The Melrose Grad Night Committee works tirelessly during the year to ensure that the night of graduation is a memorable one for graduating seniors. From creating a theme, to coordinating food, to fundraising, coordinating volunteers, and sending many, many thank you letters, it takes a village to create the monumental event that is Grad Night. We certainly couldn’t do it without the help of Melrose Public Schools administrators and educators, parents, and our wonderful community.
Michelle Carson, Chair
Michelle created Melrose Grad Night in 2014 with a group of committed volunteers eager to see MHS graduates have fun and be safe. When a suggestion was raised in a PTO meeting, Michelle got to work, soliciting help from other MHS parents and engaging the community’s support for this important cause. The first Grad Night exceeded Michelle’s expectations as far as student participation and it continues to grow each year. Melrose Grad Night is eagerly anticipated by MHS seniors and Michelle is just as excited to continue to lead the charge. Michelle has three children, two of which have graduated from MHS, and one well on her way. When Michelle isn’t focusing on Grad Night success, you can find her at Bodyography Wellness Center in Melrose, where she is a licensed massage therapist. She is also a member of the Melrose Youth Ballet Board.
Laura Cataldo, Food and Beverages
Laura’s been a Melrose Grad Night volunteer since the first one lanched in 2014. Several years ago, she stepped up to chair the Food and Beverages committee. The 2016 graduates still salivate over the memory of the Grilled Cheese Sandwich truck, and they have Laura to thank for the kick-off to the Freshmen Fifteen! The food has always been a huge hit at Grad Night and we thank Laura for her commitment to making it the best. The mantra of a teenage parent, “Make them food and they will come,” is evident in the ever-climbing percentage of the senior class who participates in the big night. When Laura isn’t raising her two amazing teenage daughters, she is a consultant to an IT staffing company. We’re happy to have her on our team.
Catherine Denn-Freed, Fundraising/Volunteer Coordinator
Catherine holds the noble title of being the mother of three concurrent class presidents. Her two daughters and son have never walked away from a leadership challenge, and they are pulling their mom along with them. The Freed family has volunteered at Grad Night since the beginning and for the 2017 class, Catherine stepped up to lead the fundraising and volunteers. She’s your “go to” person for donations and hands-to-help. As we get closer to the date, you’ll see Catherine’s Sign Up Genius so you can easily volunteer for a two hour shift on the night of the party. When Catherine isn’t raising those amazing kids, she is pursuing other volunteer opportunities in the schools. Chances are she has met every recent MHS graduate through the MVMMS Popcorn Fundraiser, of which she is a committed volunteer.
Kristin Haggerty, Publicity
Kristin holds the enviable distinction of being mom to four boys. If you have ever watched a Melrose sports team charge to a victory, or lose with grace, you’ve probably run in to one of her progeny. Kristin is a Title 1 Reading Teacher at The Ferryway School in Malden when she is not working on publicity for Melrose Grad Night. She has been a MGN volunteer since event launch, and became the Publicity chair shortly after getting her feet wet. We look foward to many years of Kristin spreading the good word about Melrose Grad Night and we can’t wait to see her growing boys become seniors and enjoy the fruits of mom’s labor on the One Big Night!
Nancy Brincheiro, Treasurer and Prize Coordinator
If your middle school and high school children are less morning-grumpy in the fall of 2017, you have Nancy to thank. She and her husband, Frank, championed the Start School Later movement in Melrose, and, through scientific and logistical evidence, convinced the School Committee to let our kids wake up at a more reasonable time in the morning. Nancy’s passion in helping kids succeed and thrive is evident in Melrose Grad Night. She pulled an all-nighter as a night-of volunteer for the 2014 Grad Night party, and in a sleep-deprived state , we are sure, was convinced to become the official MGN Treasurer. You can count on Nancy to know where every nickel and dime is raised and spent during this year-long fundraising effort. She is also your contact for prize donations. Got something perfect for a graduating senior? Contact Nancy! When she is not engaging in Melrose Public School efforts, Nancy is raising her three children, one of which is a 2016 MHS graduate, and the other two well on their way to success.
Jill Brogan, Registration
It all starts with Registration – it’s how we know who’s coming and what we need to plan. Registration is a great role for a working parent. Just ask Jill Brogan, who’s handled Registration for each of the 3 years of Grad Night while working her “day job” in Boston! As head of registration, this “committee of 1” partners with the Senior Class advisers to know who’s coming. From there, we contact each student who signed up for Grad Night during “marathon week” in March, when seniors purchase tickets for senior week events. This gets the ball rolling! From participation agreements, to what to know before you go (do’s and don’ts), to lists for various committees, to checking in the students that night, the Registration committee is the information nucleus for Melrose Grad Night. Are you good with Excel? Comfortable with the Internet? Then partner with Jill this year to learn this exciting and important part of Grad Night. With her youngest child a grad from 2016, she’s been at it for a while and wants to pass that baton to the next leader.
Sandra Abramson/Stephanie Catalini, Entertainment
If there is one thing you’ll hear from Grad Night alumni, it is that the fun never stops. Over and over again, we’ve been told that there is so much to do, the night is over before you know it. We have Sandra and Stephanie to thank for being the creative minds behind the entertainment for the evening. In past years, we’ve had a Velcro Wall, a Bucking Bull, Casino Tables, Sumo Wrestling, and of course, the most magical magician ever to perform! Sandra has been on the Entertainment committee for two years, and became co-chair in 2017. She’s happy to have had one kid experience the magic of Grad Night, and another one ready to do the same in a few years. When Sandra isn’t entertaining the troops, she is a Business Analyst at Tufts University and Board Member of the Miller/Tracy Children’s Foundation.
Anne Moore/Susan Nerden, Decor
Susan joined the Melrose Grad Night Decor Committee last year, decided to chair it this year and invited Anne to join her. She and Ann are responsible for decking the halls at Melrose Grad Night, and each year just seems to get better! It is hard to believe that a high school gym could be transformed into an Oscar Night red carpet, but that is exactly what happened in 2016. Students were ushered down the red carpet as they were received by the paparazzi into an after party adorned with balloons and uplighting and a Hollywood marquee. Check out the photos! When Susan and Anne aren’t coming up with creative MGN themes, they both work at Liberty Mutual in Boston, where they’ve been known to meet in the hallways to discuss the many schedules of their children and details of the BIG NIGHT. We can’t wait to see what Susan and Ann have up their sleeves for this year. It is one big secret right up until the doors open for ONE BIG NIGHT!
Sioban Haldeman, Secretary
Have you received your thank you letter from Sioban yet? If not, we are sure it is on its way. What? You haven’t contributed yet? Donate now and you’ll be awarded by not just the pretty penmanship of Sioban, but the knowledge that you’ve helped keep our kids and our community safe on graduation night. Sioban handles all communication for Melrose Grad Night, and we are lucky to have her. Recently, a community member and MGN fan suggested on Facebook that all of Melrose donate to this renowned event. Small donations are still flowing in, and thank you, thank you, thank you continues to flow out!
Maribeth Darwin, Website
Maribeth works the behind-the-scenes magic of our website. As you are reading, she is writing. She is always looking for new and interesting information about Grad Night Alumni to share with the community that supports us. If you know a student with a story he or she is willing to share, please tell the student to contact Maribeth. When Maribeth is not working on the Melrose Grad Night website, you can find her supporting the Melrose Ed Foundation website, or sharing information as the MHS PTO President. When she is not writing in a volunteer capacity, she is a freelance writer who spends most of her time, you guessed it, creating content for websites! Maribeth has three sons, one an MHS 2016 graduate and two others moving up the ranks of the high school.
Rob Dolan, Mayor
Cyndy Taymore, Superintendent
Mike Lyle, Chief of Police
Jason Merrill, MHS Principal
City of Melrose Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator
Steve Turner, MVMMS Faculty
Paul Brodeur, Massachusetts State Representative
Marian Ryan, Middlesex District Attorney
Ann Waitt, Melrose DPW
Members of the Board of Aldermen and School Committee