hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

October 31, 2013

Letters to the editor

The Haverhill Gazette

---- — Kudos to St. Joseph School

To the editor:

As a parent of a child who has a severe anxiety of fire drills and the practicing of lockdown procedures, I feel compelled to share my sincere gratitude to the teachers and staff at St. Joseph School of All Saints Parish.

On a recent Friday afternoon at dismissal time, shots were fired in the neighborhood.

Immediately, the school was notified by the Haverhill Police Department, at which point administration contacted teachers outside and told teachers to get all children back inside. No questions were asked why.

Teachers instinctively made lines on both sides of the students (a human fence as one student described it) ensuring the children’s safety back into the building. Many students were crying and were asking what was going on and the teachers answered honestly, reassuringly and confidently, “We don’t know. But this is why we have practice drills. We are safe together right now.”

My older daughter told me how scared she and her classmates were and the only thing they knew to do was to hold each other’s hands and pray Hail Marys. That alone, to me, is worth every penny I pay for our children to know the importance of depending on their faith at all times, especially in times of fear, and knowing it is OK to do so.

When retelling the events, my youngest said, “We are all God’s sheep. The bad guys are just lost. But He still loves them too, you know.” One child told my daughter not to worry because Miss Simone (the school’s principal) will make sure we are safe. Once students were given the OK to leave with the assistance of teachers and police officers, one student at a time was released, while the teachers were seen smiling, cracking jokes and comforting these students.

When the students who were staying in the school for the afternoon were allowed to return to other parts of the building, teachers stood guard at the doors, blocking the view of anyone from outside (i.e. a gunman, etc., keeping in mind most still did not know the reason behind the lockdown). As my youngest (the one with anxiety) told me all of this, I was able to say to her, “Listen to everything you just told me.

Those teachers love you SO much they will do anything to protect you and keep you safe, including taking a bullet if it means saving YOUR life.” Not words anyone wants to say to their children, but it is the simple truth. She said in response, “Mama, they do love me. I know!” How can one thank another person for that?

These teachers are not police officers with guns and bullet-proof vests.

They are people who love what they do and love each and every one of their students. They are not there for a high-paying career. Unconditional love — that is what I see. These are only words written in an attempt to thank EACH and EVERY ONE of the St. Joseph School teachers and staff. But no words could ever truly express how proud I am to say my children attend this school.

Not only for protecting them, loving them, teaching them their faith, but for proving to my child that they are safe and they are loved.

Christine Wilson


Seeking votes for LePage for City Council

To the editor:

I first met Colin LePage when he came to my door to introduce himself as a candidate for re-election to the City Council in the fall of 2011.

My husband, Joel, and I invited him into our home and we discussed his passion for the city and his efforts to continue to work to improve Haverhill. For those who do not know him well, I can tell you that my first impression of him was of a very caring, likable, and well-informed young man who wants to serve the city he is so proud of.

He chose Haverhill as his home over 16 years ago and I share that same pride as when I moved here over 50 years ago. The city needs progressive thinkers to keep improving our quality of life and delivery of services. With Colin’s hard work, his attention to detail while asking questions and also offering potential solutions – such as the wonderful curbside recycling program that we now have – he has earned my vote and I wholeheartedly recommend that you vote for him as well.

I hope that you will join me in voting to re-elect Colin LePage to the City Council on Nov. 5.

Barbara Berg


Haverhill needs LePage

To the editor:

As election time draws near, Haverhill voters are faced with some choices in the upcoming City Council election.

As I look at the field, I always try to find the people who will do the right thing for Haverhill in both the short term and the long term. As a voter, Colin LePage stands out to me as one of those candidates.

I have known Colin for over 10 years. I have worked with him as a member of the Board of Directors for the Riverside-Bradford Baseball League. His work ethic and attention to detail in a volunteer role are one of his many strong points. Working in a volunteer organization for a youth sport can sometimes be a thankless task. Colin is the type of person who could negotiate with multiple stakeholders and work a problem to an agreed-upon solution. To me, this is a great characteristic in a city councilor.

His passion for this work is another great characteristic of Colin. He is still a very active leader of this organization and has been for over 10 years.

In his role as a city councilor, I have observed Colin work through and implement a citywide curbside recycling program for residents. At first, the program was not well received. However, through the hard work of people like Colin, the program has blossomed and works to not only save the city money, but also works to protect the environment for future generations.

Once again, Colin’s value of achieving both short-term and longer-term goals through negotiated solutions has worked for the city. I have also observed during budget discussions, Colin’s attention to detail and analysis save the city money. He has an ability to challenge the status quo while politicking to make people feel like they are in a win-win situation.

I feel and have observed that he has an excellent working relationship with the current mayor that not only challenges, but, in the end, achieves the goal.

On election day, I urge Haverhill voters to make Colin LePage one of their choices for City Council. He has a demonstrated track record as a two-term incumbent councilor, has a tireless passion for his work and pays attention to detail. He is right for Haverhill.

Gregory Tashjian