New Scholarship Available for Therapeutic Horseback Riding at Windrush Farm

Windrush Farm in North Andover is offering a new Kathy Blanton Memorial scholarship for children and adults with disabilities. The scholarship is for participants over the age of six, with physical, cognitive or emotional challenges who qualify on financial need and consideration of circumstances. The scholarship was set up by Kathy’s sister, Cheryl Blanton, and is offered in memory of Kathy who loved riding and, especially, competing in the Special Olympics. “We are extremely grateful to the Blanton family and other donors who have made it possible for more people to experience the joy and challenges of horseback riding,” said Janet Nittmann, CEO of Windrush Farm. Details and an application form can be found at .

Expanded BRIDGE Club Aims to Cover Gaps in Vocational Opportunities and Loss of Expertise

Haverhill city councilors endorsed a summit last night aimed at expanding a workforce development program in place at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Haverhill to bridge the gaps caused, in part, by a vocational training waiting list and loss of generational knowledge in the workforce. The Boys and Girls Club maintains a semiannual five-month initiative that aids club members in preparing for their future careers and connecting them with mentors in the fields they’ll be entering. As previously covered by WHAV, the program is called the BRIDGE Club, short for Building Relationships and Integrating Dynamic Growth Experiences. City Councilor John A. Michitson, Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Alex Eberhardt, HP3 Director Allison Heartquist and MakeIT Haverhill’s Keith Boucher spoke about their hopes to expand the program to middle and high school students outside of the club to reinforce Haverhill’s current workforce training curricula and encourage further economic growth in Haverhill. Michitson said expanding the program to students outside of the Boys and Girls Club will help bridge the gap created by Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School’s waitlist.

Labrecque to Serve as Interim Assistant Superintendent for Haverhill Schools

Former Groveland Town Manager Greg Labrecque is serving as Haverhill Public Schools’ interim business manager as the district searches for a replacement for Assistant Superintendent Michael J. Pfifferling. Labrecque served as Groveland town manager 10 years before switching gears and serving as business manager for Pentucket Regional School District until his retirement last October. According to an email from Superintendent Margaret Marotta to members of the Haverhill School Committee, “Labrecque is retired and will be working up to 25 hours per week. Greg has extensive knowledge of our financial software systems, MSBA expectations, DESE and school finance. We are pleased to have his support in this transitional time.”

As WHAV reported first last month, Pfifferling is going to work for Marblehead Public Schools as assistant superintendent of finance and operations.

Northern Essex Community College Athletic Department Records Top 30 Finish in National Standings

For the second consecutive season, the Northern Essex Community College Athletic Department has recorded a top 30 finish in the National Alliance of Two-Year College Athletic Administrators/Daktronics Cup standings. The record was announced earlier this month at the annual National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Convention in Las Vegas. The award recognizes the best of community and junior college athletics. The Knights finished an all-time high 22nd place in the non-scholarship category with 36 points based upon team finishes at national championship tournaments. Northern Essex was awarded 16 points for their fifth-place finish in men’s basketball and 13.5 points for a seventh-place finish in baseball.

A Dozen Pentucket Regional High School Students Take Part in German-American Partnership

A dozen Pentucket Regional High School students are again participating in the German American Partnership Program, supported by the U.S. State Department and the German Federal Foreign Office. Last fall, 12 German students visited Pentucket and stayed with host families. They shadowed students learning German at the high school and explored Massachusetts destinations such as Boston, Plum Island, and Newburyport. Twelve Pentucket students have been visiting Rheine, Germany since June 14 and will stay through Wednesday, where they will stay with host families and attend the Emsland Gymnasium School. They will learn the German education system and culture firsthand.

Nine Area Graduates Share in $9,000 in Scholarships by Kiwanis Clubs

(Additional photograph below.)

Community service clubs Kiwanis Club of Haverhill and Pentucket Kiwanis Club granted $9,000 in scholarships to nine graduating seniors from local high schools. The clubs work in association with Kiwanis International, an organization of volunteers that seeks to improve the lives of children and their communities. Members say the scholarships celebrate the students’ academic achievements and the work they’ve dedicated to their communities. The Kiwanis Club of Haverhill awarded four students $1,000 each in scholarships. The David Moughan Scholarship went to Gino Figliola and Autumn Guertin of Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School in Haverhill.

UMass Lowell Researchers Study Whether Yoga May Help Manage Type 2 Diabetes

The practice of yoga has withstood the test of time with generations turning to it for spiritual, mental and health benefits. Now, UMass Lowell public health Associate Professor Herpreet Thind, among a group of researchers, is investigating whether the wellness practice can be used to help manage Type 2 diabetes. The National Institutes of Health-funded research comes as a growing number of people are diagnosed with diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the condition affects 38 million Americans—approximately 90% to 95% of whom have Type 2 diabetes. People with the disease can suffer from high blood sugar levels due to the body’s inability to effectively process insulin.

State Awards Whittier Tech $350,000 Skills Capital Grant for Culinary Arts Program

The Culinary Arts Program at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School last week was awarded a $350,000 state Skills Capital Grant. The Culinary Arts Program will use the grant to update equipment that has aged well past its useful life, and purchase new equipment to enhance the learning experiences. The money comes from nearly $15 million in Skills Capital Grants that were awarded statewide to support the upgrade of technology and instructional lab spaces, expansion of career programs for young people and adults and increase in capacity of workforce training programs.

“We’re delighted that the Commonwealth has recognized the ongoing success of our Culinary Arts Program by providing us with this significant grant,” Superintendent Maureen Lynch said, adding, “The program is utilized by many in the community, from day students to those undertaking adult education, as well as members of the Career Technical Initiative, which provides training to unemployed or underemployed residents.”

Vocational Coordinator Amanda Crosby noted, “Our Culinary Arts Program is open and serves the public for breakfast and lunch four days a week. They host monthly buffets and work with local senior centers to prepare and serve low-cost meals. Receiving this grant allows Whittier Tech to continue to provide industry relevant training to all students, while also meeting the workforce demands.”

Skills Capital Grants are awarded by the state’s Workforce Skills Cabinet, which aligns education, economic development and workforce policies to meet employers’ demand for skilled workers.