A team of Lesley employees began forging a new tradition for the university as they championed the University's first-ever entry in the storied Boston Dragon Boat Festival.
On June 9, 2013, in their inaugural effort, Lesley Dragon Dreamers posted spectacular results, placing in the middle on the Timed Trials, taking a second place and beating out Northeastern in the collegiate race, and capturing first in the third race with Math Dragons and CYNP!
It was a chance meeting between Dean Catherine Koverola and CIO Daryl Ford last summer that inspired the creation of the Lesley Dragon Dreamers. The two ran into each other while cheering for their respective spouses at last year’s Boston Dragon Boat Festival. “We realized that it would be greater fun to actually be in the water racing than standing in the sidelines,” said Daryl Ford. “And team paddling is an ideal team building opportunity,” added Catherine Koverola, who championed the effort of mobilizing the Lesley community to make this happen.
So, with determination to participate, Catherine and Daryl started recruiting Lesley employees and spreading the word to form a team, and that’s how Lesley Dragon Dreamers came to life. This was Lesley University’s first-ever participation in the Boston Dragon Boat Festival, which is the longest-running event of its kind in North America. The historical roots of this festival go back over two thousand years to ancient China.
In the Boston area, some universities have had an ongoing tradition of participating in this Festival, and they have developed experienced teams. This year, Lesley’s team went head to head with Harvard University and Northeastern University in the hopes of establishing a new Lesley tradition. HR Generalist and Recruiter Dean Papineau put in the greatest number of practice hours, and was the team expert who counseled all the Dreamers on how to handle the paddle and execute the stroke.
The Team Captain was Megan O’Neal, who is an Expressive Therapies Intermodal Graduate Student and Administrative Coordinator at the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences. Megan embraced the role with a passion: "I was thrilled and honored when Dean Catherine Koverola asked me to be the Lesley Dream Dragons team Captain. I have enjoyed attending the Dragon Boat festival in previous years as an observer and this was clearly the year to step into a boat and learn how to fly on water. As an Expressive Therapy Graduate student, I find the symbolism and ancient ritual aspect of the festival and race to be deeply moving. This is not just a race, this is a sacred rite we are participating in and I am very proud of how hard the Lesley team has worked to get ready for the race. We will not disperse after the race, this is only the first year for the Lesley Dragon Dreamers and we will learn from our work this year and keep practicing throughout the year, to come back and paddle again, strong, beautiful and powerful, dragons on the water."
Associate Dean Sandra Walker and Angela Crawford Ervin led the cheer team from the sidelines. Sandra, Angela and Beth Chambers, who led the behind-the-scenes logistics efforts, were three of the many Lesley community members who supported the Dreamers from outside the boat.
“The Lesley team showed a tremendous team spirit and agility in the manner how it came together and competed,” said Jasmine Martirossian, Director of Online Strategy. "This is a great opportunity to build another Lesley tradition."
For greater details on the Dragon Boat Festival, check out: http://www.bostondragonboat.org/.
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To sign up and participate in next year’s Lesley team, please contact Team Captain Megan O’Neal at email@example.com.
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