aaron Joncas, Candace Banks, Sean Hagan, Jim Nagle, Paul Harmon, Patrick Morrissey, Lauren Noferi, Vanessa Mangini, Nick Bonifanti, Carol Hokana, John Harris, Libbey Beinert, Jen Ilchuck, Kirsten Turner, Sarah Oelkers and Holly Marquedent.

Editor’s Note: Click this link to see all of John Harris’s images from the 2017 Tenacity Challenge

The rescheduled BHS Tenacity Challenge for high school students will take place on Saturday, May 13.

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