Veteran's Day Assembly

by Bill Marshall

Kelsey Peterson, Kayla Hovling and Emily Lalmond get together after singing “God Bless the USA.”

Third graders of the Windham Center School, put on an assembly to honor those men and women who have served in the armed forces.  Veterans Day is an American holiday honoring military veterans.  It is celebrated on the same day as Armistice Day, falling on November 11, the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I.  Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the Germans signing of the Armistice.  The assembly was an opportunity to say thank you and to learn about the price of liberty. 

Windham Veterans were in attendance along with family and friends for a heart felt afternoon.  Students sang patriotic songs such as “This Land Is Your Land,” “Yankee Doodle,” and “God Bless the USA.”

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Russian Students Present Concert

by Barbara O'Brien

Russian students visiting Windham congratulate one another on a job well done after performing at the recent concert (left is Svetlana Bachugina and right is Alona Sakara). The concert was held at Windham Middle School on Friday, November 9.

It was their home away from home.  That's the way a dozen Russian students, thousands of miles away from their own families, felt about their recent visit to Windham, New Hampshire.  The 12 teenagers, accompanied by their English teacher and a school administrator, traveled all the way from Windham's sister city of Suzdal, Russia, to spend two weeks in New England.

It had been three and a half years since such an entourage graced Windham with their presence.  Both visits were due largely to the hard work and dedication of Barbara Coish.  Coish, a member of the Windham School Board, has been instrumental in establishing and maintaining the international connection between Windham and Suzdal; strengthening the bond with each passing year.  Coish's most recent visit to Suzdal was this past summer, after which she returned with news of economic improvement in the region and optimism for a more promising future for the area's young people.

This latest group of Russian students, ages 12 to 17, arrived at Logan Airport in Boston on Monday, October 29, after which they traveled north to Windham and met each of their individual host families.  They have since returned to Russia, but memories of their bright smiles and engaging personalities remain. 

"I came here to learn about American culture and to improve my English," one student said during a visit with selectmen on Monday, November 5.  "I like speaking with American kids and even some of the adults," he added.  "I am very impressed with the size of American schools," another student said.  "The classes I have attended have been very interesting."  Another student said simply, "I like the U.S.A."  Students also remarked on their fondness for ice cream, shopping trips to the mall and big, comfy beds.  And, then, of course, there was their fascination with video games.

During their first week in New Hampshire, the Russian visitors journeyed up to Concord, where they met with Governor John Lynch and received a tour of the State House, conducted by Windham State Representative Mary Griffin.  Also, while in Concord, they witnessed Senator Joseph Biden signing up for the upcoming New Hampshire Presidential Primary Election.

On Tuesday, November 6, the students and their chaperones attended a meeting of the Windham School Board.

"Everything is so impressive.  We don't have many things you have here," Russian teacher Lyudmila Shamba said.  Shamba teaches English to Russian students.  She also served as interpreter during the visit to New Hampshire.  While noting that she is very proud of the schools in Russia, Shamba also acknowledged the better equipped schools in New Hampshire.  "This has been a wonderful opportunity to see how truly beautiful schools can be," she said.

A dozen Russian students from Windham's sister city of Suzdal recently visited the area, staying with host families who welcomed them into their homes.

Shamba expressed her sincere appreciation to Coish for her tireless efforts in bringing these students to New Hampshire.  "Barbara is so very popular in Suzdal," Shamba said, "Barbara is our hero."

School Administrator Ivan Reshetov said students in Suzdal remain in the same school for all 11 years of their education.  Reshetov serves in a capacity similar to a superintendent of schools here in New Hampshire, although his duties are much broader.  Currently, Reshetov is responsible for administrating 26 schools in the region of Russia where he works.  He has worked in the field of education for the past 25 years.  Reshetov said it has been interesting to compare various aspects of education between New Hampshire and Russia.  "We came here to learn," he said, "And that's what we have done." 

During his visits with selectmen and school board members, Reshetov expressed his appreciation for being allowed to spend time in Windham and being given the opportunity to learn about American culture and education.  He also thanked Windham residents for their kindness and hospitality.  Reshetov said he would welcome Americans visiting Russia, so that their hospitality can be returned. 

"These relationships are very important," Windham Superintendent Frank Bass said of the interactions between the two countries.  Bass said he hopes Russian schools will be ready to receive Windham students in the near future.

Town Administrator David Sullivan also welcomed the visitors to Windham, adding that he hopes to visit Suzdal in the not too distant future, himself. "I am very much looking forward to the trip," he said.

Town officials presented each of the Russians with a Windham lapel pin imprinted with a picture of Searles Castle, as well as a Windham t-shirt. Selectmen were given a bright blue Suzdal flag to be displayed at Town Hall. School board members gave visitors bottles of New Hampshire maple syrup and bags of maple candy.  The Collected Works of Robert Frost was also presented to Reshetov.  Frost, this nation's first Poet Laureate, was born and raised in Derry, New Hampshire.

A trip to New England would be incomplete without seafood.  Thanks to Mark Smith of the Lobster Tail Restaurant in Windham, the Russian students, their chaperones and host families were treated to just such a meal on Thursday, November 8. 

"Music is an important part of life in Russia and young people grow up with music all around them," Coish said.  "In a moment, Russian people can break into song after song, from memory," she added.  To celebrate that heritage Russian students and their American peers presented a concert and dance demonstration at Windham Middle School on Friday, November 9.  "It's a bit extraneous for us," Shamba said of the impromptu concert, smiling at the new word she had learned.  "We are a bit nervous.  We hope you like our performances."  She need not have worried, as each student, both American and Russian, was well received with ample applause from an appreciative audience.

Performing during the production were: Svetlana Bachugina, who sang a solo of Ave Maria, as well as a Russian lullaby; Christine Carpenter, who played a selection from Star Wars on the flute; Alona Sakara, who performed an oriental-style dance and also sang two Russian folk songs; pianist Eugeny Ulanov, who played Moonlight Sonata; Matt, Jonathan and Ed Yourtee, who performed Everything I Do, I Do It For You by Bryan Adams; Yana Makarove and Elizeveta Efimova, who performed a Russian folk dance; and Jessica MacKimm who sang Far from the Home I Love. Jonathan Yourtee also performed a solo rendition on the piano of Pachelbel Cannon.  The finale was performed by members of the Windham Middle School Jazz Band, with two selections which really got the toes tapping and the hands clapping.

One Russian student's comment about the American experience seemed to sum up the general consensus among these visitors.  "I like Americans for their kindness," he said.  "They are always smiling."  The same can be said of the Russians.  They were warm and enthusiastic, friendly and always smiling.  They have left their imprint on the Town of Windham.  "Thank you to all the residents of Windham," Shamba said, "There are not enough words to tell everyone how grateful we are."

The students visiting Windham from Suzdal included: Albina Gordeyeva, 17, who is majoring in music, sports and computer; Ksenia Novik, 16, majoring in English, sports and music; Eugeny Ulanov,16, advanced student in chemistry, biology and ecology, as well as a talented pianist; Svetlana Bachugina, 15, prize-winning vocalist; Irina Lomakina,15, specializing in volleyball and dance; Elizaveta Efimova, 15, majoring in dance, sports and music; Maxim Grigoriev, 14, studying soccer and computer; Igor Gerasimov, 14, majoring in sports and holding the title of champion in go-cart racing; Anastasia Krivonosova, 14, majoring in sports; Yana Makarova, 13, studying dance; Alona Sakara, 13, specializing in oriental dance and singing;  and the youngest, Ivan Rodionov, 12, working diligently to improve his knowledge of the English language.

The following Windham families served as hosts during the two-week visit:  Norman, Dolloff, Mackey and Yourtee, Anderson, Gross, O'Keefe, MacKimm, Carpenter, Donovan and Coish.

Yana Makarova performs a traditional Russian folk dance during a concert at Windham Middle School. The production was held in honor of the visit by a dozen Russian students from Windham's sister city of Suzdal.

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Veterans Remembered

by Lynne Ober

Vets salute monument at Gibson Cemetery.

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month the hostilities that were known as World War I came to an end with the signing of the Armistice.  Since that time America has stopped to remember her veterans.  

On Sunday, November 11 slightly before 11:00 a.m. Pelham Boy Scouts from Troops 610 and 25 marched around the circle in Gibson Cemetery.  With a VFW Honor Guard standing by, Pelham Memorial Post 10722 VFW Post Commander Charlie Mooskian watched the clock.  At the 11th hour arrived, Mooskian thanked the gathered audience and told them that Veterans’ Day holds meaningful significance for every vet – some of who remember a fallen comrade and others who remember their service to America.

Mooskian talked about the “new generation” who are currently fighting for freedom in foreign countries, far from home.  He also talked about the on-going need to education future generations about the sacrifices given by men and women who have fought and continue to fight to keep America free.

“The needs of today’s vets do not come as a surprise to use,” said Mooskian, who then elaborated on the extensive medical needs.  He urged everyone to speak out and help vets get the help that they need when they come home.  “We owe them that.  We will live up to our obligation.”

In talking about the legacy of Veterans’ Day, Mooskian noted that a soldier’s work is never done.  He thanked all our nation’s veterans who have served or are serving.

Cub Scouts Chandler Rheault, 10, and Joseph Halpin, 10, carried the wreath and laid it gently on the monument honoring veterans.

Mooskian then thanked the audience for coming and told them that it meant a lot that they cared enough to come and participate in the ceremonies.

Cub Scouts Chandler Rheault and Joseph Halpin carried the wreath to the monument.

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All Grrrrins at the Teddy Bear Picnic

by Diane Chubb

Three-year-old Tyler makes his own teddy bear puppet.

It may be getting cold outside, but at the Pelham Public Library, the weather was just right for a Teddy Bear Picnic.  Miss Debbie and some of her bear friends hosted the gathering during the Wednesday story time.  

A large picnic blanket was spread on the floor and children sat around it.  A few children brought their own teddies to participate in the festivities.  

The morning opened with the ever-popular song “We're Going on a Bear Hunt.”  The story tells of a family going to “hunt” a bear and take his picture.  The song is a basically a series of chants which allow the children to repeat the parts of the story as it unfolds.  

Miss Debbie read two bear stories to the children, and then invited everyone to have a snack.  Through donations from various families, Miss Debbie had put together snack bags with crackers and teddy bear shaped cookies for each child.  The morning ended with each child making a bear puppet to take home.  

Miss Debbie hosts story time at the Pelham Library every Tuesday and Wednesday morning.  The 4-5 year olds have a story and craft from 10:00-10:45 am, and the 2-3 year old group meets at 11:00 am.  Note that there is no story time during Thanksgiving week.  The schedule is available at  

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