Pyne Arts Strong

imageFaced with tragedy, you are presented two choices: give up or persevere, Riley Panneton, 13, told a gymnasium full of her fellow Pyne Arts School students.

image“Sydney and Celeste (Corcoran) have chosen to persevere and we should all take note of their choice,” she said. “Let’s take this moment and pledge to never give up, even in our darkest days.”

And the crowd went wild . . .

imageOn Wednesday afternoon, as the clouds parted and made way for the sun’s rays, the kids from the K-8 Pyne Arts School hit the pavement, spending an hour of their afternoon walking to raise money to assist Celeste and Sydney Corcoran with their recovery.

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageThe mother/daughter duo from the city’s Pawtucketville neighborhood were both nearly killed in the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing. Celeste lost both of her legs and Sydney, who graduated from Lowell High School last week and will attend Merrimack College in the fall, suffered severe leg injuries.

In an ironic twist, the Pyne Arts School is on Boylston Street in Lowell. The Boston Marathon finish line, where the bombs went off, is on Boylston Street in Boston.

Pyne Arts teacher Mike Neagle, who advises the National Junior Honor Society, said the members returned from April vacation determined to do something for the Corcorans.

image“I was scared and shocked at the same time,” Riley, who is in the 7th grade said of the bombing. “I was just so surprised anyone would ever do that.”

“They decided on a walk-a-thon because it could engage everyone and raise a lot of money,” Neagle said. “The kids organized this themselves.”

They even presented their idea to the city’s Board of Parks at the end of May to secure a permit; the city waived the fee.

They then had a week and a half to distribute pledge sheets to the 497 member student body and raise money. The goal? $2000. The final tally? $4700.93

School isn’t always about sitting in a classroom and learning, Neagle told the assembled student body who were joined by members of the Lowell Police and Fire Departments.

“Today is about being a good person and helping somebody out when they need help,” he said.

imageimage“Thank you from the entire Corcoran Family,” said Lowell Police Officer Paul Corcoran, Celeste’s uncle and Sydney’s great uncle. “Not just from Celeste and Sydney, but from the entire Corcoran family. This check is fantastic. Fantastic. I don’t know how you guys did it.”

Three members of the National Junior Honor Society are members of Gov. Deval Patrick’s Project 351 initiative, aimed at nurturing young service-oriented leaders. On Saturday night, at Gillette Stadium, they will present the walk-a-thon to Gov. Patrick as the program’s featured project.

As part of Wednesday’s festivities, third-grader Gabriela Rozeli Gonzalez read “Inside of You,” a poem she wrote in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing. Yes, she is seriously in the 3rd grade.

“Inside of You “

By Gabriela Rozeli Gonzalez

Tonight I lay

thinking about what

A feeling of calmness rushes

like ocean reeds swaying, swaying

in the breeze.

Sometimes I envision

abstract worlds made of

springs as mighty bounce to

bound up toward the sky

Usually I think with

such a powerful lightbulb

to light the world brighter

than the sun.

This is me and what I:




And this is what I

Am what I think I’m

Made of



This is me

This is a moment

when one will say

“At times like these

we show our might

and not our weakness.”

And it is true

Someday I will be a grand

woman and help the needy

as well as myself

And I will try to keep

myself under my beliefs

Above all

A world of kindness

A world of peace

of satisfaction

of motivation

of my actions

of my responsibility

5 thoughts on “Pyne Arts Strong

  1. Kudos to all the students for this great act of love and selfless giving and to the young poet Gabriela! You will go far!

  2. Pingback: Kayla Cruz, A Great Ambassador For Lowell | Room 50

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