Alvirne Class of 2008 Described as ‘Legendary’

by Tom Tollefson

Natalie Libitz rejoices

Amid the sea of tears and cheers at the Verizon Wireless Arena, you could feel it.  Not a victory for a sports team, but the ”Bronco Pride” of 250 graduating Alvirne seniors after moving their tassels to the right, as a symbol of their first step into post-high school life.  Family, friends and the Alvirne community also traveled to Manchester to see the graduates complete their 12-year journey of public education on Saturday, June 14.

Principal Bryan Lane’s speech also brought tears to the eyes of those in the arena.  “I thought his speech was wonderful.  It brought a tear to my eye,” graduate Sabrina Wagner said.

Lane reminisced what it was like to see the graduates transform from freshmen to accomplished young people ready to succeed in life.  He said he had four goals for the graduates:  strength to admit when being wrong, a good friend “to hold your hand and give you a hug in good times and bad,” someone to spend your life with, and a career or cause that will allow you to enjoy your life.

“I found my career.  My career is to be with you,” Lane said when discussing how he came about his decision to pursue a career in the education field.

“I think he (Lane) did a wonderful job.  I think he really cares for the kids and the kids don’t see it because he runs a tight ship,” said Deanna Barger, mother of a graduating senior.

Graduate Nick Deneault also enjoyed the speech, mostly the advice give by his principal.

“I like how he said you have four points to live by that are an everyday thing,” he said.

Salutatorian Nancy Lee Merlino, who will be attending Saint Anselm College for Nursing, hammered home the same theme of finding a career you enjoy in her own speech.  “Find an area of work to enjoy you can be stable and happy,” she advised her peers.  She reminded the class to pursue a life of happiness.

“Our purpose is to live our lives to the fullest and help others,” she said.

Valedictorian Chelsea Hogan compared the graduates to the recycling system in her speech, which she wrote to not “be cliché.”  The future Tufts University student felt “lofty goals for the future had been beaten to death.”

Hogan used the metaphor of trash being turned into new material to show how adolescents used high school as a way of being transformed into new and better young adults ready to take on life.

“I don’t think they’ll be another period of time so informative and influential,” she said about the change students experience in high school.

Class President Mike Maglio, who will be attending Bentley, may not have used any metaphors in his speech, but he continued to focus on the transformation of the graduates.

“We entered high school as freshmen timid, scared, and divided as a class and we leave at the top, confident and united together.”

Maglio also mentioned the accomplishments of the senior class at Alvirne such as the success of the decathlon team and Future Farmers of America and the 17 graduates who finished with a GPA of 3.7 or higher.

“Those are the credentials of a truly legendary class,” Maglio said.  “Let’s show the world that these are the type of people that come out of Alvirne High School.”

Maglio also encouraged his peers to “think outside the box because it’s the outside thinkers that get things done.”

These student speeches were enjoyed by the parents as well.

“The speeches were really good.  Mike and Chelsea did a really go job,” Tammy Scott, mother of graduate Megan Scott, said.

The Alvirne graduation has been held at the Verizon Wireless Arena since 2002 when a rainstorm caused a last-minute change from holding the ceremony outside Alvirne.

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Campbell High School Graduates 127

by Doug Robinson

They gathered to celebrate.  The Campbell High School football field was dotted with hundreds, if not thousands of parents, students, staff and community members coming together to celebrate the achievements of the 127 graduating seniors.  Hillary Clinton once said, It takes a village to raise a child and as the seniors received their diplomas, they realized that they had become a collaboration of learners born of character, courage, respect and responsibility.

They waited patiently, reading books, chatting, sipping on cold drinks in anticipation of the pied pipers call of the bagpiper.  Whether lying of blankets, sitting in chairs or tossing the Frisbee, the community gathered to celebrate.

With precision, the 127 graduating seniors marched onto the football field for their final time as students of Campbell High School.  Mixed with emotions, students waved to their loved ones who came to support them during this festive occasion.  Loved ones waved back.  Necks stretched while backs twisted, as each celebrant angled for the best view, the best camera shot.  One door closes and another door will open.  Graduating senior, Kristen Gallagher said, I think Im ready to leave.  Im so excited and really sad at the same time to have four years ending in one night.  I really hope my friends dont make me cry, she said as reported by The Telegraph.

Students presented carnations to that special person who has meant the most to them.  As students entered the awaiting audience, more cheers, more high-fives, and more tears were shared as each student gave a special and meaningful recognition to those they loved, admired and respected.

Speeches were delivered by Jennifer Gee, class essayist; Rose Harvey and Hannah Matte, yearbook dedication; Tiffany Hall, salutatorian; Tyler Fitzgerald, class gift; Patrick Kaplo, CHS physics teacher and Fulbright scholar; and Nicholas Dube, valedictorian.  While some speeches spoke of hope, fond memories and the future, all students were reminded about their community values of character, courage, respect and responsibility.

Principal Robert Manseau told the class, This achievement marks the close of an important and formative chapter in your life, and the beginning of what will undoubtedly prove to be some very exciting years ahead.  The Campbell staff and community have worked very hard to provide you with a range of learning opportunities.  Our world will make many demands of you and we hope that you are well prepared to meet those challenges.

The school community of Litchfield takes great pride in the class of 2008 for their academic excellence and their aspirations for future success.  These students have learned the value of volunteerism and community spirit.

We wish them well as they continue on the road of service to others and personal accomplishments commented Superintendent of Schools Elaine Cutler

Dennis J. Miller, chairman of the Litchfield School District, said, Campbells mission is clear and concise; Campbell High Schools mission is to join together with parents, students, staff and community to become a collaboration of learners born of character, courage, respect and responsibility.  I believe each years graduation class is an affirmation of this vision, and the culmination of hard work on everyones part, and this class continues this tradition. As you venture out into the larger community I hope you continue to remember where you came from and draw on the life lessons learned during your brief stay here at Campbell High School.  Please come back and tell us what weve done well so we can continue into the future, as well as those areas where weve fallen short of your expectations so we can continue to improve for future graduates.

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Hudson Fire Fought with Help from Neighboring Towns

“Challenging fire upon arrival, garage and vehicle in the driveway were fully involved” was how Hudson Fire Chief Shawn Murray described the fire early Monday morning at 3 Rena Avenue.  The fire was reported at 3:50 a.m. by a neighbor who heard a loud boom.  Engine 4 under the direction of Captain David Morin arrived at 3:55 a.m.  The departments news release said the garage was heavily involved and the fire was extending to the nearby house.  Murray said the heat caused the windows to burst and the fire entered the attic.  Murray said firefighters had to rip down the sheet-rocked attic wall and insulation to find the fire.  He said the smoldering cellular insulation caused fires to break out in other areas and as it reached the roof vent the third floor was involved completely.  The chief said the fire crews saved many of the familys personal items and antiques on the lower floors.

Hudson Fire Prevention Officer Steve Dube, lead investigator of this fire, said the cause is undetermined and the investigation continues by the Hudson Fire Department and State Fire Marshals Office.  Additionally, the homeowners insurance company has contacted New England Fire Cause Origin Inc. of Rochester also to investigate the fire.  Murray and Dube said the fire marshal had brought in an “accelerant detection dog” that determined that gasoline or other accelerants had not been used.

Fire crews from Nashua, Litchfield, Pelham and Dracut and Pepperell, Massachusetts assisted at the scene while Nashua, Windham, Londonderry and Tyngsborough, Massachusetts, covered Hudson fire stations.  A Litchfield firefighter injured his shoulder and was taken to the hospital where he was treated and released.  Eighteen pieces of equipment were at the scene and while the list includes three tankers, Murray said the tanker water supplies were not needed because hydrant at the corner of Lowell Road and Rena Avenue provided the 500-600 gallons per minute at the height of the fire.  The chief pointed out that the new Hudson water tank in south Hudson provided the needed water, a positive addition to the water system for the town.

The departments news release names the owner and occupant of the house as Stephanie J. Forbes, who was not home at the time of the fire.

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The Father with Only $1 in His Wallet

by Kim Norcross

We were financially well-off many years ago; some called us rich.  According to the money pyramid, we were upper middle class.  We didn’t see an end in sight to our financial fortune as we were both working in one of the biggest, most stable computer companies, Digital Equipment Corporation, and had been for nearly 20 years.  It was the late 80s and early 90s when job security was not even a thought in the world of high tech.  Heck, the computer business was booming.

Much like the housing market of today, ‘the sky’s the limit’ was no longer to be.  The ceiling fell and all came tumbling down.  Yes, down, as in “downsizing.”  Too many of us know very personally that ugly term which has affected us, whether through family, friends or neighbors.  In great numbers, we saw homes foreclosing, parents pulling their children out of college, upper management employees hoping to get that non-management job where thousands of other downsized folks from all over had already applied.  We saw the frantic, then quickly-turned-to-compassion look that would show on the most stoic of men who had been downsized, when they heard of someone they knew who had just been “axed.”  We heard of a fellow co-worker who cracked under the pressure of job loss and brought a gun to work as a scare tactic against the managers who made his job go away.  We heard of others who began drinking more than they should have.  We heard a few different conversations about The Great Depression... a topic, in today’s time, rarely mentioned unless in the history classroom or from grandparents reliving those darker days in our history’s economy.  And, we heard stories of families falling apart.  Yes, “downsizing” was indeed ugly.

If this sounds depressing for your style of reading material, keep reading.  Unlike the above-mentioned hardships, there’s a happy ending.  This brings me to our personal experience with downsizing, its impact on our family, and the character of my husband, my daughter’s father.

After 18 years of a good career, fond memories, great friends and coworkers at Digital, I gave my notice that I’d be resigning to be a stay-at-home mom once our daughter was born.  We were just getting accustomed to living within a budget due to the confines of one paycheck, when my husband, along with his entire group, was downsized.  After the initial panic of decreasing from two large salaries to none, combined with a terrible job market for quality engineers (my husband’s occupation), we decided to sell our 5-year-young home, which we had custom-built, and find a place to rent.  After selling our home, which we had given a down payment of $55,000 along with putting another $10,000 into the landscaping, we walked away from the closing with $6,000 cash.  Enough of a loss to make a grown man cry.  And now to my daughter’s father, and where the thought of sharing this story began.  And here is also where my story ends, along with the reason for wanting to brag about my husband being a wonderful father.

My husband was out of work during the OJ Simpson trial.  Many of you remember that, and for those of you who don’t, the trial was long, sensational, and televised.  My husband spent many an afternoon watching the trial, which was somewhat like a new sport.  Like many men who watch televised sports, he liked to have a beer in hand.  We couldn’t afford it.  We only had money for essentials.

Even though we went from “haves” to “have nots,” that time was the best in our marriage.  We didn’t argue about money; there was none to argue about.  We spent our time with our baby daughter enjoying life’s most basic pleasures.  When outdoors, it was the ocean, the lakes, the mountains, the playgrounds.  When indoors, it was reading, making puzzles, playing board games, and snuggling.

Her dad made the family trip to the grocery store an adventure!  While I shopped with my coupons, he’d take her to the lobster tank, to the magazine section, to the toy section.  She left the store with nothing of materialistic value, but she certainly left the store with everything of loving value --- her dad gave her happy time.

Her father had no money for a beer or two.  But, at the playground when the ice cream truck could be heard coming around the corner with his daughter’s eyes lighting up, he would walk her over to the truck, hand in hand, and open his wallet, which always had $1 in it for the ice cream man.  Now that’s a dad with love in his heart.

Happy Father’s Day, Wayne.  You couldn’t have done a better job.

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