License Commission Approves Liquor at Hall of Fame Event

Haverhill High School Athletic Director Thomas O’Brien, left, pitched the sale of alcohol at the Haverhill License Commission. (WHAV News photograph.)

Alcohol will be served at the HHS Athletic Hall of Fame induction dinner at Hunking School in May, but it might be the last time.

All three Haverhill License Commissioners expressed reservations about allowing liquor to be served on school property, but two of the three went ahead and approved the request because of a lack of time for the Hall of Fame to find another venue. Chairman Joseph C. Edwards remained opposed and cited his reasons why.

“I’m just absolutely 100 percent opposed to this. I think that any school—actually city property like this too—should be considered a safe zone, drug free, gun free, alcohol free at all times, 100 percent. We don’t need it. It’s not a good precedent for us to be setting by approving this tonight,” Edwards said.

The 2 to 1 vote in favor of allowing the sale of liquor echoed last week’s School Committee meeting where member Scott W. Wood Jr. cast the lone vote against the plan.

Haverhill High School Athletic Director Thomas O’Brien explained why the new Hunking School was chosen.

“We don’t have any plans for future ceremonies, whether we are going to do it in the schools every year or not. We just, talking with Superintendent (James F.) Scully, and planning again one of the biggest events for the high school in decades, we thought it was just good timing with the Hunking School and the brand-new school there, and they have a beautiful new multipurpose room for events like this,” O’Brien said.

The athletic director said it is unlikely current students will be present at the Saturday, May 13, event. Former Major League Baseball player Carlos Peña is among those expected to attend.

Commissioner Gerald A. Sewell said he would put his reservations aside.

“I don’t see the problem with it as strongly as he does. I asked you in the first place why it was on school property because I really think that this is a wonderful event and I commend you for your efforts on this and I would like to see it go forward and be very successful.”

Last week, Scully told the School Committee an outside vendor will handle the alcohol sales, and all servers will be TIP certified, meaning they are trained in procedures for safe alcohol serving. He also pledged the vendor will carry proper insurance.

Eleven athletes and coaches make up the inaugural class. They are: Kate Abromovich, Class of 1989, golf, softball and basketball; Andy Alsup, Class of 1997, football and track; Matt Battistini, Class of 1978, football and track; Duane Carlisle, Class of 1983, basketball and track; Dan Conway, Class of 1976, football; Heidi Hannenian, Class of 1989, swimming; Kerry (Horgan) DeVries, Class of 1988, field hockey, basketball and softball; R. John Ottaviani, Class of 1957, coach, athletic director; Carlos Pena, Class of 1995, baseball; Mary Schena, Class of 1983, cross country and track; and Kevin Woelfel, coach and teacher.

Tickets are $50 each and are available at by clicking on the Athletics tab.

4 thoughts on “License Commission Approves Liquor at Hall of Fame Event

  1. This is alcoholic awareness month. I noticed that Methuen is having a program to make ts citizens aware of problems caused by overuse of alcohol. I would rather see such a program at the Hunkin School instead of an awards banquet with alcohol available. The Awards banquet could be held at a licensed venue and precedent would not be occurring

  2. From The Student Handbook:

    “The purchasing, selling, distributing, consumption of, or possession of any alcoholic
    beverages or any controlled substances or related paraphernalia is prohibited on school
    property or at school-sponsored or school-related events.”

    Zero tolerance policies (which I do not agree with) is worthless if those who implement and enforce them allow others to usurp or ignore them. Not that inconviences like this matter in Haverhill or this state in general, always an excuse to ignore, usurp, or make legal which is not justified.