HAVERHILL — It was a special first day of school yesterday for freshman arriving at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary. They were greeted by the applause of staff, along with balloons, music and high fives from the school’s Wildcat mascot.
Holding a “Welcome Freshmen” banner, upperclassmen who volunteered to greet them smiled and called out, “Welcome to Whittier!” as the 340 new students stepped off their school buses. More than 100 staff members stood in front of the school and inside the lobby, clapping and shaking students’ hands as they passed by.
“I didn’t expect to see that many teachers,” said Lucia Butruccio, 14, of Haverhill. “It made you feel like you fit in.”
Only freshmen reported to school at Whittier Tech yesterday. Upperclassmen were to begin classes today.
“They seemed happy to see us,” said Jason Rock, 15, of Byfield. “It was very different.”
Junior Kyle Flanagan, 17, of Bradford dressed in the school’s mascot costume, and got many students to smile and shake his paw.
“I wanted to make them more comfortable here in the Whittier environment,” Kyle said.
It worked, said Will True, 14, of Byfield. “It made me feel special, like they care about us,” he said.
The celebration of Whittier’s 40th started on Monday when Haverhill Bank hosted a luncheon for staff at the school. The bank has a branch office at Whittier where students who major in marketing and office technology are trained in banking and work as tellers.
Other events planned for the year include a dinner party in October to raise money for Whittier’s student scholarship fund. The Design & Visual and Graphics Departments are also producing an ad book which has to date raised $13,500 in scholarship money to be awarded to graduating seniors.
St. Joseph School of All Saints Parish will hold opening day today for kindergarten through grade eight. The first day of school at Sacred Hearts School in Bradford is set for Tuesday, Sept. 3.