hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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February 5, 2013

These young people deserve recognition for their good work

They make their city proud.

At a time when we too often hear stories of teenagers in trouble, some Haverhill eighth-graders and high school students are leaving a positive mark on the community.

The eighth-graders do volunteer work at their school and elsewhere in the city, and were recognized by Gov. Deval Patrick for their efforts. The Haverhill High students revised a history of Haverhill book, with guidance from their teacher, and plan to sell it to raise money for their school and nonprofit organizations. (See stories, page 1.)

The eighth-graders, Nettle Middle School students Josh Wojtas and Veyli Solis, joined with the governor and more than 300 other eighth-graders from across the state last Saturday. They were selected for the governor’s Project 351 because of the exceptional commitment to service they have shown to their school and city.

They and the other students had a Town Meeting style gathering and discussion with the governor and then pitched in to help on service projects at a variety of Boston organizations. Even when they are being honored, Veyli and Josh get their hands dirty to help others.

At Haverhill High, history teacher Phil Brown came up with the idea of updating a book of Haverhill history and trivia written years ago by a now-retired Haverhill teacher. His students agreed it was a good idea and got involved, doing research and other tasks.

The students are fascinated by what they have learned. The city is rich in history and has had many interesting residents, from the founder of Macys stores to TV celebrities to the first female Little League baseball player in the nation, Sharon Poole in 1972.

But more than being entertained and learning about Haverhill’s history as part of their class work, the students have done a good deed for the community. They have updated an important book that will allow longtime residents and newcomers alike to gain a greater understanding of Haverhill’s history and its importance to the region and country, even the world.

We applaud both the Nettle students and those from Haverhill High for their efforts. It’s in stark contrast to the stories we sometimes see in newspapers, the ones about young people arrested in graffiti sprees or worse.

It’s important to be reminded that good things are going on with our young people.

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