School Notes: Consultants Seek Community Preferences in Superintendent Search

Whittier Technical HIgh School Principal Christopher Laganas gives the thumbs-up as his students’ float passes by.

Haverhill school staff and members of the public are invited to a series of focus groups to help consultants and a search committee learn what they’d like to see in a new superintedent.

Superintendent James F. Scully will retire at the end of this school year after eight years of leading the district.

The School Committee has hired the Massachusetts Association of School Committees to help manage the search for his replacement.

Members of the public are invited to focus groups on Dec. 5 and 6 at the Hunking School and City Hall Room 301, respectively. Both will begin at 7 p.m.

Four groups are planned for HPS staffs on Nov. 29 and 30 and Dec. 5 and 7.

The focus groups are the first steps in a months-long process expected to identify a new superintendent by February.

Members of the Haverhill High School band are in desperate need of new uniforms. The musicians are wearing worn, outdated uniforms that are 30 years old. The last time the HHS band had new uniforms was in the 1980s.

Students and staff have worked hard to resurrect the band, which performs at football games, in holiday parades and for school observances. They wear the uniform with Hillie pride, a new, modern look would go a long way to improving band morale.

The band is raising money by selling coupon books and discounted gift cards through Donors can use the ID 5134093 and the name of Principal Beth Kitsos, unless they know the name of a band member.

Male staff members at the J.G. Whittier Middle School in Haverhill stopped shaving this month to raise money for cancer and cancer research. This is their fourth year of observing the Mo-vember fundraiser, said Principal Brian Gill.

Over the first three years, the guys have raised $1,080. This year they have asked the students for help by waging a Penny War.

Each staff member who is participating has a gallon jug with his face on it. Students are asked to bring donations of spare change to put in the jug of the staff member they want to win.

Pennies are worth 1 point, but larger denominations result in 5, 10, and 25 point reductions for nickels, dimes, and quarters, respectively, so those should be put in the jugs of staffers that students won’t want to win.

At the end of the month, the staff member with the most points … not necessarily the most money … will win.

“It’s really the students who will win because the staff member will have to do something embarrassing in front of the entire student body. Stay tuned for what that might be,” Gill said.

All money raised will be donated directly to the American Cancer Society to benefit cancer research.

“This is something that has affected all of our lives in some way. Now it is time that we do our part to raise money to help out while having a little fun doing it, Gill said.

Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School students built the overall first place winning float in this year’s Haverhill VFW Santa Parade.

Students in art and shop classes constructed a float to promote peace and humanity as part of the holiday tradition.

Several students painted the faces of peacemakers from several cultures, including Chief Joseph, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, John Greenleaf Whittier, Helen Keller and Martin Luther King Jr.

Metal fabrication students built a multi-sided metal tree, which art students covered with peace signs. The back of the float featured  wall of graffiti with inspirational quotes from several artists. The sides showed city storefronts with the words “peace” and “imagine.”

Carpentry students built benches for the dozens of students who rode the float in the Haverhill and Merrimac holiday parades.