Boston Collegiate Charter marks 20th anniversary at JFK Library dinner

Susan Fortin and Brett Peiser came home to Dorchester to help students, teachers and community supporters celebrate Boston Collegiate Charter School’s 20th anniversary at the school’s annual gala at the JFK Library last week. Fortin and Peiser, along with U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), founded the school.

Boston Collegiate Charter School (BCCS) recently marked its 20th anniversary at the school’s annual dinner at the JFK Library with approximately 350 people coming together to celebrate the work the school is doing to provide a college-bound program for Boston youth. The event raised over $380,000 for the school, surpassing last year’s record-breaking total of $350,000.  

BCCS was founded in 1998 as South Boston Harbor Academy by Harvard University Kennedy School of Government graduates, Brett Peiser and Susan Fortin, and former State Senator and now US Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA).

“For the past 20 years, this school has provided children from across the city a path to college,” said Shannah Varón, the school’s current executive director. “It is a path that was laid by our co-founders, Congressman Lynch, Susan Fortin and Brett Peiser, who had the vision and the grit to build a school that raised the bar in public education. I couldn’t be prouder of the teachers, students and families who have come through our doors to teach and learn over the past 20 years and made Boston Collegiate the special place that it is.”

The event also featured an inspiring speech by Esther Fernandez, a senior who came to America from the Dominican Republic, and is now setting her sights on Bowdoin College. She wants to study “the business side of education” to help figure out how to ensure schools have the resources they need to “give students access to a quality education, whether it is books or programs or most importantly, great teachers.”

From its humble beginnings in a converted warehouse on Elkins Street in South Boston to its two-building campus in Dorchester, BCCS is close to finishing a $12.7 million renovation of its Upper School Campus on Mayhew Street. The project will include 13 classrooms, 11 small group breakout rooms, and the school’s first ever multipurpose lunch room and convening space, which will significantly enhance opportunities for our students to thrive academically, socio-emotionally, physically, and creatively.

BCCS has grown from 120 students in grades 5-7 to 700 students in grades 5-12. The school has been recognized as a leading middle and high school in Massachusetts and around the country with 100 percent of its graduating seniors being accepted into college.