Pictured in photo left to right: Headmaster William Samaras and honorees: George Behrakis '51, Hillary Holladay, UMass Lowell professor accepting for Jack Kerouac '39, Donna Lavigne McCallum '61, Elkin McCallum '61, and Nicola Tsongas accepting for her late husband, Paul Tsongas '58.
Jack Kerouac was a member of the class of 1939 at LHS. He later attended Columbia University and served in the Merchant Marine. He published his first novel, The Town and the City, in 1950. He became an overnight literary sensation in 1957 with the release of On the Road. His other books include Visions of Gerard, Maggie Cassidy, Doctor Sax, and Vanity of Duluoz (all of which are largely set in Lowell), as well as The Dharma Burns, The Subterraneans, Big Sur, Some of the Dharma, The Scripture of the Golden Eternity, Mexico City Blues, Desolation Angels, and Lonesome Traveler. His books remain in print and have been translated into numerous foreign languages. Jack Kerouac is considered by literary scholars to be one of the preeminent writers of the past century. He died in 1969.
George Behrakis graduated from LHS in 1951 and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Pharmacy from Northeastern University in 1957. He was the founder of Dooner Laboratories and later purchased Muro Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Mr. Behrakis has been active in civic and cultural organizations and has received many awards including: Businessman of the Year in Northern Middlesex County, Archon of the Greek Orthodox Church of North and South America, outstanding alumnus of Northeastern University, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the Merrimack College Augustinian Award, and the Alpha Omega Council Man of the Year Award. Some of his educational philanthropic endeavors include Boston College, Northeastern University, Northern Essex Community College, and Tufts University.
Paul Tsongas graduated from LHS in 1958. He went on to Dartmouth College, graduating in 1962 and then to Yale Law School, from which he graduated in 1967. After serving in the Peace Corps, Paul returned to Lowell and opened a Law practice. He was elected to the Lowell City Council (1970-74), and later to the offices of Middlesex County Commissioner (1973), U.S. Congressman from the 5th District (1974-78), and the U.S. Senate (1978-84). Senator Tsongas authored the law which created the Lowell National Historic Park in 1978. In 1991, Paul Tsongas ran for President of the U.S. in the Democratic primaries. For the next six years, Senator Tsongas continued to play a pivotal role in civic issues in particular the development of Lelacheur Park and the Arena named in his honor. Paul died in January 1997 at the age of 55.
Donna (Lavigne) McCallum was a member of the class of 1961 at Lowell High School. She graduated from Rivier College and taught fifth grade in Hudson, New Hampshire for nineteen years. She has been an active board member of several local organizations including: Lowell General Hospital, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, and New England Quilt Museum. Donna has been recognized for her community service by the American Red Cross and the National Honor Society. In 2003, the McCallum Family Foundation pledged up to $1 million for college scholarships to the Lowell High School Campaign for Educational Excellence.
Elkin McCallum graduated from LHS in 1961. In January 1962, he was hired by Joan Fabrics Corporation and graduated from Bentley College in 1967. He continued with Joan Fabrics in a variety of capacities over a span of a quarter of a century and became owner, President, and CEO in 1988. Mr. McCallum has served on several boards including: Bentley College Trustees, North Middlesex Chamber of Commerce, Saints Memorial Medical Center, and the Merrimack Valley Economic Development Council. In 1999, the McCallum family donated the largest gift in Bentley College history. In 2003, that foundation committed up to $1 million to the Lowell High School Campaign for Educational Excellence.