hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

School News

October 27, 2011

Parents organize for new school

Concerned Bradford parents are sending out an S.O.S. to all of Haverhill.

But it isn't a cry of distress — it's a call for action.

Close to 20 families have united to form "Haverhill Parents Saving Our Schools,'' an organization which is demanding city and school leaders find a way to build a new Hunking Middle School in the Bradford section of Haverhill.

"We're pushing for a new school," said Kelly Valaskatgis, one of the group's organizers. "We're not going to let Hunking slide. The school has been overlooked for so long and everyone knew it."

Consisting of parents who packed the Oct. 13 School Committee meeting, the group's primary activities will include a continued presence at upcoming meetings, awareness campaigns, and petitioning for improvements at other Haverhill schools.

The group has also set up a Facebook page to help connect with other Haverhill parents online.

"We're getting all of the parents to stick together," Valaskatgis said, noting she would be happy to stand alongside families from other schools who feel their concerns have been ignored.

The decision to unite under a common banner came when parents such as Valaskatgis and Rhonda Campbell, another organizer of the group, said their individual complaints of a deteriorating and unsanitary Hunking building fell on the deaf ears of city and school leaders over the past several years.

"I've been fighting this battle since 2008," Campbell said. "I know it's not going to happen overnight, but we have to start somewhere."

A structural engineer inspected the school earlier this month after Principal David Cook had noticed cracking throughout several classrooms. The consultant said the foundation throughout the building's right side was at risk of caving in.

Close to 200 students, Hunking's entire sixth grade, are now being bused to classes at a school called Hunking North, located at the former Bartlett School across the Merrimack River.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
School News
  • Schools protect students with food allergies Posted 23 days ago
  • hunking2

    MARY SCHWALM/Staff photo Dena Papanikolaou, a parent organizer, talks to parents packing a room to hear about a proposal for the new school to replace Hunking. This February meeting was a kickoff to their campaign. 2/6/14

    Bradford to get new school Posted 44 days ago 2 Photos
  • 140606_et_tje_havgrad_13

    Graduates applaud and cheer for their classmates.

    'Hillie Nation' celebrates the Class of 2014 Posted 44 days ago 6 Photos
  • Write Away!! Contest celebrates 23rd year Posted 44 days ago
  • 140603_HG_MSC_HUNKING

    MARY SCHWALM/Staff photo Lisa Prendergast, left, and Melissa Seavey stand with Lisa's son John, 7, as he holds a sign in support of a new school to replace Hunking School. In the background is the Hunking.

    If voters approve, new school project starts in spring Posted 51 days ago 1 Photo
  • 140529_HG_CRU_WHITTIER_29

    CARL RUSSO/Staff photo Jonathan Maker, right, of Rowley, Whittier Regional High's valedictorian at this year's graduation ceremony, and his father, Donny Maker, a graduate of Whittier's Class of 1974, hug before the ceremony.

    Father and son graduate from Whittier 40 years apart Posted 51 days ago 1 Photo
  • Thursday, May 29, 2014
  • 140522_HG_HAND_ALINA

    Courtesy photo Russian exchange student Alina Skripets, 17, plays the character Annabella in the Haverhill High School senior class production of Alfred Hitchock's "The 39 Steps." At left is senior Alex Zylkuski in the role of Richard Hannay.

    From Russia to Haverhill Posted 58 days ago 1 Photo
  • Thursday, May 22, 2014
  • necc2

    TIM JEAN/Staff photos Hayley Carlin and Elizabeth Simpson, both of Methuen, give the thumbs up sign at the start of the graduation ceremony.

    NECC graduation generates excitement Posted 65 days ago 6 Photos
  • Thursday, May 15, 2014
  • 140429_ET_ASW_TREE_3

    Tom Minichiello of the Haverhill Exchange Club helps the students in Judy Reilly's first-grade class sort, bag and tag pine saplings, for distribution by the club to first-graders in Haverhill, Groveland and Salem, N.H.

    Tiny trees for tiny kids Posted 72 days ago 4 Photos
  • Thursday, May 8, 2014
  • 140502_HG_RHU_HEARTS_004

    Sacred Hearts first-grader Grace Wafford shows off her image of what she thinks she will look like at 75 years old.

    Cherishing the past, celebrating the present Posted 79 days ago 5 Photos

Photos of the Week
Stocks