He is the most unsung of Chelsea’s everyday heroes, helping thousands of local kids realize their dream of receiving a well-rounded vocational and secondary education over the past 37 years.
Michael Thomas Wall was re-elected to the Northeast Regional School Committee on Nov. 3. Though he was unopposed, Wall, the highly respected dean of the committee, received another impressive vote in recognition of his continuing commitment to the city and the vocational school in Wakefield.
Councilor-at-Large Leo Robinson, a dean of local government, offered his personal congratulation to Wall on his re-election. Robinson said he understands how impactful Wall’s knowledge and experience have been for Chelsea kids during his tenure on the Regional School Committee.
“Mike Wall has opened the door and guided so many of our students who have desired to attend Northeast Regional and acquire the skills necessary to specialize in the trades, go on to college, or enter the workforce,” said Robinson. “I’ve always felt well assured that our parents and kids were being represented by an outstanding community leader in Mike Wall and by a strong voice that everyone respects in this city and on the Regional School Committee.
From Chelsea Schools To Northeast Regional
Mike Wall grew up on Grove Street and is a 1965 graduate of Chelsea High School, having previously attended Sacred Heart School in East Boston and St. Rose School in Chelsea.
“I enjoyed my days at Chelsea High,” said Wall. “I remember some great teachers, Lorraine Ruby, Rebecca Mack, Gilbert Cherry.”
He later served on the Chelsea School Committee for four years with some of the legendary officials in this city, including former Mayor and State Senator, the late Andrew P. Quigley, Elizabeth McBride, Anthony Tiro, Paul Kornechuk, and Dom Pegnato.
“Though we were on different sides in some of the committee’s discussions, I had a lot of respect for Mr. Quigley,” said Wall. “He and I were part of a very good committee and I appreciate Mr. Quigley’s service to Chelsea.”
Wall was then appointed to the Northeast Regional School Committee in 1984. He has won re-election to the board each time since then.
He and his wife, Marie Wall, are celebrating their 52nd anniversary this week, having been married in 1968 at the Saint Rose Church, followed by the wedding reception at the Hotel Edison, Lynn.
The Walls live on Jones Avenue. They have three children, Michael Jr., Kevin, and Erin. Michael is a Chelsea High graduate while Kevin and Erin are Northeast graduates. The Walls also have seven grandchildren.
Helping Hundreds of Chelsea Students
Thanks to Mr. Wall’s diligence and conscientious efforts, Chelsea has one of the highest student enrollments at Northeast Regional, which serves 12 communities in the district. He has served with six superintendents, including current Supt. David DiBarri, who is doing a superb job under challenging times due to the coronavirus.
“Mr. DiBarri is a former Chelsea High teacher, a Revere resident, and a graduate of Northeast,” said Wall. “He’s an outstanding school administrator.”
Wall is particularly excited about ongoing plans for the construction of a brand new, state-of-the-art Northeast Regional High School, one that is necessary to continue to address the needs in a rapidly changing and technologically advanced job market.
“Vocational education provides a solid foundation for our students in fields like carpentry, electricity, plumbing – our graduates do very well as far as job placement after graduation,” said Wall.
A Love of Chelsea
Mike Wall used to live on Marlboro Street as a neighbor of the popular Walata family, notably the beloved Walter Walata Sr. and former School Committee member Lydia Walata. He has since moved across the city to Prattville.
“I love Chelsea,” he says. “I can relate to the changes in the city over the years. We’re making it through the hard times. This is a difficult time for people in the current health crisis.”
Wall was an officer at the Chelsea Y.M.C.A. and a leader and adviser to the Explorer Post 109. He continued his involvement when the YMCA became the Chelsea Community Center.
Prior to that, Wall was a Grand Knight of the Chelsea Knights of Columbus. At 23, he was the youngest Grand Knight in the organization’s history at that time.
He is proud of his employment record at General Electric in Lynn, where he worked as a technician doing industrial x-ray screening for 25 years.
He also takes pride in his service in the United States Air Force as a Vietnam War-era veteran.
Michael T. Wall, 73, has no plans to leave Chelsea.
“I’ve been here all my life,” said Wall. “Some people asked me, ‘Why are you still in Chelsea? “The answer is Iike it and I know a lot of people here.”
Wall related a story about his great-grandfather’s brother, Edward Wall, whose family came here from Ireland. Mr. Wall died in service to his country during World War I.
“His photo is displayed right above the doors to the Council Chambers at Chelsea City Hall,” said Wall. “His name is engraved on the monument at Chelsea High School. He died in the war and he is buried in France.”
The legacy continues
Wall will be inaugurated to the Northeast Regional School Committee in January. He has served as chairman six times.
“I’m the longest-serving member,” said Wall pridefully. “I just lost a good friend, Ronald Jannino [of Revere], with whom I served on the committee.”
Chelsea is being well represented by Michael T. Wall on the Northeast Regional School Committee. The city made its support and admiration for the dean of the committee clear once again in the Nov. 3 election.