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School sights, sounds mark beginning of a new year

  • Chrigus Boezeman, the new co-advisor of Varsity Club and a social studies teacher at Concord High School, led the assembly Wednesday. Boezeman spoke to Tidy the Duck once the mascot returned from his makeover.<br/><br/>(SUSAN DOUCET Monitor staff)

    Chrigus Boezeman, the new co-advisor of Varsity Club and a social studies teacher at Concord High School, led the assembly Wednesday. Boezeman spoke to Tidy the Duck once the mascot returned from his makeover.

    (SUSAN DOUCET Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Concord High School junior Delaney Collins led the band into the gymnasium for an assembly Wednesday morning.<br/><br/>(SUSAN DOUCET Monitor staff)

    Concord High School junior Delaney Collins led the band into the gymnasium for an assembly Wednesday morning.

    (SUSAN DOUCET Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Concord High School Principal Gene Connolly claps as the senior class enters the gymnasium Wednesday morning at Concord High School.<br/><br/>(SUSAN DOUCET Monitor staff)

    Concord High School Principal Gene Connolly claps as the senior class enters the gymnasium Wednesday morning at Concord High School.

    (SUSAN DOUCET Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Tidy the Duck, Concord High School's mascot, was given a makeover at an assembly Wednesday morning. The "old" Tidy started the assembly, was escorted out for a makeover by Kimberly Hannon, a cosmetology teacher  (who the students call Ms. Kimberly) and a group of students, before returning to the gymnasium, in a new, bright yellow costume. Tidy later returned to the floor wearing a "Connolly Tough" shirt when students spoke about an ALS walk that they will participate in to support principal Gene Connolly. The back of the shirt read, "Kick it in the ALS - September 27, 2014."<br/><br/>(SUSAN DOUCET Monitor staff)

    Tidy the Duck, Concord High School's mascot, was given a makeover at an assembly Wednesday morning. The "old" Tidy started the assembly, was escorted out for a makeover by Kimberly Hannon, a cosmetology teacher (who the students call Ms. Kimberly) and a group of students, before returning to the gymnasium, in a new, bright yellow costume. Tidy later returned to the floor wearing a "Connolly Tough" shirt when students spoke about an ALS walk that they will participate in to support principal Gene Connolly. The back of the shirt read, "Kick it in the ALS - September 27, 2014."

    (SUSAN DOUCET Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Students and staff at Bishop Brady High School completed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge yesterday afternoon. Principal Andrea Elliot dedicated her challenge to Concord High School Principal Gene Connolly, who was recently diagnosed with ALS. The challenge was a good way to build school community, said Elliot. <br/>IAIN WILSON/Monitor staff

    Students and staff at Bishop Brady High School completed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge yesterday afternoon. Principal Andrea Elliot dedicated her challenge to Concord High School Principal Gene Connolly, who was recently diagnosed with ALS. The challenge was a good way to build school community, said Elliot.
    IAIN WILSON/Monitor staff Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Students at Harold Martin School in Hopkinton watch musician and storyteller Odds Bodkin during a back-to-school assembly yesterday. This year marks the first at Harold Martin with full-day kindergarten for all students.<br/> IAIN WILSON/Monitor staff

    Students at Harold Martin School in Hopkinton watch musician and storyteller Odds Bodkin during a back-to-school assembly yesterday. This year marks the first at Harold Martin with full-day kindergarten for all students.
    IAIN WILSON/Monitor staff Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Chrigus Boezeman, the new co-advisor of Varsity Club and a social studies teacher at Concord High School, led the assembly Wednesday. Boezeman spoke to Tidy the Duck once the mascot returned from his makeover.<br/><br/>(SUSAN DOUCET Monitor staff)
  • Concord High School junior Delaney Collins led the band into the gymnasium for an assembly Wednesday morning.<br/><br/>(SUSAN DOUCET Monitor staff)
  • Concord High School Principal Gene Connolly claps as the senior class enters the gymnasium Wednesday morning at Concord High School.<br/><br/>(SUSAN DOUCET Monitor staff)
  • Tidy the Duck, Concord High School's mascot, was given a makeover at an assembly Wednesday morning. The "old" Tidy started the assembly, was escorted out for a makeover by Kimberly Hannon, a cosmetology teacher  (who the students call Ms. Kimberly) and a group of students, before returning to the gymnasium, in a new, bright yellow costume. Tidy later returned to the floor wearing a "Connolly Tough" shirt when students spoke about an ALS walk that they will participate in to support principal Gene Connolly. The back of the shirt read, "Kick it in the ALS - September 27, 2014."<br/><br/>(SUSAN DOUCET Monitor staff)
  • Students and staff at Bishop Brady High School completed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge yesterday afternoon. Principal Andrea Elliot dedicated her challenge to Concord High School Principal Gene Connolly, who was recently diagnosed with ALS. The challenge was a good way to build school community, said Elliot. <br/>IAIN WILSON/Monitor staff
  • Students at Harold Martin School in Hopkinton watch musician and storyteller Odds Bodkin during a back-to-school assembly yesterday. This year marks the first at Harold Martin with full-day kindergarten for all students.<br/> IAIN WILSON/Monitor staff

The new school year got under way this week in most local districts. In Concord, high school students and faculty kicked off the year by honoring a friend and colleague. In Hopkinton, faculty welcomed the town’s first full-day kindergarten class. And in Bow, the first group of students from Dunbarton arrived at Bow High School.

The Monitor visited some area schools to get a sense of what the first week was like.

Concord High School

Concord High’s back-to-school assembly was as much about school spirit and the start of the new year as it was about Principal Gene Connolly. Members of the school community debuted “Connolly Tough” T-shirts bearing Connolly’s face at an assembly yesterday morning.

Connolly, who was recently diagnosed with ALS, was introduced to a standing ovation by Chris Boezeman, a social studies teacher and the new co-adviser of the Varsity Club. Connolly stepped onto the gymnasium floor and gestured his thanks, while some students chanted “Connolly” and stamped their feet.

Assistant Principal Steve Rothenberg reminded students of the school’s motto: grit. “There are students in this room who show grit every

day,” he said. “Mr. Connolly is looking for you to be gritty.”

Rothenberg also referenced a conversation that he had with Connolly during the summer. He said he asked the principal what his message to students was. Connolly’s answer?

“Do your homework. Take care of business. Come back strong.”

The school also introduced a revamped mascot at yesterday’s assembly.

Tidy the Duck was given a makeover for the new school year. During the assembly, the old Tidy appeared before a video of the makeover was played for students. And then the new Tidy appeared in the gymnasium – bright and clean.

Bishop Brady

Bishop Brady High School’s new principal, Andrea Elliot, didn’t waste any time trying to bring together the school community. On Monday, the first full day of school for students, Elliot accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from Bishop Guertin High School in Nashua. She then challenged staff and students to join her yesterday afternoon.

Elliot, who spent two years as assistant principal at Concord High School, dedicated the challenge to Connolly. The donations pledged will go to support ALS research at John Paul II Medical Research Institute in Iowa.

“This was important to us with Gene Connolly’s recent diagnosis,” Elliot said yesterday as she waited in line to add water to an ice-filled pitcher. “The response from the staff has been tremendous.”

She held a pink Post-it note in her hand bearing the names of people she planned to challenge, including her predecessor, Trevor Bonat, who left the school for a job in St. Louis. The school also planned to call out Brady alumni. “We’re challenging them all,” she said.

Dozens of teachers and students stayed after school yesterday – one of the hottest days in recent weeks – to complete the challenge.

“It’s an opportunity to really strengthen the school community, and a chance to get our alumni involved,” said Elliot.

Bow High School

A wave of Dunbarton students officially became Falcons yesterday.

It was the first day that many of the town’s students attended Bow High School – instead of Goffstown High School – after residents voted to switch districts at town meeting in 2013.

Under the new school agreement, Dunbarton students who graduate from the town’s elementary school will go to Bow Memorial School for two years, then head to Bow High School. Dunbarton students who had already begun at Goffstown High School, however, can stay there.

Dunbarton’s students rising into seventh, eighth and ninth grades started at Bow schools yesterday.

To kick off the first day at Bow High School, all students gathered for an assembly where Principal John House-Myers welcomed the newcomers.

“Though we all arrive here from different areas, what unites us is that we are all now Bow Falcons, and everyone is welcome,” he said.

Administrators showed a presentation, put together by House-Myers and teacher Marcel Duhaime in a geographic information system, that pinpointed where each student lived in Bow, Hooksett, Deerfield and Dunbarton. Then it expanded to show the states, and then the countries, where students had moved from. It concluded with a map showing where recent graduates had dispersed to.

“Though most of us come here from small surrounding towns, the world awaits you upon graduation,” House-Myers said. “We believe in you, and will help you every step of the way.”

After school let out for the day, a gaggle of Dunbarton students waited for a bus to take them back to town.

Tenth-grader Gabrielle Proksa rated her first day a 10 out of 10.

“The teachers were really nice and welcoming,” she said. The students were, too, said the 15-year-old who transferred from Goffstown High School where she completed ninth grade. “They all came up to me and talked to me,” she said.

“I got lost,” said ninth-grader Patty Nordin. She said she hadn’t been really excited to start, but had a good day. Her older brother is a student at Goffstown High School.

“I’ll make the most of it,” she said.

Hopkinton’s Harold Martin School

In Hopkinton, the new year brought with it the town’s first full-day kindergarten class. And singer and storyteller Odds Bodkin stopped by the Harold Martin School yesterday to help welcome the new students.

“We do this as sort of a celebration for the beginning of the year,” said Principal William Carozza.

After two years of running a full-day pilot program for some students, the district approved full-day kindergarten in March. “Right here the whole school can be together,” he said at yesterday’s assembly.

About 50 students have enrolled, and one kindergarten teacher has been added to help with the transition.

“What we found is that primarily academically, the full-day kindergarten students are going to be able to keep up with the expectations going forward,” said Carroza. “During our pilot years, we found all-day students were much more ready for first grade.”

Early returns have been good, he said.

“I haven’t had a single parent voice a concern with having their children here for an entire day,” he said.

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