Remembering the Past

BY ANDREW BLOM // DEC. 5, 2011 //

A white wooden cross stands surrounded by colorful decorations about a mile from Curry College. Located next to the entrance of the Blue Hills Reservation on Route 138, it serves as both a memorial and a painful reminder of tragic mistakes.

A makeshift roadside memorial has lived on Route 138 for the past seven years, following the death of Curry sophomore Kimberly Craft.

Few current students may know that the memorial marks the spot where former Curry student Kimberly Craft was killed in a drunk-driving accident in 2004. Her mother, Anne Miranda, of East Falmouth, Mass., visits and maintains the site at least once a month, most recently on Nov. 14, which marked the seven-year anniversary of her daughter’s death.

“It’s like she’s away at school still,” says Miranda, struggling to find the words through persistent tears. “Maybe that’s why I still go up there.”

Craft, a basketball standout at Falmouth High School, where she played alongside her older sister and team captain, Crystal, transferred to Curry in the spring of 2004 mainly to be closer to home, Miranda says. Craft previously attended the University of New Haven in Connecticut. As a sophomore at Curry, Craft joined the women’s basketball team and was preparing for the start of the season. It was at a preseason scrimmage a few weeks before her death that she and her mother last saw each other.

According to Miranda, Craft was with friends at Cappy’s Tavern in Hyde Park on Nov. 14, 2004, following a Curry football game. Craft, who had recently turned 21, didn’t order a drink at the bar, but her friend Emmanuel Parent, 19, did. The two shared “one drink” at Cappy’s, according to Miranda.

After returning to campus later that night to drop off friends, and having a few more drinks, according to media reports, the two again left Curry. Parent, a member of the football team, drove Craft’s car as she sat in the passenger’s seat. Driving on Blue Hills Avenue, Parent veered across the road and slammed head-on into another vehicle. Craft was not wearing her seatbelt and died from her injuries; Parent and the two people in the other car survived.

In September 2005, Parent pleaded guilty to motor vehicle homicide while drunk and causing serious bodily injury. He was sentenced to 2 ½ years in the Norfolk County House of Corrections for Craft’s death, and two concurrent six-month sentences for the injuries suffered by those in the other car. He also had his driver’s license suspended for 10 years.

Miranda says she cannot understand why students make the choices they do, especially drinking to great excess. “I just don’t think they really get it,” she says. “We lose our children at such a young age and it’s [because of] bad choices.

“Every day is a struggle,” she later adds. “You try to cover it, but I wouldn’t wish it on any family, ever.”

Such concerns are particularly relevant today. This semester alone, approximately 20 Curry students have been taken off campus by ambulance due to over-intoxication and/or drug use.

Sue Pennini, dean of institutiuonal planning, and the associate dean of academics in 2004, recalls Craft’s death as a “horrific” time for everyone at Curry. “When something like this happens, it’ very personal to us,” she says.

Kimberly Craft

Prior to Craft’s death, Curry frequently held campus “Pub Nights,” where alcohol was served in the Alumni Recreation Center to those over 21. The events were organized and supervised by the student-run Alcohol Safety and Awareness Organization. According to the 2004 edition of Amethyst, Curry’s annual yearbook, there were five “Pub Nights” the year prior to Craft’s death. The following year, “Pub Nights” and the Alcohol Safety and Awareness Organization no longer existed. It is unclear what role the accident had in those decisions, although Pennini noted that “many different factors” influenced campus policies following the crash.

Although Craft was relatively new to Curry, the women’s basketball team dedicated its 2004-2005 season to her memory. The team also played the season with her No. 22 jersey on the bench.

That season was the first for Coach Francis Elms, who remembers Craft as being “well respected” and would always be on the court practicing before and after the rest of the team. Seven years later, Elms says he still talks about her to his current players. “Not one instant she took her opportunity for granted,” Elms says. But in “one instant it can all be gone.”

In her memory, Elms created the Kimberly Craft Award, which is given each season to a women’s basketball player who is particularly passionate about the game.

“It’s amazing to me because she only knew her friends at Curry a few months,” says Miranda. “I’m honored to have been her mom.”

Curry currently has numerous outreach programs aimed at educating students about the dangers of alcohol, including the student-run R.A.G.E. peer educators club. Often, however, it’s a person’s friends who are in the best position to stop drinking and driving from happening.

“Even if it’s one person’s life that you affect before they make that decision,” says Miranda, “it’s a start.”

Building an Alliance

BY ERIN POWERS // DEC. 5, 2011 //

The quote on the top of the flyer read, “Life is more than the sum of its parts.” Those interested to learn more made their way to the Student Center, where a new student group hosted a showing last month of the 2005 movie “Transamerica.”

The Gay, Straight Alliance, or GSA, has returned to Curry this semester after years of inactivity. The group showed “Transamerica,” a comedic yet touching film that explores gender dysphoria, as part of the national Transgender Awareness Week, Nov. 12-20, while also hosting a discussion about the movie’s various themes.

In search of a social support group, Alexander Koch decided to create his own and led others in the resurrection of Curry's Gay, Straight Alliance. // PHOTO BY ERIN POWERS

Freshman Alexander Koch is the force behind GSA’s resurrection on campus. He said he was inspired to restart the student club after flipping through Curry’s Student Handbook, which listed GSA as an active student group. He sought out more information from Student Activities, but learned that the listing was a mistake and that the club had long been dormant.

He and some friends quickly changed that.

Lynn Zlotkowski, the college’s academic success coordinator, and Robert Mack, manager of the Academic Advising office, are both advisors to GSA and help the students figure out logistical planning for events and community outreach. According to Zlotkowski and Koch, the GSA’s main purpose is to serve as a safe and comforting environment where students—regardless of their sexuality—can talk and listen without being judged in any way. The group plans to hold various events throughout the year, including a holiday party before the semester break, in an effort to bring students together and allow diversity to flourish on campus.

“It’s an opportunity to break down some stereotypes and give students a chance to meet people that are going through the same things as them,” said Zlotkowski, who’s in her first semester at Curry. “Or just the opposite; they can meet people who are going through things that they might not understand at all.”

Koch, who is gay, lived in Germany his whole life until he decided to pursue his college education in the U.S. He said he has found the Curry community to be kind-hearted overall. It’s something of a departure from his former life overseas.

“Germany has many gay rights and hate crime laws, but there are not many supporting organizations, and those that exist are more of a political nature and are not aimed at teenagers and young adults,” Koch said, adding that he was looking forward to attending college in the United States, where there are many support groups for young gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people.

One thing that is significant about Curry’s chapter of GSA is that it is not just for students who are gay or bisexual; straight students are also members. As of press time, GSA had about 12 members, according to Koch, and about a quarter of them are straight, he said. Starting Thursday, Feb. 2, the group will meet biweekly in the Student Center’s Small Meeting Room from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

“Curry has a long way to go as far as accepting the LGBT community,” said Zlotkowski, “but the revival of GSA is certainly a good first step.”

More Than Meets the Eye

BY KELSEY HOWAT // DEC. 5, 2011 //

When most people first think of Chris Barrow, they think of his size. After all, the sophomore stands 6 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs 280 pounds.

But there’s far more to Barrow than meets the eye.

Chris Barrow, a 26-year-old sophmore on the men’s basketball team, can be heard regularly on the campus radio station. The 6-foot, 7-inch foward often plays soft rock.

The 26-year-old—that’s not a typo!—came to Curry from the U.S. Navy, via Massasoit Community College in Brockton. After he was put on academic probation at Massasoit, Barrow chose to enlist and spent four years serving his country. “I was able to travel to a lot of cool places, like Australia and Dubai,” he said, adding that the Navy is now paying for his education.

Barrow left the Navy in 2008 and worked for a year before returning to college. He said he originally came to Curry to play football, a sport he had never even played during his high school or younger years.

“It was weird. One day someone (in the Navy) asked me if I had ever played football,” Barrow said. “I said no, but he told me it would be a good sport for me to play and I should play.”

And just like that, a football player was born.

In the 2009-2010 school year, Barrow traveled west on a one-year partial football scholarship at Missouri Valley College in Marshall, Mo. But Barrow said he wanted to be closer to family and friends—he’s a native of Brockton—and started to look at schools on the East Coast. That’s when Curry came into his view.

It certainly didn’t take long for those at Curry to notice Barrow. While sitting in the Student Center last year, someone from the men’s basketball team—a squad that was lacking some size—asked him if he’d consider playing. Barrow simply practiced with the team last season, but is now on the active roster as a power forward/center. He doesn’t get much playing time for the Colonels, who were 2-4 (1-1 in conference play) as of Dec. 3. Junior Sedale Jones leads this year’s squad with nearly 19 points per game, followed by sophomore Lambros Papalambros with nearly 14 points per game. Jones, a guard, is the team’s leading rebounder, at slightly more than 5 per game.

When he’s not playing sports or in the classroom, Barrow can be found working in the campus radio station. The communication major said he hopes to have a career in radio.

Lauren Hawkins, a senior resident assistant in 156 House and SCRH, which is where Barrow lives, said he is likely to do great things in his life. “We will know his name in the future,” she said. “He comes off really scary,” Hawkins adds, citing his size. “But he is really nice.”