By Carol Masshardt

Ateacher with two years’ experience in Boston, Kate Fennessey, and her 7th grade Math students at the Condon School showed what is possible with commitment, support and focus. On March 21st, teams of students presented their concepts for innovative programs with an audience of classmates, community representatives and banking executives from HarborOne. All worthwhile, three were chosen for a special recognition “micro loan” by HarborOne Bank. The “02127 Boys”, Jayden Bengoche, Jio Mendez and Muktar Hassan, presented a clear and energetic proposal to clean, repair the update the Condon gym and thereby enhance it for school and community events and raise funds through activity fees for groups. Other impressive projects with special recognition included a plan to provide a “safe space” in the school for students with mental health issues, and one proposed a community garden/ food program for healthy lunches.

Each student had a teacher reference and learned how to get their own credit score, as they became acquainted with loans, budgeting, repayment, and processes that left many of us in the dark until well into adulthood. In doing so, they learned about teamwork and imagining a better community.

“I like talking about how we can change the school, and the communication of ideas is something I really like, too,” said student, Jayden Bengoche.

The students are typical seventh graders in many ways, some nervous, or giggling or self-conscious, but all rallied to deal with public speaking and technology glitches. The student audience asked excellent questions, maintained focus beyond their years, and asked about the fine points of the proposals and cheered on their peers.

Kate Fennessey could easily be taking a deserved spotlight, but she is all about the kids. “They just ran with it. It is Math, but more. They want things for the community and are so creative when given the chance.” she said. She was coaching not only math, but handshakes, responding to questions, and a level of professionalism that is likely to transcend the students’ time at the Condon.

When asked if the students had anything else to add prior to a fast-approaching weekend and sitting for well over an hour, one seventh grader simply and quietly said, “Thank You.”

“This is part of the beauty of the Condon,” added principal, Margaret Gregory. “They (the students) care and we care.”

“The City is Behind You, “said City Councilor Ed Flynn as he listened intently to every presentation.

It was one proud moment, among many others, for the Condon community. Hats off to Ms. Fennessey, her students, teachers, principal, for the standards and enthusiasm on rich display.

“This is part of the beauty of the Condon School, said Gregory, we care, and the students care.”

Special thanks to HarborOne for their community partnership, especially Brian DeVenne and Erjona who went beyond presenting awards to enjoy and reinforce each presenting group.