Chili, Chowder, and Lots of Fun

by Lynne Ober

Deb Mahoney, Michelle Flynn, Elaine Cutler, and Barbara Bielawski had the best aprons.

Litchfield Middle School (LMS) students have a wonderful after school opportunity — they can visit ‘The Club,’ which is now in its fourth year at LMS.  This school-based program is collaboration between the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Nashua and Litchfield Middle School.

The Advisory Board of the Club wanted to host a fun-filled money raiser and decided to hold a Chili and Chowder Cook-Off Contest, so they posted signs around the community stating they were looking for cooks and, before they knew it, they had 28 chef contestants signed up to participate.

Charging a very low entry price, families came out in droves.

“We were just tired of being cooped up in the house,” said one mom.  “This has been fun.”

And that’s the theme that echoed throughout the evening.  Patricia Waggoner, who has a son in the eighth grade, said that they wanted to raise some money to help offset some of the program costs.

Everyone got to vote on what they thought was the best chili or chowder, but deciding if your favorite was Jet Fueled Chili or Corn Chowdah or something else was difficult.  Lots of food was available that wasn’t judged.  Superintendent Dr. Elaine Cutler’s cornbread was a hit.  There were also tasty dips and chips scattered around.

Principal Tom Lecklider, who enjoyed the chilis and chowders, pointed out that the Club also offers an hour of academic tutoring as well as snacks and many activities.  Students can stay for one hour or for several hours.  There are different activities offered each hour, and a schedule is sent home so that parents can help students determine their interests.  Last year over 100 students participated in the various offerings.

“We made about $900 in total on the event, including admission fees, the 50/50 raffle, and the bake sale.  The winner of the 50/50 raffle donated the money back to the program so that’s included in the total,” stated Waggoner.

Everyone agreed that voting was the hardest part.  School Board Chairman Dennis Miller grinned that his favorite chili or chowder was “absolutely the one I’m currently eating, but of course that changes as I walk around the room.”  Others said that the food was great, but voting was hard because there was so much good food.  And when the dust cleared, and the chili and chowder was eaten, and the votes were cast and counted, who won the Cook-Off?  The Chowdah Champion was Cynthia Morlock’s Chowder and the Non-Chili/Non-Chowdah Champion was Ms. Chris Tate’s Potato Cheddar Soup.  They needed a category for best dip as there were several great tasting dips also served.

Youth cooks Brigid Klaft and Cameron Schmitt were also recognized.

Also worth noting is that Tony Barill, Dr. Cutler’s husband, cooked the three-bean chili.  And Dr. Cutler, Barbara Bielawski, Michelle Flynn, and Deb Mahoney served it with smiles and great-tasting cornbread on the side.

Camille Piana, 12, a LMS student with her young friend, Maria Palladino, 6

Swing Choir “Invited” to Perform at State House

Swing Choir with Governor John Lynch

The Hudson Memorial School (HMS) Swing Choir was honored to perform The National Anthem at the State House on the morning of Wednesday, March 11.

The group was invited to the State House by Representative Jordan Ulery, who was on hand to greet them as they arrived.  The choir was announced to the delegation by Terie Norelli, Speaker of the NH House of Representatives.  They were then ushered into the House Chamber by the Sergeant-at-Arms.  Governor Lynch was in attendance that morning, and he held his hand to his heart as the students, under the direction of choir director Diane Destrempe, sang a beautiful a cappella rendition of The Star Spangled Banner.  HMS Principal Susan Nadeau looked on from the Gallery with pride as her students sang.  They received a rousing applause by the entire delegation.  As the students exited the Chamber they were greeted by Representatives Lynne Ober, Bob Haefner, Shawn Jasper, Andrew Renzullo, and Jordan Ulery, all of whom shook their hands and congratulated them on their performance.  Before going back to take their seats in the Chamber, the representatives took the time to pose for a photo with the group.

While at the State House, Mr. Ulery was a gracious host.  After their performance he gave the students a guided tour of the building and shared some interesting facts about the history of New Hampshire government.  He explained that only elected representatives are allowed to enter the House Chamber, and that even the President of the United States could not just walk in without being “invited” to enter.  He ended this by saying that the Hudson Memorial School Swing Choir had been “invited” that day, which made the students smile.

The tour of the State House ended in Governor Lynch’s office where he took time out of his busy schedule to meet and talk to the students.

On the way out of the building the group met up with Doris “Granny D” Haddock in the hallway.  “Granny D” is well-known for being a political activist who has walked across the country to raise awareness for her political beliefs.  When the students found out that “Granny D” recently turned 99 years old, they sang her a belated Happy Birthday.

The entire morning was a great thrill for the students and made a lasting memory for all of them.  Hudson should be proud of how well the HMS Swing Choir represented their town that morning.

When asked later in the week what his thoughts were on the visit, Representative Ulery responded, “The opportunity to showcase the talents of the young people of Hudson was a pleasure.  Members of the House talked about the excellent performance of the Swing Choir for the remainder of the week.”

If you’d like to hear their performance, go to, and click on “3/11/09 Morning Video.”

Multicultural Dinner

Randy Bell entertains children with a good book

On Thursday, March 5, the staff, students, and families of Dr. H. O. Smith and Library Street Schools shared a Multicultural Pot Luck Dinner as part of our ‘Read Across America’ celebration.  Many delicious dishes of various ethnic origins were enjoyed by all.  Guests were treated to traditional Bolivian music during dinner, courtesy of the Lopez-Carrasco family.  Children and their parents were then invited to listen to our guest readers — Randy Bell (superintendent), Kenneth Massey (selectman), and Roger LaMarche (resource officer).

Many thanks go to the staff, PTO, guest readers, Lopez-Carrasco family, and families of Dr. H. O. Smith and Library Street Schools for helping to make the evening such a success.

Great food & music!

Scouts Visit the Hudson Litchfield News

Tiger Scouts from Litchfield Pack 11 ventured into the Hudson~Litchfield News offices Tuesday. With Len Lathrop and Joanne Bergeron are Johnathan Hoffman (weeblo), Ryan Hart,
Joshua Hoffman, Benjamin Gaurin (bear), William Parker, Brian Piana, Joshu Paquette, Thomas Groulx and Elliot Gaurin

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