PHOTO: West Congregational Church Donates Backpacks, School Supplies to Golden Hill

Golden Hill School's eagle mascot accepted backpacks and school supplies from West Congregational Church's Steve Simmons (left) and Gerry Rolan (second from left) as School Committee member Paul Magliocchetti and Superintendent Margaret Marotta looked on. (WHAV News photograph)

Golden Hill Elementary School’s very grateful eagle mascot swooped into Principal Bruce Michitson’s office Tuesday afternoon to accept a donation of 50 backpacks filled with school supplies courtesy of Haverhill’s West Congregational Church, led by Pastor Steve Simmons and Youth Group Leader Gerry Roldan.

Nurses and doctors, including those in the respiratory department at Merrimack Valley Hospital, helped stuff backpacks full of school supplies for students. (WHAV News photograph)

Now in its third year, the backpack distribution program was made possible through donations from parishioners and community members. The Youth Group of sixth to 12th graders—many of them Haverhill High and Whittier Regional Vocational High School students—participate in the backpack donation drive annually and this year selected Golden Hill as the beneficiary. In the past, the group has donated to Tilton School.

Michitson plans to work with Golden Hill’s school adjustment counselors to determine students most in need of backpacks and supplies, he told WHAV.

“We really appreciate the help. There are kids who just want to get up, feel safe, go to school and learn. They’re worrying about whether they have a backpack or good shoes or what they’re going to eat. It’s hard to learn when you’re worried about those things,” Michitson said.

Sharing details of the recent outreach effort with Superintendent Margaret Marotta and School Committee member Paul A. Magliocchetti Tuesday, Roldan said the backpack drive was truly a team effort and above all, a labor of love.

“As long as we make a kid happy, that’s all that matters,” Roldan told WHAV.

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