EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

May 13, 2013

Editorial: Nothing but cheers for some local newsmakers

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Cheers and applause for the theater kids at Timberlane Regional High and North Andover High. They don’t always get the headlines, but the high schoolers who put on shows this time of year work extremely hard, with weeks or months of rehearsal preceding a few nights on stage.

Timberlane rose to a special challenge this year with an ambitious production of the long-running Broadway musical “Les Miserables” that involved 120 cast and technical crew members.

Meanwhile, the North Andover High School Drama Guild is putting on the classic musical “Godspell,” with shows this Friday and Saturday night plus matinees Saturday and Sunday. You don’t have to be a parent to attend and, if you do, you may be surprised at the level of talent on display.

Congratulations to the cast and crew of “Les Miz,” “Godspell” and the many other local school productions. And, as they say, break a leg.

Cheers to everyone involved with Lazarus House in Lawrence, which has been doing God’s work for 30 years now. Founded in 1983, it is a shining example of the generosity and caring of the people of the Merrimack Valley and Southern New Hampshire.

Countless volunteers, from local school kids to business people, have helped keep it going.

“Our goal is to help the people God puts at our door. God is not going to let his people down, so he works through the community to help them,” its executive director, Bridget Shaheen, told reporter Yadira Betances. “People want to make a difference. They want to help. You just have to give them an avenue, a channel to help.” Happy anniversary.

Cheers to the crew of Londonderry firefighters, paramedics and police who rescued a gaggle of four ducklings that fell through a storm grate last week. Two fire engines and a police cruiser responded when a passerby from Vermont saw that a family of ducks was in distress after the disappearance of four of its members.

The rescuers eventually retrieved the ducklings with a scoop fashioned from a dustpan borrowed from a nearby gas station and reunited them with their family. It’s nice to see a team of first responders isn’t above rescuing some fowls in distress. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and is stuck like a duck ... call the Londonderry FD.

Cheers to Jon Schiller and his wife Julie Brien Schiller. They’ve been a match for 20 years as husband and wife. Now they’re a match in another way as Schiller donated a kidney to his wife the week before Mother’s Day. “I’m still speechless and amazed. It proves how much he loves me,” Julie Schiller told reporter Jill Harmacinski. Nothing tops the gift of love.

Cheers to Angie Miller of Beverly, whose amazing run on the latest season of “American Idol” ended last week. Miller climbed the ladder to the show’s top three after auditioning in September. She can be proud of her success and look forward to a career as a singer, beginning with a tour this summer with other “Idol” contenders.

Cheers to Chris Herren, the former high school and college hoop star whose NBA career foundered in a sea of booze and drugs. But Herren found himself and a new calling when he chose to go sober.

Now he speaks to groups of high school kids and others about his experience, as he did last week at Haverhill High. His goal is to redeem one life at a time. At Haverhill High, one student was moved to pledge to stop drinking and smoking marijuana.

“Stand up!” Herren shouted as he walked over and hugged the boy amid huge applause. “Now that’s courage. That’s being tough. Wow ... I love it!”

So do we.