The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of November 14 to November 21, 2019

Murdock HS Food and Clothing Pantry Officially Open

Murdock High School is excited to announce the opening of their Clothing Pantry “Blue Devil Locker” and Food Pantry “Murdock Pantry” on Monday, November 18, 2019!

They had a winner in the food drive contest - Mr. Collins' advisory, who chose the names. They continue to need further supplies, especially food and new socks and underwear. Vice Principal Megan Weeks stated she is so proud of their staff for their help, especially Ms. Ellis' ALL Program students for cleaning, organizing and putting the spaces together.

MHS Clothing Pantry MHS Food Pantry

Monty Tech Business Technology Students See Criminal Justice System in Action

FITCHBURG - Juniors and Seniors in Angela Ikonen’s Business Technology program at Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School recently learned firsthand about the criminal justice system, and the career opportunities available in the field.

Each year, as part of the Business Technology curriculum, juniors and seniors visit Fitchburg District Court.

“When studying about Ethics as part of the program’s curriculum, I have found that it is far more effective if students get to actually experience our judicial system in action by visiting the Fitchburg District Court. It really has an impact on them, far more that learning it in a static approach in the classroom,” Mrs. Ikonen said.

When arriving at the courthouse, First Justice Christopher P. LoConto, Associate Justice Meghan Spring, Chief Probation Officer Rebecca Ramirez, Assistant Clerk Magistrate Carol Vittorioso, Court Officer Allison Nowak, and the Chief Security Officer Yvonne Slade spoke to the students in the court room before it was in session.

After introducing themselves, the justice professionals gave a brief history of how they got to that point in their careers and what their positions entail. They told the students that if they want to help people, they should consider a career in the criminal justice system.

Judges LoConto and Spring both stressed the inherent dangers in social media, and how it can negatively impact lives, particularly for teenagers.

Judge LoConto urged the students to “be smart and be careful, lives can change in a second”. He went on to say that the three most important factors they should strive for in their lives right now are: integrity, honesty, and work ethic.

Court was then brought into session, and the students observed a number of cases concerning drug abuse and mental health issues.

Following the hearings, the judges recessed and conducted a question and answer session with the students. For most students, this was the first time in a courtroom.

“Judge LoConto and Judge Spring go out of their way to talk to the students and to ask them their thoughts, concerns, and questions about what they observed. They explain in detail every aspect of what transpired. I have found over the years that students respond very well to this approach. Some of my students are interested in the law and getting to experience the process has a very positive impact on them,” said Mrs. Ikonen.

Students had very favorable comments about the visit and the impact it had on their lives and possible career paths.

“I really liked it and thought it was a cool experience to be able to see how the courthouse worked and the behind the scenes operations,” said Jaelynn Corbeil of Fitchburg.

“I found that everyone in the room has a specific job, and they all have to consistently fire on all cylinders to do it right. It was apparent that a highly functioning courthouse must have highly functioning workers in every department,” said Alexander Diaz of Barre.

“I’ve been interested in a career in law for many years now, and this field trip has truly opened my eyes and shown me that I want to pursue my dream in doing that. I’m grateful that I was able to learn about each career from their perspectives, and it helped me gain more knowledge about everyone’s job in the court system. I was mainly intrigued learning about the probation officer position. The office truly inspired me and persuaded me to think about entering that career. I’m glad I was able to have this experience, and would like to do it again,” according to Ashlee Aldana of Fitchburg.

“I thought the courthouse visit was a great opportunity to see alternative careers and also a good experience overall. We got to see how the different parts of the court worked, and what each job entailed. Overall, the visit was an eye-opening experience,” said Steven Parsons of Princeton.

“The visit to the courthouse was an eye-opening experience, and I enjoyed it very much. It showed me how intense working in law can be because of the non-stop action,” said Caleb Linnan of Barre.

Students from the Senior class
Students from the Junior class

Sizer School baskets give back for the holidays

Donate to the Thanksgiving Basket project today

Over the past few years, Sizer School, located at 500 Rindge Rd. in Fitchburg, has used their year-long Food Pantry to support families in need by providing these families with Thanksgiving "baskets."

Each year, Sizer staff pack these baskets with traditional Thanksgiving foods like potatoes, gravy, veggies and a dessert as well as a gift card so that the family can purchase a turkey or other dinner items on their own.

“Last year we provided meals for 10 families, and this year we hope to be able to support 10-15," said Jenna Lavery Quigley, the Sizer School School Adjustment Counselor and Food Pantry representative.

“Donations are always welcome and specific Thanksgiving donations would be welcomed by November 20th,” said Quigley.

The food pantry is looking for the following items: instant mashed potatoes, pie crust/filling, cake mix, corn bread/roll mix, canned corn, canned green beans, gravy mix/canned gravy, stuffing and chicken broth/bouillon. Also, $25 dollar gift cards to locations such as Market Basket, Hannaford, Walmart.

Donations can be dropped off at Sizer School, 500 Rindge Rd. in Fitchburg between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Mondays-Fridays.

Sizer School, a North Central Charter Essential School, is a free public charter school located in Fitchburg serving students in grades seven through twelve from 25 local towns and cities. At Sizer School students are known personally, challenged intellectually, and participate actively in their learning. Guided by its commitment to diversity and inclusiveness, the school seeks to send graduates into the world who THINK for themselves, CARE about others, and ACT creatively and responsibly. To find out more, visit

Applications are still being accepted, until November 30th, for students in 7th and 9th grade for the 2019-2020 school year.

Applications are also being accepted for the 2020-2021 school year. Visit to apply today.