Pentucket Regional Middle High Receives $140,301 Grant for Career Skills Education

Pentucket Regional Middle High School was awarded a state $140,301 Skills Capital Grant last week. Nearly $15 million in Skills Capital Grants were awarded to schools across Massachusetts to support the purchasing and instillation of new equipment meant to upgrade and expand the schools’ career technical education and training programs and will provide students in Pathways programs with more career opportunities in industries with high demand and high pay. Pentucket Regional Middle High’s grant will be used to purchase industrial-grade equipment for the school’s manufacturing, robotics, engineering, life sciences and biology programs.

“We recognize the important role we play in supporting the regional economy and are excited to begin our new pathways in the fall,” said Superintendent Justin Bartholomew. In April, the state designated Pentucket Regional Middle High as an Innovation Career Pathways school in the fields of manufacturing and in environmental and life sciences. College and Career Pathways programs provide students with work-based learning in growing industries to meet the needs of the state’s economy.

Haverhill Educator Faces Charges of Allegedly Sending Obscene Material to a Student

A 25-year-old educational support professional at Haverhill’s Gateway Academy in Haverhill was arrested yesterday and arraigned in court today on a charge of sending pornographic images of himself to a 16-year-old student. District Attorney Paul F. Tucker’s office said in a statement Justin Smith allegedly sent the images to the minor. Smith was arrested by Haverhill Police Thursday and arraigned today in Haverhill District Court on two felony counts of distributing obscene matter to a student. At the arraignment, the state asked that bail be set at $15,000. Judge Cesar A. Archilla set bail at $4,000 and ordered conditions requested, including to have no contact with the alleged victim, no contact with minors, stay away from schools and comply with GPS home confinement.

Job Training Pays Off for Haverhill Students at Bethany

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story inadvertently omitted several names, WHAV regrets the error. Five Haverhill students who completed career training celebrated their accomplishment during a celebration at Bethany Community Services, which partnered with the city to provide the work experience. Brianna Jones, Lawrence Linell, Tayjah Martin, Brian McGowan and Jaydon Pina who attend Haverhill’s Gateway Academy alternative high school at the former St. James School on Primrose Street, earned the praise of president and CEO Jered Stewart during a ceremony at Bethany’s Phoenix Row location. “We were very pleased with this new partnership with the Gateway Academy and to be a part of providing these students an opportunity to gain some valuable real-world experience.

Whittier Tech Metal Fabrication Students Undertake Rehab of Georgetown Police Cells

Prisoner cells at Georgetown Police Station were recently rehabilitated by Metal Fabrication students at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School. Seventeen students in different grades, working under the direction of Welding Instructor Steve Palmer, undertook the job after Georgetown Police Chief David Sedgwick raised concerns over existing issues. These included the quality of the sheet metals and brackets inside the prisoner cells and their risk to inmate safety. “I couldn’t be prouder of, or more thankful to the students,” Sedgwick said. “They completed a job on-time, on-spec and to a high standard of quality.”

Students taking part included senior Anthony Ferullo of Haverhill; juniors Caleb Clocher of Amesbury, Ryan Deschenes of Haverhill and Aengus Longtin of Newburyport; sophomores Noah Allen, of Haverhill, Adrian Angeloni of Rowley, Elodie Bonfiglioli of Haverhill, Emma Casey of Georgetown.

Higginbottom to Continue This Fall as Interim J.G. Whittier School Principal

Kevin Higginbottom will continue as the interim principal of John Greenleaf Whittier School when the fall term commences. Haverhill school Superintendent Margaret Marotta notified families Tuesday that Higginbottom, who was named to the job in May, would continue in the post until a permanent principal is named. “We are confident that his leadership and dedication will greatly benefit our school community and allow us the opportunity to give the principal search the attention it deserves,” Marotta said in the letter. Higginbottom took over after members of the Haverhill Education Association complained of a “hostile” work environment and safety concerns. “We are excited to see the positive impact Mr. Higginbottom will continue to have on our school,” Marotta wrote.

NECC Hoops Standout Reynoso Goes Pro

When the Dominican Republic’s top professional basketball league, the six-team LNB, begins its Super League season on June 18, Northern Essex Community College standout Luis Reynoso will be there. Reynoso, the most-decorated hoops player in the Northern Essex Community College Knights’ history, was selected 16th overall in the Dominican national league’s draft this month by the Santiago Metros. Of the 56 players drafted overall, he was chosen in the second of seven rounds. Reynoso, of Lawrence, helped lead the Knights to their second consecutive Region 21/East District Championship this year, becoming the first player in the history of the Knights basketball program to earn two All-American awards. He is just the fourth athlete in Northern Essex athletic program history to earn that recognition twice.

‘Encounter The Real’ New Local Art Exhibit at Northern Essex Community College in Lawrence

Seven local artists have created a new black-and-white photography exhibit titled “Encounter the Real—Emotive Reflections at Northern Essex Community College’s Lawrence campus. The exhibit focuses on the conveyance of emotions and spirituality through the artists differing perspectives, influenced by their identities as women, non-binary people, LGBTQ and people of color. Two of the artists Kat Almonte and Mahli Rivera, owners of Grainy Daze Studios in Lawrence, organized the exhibit with a grant from the Lawrence Cultural Council. Almonte said the exhibit came about because the artists “wanted an opportunity for marginalized people to be able to have a space and opportunity to gain skills and work on their passions.”

The exhibit will be on display in the Louise Haffner Fournier Education Center on Northern Essex Community College’s Lawrence Campus at 78 Amesbury St., starting Saturday, June 15, from 4-8 p.m. It will then run from Sunday, June 16, to Saturday, June 29, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., and the closing reception will be Sunday, June 30, 4-6 p.m. For more information visit

Podcast: Spurr Relates Story Behind Finally Donning Graduation Cap and Gown After 65-Year Wait

(Additional photographs below.)

School graduation season offers a time for reflection, planning and often some heartwarming stories, but it was considerably more for 82-year-old Jean Spurr of Groveland. Spurr was awarded an honorary diploma June 1 from Georgetown High School where she was a member of the class of 1959 at graduation ceremonies on Saturday morning. She recently told WHAV listeners the unusual and heartfelt experience of how she came to finally don cap and gown and participate in high school graduation. Spurr and her companion, Steven D. Sardella of Haverhill, were guests on WHAV’s “Win for Breakfast” program. Earlier this year, Sardella had an idea about a special birthday gift for Spurr.