Sport & Medical Sciences Academy Hosts 4th Annual Roberto Clemente Commemoration Event
Published on Feb 2, 2016
This past New Year’s Eve marked the 43rd anniversary of the death of Roberto Clemente and the 4th annual Roberto Clemente Commemoration Event, in Hartford. For the second year in a row, the event was held at the Sport and Medical Sciences Academy, diligently planned by committee members from the community and the SMSA community as well. Alex Mercado, Sport and Medical Sciences Academy teacher and coach, along with senior students, Ted Elsner, Jose Rivera, Edgar Mendez, and Luis Mendez, were on the committee as part of their senior capstone project. The four senior students represented their home town communities of Tolland, Berlin and Hartford, as well as their SMSA community. Alex Mercado ensured that the seniors took full part in the planning and advertising of the community event. The students attended weekly meetings and took on weekly tasks such as creating posters, buttons, and programs for the event. The young men also took part in the promotion of the December 31st celebration of the life of Roberto Clemente.
Attached is a photo of the Roberto Clemente Commemoration Committee, which consisted of 4 SMSA students Jose Rivera, Ted Elsner, Edgar Mendez, and Luis Mendez.The members of the committee are listed as left to right. Samuel Vega, Pedro Mercado, Stae Rep. Angel Arce, Alex Mercado, Julio Concepcion, Pedro Bermudez , Ted Elsner, Wildaliz Bermudez, Jose Rivera, John Murphy, Luis Mendez, Donna Swarr and Edgar Mendez. Missing members from the picture are Attorney Jeffrey Dressler, Andres Chaparro and Eugenio Caro.
The students created an essay contest for Hartford students in 9th and 10th grade, which prompted our young students to reflect on the humanitarian efforts of Roberto Clemente. The four seniors traveled to a local Spanish radio station to promote the commemoration and discuss the agenda for the event at the Sport and Medical Sciences Academy.
The celebration of the life of Roberto Clemente was an enormous success, with its largest turnout to date. On a sunny New Year’ Eve Day, members of the community turned out to honor a great man and baseball player, Roberto Clemente. On behalf of Attorney Jeffrey Dressler and Mega Education, each child received a Roberto Clemente T-shirt and every person received a raffle ticket, with the winning prize a Hartford Yard Goat gift basket including 4 tickets to spring game. The Police Explorers, Boy Scouts and Sport and Medical Sciences Academy cheerleaders all took part in the event, along with guest speakers Mayor Luke Bronin, State Representative Angel Arce, and Miss. Puerto Rico, LeAndra Reid . State Representative Angel Arce’s speech included Roberto Clemente’s own words to describe the racial barriers that he had to overcome as a professional baseball player in his time. The Commemoration Event was an incredible testament to how far we have come, in that a community, representative of all ethnicities and ages, came out in support of a great man and humanitarian, at a school that honors and embraces diversity.
The students at the Sport and Medical Sciences Academy have enormous educational opportunities provided to them; however it’s the school’s commitment to community service and the belief that students benefit the most, when challenged to give back to their community. In the words of Roberto Clemente, “If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth.”
Submitted by Amy Boutilier