Shrewsbury – This past fall, sixth-grade students at the Sherwood Middle School participated in a special journalism project. Under the direction of their teachers, Moira Cristy, Douglas Kershaw and Jordan Smith, the students identified a person from Shrewsbury that they thought would make an interesting profile, then conducted an interview and wrote a brief feature. We will be sharing some of those profiles in the coming months.
By Abhinay Kanchanapalli
According to Webster’s dictionary, “a community is a feeling of fellowship with others where people share common attitudes, interests, and goals.” In the Shrewsbury community, many people work to ensure our town continues to be one of the best in the region. Behind the walls of the town hall there are people, like Kim Fitzpatrick, who are kind enough to help a middle school student like myself fulfill a writing project and who help behind the scenes the Shrewsbury community every day. Mrs. Fitzpatrick’s official position is the Financial Coordinator/Budget Analyst and the Homeless/Foster Care Liaison.
Mrs. Fitzpatrick grew up in Worcester and attended May Street Elementary School, Forest Grove Middle School, and Doherty High School. She proudly shared that “I am half Italian and half Scottish,” and believes she is a strong, caring, and hard-working person because of her mom. When Mrs. Fitzpatrick’s mom was living in Scotland, she had always wanted to get a job in America, so her mom and friend made a plan to come to America too. As the time of departure from Scotland drew closer, her friend backed out at the last moment and said she didn’t want to go to America. However, Mrs. Fitzpatrick’s mom was brave and decided that she would still go to America alone with the knowledge that her family said she could come back whenever she wanted. So her mom traveled to America, found a job, and it all worked out pretty well. Mrs. Fitzpatrick added that her dad was equally strong and smart and said that “he kind of influenced my love of learning.”
Mrs. Fitzpatrick is fortunate to have grown up with such wonderful parents and says that her family makes up most of her favorite memories. She states that every one or two years her aunts and uncles and cousins from her mom’s side would come over from Scotland to visit. They always had a lot of fun and recalls a special aunt who would always get her presents from Scotland. She remembers “my mom’s side of my family definitely made things memorable.”
She also talked about how different things were growing up in the 1970’s and 80’s. She didn’t have any phones or devices like we do today. She talked about going outside to play all day, everything was nearby, even her school.
She was one of the people that ended up doing a job that you don’t plan on doing; she didn’t complain about it. As she graduated college she worked in the Worcester Schools, as she got older she got promoted as the Financial Coordinator in the town hall of Shrewsbury.
At the end of our time together, Mrs. Fitzpatrick had the following advice to students, “Don’t be afraid to try new things or take risks that you know that are going to help you in a good way…”.
By Thomas Scott
In one’s life, hopefully everyone will come across someone that positively affects them in one way or another. As a matter of fact, some people can only hope there’s someone out there to guide them in the right direction when they need it most. Well, I am fortunate that this person lives right down the road from my house. His name is Edward Armstrong, my neighbor of six years. He connects with people through humor and shows us all how being a little bit funnier each day can brighten someone else’s day.
Have you ever heard of the “bubble boy syndrome”? If you haven’t, it is a rare condition that affects newborn babies who are born without a properly functioning immune system. As the compliance manager of a company that works to save the lives of many infants with this syndrome, Mr. Armstrong supplies surgeons with “safe effective drugs” that are used to help build proper immune systems. Although, when he was younger, Mr. Armstrong thought he was going to be doing something completely different, something in law. But as you can see, he was wrong. Mr. Armstrong did however say, “I always wanted a job to challenge me to learn something new.” And with this job, he definitely feels as though he is learning something new every day.
Mr. Armstrong is motivated by his passion for helping people. He is the one who gets out of bed knowing that his work could save another life. He is the one that wants to make each kid’s life longer, so he wants to learn new things every day. Mr. Armstrong said he is also influenced by his partner Nancy as she motivates him to be the best he can be.
When Mr. Armstrong was asked about what he would do differently in his life, he said, “I wouldn’t do anything different. When you do something right, wrong or indifferent, good or bad, it makes you a better person and makes you learn about your character.”
And when it comes to what he was most proud of, he responded, “I am proud of my children Blake and Alexis. I am proud of Alexis because she has come so far and is only 19. I am proud of my son Blake for being a bright young gentleman and for graduating 3rd in his class. They are what I am most proud of.”
The reason I chose him for this article is because he is a friendly neighbor that I enjoy spending time with and whose work is inspirational. I am lucky to know him.