More than one hundred parents, grandparents, school staff and school supporters gathered tonight at the Stoklosa School for the annual Mary Bacigalupo Volunteer Appreciation night. This event publicly recognizes and honors the many people who volunteer countless hours in the public schools of Lowell.The event is named for Mary Bacigalupo who succumbed to cancer in 2001 before reaching age 60. As an employee of UMass Lowell’s School of Education, Mary served as the adviser to the Citywide Parent Council and in that capacity mentored parents in the type of overt activism that is critical to school improvement for all of the children of the city. Mary’s contributions to the city of Lowell transcended the public schools and the organizations and events in which she was involved, mostly behind the scenes, are too numerous to mention. In attendance tonight at the Stoklosa were Mary’s husband, Walter, her son, Mike, and her sister, Dottie. Also present were numerous friends and former Citywide Parent Council members who benefited from Mary’s guidance.
Lowell School Superintendent Jean Franco served as the Master of Ceremonies tonight. One-by-one, she summoned each school’s principal to the stage to introduce the volunteers from that school and tell the audience something about each of their contributions. More than 125 volunteers were so honored. Their contributions to the schools and the children who attend them are impressive and selfless. Also honoring the volunteers this evening were Lowell School Committee members Kristin Ross Sitcawich, Kim Scott, and Steve Gendron. Representing UMass Lowell were Vice Provost for Graduate Education Don Pierson and Dean of the School of Education Anita Greenwood who were both friends and colleagues of Mary.