A civil rights legacy, a sculpture and some St. Mike’s magic converge

Boston Herald reporter Lance Reynolds '19 and Student Success Advisor Vernita Carter enjoy chance encounter after unveiling

January 18, 2023
Lance bio

This image shows the staff “bio” — mentioning Saint Michael’s — that appears with the byline of Lance Reynolds ’19 in his Boston Herald stories.

It was one of those magical Saint Michael’s moments.

That’s what both Lance Reynolds ’19 and Student Success Advisor Vernita Carter-Weller believe about their chance encounter this past weekend not long after the unveiling of  the “Embrace” sculpture on Boston Common honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and wife Coretta Scott King.

Reynolds, a reporter for the Boston Herald, takes up an account of how he experienced the moment:

“I’ve been covering the new memorial in Boston honoring MLK and his wife for the Boston Herald. I attended the grand unveiling ceremony Friday, which was cool, but yesterday was even more special,” he said. “After the fence around the memorial came down and opened to the general public, I went back to the Common to talk to regular people, not big-named politicians. It turns out I talked to someone extraordinary, and that person is Vernita Carter-Weller, a student success advisor for St. Mike’s Purposeful Learning Department.”


Vernita Carter-Weller

Reynolds says the interaction “came totally out of the blue, but it’s one of my favorite interviews I’ve done for the Herald.” He explained that Vernita’s parents are honored on the new memorial for their efforts in Boston during the Civil Rights Movement. “This was definitely a proud experience being a St. Mike’s alum meeting a St. Mike’s employee whose family has such a legacy in Boston,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds explains more about that proud legacy in his story for the Herald: “The memorial has personal significance to Carter-Weller, daughter of Arlene M. and Rev. Vernon Carter. Her parents are among the 65 local leaders who played a prominent role during the Civil Rights Movement to be honored on the 1965 Freedom Rally Plaza, also unveiled Friday. Rev. Vernon Carter held a 114-day protest to curtail segregation in Boston public schools. His efforts resulted in the Racial Imbalance Act of 1966, which required desegregation plans for schools with a minority student population exceeding 50 percent. He died of cancer at age 88 in 2007. Carter-Weller’s mother, who turns 96 in February, stayed home Friday and watched the unveiling on TV.” [Carter-Weller’s mother also attended her daughter’s talk back at Saint Michael’s for an MLK Day of Celebration on Monday].

Carter-Weller posted about meeting Reynolds, too, on her social media account in sharing a link to Lance’s Herald article that mentions her: “Just happened to meet SMC alum Lance Reynolds ’19 at the sculpture on Saturday the 14th. A reporter for the Boston Herald. I really enjoyed doing the interview included in this article. Really humbled to stand in for my parents.”

Lance photo VErnita

Lance Reynolds’ ’19 took this photo of Vernita Weller-Carter and her family by the “Embrace” sculpture in Boston shortly after its unveiling.

In talking with Carter-Weller, Reynolds said, he realized another cool St. Mike’s connection: “My very close friend Katie Barry who graduated in 2019 is also Vernita’s coworker in the new Office of Purposeful Learning. Such a small world. The power and beauty of St. Mike’s though! I’m so excited to connect with Vernita down the road, hopefully in the near future given that my friend Katie is her work partner.”

Reynolds said it is “Hard to believe it’s been four years since my senior year. The Herald has been an awesome experience so far.” His short bio with his byline and photo mentions the College: “Lance Reynolds is a general assignment reporter for the Boston Herald. A Mansfield native, Lance launched his full-time reporting career at the Republican-American in Waterbury, Conn. He previously spent time on the Herald’s high school sports desk as a correspondent. Lance is an adventurer, highlighted by a trip to Ecuador and a semester abroad in Tanzania as a student at St. Michael’s College in northern Vermont.”

In a related piece of news, the College’s Director of Center for Student Diversity, Empowerment, and Community (DEC) Sarah Childs traveled with a group of Saint Michael’s students at the unveiling of the MLK Monument in Boston the same weekend that Reynolds and Weller encountered one another. See a photo gallery of their visit.

Said Reynolds, “St. Mike’s is so special in many ways, but especially in the sense you truly never know when you’re going to run into someone from the college, but when you do, more often than not, it turns into a meaningful bond.”


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