EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

February 7, 2014

Campaign for a new Hunking begins with a bang

HAVERHILL — More than 30 residents volunteered last night to go knocking on doors throughout the city in an effort to convince fellow citizens to support building a new Hunking School.

They said they are also willing to make phone calls, distribute informational pamphlets, post messages on their Facebook pages and even send out tweets to help gain support for a debt exclusion to help pay for a new school.

“I’m willing to go door to door,” said Daisy Estrella, who has two children attending Pentucket Lake Elementary School. “We need a new Hunking School.”

Last night more than 120 residents along with school officials, administrators and city officials, met at the Bradford Country Club to learn about a grassroots organization of parents who want to convince voters of the need for a new Hunking School. Their campaign tagline is “Haverhill for Hunking” and their goal is convince voters that a new Hunking will benefit the entire city and not just the Bradford section.

In late 2011, the city closed part of the Hunking and moved about 150 students to another school due to structural problems. Repairs were made and the students were eventually moved back to Hunking, but the building is expected to be usable for only two more years.

About 450 students attend the existing grade-six-to-eight-school.

A group of parents calling themselves a “municipal ballot committee” held their first membership drive in hopes of gaining support to replace the deteriorated school. Because last night’s public meeting was a membership drive, they were’t allowed to hold it in a municipal building. However, the group does plan to host informational sessions at schools throughout the city as their campaign unfolds and grows over the next several months.

Dena Papanikolaou, one of the organizers who has two children at Hunking, told the crowd that the stakes are too high to just sit on the sidelines and urged people to get involved in the campaign.

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