St. Patrick’s School Pilgrim’s Voyage

For the 15th year the second and third graders at Saint Patrick’s School celebrated the first gathering for Thanksgiving. The third grade Native Americans traveled down Beaver Brook; they were greeted by the second graders, new settlers who led them to the clubhouse for a feast. Pilgrims, Principal Roger Dumont, and Father Bob Guillemette were among those who assisted the children.

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Pelham Players and Coaches are Champions

by Tommy Gates

Pythons after their division championship victory

You kind of got the feeling last Friday afternoon at Pelham High School that things just seemed to be a little different.  Pelham senior Jamie Vaiknoras was busy ushering students into their proper section of the bleachers and the Pelham High band was providing the music as the football team was announced one by one for this very enthusiastic football pep rally.

After the players were introduced, Tom Babaian went out of his normal character and started letting the big crowd know when and what to cheer the following afternoon in Pelhams state title game against Gilford.

Peelhams Athletic Director and assistant coach Timmy Powers also was in a very smiling mood, but after the pep rally, I entered the Pythons locker rom and saw nothing but quiet game faces from Bruce Viera, Bill Helliwell and the rest of the players. As I walked out of the school co-captain Max Roth walked by me and I told him, Hey Max theres only 22 and a half hours until game time! Max walked by with a serious look on his face and said, I know, I cant wait.

I figured Id get to the field just before noon so that I could get a halfway decent parking spot, but 300-400 Gilford fans had beaten me to the punch for the second time in three weeks and were already tail-gating and getting ready for the game.

I was ever so happy to step down to the field and see that Pelham High principal Dorothy Mohr and assistant principal John Brennan had already claimed their viewing stand by the gate entrance and then I happened to run into one of the godfathers of Pelham football Chuch Kokinos. Chuck and I know each other very well back from the early 1990s when the days of Pelham football were in their infant stages along with first year coach Joe Travierso.

As we chatted about old times and kids who played in the past, I suddenly was aware that the Pelham crowd was hustling in a pretty rapid rate and that it was filling up quite nicely. With Pelham ahead 14 - 7 late in the third quarter, the Pelham sidelines got going with their defense, defense, defense chant just as Babaian had asked for the day before.  And man did it ever work, because it was clear to see that the Python players really seemed to be pumped and jacked.

The fans along the fence were also incredible and when an official completely blew a call of a Gilford receiver dropping a ball and then falling on it as a completed pass, some fans yelled out to me Hey Tommy show that official the replay on your camera! They completely blew it.  Yes folks, things were getting loud and festive at Harris Family Field and it only got wilder and louder when Roth nailed the quarterback for an eight-yard loss late in the fourth quarter and then Wayne Parisi stripped a back on a swing pass and recovered the ball on the Gilford two-yard line.

Bruce Viera exploded into the end zone for the last touchdown on the year and Babaian and Powers were showing just a small sign of a slight grin across their faces.  Vaiknoras decided it was time to take the Pelham high flag for a little victory lap around the field, but the Golden Eagle fans werent very appreciative of that and ended up stealing one of Jamies sneakers along the route.

As the final seconds ticked off, Babaian dropped his headset and set off to give a gigantic bear hug to his dad, Assistant coach Archie Babaian. Babaian hugged Viera and Roth and other players down the line, so he never saw the water bucket coming as his players drenched him.

It seemed as most of Pelhams 800 to 900 fans stayed around the field and the stands and applauded as the Pelham coaches and their captains went out to midfield to accept the Division V championship plaque from NHIAA officer Pat Corbin and Viera raced over to the Pelham bench and jumped up on it and waved the championship Plaque to the crowd, as to say. Thanks fans for coming out and supporting us, we rally appreciate it.

Pelham High was a busy place following the game too, as parents and fans gathered while Babaian thanked his players for giving him everything they had and left the group by saying, I want you to enjoy this once in a lifetime feeling and hopefully youll get used to it, because after you walk out this door, I want you all to start thinking about what its going to take to repeat as champs next fall.

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Windham High School Update

Curriculum Update

Amanda Lecaroz, Windham High School Curriculum Consultant, has presented to the School Board and the town, a refined curriculum plan for curriculum structure and scheduling at the new high school.

  • Small learning communities will be the means by which the curriculum is delivered.
  • A modified block scheduling approach will be used thus offering students one day of the week where they attend all classes and the rest of the week they will attend each course for 80 minute classes twice a week all year.
  • Features of the curriculum include initiating a Freshmen Academy, implementing student advisory periods which would encourage student/teacher mentoring opportunities and a strong literacy presence in all classes.

Large rocks are turned into gravel. This is a construction technique that has been touted for its “green” environmentally friendly aspects because large rocks become gravel and no energy
is expended to truck in gravel needed for construction.

Athletic Committee Update

  • Currently, Windham High School will have one multi-purpose gym, a football field, a soccer field, a baseball diamond and a softball diamond.  The fields will be grass with irrigation systems, but will not have any lights for games after dark.
  • The Committee had previously determined that the fields currently budgeted for the WHS site are not enough to meet the needs of the proposed athletic offerings and presented a recommendation to remedy this deficiency.  The School Board had unanimously accepted the vision for athletic facilities at WHS as presented by the Athletic Committee.
  • Two conceptual Master Plans for athletic facilities were presented with estimated associated costs provided by Appledore Engineering.

A preliminary estimate of approximately $6 million for the athletic needs of WHS consists of the following:

  • An athletic stadium that consists of a multi-purpose, turf field with lights, a track, bleachers and bathrooms.
  • Additional baseball and softball diamonds.
  • A 60’ x 110’ second gym.  The voters did not pass funding for this gym at the March, 2007 ballot.

Construction Update

  • The majority of the building foundation has been poured.
  • Steel construction began at the end of October and will take about three months to complete.

Integration Committee Update

Dr. Bass stressed that parent and student meetings will be planned to keep an active and continuous dialog between those affected by transition and school administration. 

Superintendent of Salem Schools, Mr. Michael Delahanty, has asked parents of Windham’s 9th and 10th graders to send a letter of intent for students interested in remaining at Salem High after Windham High opens.  The letter should be sent to Salem School District by May 1, 2008 and should include a $100 refundable deposit.


High School in Progress 15

Large rocks are turned into gravel.  This is a construction technique that has been touted for its “green” environmentally friendly aspects because large rocks become gravel and no energy is expended to truck in gravel needed for construction.

High School in Progress 3

The road has been paved with and leads up the hill.  This photo was shot from the construction trailer with a telephoto lens and, as a result, the steepness of the hill cannot be appreciated.

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Additional Security at Pelham High School

by Lynne Ober

It began with the Pelham Police Department winning a “Secure our Schools" grant from the U. S. Department of Justice Grant.  The program is run by Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS.  The grant application written by School Resource Officer Michael Marshall was a 50 / 50 matching grant.  Marshall got cost estimates from two companies when he prepared the grant.  One company was to provide a security survey report of the high school and the other to provide the video camera system. 

The cameras will soon be installed and Pelham High School will have joined other districts such as Litchfield, Londonderry and Derry’s Pinkerton Academy with video surveillance of their schools.  No timetable has been set for the installation to be completed.

Pelham Police Chief Joseph Roark is a proponent of the video surveillance and does not believe that it invades anyone’s privacy because the surveillance will only cover public areas.  While he characterized the school district’s security as very good, he also felt that the addition of this system would be a good step for the district to pursue and he was able to overcome the school board’s concerns about privacy.  At this time no outdoor cameras would be installed, but might be an option in the future.

Pelham Superintendent, Frank Bass, previously asked Roark to review security at Pelham Schools and Roark said he had done that and that security was overall good and that doors at schools were locked, prohibiting unauthorized access.  Roark reported that he and George Tavares tried all the doors, one by one, at each school.  PES was fine; PMS has one questionable door, but the doors at the high school failed the safety inspection.  Although Roark was not surprised by the state of the doors at the high school and indicated this was a long-standing issue, one board member complained that the board should have known this before the high budget was done.

Roark talked about adding an additional security system that would allow front doors to also be locked requiring people who wished entry during the day to ring a bell.  He estimated it would cost less than $6,000 to add this extra layer of security at all three Pelham public schools. 

The staff would be able to see the individual and ask questions before pushing a button to allow entry to the person at the front door.

"You could talk and see the person's face without getting into a face-to-face confrontation," Roark said noting that such a system would provide additional security at the schools.  

The grant is for $17,400, and Pelham’s Police Department would kick in the additional required funding of $17,400.  According to Roark, $22,000 would be used to fund the cameras with the remaining amount use to pay for a consultant to produce a video inventory. 

Emergency response would be improved according to Roark because police, SWAT teams or a hazardous materials [HAZMAT} unit could see stairwells, crawl spaces by using a computer and could then quickly develop a response to the situation.  Roark mentioned that they would even see the type of door on classrooms.

At PHS Roark recommended installing cameras on all four sides of the building because these cameras take large, high-resolution photographs that law enforcement and school officials can examine with the aid of a computer.  Roark said it would be relatively easy to zoom in and pinpoint a suspect if a crime occurred, but he also said that cameras could be used to detect trespassing, vandalism and other crimes. 

When School Board Chairman Bruce Couture asked what kind of maintenance expenses the school should expect, Roark responded that the district would probably incur occasional expenses and cited a potential hard disk problem on the computer.  He talked about what he has experienced with similar equipment at the police department. 

School board members and police department staff are united to provide the safest possible environment for Pelham’s students.

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