hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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May 29, 2014

Exchange student's view of Haverhill refreshing

Sometimes it takes a fresh set of eyes for people to appreciate what’s been in front of them all along.

That might well be the case for those who say there’s little to do in Haverhill, that it’s a boring place.

Enter Alina Skripets to offer a different perspective.

Alina, 17, an exchange student from Russia, spent her senior year of high school attending Haverhill High and living in the city.

She has fallen in love with the community, from its people to the places a young person can go to learn and have fun. (See story, Page 1.)

“Despite the fact that exchange students don’t get to choose where they are going to live, now I think that if had a choice I would still probably decide to pick Haverhill,’’ Alina told reporter Mike LaBella.

As she discovered, there is plenty to do here.

Want to go ice skating? There’s the Veterans Memorial Rink. Want to go roller skating? Head to Skateland in Bradford. Want to hike and enjoy sightseeing in a rural, forested area? Winnekenni Park, with its historic castle on the hill, has hundreds of acres, many of them with trails.

Looking for a place to ski or snowboard during the winter? Head to the Bradford Ski complex.

The city has a festival for every season. Thousands of people pack the downtown for events such as the Christmas Stroll.

Looking to get a relatively inexpensive start to your college education or training for a career change? Look no further than Northern Essex Community College.

Want to enjoy a boat ride, even all the way to the ocean? The Merrimack River can take you there.

These are among the things Alina discovered about Haverhill.

“The place where I live seems ideal for young people,” she said. “It has Skateland, a library, school and Winnekenni Park, all within walking distance.’’

Alina also discovered Haverhill’s greatest resource — its people.

“I have always been fond of meeting new people and sharing my perspective of the world,” she said.

And now she is sharing her perspective of Haverhill. It’s a refreshing point of view for this proud city.

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