At a time when students and their families often shun their local public high schools in favor of private schools, this is refreshing change.
Haverhill High School and its academic and sports programs are growing in popularity among locals.
Also growing is the school’s popularity among people who make donations to academic institutions.
And Ernie DiBurro is leading the way.
DiBurro, the owner of the successful Academy Lanes bowling complex in Bradford, has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Haverhill High.
Thanks to him, the school has a new athletic field gate and entrance, an electronic sign board in front of the property on Monument Street, and a new weight room/fitness center. (See story, Page 1.)
Put that together with the renovations completed at the building two years ago and other improvements, and Haverhill High has been reborn.
Academically, its special academies, such as the Classical Academy and one focusing on science and math, give students the opportunity to pursue studies that are challenging and can lead to promising careers.
Athletically, a major cut in fees charged to students has drawn more of them to Hillie teams, making the Brown and Gold more competitive on the gridiron and other sports fields.
All those changes have instilled a new sense of pride among Haverhill High students and their families.
School Superintendent James Scully raves about DiBurro’s generosity, and for good reason.
“He’s given $100,000 for scholarships, $100,000 for the athletic field gate and entrance, $50,000 for an electronic sign board, and more recently $100,000 for the weight room, in addition to smaller amounts that have all benefited the children of Haverhill,” Scully said.
Scully is not alone in his high praise of DiBurro.
Haverhill High junior Phil Panici, a student athlete, called DiBurro’s donations “awesome.”
“This doesn’t just benefit our athletic department, it looks good for the community, too,” Panici said of the weight room and fitness center that DiBurro paid for. “I’m so proud to be a part of Hillie Nation right now. I couldn’t be more proud.”
Scully also talks about how other locals have followed DiBurros’ lead.
“His generosity has inspired others,” Scully said.
DiBurro and other donors to Haverhill High deserve deep thanks from the community. Here’s hoping even more people come forward and give to the cause.
A generation of young Hillies is depending on it.