‘You Feel Like, Now You’re Representing a Whole Group:’ Haverhill School Board’s Collins

Recently elected Haverhill School Committee Member Yonnie Collins, the first Black person to join the group, said she has felt welcomed by her colleagues. Member Gail M. Sullivan brought cookies once, and she talked through the expectations of the role with members Richard J. Rosa and Paul A. Magliocchetti while still campaigning. After being sworn in three months ago, she said her particular position can be a lot of pressure. “I’m not just the first Black woman, but I’m the first Black person ever to serve on the Haverhill School Committee. At times, that can be intimidating, and I think, a lot of minorities, when they’re in a space of power, you feel like you’re not just representing yourself, you’re not just representing your family, but now you’re representing a whole group of people,” she said.

Updated: Haverhill School Committee Narrows Whittier Tech Pick, But Finalist Withdraws Over Change

Haverhill School Committee members moved last night to narrow its choices to fill one of two seats on Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School, but one of the candidates this morning chose to withdraw, citing in part the abrupt and unannounced change in the selection process. School Committee members decided Jeff LeBlanc and incumbent Richard P. Early Jr. would go before the Haverhill School Committee at its next meeting even though the Committee originally described an “anticipated selection date” of March 28. In an email to Mayor Melinda E. Barrett, Vice Chair Paul A. Magliocchetti and member Richard J. Rosa, LeBlanc said “I assure you if I had known of the multi week process beforehand I would not have submitted my materials.”

“Regrettably, I was unaware that this was a multi-week process. While I completely understand the necessity of this form of candidate vetting, I unfortunately must make a hard decision regarding my future time. I must alert my chair of my decision on whether to teach an exciting new course this fall, which will meet during evening hours.

Magliocchetti, Grannemann Tell Beacon Hill State Left Haverhill Estimated $19.2 Million Behind

Arguing a faulty state funding formula has left Haverhill Public Schools with a potential $11.1 million deficit for next year’s budget, School Committee Vice Chairman Paul A. Magliocchetti and member Thomas Grannemann met with Beacon Hill lawmakers to explain their proposed fix Tuesday. Magliocchetti told WHAV he was spurred into action after people mocked his declaration he would march on Beacon Hill if the district did not receive additional money, which he made at a recent School Committee meeting, as WHAV reported. “It inspired me to do this, because, you know, I’m that passionate about this,” he said. The two committee members were well received, meeting first with state Rep. Andy X. Vargas Tuesday morning, according to Magliocchetti. He said he is confident more discussions will follow.

Northern Essex Community College Signs Pact to Bolster Educational Opportunities for Dominicans

The Institute of Dominicans Living Abroad, known as INDEX, and Northern Essex Community College recently signed a collaboration agreement aimed at bolstering educational opportunities for the Dominican community in Lawrence. Dr. Noemí Custodia-Lora, Northern Essex vice president of Lawrence Campus and Community Relations, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership. “This collaboration represents a powerful synergy between the college and our community. By joining forces with INDEX, we are not only expanding educational opportunities, but also fostering a more inclusive and supportive environment for all members of the Lawrence community,” she explained. What was described as a “landmark agreement” marks a significant milestone in fostering cultural integration, strengthening community bonds and advancing professional education and training initiatives between the U.S. and the Dominican Republic.

School Committee Pulls Second Whittier Tech Seat Off Agenda; City Lawyer Said to Have Found Errors

The Haverhill School Committee is revisiting plans to fill, what were first described as, two available seats on the Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School Committee. While the existing appointment of Richard P. Early Jr. expires at the end of the month, a new policy that declared a vacancy in the seat now held by Scott W. Wood Jr. is now being reconsidered. Behind the concern, officials said, is a ruling by City Solicitor Lisa L. Mead that the Whittier Tech policy and eight others should have been heard and voted upon separately under the state’s Open Meeting Law. In light of the decision, the full School Committee will interview six candidates at its regular meeting Thursday night only for the seat held by Early. The agenda now lists candidates as Paul A. Bergman, Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien, Early, Debbie Gangi, Jeff LeBlanc and Warren Seitz.

Haverhill Education Foundation to Host Trivia Night April 6, Announces $1,000 Scholarship for Tech Grad

The Haverhill Education Foundation will host a trivia night fundraiser Saturday, April 6. New this year, Kalyn Ryll, clerk for the nonprofit, told city councilors last night the organization created a $1,000, needs-based scholarship for a Haverhill High graduate who completed the Career Technical Education program. The money may go toward a postsecondary degree, technical school program or an apprenticeship. Details are on Haverhill High’s online scholarship portal, with applications due Friday, April 19. “We hopefully will have this be the start of a longstanding scholarship that we might be able to offer to these students,” Ryll said.

Hillie David Martinez Joins Governor’s New Youth Council at Beacon Hill Ceremony

(Additional photographs below.)

Standing on the State House Grand Staircase with 60 other young representatives, David Martinez, a junior at Haverhill High School, was inducted as a member of Gov. Maura T. Healey’s new youth council yesterday. Observing some of his peers cutting class and wandering the halls, Martinez said he hopes to work against “widespread apathy” at Haverhill High School. He loved his AP U.S. Government and Politics class, he said, organizing debates for Haverhill politicians as well as a voter awareness campaign. He said he has seen some of his classmates struggle to find similar outlets for their passions. “Your zip code shouldn’t be a predictor of your future success,” he said.

Former Councilor O’Brien and Bentley Lecturer LeBlanc Seek Consideration for Whittier Seats

A retired nurse who served 20 years on the Haverhill City Council and a Bentley University lecturer whose family runs a successful automotive business are among those wishing to serve on the Whittier Tech School Committee. Former City Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien and Jeff LeBlanc, who has taught business at Bentley, Boston University and Suffolk University, among others, both notified WHAV of their interests in one of the two available Haverhill seats at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School. “My successful and fulfilling 46-year nursing career as well as serving 20 years on the Haverhill City Council make me uniquely qualified and that I can bring valuable knowledge and understanding to the board.” O’Brien told WHAV. She added “I am very familiar with budgetary concerns, administrator transparency, working collaboratively on a team and, most of all, putting Haverhill’s priorities first.”

LeBlanc said, “My connection to Whittier VoTech runs deep. My father, Kenneth LeBlanc, got his start at Whittier VoTech, where he received the foundational skills and training that paved the way for his successful career in the automotive field and business.