Pandemic spurs DiPierro’s interest in photography
Chelsea resident Roberta DiPierro is a professional tennis instructor who coached her Reading High School teams to numerous appearances in the MIAA State Tournament.
But now DiPierro is developing a greater interest in her longtime hobby: photography. And her wide array of colorful photos of nature, animals, sunsets, and local scenery are drawing praise from family, friends, and other amateur photographers.
“I have been taking photos for a long time but during this COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been a way to be positive and to look at nature and to be happy to get into the environment,” explained DiPierro, who has lived in Chelsea for 34 years. “Nature walks and photography have been my escape from COVID. Having nature walks gives me a lot of comfort and solitude and the feeling of being peaceful.”
Observing social distancing guidelines and wearing a face covering, DiPierro takes those nature walks in Prattville and visits such beautiful areas as Grandview Road that overlook the city below.
“Through these walks I have the opportunity to get to know the neighborhood and the beauty and the history behind it,” said DiPierro. “And I have this joy for photography, taking the photos, looking at them, and having the good memories of having seen birds like the cardinals and the robins.”
One neighbor with whom DiPierro has discussed her hobby is award-winning, professional photographer Katy Rogers, a rising star in photojournalism. DiPierro draws inspiration from the talented Rogers.
“Katy is a terrific photographer, very artsy and very creative,” said DiPierro. “She has a lot of great ideas. She put up a TV screen in her yard that’s wonderful. Their family garden is tremendous. Katy and her parents are great neighbors.”
DiPierro has showcased some of her photos at a virtual gallery in Everett. Beyond her Chelsea-based photographs, she enjoys shooting flowers, the ocean, the moon, and the sky.
“People tell me I have a good eye and a good composition to my photos,” said DiPierro humbly.
The Gift of a New Camera
DiPierro was a coach in the highly competitive Middlesex League for many years. Opposing coaches respected her teams. Her own players admired her dedication and commitment to coaching. Several of her athletes have gone on to play tennis in college programs.
“My Reading High students gave me a new [Canon] camera a year ago and I love experimenting with it – it has a wonderful zoom lens on it,” said DiPierro. “It’s not a big camera but it takes photos with a lot of clarity.”
DiPierro continues to teach tennis to players in Winthrop. The ongoing pandemic forced high schools to cancel their 2020 spring tennis seasons and she hopes to return to the sidelines in 2021 as a head coach.
A former medical technician
DiPierro has worked as a substitute teacher in the Chelsea school system, but her original field of employment was medical technology. A graduate of Worcester Commerce High School, she received certification in Library Work before entering a training program in medical technology at Worcester City Hospital through its affiliation with Anna Maria College. She received an Associate’s degree from Bunker Hill Community College and took courses at Northeastern and Harvard.
“I worked as a medical technologist in oncology/hematology at Boston Medical Center for 27 years,” said DiPierro.
After being laid off during the hospital’s merger, she began coaching at Winthrop High School before becoming the girls tennis coach at Reading High School.
Giving back to the community
DiPierro believed that as a coach in the town of Winthrop, she should be giving back to the community.
“Since I worked in town and collected a paycheck and I liked volunteering, I felt I should give back to the community so I became a member of the Winthrop Lodge of Elks,” said DiPerro.
She organizes the Elks’ annual holiday party for individuals with special needs. She also chairs the Lodge’s Americanism Committee and organizes the Fourth of July Barbecue.
An appreciation for Chelsea
DiPierro is glad that she ultimately landed in Chelsesa in 1986. She enjoys her relationship with her neighbors, whom she has gotten to know from her daily walks.
“Through walking this year, I found out that I have some wonderful neighbors,” said DiPierro. “Stan Troisi gives me pears. Lou on Vaughan Street gives me pears. My friend, Martha, on Cook Avenue gives me tomatoes and sage. It’s like walking through a farmers’ market. The neighbors I’ve met are incredible.”
DiPierro says she will continue to take photos during her walks and she hopes to join a photography club.
“Sometimes I hear negative things about Chelsea from non-residents, but I see plenty of good things happening here,” said DiPierro. “I don’t think some people realize what a nice community it is and how much beauty there is here. I think Chelsea people are warm and there is a lot of history here. And I hope to keep capturing that beauty and that history through my photographs.”