Breaking a ‘Culture of Silence’


Kyla Pelham

Students, alumnae and faculty have been involved in conversations regarding the impact of race on students’ experiences at Algonquin.

NESPA Winner: Feature Writing, 2021

The Harbinger, Algonquin Regional High School, Northborough, Mass.


“In towns like Southborough, insidious racism is like oxygen in the air. It may stand out in extreme cases — but we grew up breathing it.”

This quote was part of a widely-shared article titled “We Grew Up With an Officer Involved in Rayshard Brooks’ Murder. We’re Not Surprised,” published on LEVEL (a publication from Medium) in June 2020 by Caroline and Emily Joyner (graduates of ARHS in 2011 and 2008 respectively). The article recounted their experience as biracial Black girls at Algonquin and their opinions on the role the community played in harboring racism.

In addition, the Joyner sisters wrote about how towns like Southborough and Northborough may have contributed to the upbringing of white supremacists like Matthew Colligan, a 2008 ARHS graduate who was photographed attending a “Unite The Right” rally in Aug. 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia which was condemned for its racism and violence. The article also focused on Atlanta police officer Devin Brosnan, a 2012 ARHS graduate who was at the scene of Rayshard Brooks’ murder. Brooks, a Black male, was shot to death on June 12, 2020 by fellow Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe while running away after resisting arrest. Brosnan was charged with aggravated assault and breaking three police officer oaths. 

Read the full story at The Harbinger’s site,