hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

January 24, 2013

Reality TV appearances can inspire local watchers


The Haverhill Gazette

---- — Haverhill has hit the reality TV map.

It’s good entertainment, but can mean a lot more — even inspiration for local watchers to pursue their dreams.

Erin Erler, owner of the local Cakes by Erin bakery, competed recently in the Food Network’s reality show “Sugar Dome.” The show features teams of cake designers, sugar artists and specialty craftspeople in challenges to create the ultimate sweet showpiece.

Erler won the competition. (See story, page 1.) Congratulations to her. She was featured on another Food Network reality show last year, but did not fare as well. Kudos to her for jumping back into the fray.

Erler owns the bakery on Kenoza Avenue with her sister Kelly Mackin.

Other locals have appeared recently in reality TV competition. Three men from a Bradford-based construction company competed on an episode of the show “Monster Machines’’ that aired this month on the Discovery Channel.

The show pitted them and two other crews of workers against each other, operating heavy construction equipment like backhoes and front-end loaders on an obstacle course and in other challenges.

The local team, called The Boston Boys, did not win, but the Haverhill men said they had a great experience.

Haverhill dancer Channing Cooke appeared a couple of years ago on the reality show “So You Think You Can Dance.’’ The then-18-year-old went deep into the competition, but was eventually eliminated. Younger students at the local dance academy she attends said she inspired them to work harder in hopes they can become celebrities — or at least reach their fullest potential.

In 2005, Haverhill boxer Jeff Fraza appeared in “The Contender,’’ a reality show that pitted boxers against each other in a series of matches. He became an inspiration for young local fighters before dying last year at age 34 when he was hit by a train.

Then there’s Tom Bergeron, the Haverhill High graduate who has become an Emmy Award-winning TV host. He’s best known for his current work on “Dancing with the Stars.’’

The success of Bergeron and other Haverhill High graduates has school officials considering a series of events where those grads return to the school and talk with students about how to achieve their goals.

These TV shows and appearances by local people are good for the city’s pride and reputation. When the shows are done well, they can provide good entertainment from a TV genre that has grown greatly in popularity.

But perhaps most importantly, they show watchers, particularly young people, that successful people can come from places other than New York and Los Angeles.

They can even come from places like their home town of Haverhill.