GFWC Bunny Breakfast is a Hopping Success

by Kathleen Kirwin

Kayleigh Lavoie, 6, gets a flower painted on her hand by Alvirne student volunteer Tirsha McCurdy, 15.

Kids and adults alike had a great time at the GFWC Hudson Junior Woman’s Club annual bunny breakfast last Saturday at the Hudson community center.

The GFWC is the world’s oldest women’s volunteer service organization.  The group’s goal is to actively participate in different programs to help better their town.  Some of the projects they have been included with are the Special Olympics and the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.

The bunny breakfast is another way the woman’s club gives back to the community.

“For 15 years we’ve been holding the breakfast and giving the proceeds to different charities chosen by the group,” said Hudson Junior Co-President Lisa Nute.

This year the proceeds of the bunny breakfast would go to Operation Smile.  Operation Smile is a private, not-for-profit organization that sends out medical volunteers to repair children’s cleft lips and cleft palates in underprivileged countries.

The admission to the bunny breakfast covered a large buffet style breakfast set up in the back of the Hudson community center.  All of the children in the room gathered around the large ‘free craft’ table on the side of the room.  At the table there were kits to make paper bag bunnies, things to color, and crafts for necklaces and whatever else the children could imagine.

There was also a free face painting booth that continued to turn out colorful Easter designs (and even one pirate) on the faces of kids throughout the hall.

The woman’s club received a welcomed helping hand from Alvirne High School volunteers.  Twenty students from Phylis Appler’s Honors biology class were scattered around the hall helping with the event.  The students worked the breakfast buffet, cut out rabbit shapes at the craft table, or painted a bunny nose and a set of whiskers on a child at the free face painting booth.

“It was awesome for the kids to help out,” Nute said.

Many kids lined up to buy balloons and have their picture taken with the Easter Bunny on the other side of the room.  The bunny would leave his post every few minutes to wander around the hall and greet kids while they ate or admire the creations at the craft table.  Many of the children there burst out with ecstatic cheers of joy as they ran up to clutch the leg of the cherished holiday icon.

Ashley Green of Hudson, 3, enthusiastically exclaimed her favorite part of the day was “giving the Easter bunny a hug!”

The breakfast was a success as more than 200 people showed up to eat and enjoy the fun activities.

The Hudson Junior Woman’s Club meets the second Wednesday of each month from September to June in the Police Department Community Room, 1 Constitution Drive, Hudson at 7 p.m.  To learn more about the Juniors visit their website

Cullen Micaud, 6, left, and Andy Loring, 6, hold up the bag bunny puppets they created.

HMS’ The Wizard of Oz Wows

by Maureen Gillum

The Hudson Memorial School’s Curtain Club performed the classic, The Wizard of Oz, last weekend to the delight of three packed houses and a collective audience surpassing 2,000.  The musical adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s book (1900), came to life in full-color, under the guidance of HMS music department’s Mrs. Destrempe, Mr. Scagnelli and Mr. Seckla.  “This was by far the biggest and most ambitious production HMS has ever done,” shared Mrs. D with a few tears of joy.

HMS Curtain Club’s leads in The Wizard of Oz

Alvirne High School and SAU 81 Music Director, Gerry Bastien, who attended two shows, simply stated, “I’m awestruck!”  Citing AHS student and staff involvement in the 13-piece orchestra, stage management, and sound/lighting, he also added, “It was fantastic to have such collaboration between Alvirne and HMS on this production.  While this was a first, it hopefully won’t be a last.”

While the costumes, props, make-up, and scenery were wonderful, it was the enthusiasm and talents of the cast and orchestra that were exceptional.  Lead players included Samantha Migneault (Dorothy), Samantha Weis (Toto), Ashley Iannaco (Tin Man), Nick Kraemer (Lion), Jay Perrin (Scarecrow), Devan Lyman (Glinda), Holly Zaharchuk (Wicked Witch), and Nick Fragale (Wizard of Oz).  From the dynamic voices of Dorothy and Glinda; the comic relief of Scarecrow, Toto, and the Lion; and the shrieking cackle of the Wicked Witch, the show was a smash.  The gifted Tin Man also provided Oz with some extraordinary choreography.

On the Gale’s Kansas farm, were Shana McKinnon (Aunt Em), Matt Fadden (Uncle Henry), Stephanie Langlais (Miss Gultch), Serena Trubacz (Hunk), Kara Spinney (Zeke), Amanda Weis (Hickory), and James Spinney (Professor Marvel).  In addition, Katie Masson (Mayor), Paige Devlin (Guard), and Sage Ricci (Coroner) and a large supporting cast of munchkins, winkies, poppies, trees, crows, jitterbugs, and Ozians like the Lullaby League, Lollypop Guild, and City Fathers completed the talented ensemble. 

Sammi Weis, who played an adorable and energetic Toto, aptly spoke for the whole cast when she enthusiastically shared, “This is so much fun - I love it!”

Deflecting praise, Scagnelli stated, “This was a student-run production from choreography and sets to stage management and orchestra.”  Impressively, students did the entire show without any adult help backstage.  “These kids made us all extremely proud.”

The first show was a special field trip for all Hudson fifth and sixth graders on Thursday morning, March 22.  “You might find yourself here on this stage next year,” Mrs. Nadeau, HMS Principal, told the fifth graders in the audience who roared and cheered for the cast, orchestra and crew of almost 70 students from HMS Curtain Club and Alvirne.

The entire cast and crew (almost 70) of HMS’ The Wizard of Oz.

“The show was unbelievable!”  Nadeau also shared proudly, “It really shows the kind of talent and dedication we have here in Hudson, and how our students rise to the occasion when challenged.”

Audience praise was also lavish for The Wizard of Oz on March 23 and 24.  “It was aesthetically awesome!” emphatically stated Kate Curtis (9) on Friday.  A steady stream of comments overheard at intermission included:  “I can’t believe these are sixth - eighth grade kids;” “This is so well done;” and “The entire cast is terrific.”

Long-time HMS teacher and now daily volunteer, Dalton Blodgett, earnestly shared Saturday night, “This is the best show I’ve seen in the 47 years I’ve been involved here.”

Among the many innovative sets were Dorothy’s spinning house in the tornado, lovely poppies that cleverly transformed into dancing snow flakes, and the great Emerald City of Oz.  The elaborate costumes and make-up were also excellent.

“With the amazing success of this year’s The Wizard of Oz, HMS hopes to ear mark some of the proceeds to go toward a new sound system for the entire school,” shared Mrs. D excitedly.  This year, the school relied on the generous help of HCTV, Mike, and Michael O’Keefe for sound support.

Destrempe and crew also conveyed special thanks to the O’Keefes, Erin Hebert (lighting), and many volunteers who supported the show.  In particular, Sue Weis, Debbie Migneault, Carol Iannaco, Patty Langlais, Karen Spinney and Melissa Masson, were cited as “tireless workers,” for costumes, props, make-up, set design, concessions and Saturday’s cast party.

“The community support – from Alvirne, HMS and the whole district, to local businesses, the Hudson~Litchfield News, and many volunteers (both parents and students) - was awesome,” concluded Mrs. D thankfully, “It was everyone’s teamwork that truly made Oz a huge success.”

Congratulations to all of HMS’ musical thespians, directors, AHS musicians, and backstage crew on a wonderful show.  With the final curtain of The Wizard of Oz drawn, the community anxiously awaits next year’s HMS Curtain Club musical production.

…and Toto too!

Mission Trip to Mississippi by First Baptist Church of Hudson

On March 18, eleven members of the First Baptist Church, of Hudson, boarded a plane headed for Mississippi to build houses with Habitat for Humanity.  The team from FBC consisted of:  Al Daigle, Bev Dion, Steve Greene, Reverend Jim Harrington, Mike Ledoux, George Mandeville, Bruce and Terry Mostrom, Kathi O’Donnell, Norm Poisson and Craig Bailey.  We departed New Hampshire with mixed emotions of anxiety (what exactly will we be doing?) and anticipation (the excitement of helping others in need).

One day one our expectations were more than realized.  The FBC team worked, alongside over 50 college students on spring break, under the guidance of four Habitat for Humanity construction supervisors.  After a brief orientation we broke up into a few teams, each assigned to work on houses in various stages of construction.  One team worked on a house to finish up on the shingling and siding.  Another team framed and installed the roof trusses on a second house.  The third team worked on a house that had just been framed, to install roof trusses then put down tarpaper and shingles.

The teamwork was absolutely amazing.  As soon as a board was laid down there would be several people jumping in to pound nails.  Throughout the entire week there was nothing but positive energy, with each person looking for the next thing they could do to help get the job done.  I’ve never seen a group of people work harder in my life, and for free!  This goes to show that it is not about the money.  It is about having that feeling of truly contributing to society; making the world a better place.  Proof of the team’s desire to serve was the fact that on Friday (our last day) the construction supervisors said that we would finish building at 2:30 p.m. so that we could cleanup the work sites.  At 2:30 noone wanted to stop working.  Everyone wanted to keep going to finish up as much construction as possible before cleaning up.

While the week was an absolute success, we barely scratched the surface.  The message that needs to be carried forward is; the job is not done!  Those of us not in the Gulf Coast region have for the most part, forgotten about the aftermath of Katrina, under the assumption that everything is back to normal.  Everything is not back to normal.

Here is a brief recap of the situation, as it was told to us by a volunteer leader.  About 18 months ago, Hurricane Katrina hit communities on the Gulf Coast of the U. S.  There are (or were) 95,000 homes in Jackson County, Mississippi, of which, 90 percent were damaged or destroyed.  Only 1,500 homeowners had flood insurance.  The ports on the Gulf of Mexico were closed for three months due to debris (there literally were houses lined up and floating in the ocean!).  You can still find housing developments with over 200 cement slabs where houses once stood.  If you drive down the streets of Pascagoula, Mississippi, for example, you will find reminders of the destruction that took place and the work that still needs to be done.  You will find a boarded up high school.  Vacant and boarded up strip malls.  Strip malls that are open have banners for signs where neon lights once hung, and frames of neon signs with wires dangling in the breeze.  You will find boarded up and vacant dwellings.  Buildings and dwellings with the doors and windows wide open as they continue to air out from the moisture that resulted from the flooding.  In front yards you will see FEMA trailers which are connected up to public water and sewage as houses remain uninhabitable.  You will see roofs covered with tarps due to shingles being completely stripped off from the high winds of Katrina.

Our team stayed in the Pascagoula recreation center being run by Operation TLC, founded and run by Tammy Agard and Annie Card (formerly of Peterborough, New Hampshire).  The center has over 60 makeshift bunks, and an endless supply of water for volunteers.  The four power outlets were in constant use by volunteers charging cell phones, iPods and laptop computers.  FEMA tarps served as shower curtains, and separate the sleeping area from the gym and TV room.  The center also provided a FEMA provided, wireless network.

In closing, the Gulf Coast communities of Mississippi still need our help.  To plan your mission trip it is suggested that you hook up with one or more of the following organizations:  Habitat For Humanity (, Operation TLC (, Central Church of Christ in Pascagoula ( and David’s Kitchen, founded and operated by David Kilbern, a member of the Central Church of Christ, where, for only $6, volunteers are fed three square meals a day. 

So, go to Mississippi and serve.  You will find the hospitality absolutely fantastic!  The folks there are extremely appreciative!  For example, when locals learned that we were volunteers they bought us a round of drinks and on another occasion, breakfast.

God called each of us to serve one another ... There really is nothing more important than this … Get your serve on!

An energetic group of volunteers from First Baptist Church spent an inspiring week building
a Habitat for Humanity home in Mississippi.

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