Wellesley Historical Society Curator Kathleen Fahey will present a brand new version of her comparison of Wellesley today with the much smaller and rural Wellesley of 100 years ago, at Wellesley Free Library on Thursday, May 4 at 7pm. She will use a combination of modern photographs and older ones from the Society’s archives to show how the town has changed over the years. Topics include the Sullivan Mills in Lower Falls, the long history of Walnut Street fire station, and a whimsical tea room in Wellesley Square.
Ryan Marshall, a former running coach at Wellesley High, has invited the community to join in a Run for Unity on Monday night at 7:30pm. starting at WHS. The idea for the event was triggered by this week’s arrest of now former Wellesley cross country and assistant track coach.
“It’s been a hard week for the Wellesley Track, Cross Country, and Middle School community… Anyone including, but not limited to, current and former Wellesley Track and Field, Cross Country, broader athletic community, Wellesley Middle School community, Wellesley High School community…let’s join together for an out-and-back jog (starting at the high school track and heading down the Brook Path) to remind one another that we have shoulders to lean on,” Marshall writes on a Facebook event page about the run.
(Note: This meet-up is not sponsored by the Wellesley school district or athletic department.)
Wellesley Public Schools on Friday joined numerous other areas schools in opening a dialogue with parents and guardians about a new Netflix series called “13 Reasons Why” that documents a teenage girl who takes her own life. Each episode of the drama deals with a different topic — bullying, depression, sexual assault and so on — that might have contributed to the teen’s death. The series is based on a 2007 young adult novel by Jay Asher.
WPS Superintendent David Lussier sent a memo on Friday in which he states:
“As a school district, we believe strongly that you, as parents and guardians, need to be aware of this Netflix programming. We suggest the following ideas for how you might engage your children in conversations about this series:
●Ask if your children have seen or heard about this series.
●If they have seen any episodes or clips, engage them in discussion about the subject matter and their feelings about it.
●If they have not seen any episodes or clips, preview it before you allow your children to watch it and consider watching it and discussing the series together.”
As the Boston Globe reports, schools in Brookline, Medway, Newton and Natick are among others in the area that have sent messages to families in their community’s about the Netflix program.
Like other area school districts, Wellesley has had students die by suicide and has attempted to address the issue in numerous ways. For more information on suicide awareness, visit Wellesley ACTS.
The Wellesley PMC Kids Ride, a junior version of the bigger Pan-Mass Challenge event that raises millions for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute each August, is once again being shepherded by Wellesley High School students for their senior project. The PMC Kids Ride (Facebook page here) will take place on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 14, from 8-10:30am at Wellesley High School.
Aidan Braun and Jake Robertson, with guidance from the PMC organization and Cathy Jones, are handling everything from marketing to coordinating sponsors to pretty much all other details designed to result in what Robertson anticipates will be “a truly hitch-free event.” The young men have committed to a combined 50 hours a week to make the event a success.
“On a personal level, Aidan and I are constantly learning and improving our organizational skills, and ability to succeed under sometimes overwhelming workloads,” Robertson says. “Aidan and I were already close friends before we started this project, but we are also learning to appreciate our differences and combine our skills in synergy to work as a true unit.”
Registration costs $20 and the fundraising minimum for participants is $25 (that covers your t-shirt and other event costs). But the PMC Kids Ride has more ambitious fundraising goals: $50 for ages 3-5, $75 for ages 6-8, and $125 for ages 9-12.
Robertson emphasizes that the main goal of the event is for kids to have fun while raising funds for cancer research, but also notes that it might be an opportunity to either give Mom some relaxation time on Mother’s Day morning, or provide something for the whole family to do with the kids that morning.
MORE INFO on Wellesley PMC Kids Ride
All seemed normal on the surface at Wellesley High School’s track meet vs. Norwood on Thursday afternoon, as student-athletes competed, spectators enjoyed getting a break from the rain and school officials gave friendly greetings. But sadly, things were anything but normal on this day.
Just as the meet was ending, the Wellesley Public School system issued an announcement by email that it had dismissed Walter Johnson, who has served as Wellesley High’s girls’ cross country coach and an assistant indoor/outdoor track coach (working mainly with jumpers) in recent years. The fact that Johnson wasn’t at the meet was unusual, but no cause for alarm. What was alarming is that the school’s action followed a revelation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office that the 69-year-old Framingham resident had been arrested and charged earlier in the day with one count of distribution and one count of possession of child pornography.
Following the disclosure, TV news vans descended on Wellesley High School, soliciting reactions of astonishment from random people in the area to air on their evening broadcasts. Wellesley Police made their presence felt at WHS on Friday morning to ensure news outfits didn’t impede learning.
The school system isn’t sharing much more information during this investigation period, but Superintendent David Lussier says WPS will keep the community updated. In addition to his coaching duties, Johnson had served as a special education teaching assistant at Wellesley Middle School from 2007 to 2015. He was known as a soft-spoken coach, often barely audible when making remarks at sports banquets.
Lussier emphasized that all Wellesley High employees, including Johnson, are fingerprinted and CORI checked before being hired. Johnson had no prior criminal record. He served as a cross country and track coach at Harvard University from the early 1980s until 2006, and taught English at Wayland High School in the 1970s and 1980s, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Anyone with relevant information or questions about investigation can call 617-748-3274, a number established by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler scheduled a detention and probable cause hearing for May 1.
According to the charging document, in January 2017, federal agents began an investigation into child pornography being traded by a Craigslist user. The investigation led to Johnson, whose home was searched today. According to one report, an investigation into a police sergeant’s conduct led to Johnson’s alleged involvement.
The charge of distribution of child pornography provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine $250,000. The charge of possession of child pornography provides for a sentence of 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine $250,000.