hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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November 7, 2013

Students should be proud of efforts at Whittier Birthplace

What’s in a name?

Plenty in this case — and how appropriate it is.

Whittier is the name, as in the poet and the regional high school. Before now, they have been joined primarily by name.

But the work of some Whittier Regional High students has made the connection closer. They are making repairs to a building at the Haverhill birthplace of the famous poet and abolitionist. (See story, Page 1.)

Their hands-on effort is the latest project at Whittier’s Birthplace, which has a history of bringing members of the community together to preserve the historic site.

The landmark is visited by locals and tourists alike. They are interested in getting a glimpse into the life of man with Haverhill roots who was not only a famous poet, but also a fierce fighter against slavery.

The students made repairs to a carriage house that trustees of the birthplace plan to make into a visitors center. The young carpenters fixed and stained the wooden sides of the building and insulated the ceiling. The building is a replica of a historic carriage house that once stood on the property. The replica was built by Whittier students 20 years ago.

Plenty is gained by the students’ efforts. An obvious benefit is the preservation of the Whittier property, which needs plenty of attention to remain sturdy.

Then there are the more subtle, but still important benefits.

The students get an opportunity to apply the trades they have been learning at school. It’s certainly a project worth mentioning on their resumes when they step out into the working world.

Then there’s the lesson the kids learn about the importance of preserving our past. It’s a lesson in history and community spirit that will help the students grow.

They, their teachers and families should be proud.

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