• 'Distinguished' class grows by count of five - By Kori Tuitt, ktuitt@lowellsun.com - 10/21/2017 11:06:01 PM EDT

    LOWELL -- Five high achievers are set to be honored at the 13th annual Lowell High School Distinguished Alumni Award ceremony Wednesday.

    Group photo  

    This year's honorees are Esther Wilkins, class of 1933; Gerald Wallace, class of 1952; Brian Martin, class of 1968; Brian Chapman, class of 1980; and Tom Golden, class of 1989.

    Since 2004, alumni have been recognized, not only for their professional achievements, but for their contributions to the city.

    "It's just a great opportunity for the kids sitting in those seats to see what people that sat in those seats have achieved and how they've given back to the community," said Jim Moriarty, chair of the Lowell High School Distinguished Alumni Board of Directors.

    "They all talk about a relationship that a teacher made or a coach made that encouraged them to follow through on their dreams. Not to be bashful, not to be hesitant," he added.

    Wilkins is being honored posthumously for her contributions to the field of dentistry. She graduated from Simmons College of Boston and Tufts School of Dental Medicine. Wilkins taught into her 90s and passed away at the age of 100.

    "She achieved such a level of success that if you go into almost any dental office, they'll tell you she wrote the book on dental hygiene," Moriarty said.

    Wallace, who is also being honored posthumously, came from a large family and became the youngest president of Lowell Five Cent Savings Bank at the age of 36.

    He led the bank for more than 40 years and passed away at the age of 68.

    "He really did a great job of bringing Lowell Five to one of the leading banks in the area," Moriarty said. "A lot of kids sitting in those chairs can relate to overcoming obstacles and achieving great, great things."

    Moriarty said the icing on the cake is that Wallace met his wife, Francis, at Lowell High School.

    Martin has a long history of involvement in the city. He most recently stepped down from his position as Lowell High School headmaster in June.

    "It's just absolutely amazing what he has achieved and what he's done for the kids of the city of Lowell and Lowell High School," Moriarty said.

    Chapman is the president of Mill City Environmental and there has used his entrepreneurial skills to benefit the city over the years. Moriarty said Chapman's "giving-back attitude" is one of his best qualities. He grew up in Centralville.

    "There's not a nonprofit he's not involved in, making sure kids and people who grew up in his type of background get to achieve or get the opportunity to achieve what he did," he said.

    Moriarty said before being the well-known state representative, Golden was class president all four years at Lowell High.

    "He was way ahead of the curve on this opioid crisis, really taking a special interest in kids who have become addicted to opioids," Moriarty said.

    He added that Golden's volunteerism in the community is also notable.

    "It's great to come down and just see what fellow alumni out of Lowell High have achieved and how they give back to the community," Moriarty said.

    Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients 2017

    Esther Wilkins, class of 1933

    Esther Wilkins Biography

    Esther Wilkins

    Gerald Wallace, class of 1952

    Gerald Wallace Biography

    Gerald Wallace

    Brian Martin, class of 1968

    Brian Martin Biography

    Brian Martin

    Brian Chapman, class of 1980

    Brian Chapman Biography

    Brian Chapman

    Tom Golden, class of 1989.

    Thomas Golden Jr Biography

    Thomas Golden