Tot Nature Scavenger Hunt on the Rail Trail

by Lynne Ober

Tessa Sobolewski, 22 months, finds a stick to put into her bag.

On a gorgeous October morning tots and their parents enjoyed a nature scavenger hunt along Windham’s recently opened rail trail.

The hunt, organized by Windham’s Recreation Director, Cheryl Haas, was very well attended.  Haas provided bags and crayons for writing the tot’s name on the bag and gave each parent a “hike and seek” sheet.  The tots had to find sticks, a red leaf, a green leaf, a yellow leaf, a brown leaf, a rock, an acorn, and a pine cone.

The sheet also had a list of things to find, such as a Birch tree.  “I have white bark” was on the sheet.

A chipmunk, caterpillar, bird, pine tree, a paw print, and a plethora of other things.

As soon as Alexander found his rock, he decided that he’d fill his bag with rocks.  One of the definite highlights was when one of the youngsters spied a fuzzy caterpillar.  Every child stopped to look at it.

Four-year-old twins Sabrina and Westin Lippold came prepared with little canteens filled with water.  Westin told anyone who would listen that his dirt bike was in the car, and he was going to ride it along the trail after the hike.

With little ones hopping up and down, the hike began.  It wasn’t long before they scattered out to examine the treasures that they were finding.

After the hike, Haas had snacks and drinks for the participants, all of whom enjoyed their morning outside.

Scavenger Hunt?  What scavenger hunt?  I want to see over the top of this jersey barrier.

Collins Dentistry Combines Fun with Safety at Annual Fair

by Karen Plumley

Colin Roark, 2, is all smiles at the Child Safety Fair at Collins Dentistry for Children on Saturday, September 30.

The weather could not have been better on Saturday, September 30 for the second annual Child Safety Fair sponsored by Collins Dentistry for Children.  Members of the Pelham Police and Fire departments were in attendance to talk to young children about safety.  Also present were members of the Lowell Spinners, including their lovable mascot Canaligator, as well as Brandon Malone, a representative from Lowell’s own hockey team, the Devils, formerly known as the Lowell Lock Monsters. 

This family-friendly fair was loaded with things to do for the young ones in attendance.  Police Officer Ryan Sambataro allowed children to sit in his cruiser and check it out while handing out free pencils, reflective bicycle dots, and honorary badges.  Fire Lieutenant Bob Chatel, with the assistance of his 11-year-old son, Matt, gave each child who visited them a firefighter’s hat and a balloon.  There was a place for visitors to drop off toys for the Toys for Tots effort and even a bouncy house that was quite popular.  

One of the compelling reasons to attend the safety fair on Saturday was to obtain a complimentary safety kit for each child.  The kit includes fingerprints, a recent photo, dental impressions, and a saliva sample.  It provides a way to identify your child if ever he or she gets lost or kidnapped.  The saliva sample provides DNA as well as scent tracking for trained dogs.  The kits stay with the parents, but if ever there is a time that it is needed, the kit can be easily handed over to police.  It should be updated at least every two years.  Detective Anne Perriello was in attendance for her second year, helping out with the fingerprinting.  Dental assistants collected the children’s dental impressions to complete their safety kits.

Unlike last year, all fingerprinting and dental impressions, as well as digital pictures were taken outdoors in the beautiful fall weather.  Unfortunately, the Bish family, whose daughter Molly was abducted in June of 2000, could not be in attendance this year due to a scheduling conflict.  Last year Molly’s parents, John and Magi Bish, were at hand to encourage parents to keep their children’s safety foremost in mind.  For anyone who missed this wonderful event, the Bish family and the Parent Teacher Organization at St. Patrick’s School are planning a tooth printing and ID day sometime later this year.

Lowell Spinners Mascot Canaligator and Matt Chatel, 11, enjoy a chuckle at the Child Safety Fair on Saturday morning at Collins Dentistry for Children.

Chorus Recognized for Good Work

by Lynne Ober

Pelham Elementary School’s Chorus sang at this year’s 9/11 ceremony. 

The chorus, formed after school started this fall, had not practiced very much, but it was impossible to tell that practice time had been short.  They opened with a beautiful rendition of The Star Spangled Banner.

Later in the program they sang three additional songs.  When they reached the chorus and began to sing, I’m proud to be an American many eyes shimmered with tears of joy.

As a result of their superb performance Fire Chief Michael Walker presented each member of the chorus with a gift certificate to attend a movie at Chunky’s Cinema Pub. 

Principal Alicia LaFrance praised chorus members for their hard work and the wonderful way that they represented Pelham Elementary School to the community.  She told them that she was extremely proud of them and what they had accomplished in such a short time.

Fire Chief Michael Walker presents gift certificates to the chorus.

Windham Students to Attend Salem High for Additional Year

by Zachary Lucius

At a recent meeting, the Windham School Board voted to begin site preparation for Windham’s new high school, but to abstain from construction of the building.  This decision that will force students from Windham to attend Salem High School for one year longer than previously planned.

For Salem High School, at least, the changes will be minimal.  “Things have been this way for some time.”  said Salem High School principal Mr. Hagen. “There shouldn’t be much of an impact.  The population should stay about the same.  We’ve worked with this population for years.  We’ll actually have to re-examine the (school’s) budget once they leave.”

On what this re-examination would entail, Hagen explained, “We’d have to look at programming and which classes we’re going to offer.  We’d have to look at staff, athletics programs and the budget.  We would be losing 600 to 700 kids.”

While the Windham students stay, they’ll enjoy some positive benefits.

“They won’t have to change schools,” said Hagen, “so (the Windham students) will get to graduate with their friends, with their class.”

Positive benefits to the departure of the Windham students will be apparent.

“Class sizes will certainly be smaller,” said Hagen, “Also, we’ve established a transition committee.  They’ve come up with a plan that should enable us to keep more teachers.”  Overall, however, the vote seems to be good for Salem High.

“I think the outcome (of the vote) will be largely positive.”

Dr. Elaine Cutler, Superintendent of the Windham School District, has a similar take on the vote.

“The decision for students to remain at Salem High School is a good decision.  It will allow high school students to continue their education without disruption,” said Dr. Cutler, “Parents know now that their children will continue to attend Salem High School through the 2008 - 2009 school year.”

For those worried about the financial implications of the decision, Dr. Cutler had this to say:  “There will be little effect on other Windham residents.  This is the same arrangement that we have had for more than 10 years for our high school students.  It is anticipated that the tuition rate will increase each year as it has in the past which will slightly affect the tax rate.”

The decision could cause some overcrowding issues, however.

“Because we were anticipating that portable classrooms would be returned from the Salem School District in 2008, we will need to readdress space issues at Golden Brook Elementary.”

For the most part though, the general consensus is that the decision is a good thing.

“I am very pleased that the Salem and the Windham School boards chose the most efficient manner to address the situation,” said Dr. Cutler, “The parents know what to expect, the students are ready, and the school boards were most agreeable to a common-sense solution.  The Salem School Board members have been good partners in the education of the Windham students.  A tuition agreement is the most efficient manner in which to address this unforeseen setback.”

Any problems will be addressed when the Windham students eventually begin to attend Windham High School.  According to Cutler, “Portable classrooms that are now at SHS will be returned to Windham School District to assist with anticipated space issues at Golden Brook Elementary and Windham Center School (when the high school opens).”

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