Good News from A Great City Haverhill, MA
It was two years ago this month that The Heartbeat of Haverhill created THOH blog after being inspired by the Haverhill High School renaissance. How very fitting fitting that today we witnessed the groundbreaking ceremony for the equally inspiring and much needed new Hunking Middle School.
It took so may people to make this a possibility and the series of speakers enumerated them. The parents who saw the need first hand and canvassed neighborhoods outside their own to get buy-in from the greater community at large. Mayor Jim Fiorentini canvassed the city every weekend. Council President John A. Michitson had a secret weapon, his daughter then a 7th grade student at Nettle School, walked the trail beside her dad and explained why students at Hunking needed support. But ultimately it was the people of Haverhill who the Mayor identified eloquently by saying they were willing to support a school their children or grandchildren would never attend, that they themselves would seldom drive by or visit for a meeting because they recognized a need for the community that was greater than their own personal desire for improvements to their own neighborhoods.
Newly elected Massachusetts State Treasurer pointed out that this was her very first groundbreaking ceremony ( the same was true of Massachusetts School Building Authority CEO Maureen Valente) and both look forward to returning to Haverhill and the Hunking School for the ribbon cutting. Other dignitaries who spoke include representatives from JCJ Architecture and Shawmut Design and Construction, State Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives, State Reps Linda Dean Campbell and Leonard Mirra, Mayor James Fiorentini, Haverhill City Council President John Michitson, Haverhill School Committee President Scott Wood Jr., Hunking Principal Jared Fulgoni, Superintendent Scully. In attendance – the students of Hunking, parents and neighbors.
There were so many people involved in making the dream a reality that there were four groups posing with the ceremonial shovels (Group 1 Speakers Panel, Group 2 City Council, Group 3 Parents organizers group, and 4 Hunking students) these were preceded by the ultimate first scoop of an excavator
CEREMONIAL GROUND BREAKING
The school committee, the city council, the students and the unions all told neighbors compelling stories about why this one change would improve the reputation of Haverhill. And last year another boon to the education reputation was that Pentucket Lake, Nettle, Bradford Elementary, and Silver Hill Horace Mann Charter School were all categorized as Level 1 schools, the state’s highest performance level. These four schools are performing in the top 20 percent of schools in the state, according to the ranking system. (http://www.haverhill-ps.org/state-hikes-ratings-of-3-haverhill-schools-to-level-1-status/)
CROWD SHOTS AND CANDIDS
The event was well attended by media, families and public figures alike. Smiles were bright as a Winston Churchill quote was relayed (and THOH apologizes for not being able to read my notes about who said that quote): “We shape our buildings, and afterwards, our buildings shape us.”
We are looking forward and looking good, Haverhill.
Architectural renderings by JCJ Architecture for the new 1005 seat school can be found here: http://www.haverhill-ps.org/download/hunkingproject/Hunking%20Update%20Drawings%20090214%20%20%231.pdf?8edcea