WellesleyWeston Magazine

FALL 2016

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: http://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/713244

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Page 125 of 211

124 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | f a l l 2 0 1 6 We Are Family A L L I S O N I J A M S S A R G E N T writer on september 6, 1966, 220 METCO children took their first school bus ride from Boston to suburban classrooms. On that day, the all white Wellesley school district welcomed ten students who became part of a vast social experiment to provide a small correc- tion to the decades of devastation that segregation had wrought in Boston schools. Earlier that year, on February 24, School Committee Chairman David Sargent noted on the front page of The Wellesley Townsman, "It is unthinkable to refuse to participate in any such program that is obviously aimed at solving one of our greatest national problems." That winter, as news of the impending program spread, the town found itself at the center of a national debate. Angry letters sent to The Wellesley Townsman and to members of the School Committee accused them of vast overreach. Conversely, dozens of letters praised committee members for their forward thinking and courage. Many understood the more subtle advantage of METCO. One letter, dated May 17, 1966, said, "Our judgment is that Wellesley and our Wellesley students will be the biggest gainers in this program." Fifty years later, the experiment continues. More than 150 students come to Wellesley every day of the school year, rising to catch buses that fetch them as early as 6 am. And though the program continues to be scrutinized in the Statehouse at budget time and might merit debate on stubborn academic achievement gap issues, in the end, it is a program, designed for the good of children. And because it is about people, in many ways what defines METCO's success are the of children. And because it is about people, in many ways what defines METCO's success are the bridges that are built across communities and the connections the program fosters. What follow are five snapshots of forged relationships that have forever changed those involved. This is the power of the METCO program. Celebrating METCO's 50th Anniversary in Wellesley Through Five Portraits of Friendship

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