2006 Honorees

2006 Honorees

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 Pictured in photo left to right: Headmaster William Samaras, John Pearson (accepting the award for Benjamin Butler), Michelle Randazza (accepting the award for her father, Homer Bourgeois), Gerald Chertavian, Thomas Sexton and Herbert Zarkin.


Benjamin Franklin Butler (1818-1893) was a member of the first class (1831) to graduate from Lowell High School. He graduated from Waterville (now Colby) College in 1838, and began practicing law in Massachusetts in 1840. In 1853, he was elected to the General Court of Massachusetts and to the Senate in 1859. He led the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia as Brigadier General in 1861, and was commissioned as a Major General in the United States Army in 1862. From 1867 through 1878 he served in the United States Congress, was elected Governor of Massachusetts in 1882, and was nominated by the Greenback/Labor Party and Anti-Monopoly Party for the Presidency of the United States in 1884. Over 100,000 people came to the city to mourn his death. He is interred in the Hildreth Family Cemetery in Lowell.


Homer Bourgeois (1903-1977) attended Lowell public schools, graduated from Lowell High School in 1920 and later studied finance at Northeastern University. He was Chairman of his LHS 50th reunion. In his last year at Lowell High, he became a “runner” at the Union National Bank, which started his long and brilliant career at the bank. In 1944, Homer became the President of the largest financial institution in the city. When the Lowell Housing Authority was created in 1937, he became the first chairman and worked for the creation of subsidized public housing for low-income residents. As a young banker, he was the head of the first public housing in America built at the North Common.


Herbert Zarkin graduated from Lowell High in 1956 and later received a degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Since 1997, he has been the Chairman of the Board of Directors of BJ’s Wholesale Club, Inc. He started his career in the retail world in 1961 working as a stock boy in Zayre Stores and worked his way up the ladder to store manager.  He concluded his tenure there as Chairman of the Zayre Stores Division.  In 1990, Mr. Zarkin became the president of BJ’s Wholesale Club and in 1993, the president and chief executive officer of Waban Inc.


Thomas Sexton graduated from LHS in 1958. He attended Salem State College and later received a Master in Fine Arts from the University of Alaska Anchorage. He taught English and Creative Writing at the University of Alaska, until 1994 and is now Professor Emeritus of English. In 1995, he was appointed by the Alaska State Legislature to serve as Alaska's Poet Laureate. Professor Sexton was one of the founders of The Alaska Quarterly Review and is the author of several books of poetry including Terra Incognita, Late August on the Kenai River, The Bend Toward Asia, A Blossom of Snow, Autumn in the Alaska Range, and World Brimming Over.  In 2002, he was recognized as one of Northern Essex Community College’s top 40 students. He lives in Anchorage, Alaska.


Gerald Chertavian is a 1983 LHS graduate. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude, from Bowdoin College and received an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.  Gerald co-founded Conduit Communications in 1993 and fostered its growth to $20M with more than 130 employees in London, Amsterdam, New York and Boston. Following the sale of Conduit to i-Cube in 1999, Gerald turned his full attention to opportunities for others and founded Year Up in 2000. Year Up is recognized by Fast Company and The Monitor Group as one of the top 25 organizations in the nation using business excellence to engineer social change. He was recognized as one of New York's outstanding Big Brothers in 1989.  The recipient of the 2003 Social Entrepreneurship Award by the Manhattan Institute and the 2005 Freedom House Archie R. Williams, Jr. Technology Award, Gerald was recognized by Boston Business Forward magazine as one of “Boston's 40 most promising individuals under the age of 40.”