After years of frustrating delays and grappling with Worcester Public Schools, a deaf Worcester teen is at last in a special-education setting that has him thriving. The Sun checks in with Gino Berthiaume, his mother, educators and others who have seen the transformation that can come from an Individualized Education Program in action.
“If she stands on her toes, she is probably 4 feet, 10 inches tall – maybe. For most of her life, she struggled to weigh in at 100 pounds. But when it comes to helping women and girls who are struggling, there is no one bigger or stronger.”
Rich Gedman’s hunger for baseball never left him, even after his playing days ended.
The Worcester native and former Major League catcher, who spent parts of 11 seasons with the Boston Red Sox, is now in his fourth season as hitting coach for the Pawtucket Red Sox, Boston’s Triple-A affiliate. He also works with the team’s catchers to prepare them for the majors.
Gedman, now 57, rejoined the Red Sox organization in 2011 as hitting coach of the Lowell Spinners’ Red Sox Short-Season affiliate after nearly a decade of coaching and managing in the Can-Am League with the North Shore Spirit and Worcester Tornadoes, both of which are now defunct.
For Gedman, the idea of coaching came from helping the teams of his sons, Mike and Matthew, when they were growing up. Now, that hobby is part of the reason why the Boston Red Sox, who are heavy on homegrown position player talent, are among the favorites to win their division and contend for a World Series title this season.
“It’s a steady presence,” PawSox manager Kevin Boles said of Gedman. “Yes, he’s been there as far as his major league playing career. He’s been in some great moments in Red Sox history, but you know what you’re going to get with Geddie every day of the week. He doesn’t waver.
On a cloudy spring day, Altea’s Eatery, a breakfast-and-lunch restaurant with a French twist nestled on a bustling stretch of Park Avenue, seems capable of transporting customers from the dark, cloud-covered streets of Worcester to the bright, minimalist flair of France.
The exposed brick walls, brightly lit and sparely decorated tables, and the soothing sounds of French music playing in the background gives one the feeling that Worcester has a few secret connections to Old Paree.
With wall-length windows beckoning the sun, the unrelenting street traffic and increasing numbers of Park Avenue pedestrians, Altea’s felt like the place to be on a recent Monday morning. Bright, full and in good spirit, the eatery represents a mini-break from the demands of the everyday.
Giselle Rivera-Flores / For Worcester Sun
Altea’s Eatery, 259 Park Ave.
Co-owner Oriola Koci greets customers as they enter and frequently checks on patrons to see if they are “in need of anything else.”
The friendly, close-knit atmosphere is exactly what Koci set out to create when she opened Altea’s Eatery in October 2016 with her husband, chef Enton Mehillaj. The pair began their culinary journey in Worcester in 2013 by opening the popular Livia’s Dish near Leicester at the far end of Main Street.
Worcester’s favorite perennial political runner-up and adjunct public servant is a regular presence, well, pretty much anywhere in the city.
But mostly at City Council meetings, where he tries to keep councilors on the ball and constantly stokes awareness for often important under-the-radar issues. Sometimes, though, Coleman’s suggestions miss the mark — such as his recent request to more than double the mayor’s salary.
Hitch, predictably, found that notion for the birds.
“At first, I wasn’t so sure about someone sitting at the bar and writing, but you get used to it,” said Sarah Cellucci, who works at a local watering hole. “I’ve never seen it before as a bartender.” Patrick Sargent bellies up for the full story behind a true city original.
“So, when I heard about Bill O’Reilly and his creepshow, I tried to imagine how I would feel if he had done something like that to my daughter. … I asked other local fathers, who have raised strong, independent daughters, to offer some advice from their own experience.”
Editor’s note: Since September 2015, Worcester Sun has chronicled the trials and triumphs of Sun contributor Giselle Rivera-Flores as she explores ways to help her daughter and other Worcester families find affordable educational support and assistance. We used to describe her as an aspiring business owner; now, she’s an inspiring one. During her journey to establish and grow her nonprofit tutoring collaborative she has, you could say, stepped beyond the walls of her dream.
Entrepreneurs can be viewed as larger-than-life characters. Always fighting against the preconceived notions of society and breaking the confining molds of the status quo.
While entrepreneurs may seem to be a group of outliers with hard-to-duplicate qualities, the truth is, entrepreneurs embody the same traits as the rest of the world. We just put them to use.
Creativity. Imagination. Risk-taking. Vision. These are traits we are all born with.
As children, we thrive on imagination and creating worlds of our own, and we succeed as novice risk-takers because our vision and goals are clear.
Children tend to live simply. No over-complications. Our dreams are big, our passions are pure and our ideas are innovative. But something happens between childhood and adulthood that changes our view of what we consider possible.
That world of possibility is the underlying motivator for entrepreneurs.
It is the silent reminder that all things are possible. “All things are within reach, if you are willing to work for it,” can be the staple slogan for entrepreneurship, but these ideas don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Working hard, using creativity and taking risk for the sake of our own personal improvement must be a model implemented in all walks of life and not only on the path of entrepreneurship.
“Each of us living or working in the city has an important voice in shaping Worcester’s future development. Jane Week (May 1-7) is designed to prompt deep discussions and debates on our urban design and to give people a chance to think about the variables that make Worcester come alive.”