New 9-hole disc-golf course at Bolduc Park named in memory of Chris Daigle

LACONIA/GILFORD — Bolduc Park unveiled its new Chris Daigle Disc Golf Course Tuesday morning in a ceremony attended by Laconia and Gilford officials and the parents of the former standout athlete at Laconia High School for whom the course is named.
Jeff and Lorraine Daigle said that their son, Chris, was an avid disc golf player who played practically every day in Florida and had expressed the hope that their would more disc golf courses developed in New Hampshire so he could play at them when he made his planned move back to his home state.
They said that at a family gathering held in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, just before his sister Lynn was to be deployed in Afghanistan, he insisted that the family find a disc golf course and play a game.
''It was the last time we were together as a family,'' his father, Jeff, recalled yesterday, saying that Chris' untimely death at the age of 34 about two years ago left its mark on the family.
''It's been a difficult couple of years for us.'' he said, recalling that Chris had been involved in sports all of his life.
An energetic child, Chris had played youth sports and became a standout tailback for the Laconia High School, where he was a member of the 1995 NHIAA Division III state championship team, and was also a catcher for Laconia High School and later in college at New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord.
After his move to Florida he became involved in youth sports there as a baseball umpire and a football referee.
Daigle said that it was ''unbelievably healing for us'' to see the disc golf course and thanked Bob Bolduc, owner of Piche's Ski Shop who developed Bolduc Park, which straddles the Laconia-Gilford boundary, about 20 years ago as a non-profit public recreation area. The park has a nine-hole golf course as well as cross-country ski trails and now offers one of the few disc golf courses in the Lakes Region.

'Every organization takes on the personality of its leader. He was the driving force to get this done,'' said Daigle, praising the determination Bolduc showed in making the disc golf course a reality.
Bolduc said that Eric Petell of Meredith Village Savings Bank helped design the course and thanked sponsors who helped make the course possible.
Bolduc said that he is proud of the volunteers who help run Bolduc Park and noted that the new recreation opportunity was built at no cost to taxpayers.
Also attending the ceremony were Gilford Parks and Recreation Director Herb Greene, Gilford Town Administrator Scott Dunn and Laconia Mayor Ed Engler.
Engler congratulated the Daigle family for their efforts on behalf of the disc golf course and said that the course offers ''an amenity we have been lacking'' noting that in his travels through the Midwest he saw a disc golf course in virtually every community.
Bolduc Park will hold its first annual Chris Daigle Disc Golf Tournament this weekend as well as its 22nd annual Bolduc Park Golf Tournament. Play gets underway in both tournaments on Friday and winds up on Sunday with a 4 p.m. barbecue.

The first annual Chris Daigle Disc Golf Tournament will be held at Bolduc Park on August 21-22-23. Shown at a ceremony unveiling the Disc Golf course are Herb Greene, Gilford Parks and Recreation Department director. Ed Engler, Laconia Mayor; Roberto Pabon of Meredith Village Savings Bank; Tom Messmore, vice president of Bolduc Park; Scott Dunn, Gilford Town Administrator; Eric Petell of Meredith Village Savings Bank; Lorraine Daigle; Jeff Daigle, Jeff Moses of Bolduc Park and Bob Bolduc of Piche's Ski Shop and founder of Bolduc Park. (Roger Amsden for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Taylor Community & 3 generations of family help Bessie Scudder celebrate 100th birthday

LACONIA — Surrounded by her son and daughter, grandchildren and great grandchildren along with numerous friends, Bessie Scudder celebrated her 100th birthday at the Taylor Community yesterday.

Scudder was born in Yonkers, New York on August 18, 1915 and has forever remained a New Yorker, as Bob Selig, the chief executive officer of the Taylor Community discovered when he asked her if she were a Yankee fan. "Of course," she snapped with a smile. "I'm from New York."

After graduating from Roosevelt High School — named for Theodore, the 26th president, not Franklin, the 32nd — she went to work as a secretary at an automobile dealership until she married Orvis Victor Scudder in June, 1940. She was known for skill in the kitchen, especially her cookies, and with a needle — needlework, knitting, crocheting, quilting, needlepoint, and embroidery. She played the piano and taught Sunday School at the First Methodist Church in Hackensack, New Jersey and sang in the choir at the Taylor Community.

Noting her fondness for word puzzles, Selig recalled that once playing Charades she struggled for the word "sexy" as her partner writhed languorously in front of her. "I didn't know what she was doing," Scudder laughed. Selig remembered that Scudder led the prayer at breakfast each morning at 7:30 a.m. and, noting that no one has taken her place, wondered if she would come back. "No," she answered. "I'm stationary now." The Scudders lived in Pelham, New York, West Englewood and Oradell, New Jersey, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Summerfield, Florida and Roxbury, New York., But, in the summer, home was a cottage on the shore of Lake Kanasatka in Moultonborough. She has now lived in Laconia for a dozen years.

Scudder enjoyed traveling and site-seeing and when reminded of a favorite trip to Branson, Missouri, interrupted to recall a tour of the White Mountains where "we went up and up and the trees were down below and we were above the clouds. That was the best trip," she said.

Most of Scudder's two children, five grandchildren and seven great grandchildren, drawn from Delaware to California, were on hand as Mayor Ed Engler proclaimed "Bessie Scudder Day " in the city and heard a letter read from Governor Maggie Hassan wishing her a happy birthday.

42% of GHS freshman class from Gilmanton

GILFORD — Preliminary enrollment figures for Gilford High School show that Gilmanton students will make up 42 percent of this year's freshman class.
Of the 112 freshman anticipated this year, 47 are from Gilmanton and 65 from Gilford. Overall Gilmanton students account for 32 percent of the anticipated enrollment of 517 students, 167 from Gilmanton and 350 from Gilford.
The total number of high school students is down by 21 from last year's total of 538, according to Gilford High School Principal Tony Sperazzo, who presented the enrollment numbers to the School Board when it met Monday night.
The freshman class is the smallest at the high school, with the sophomore class at 140 students (45 Gilmanton, 95 Gilford) the largest, followed by a junior class of 136 (35 Gilmanton, 101 Gilford) and a senior class of 129 (40 Gilmanton, 89 Gilford).
Enrollment at Gilford Middle School is 326, with 82 in the eighth grade, 95 in the seventh grade, 82 in the sixth grade and 67 in the fifth grade.
Elementary school enrollment is 365 with 82 of those in kindergarten and other classes ranging in size from 73 in the fourth grade to to 63 in the second grade.
Sperazzo said that SAT exams show Gilford students exceeding both the state and national averages in both reading and mathematics and exceeding the national average in writing but one point below the state average.
He said the high school will be putting a special emphasis on writing this year in order to improve student performance.
Sperazzo also noted that five-year comparable data results for Advanced Placement Courses which earn high school students college credits shows shows Gilford exceeding both state and global benchmarks in all five years. In 2015 some 85 percent of Gilford AP students, all of whom are required to take the exams, had scores of 3+, compared to a state average of 74.3 percent and a global average of 60.6 percent.
He said that two Gilford students earned scholar of distinction awards for averaging 3.5 or higher on at least five AP exams, Hunter Anderson with a 4.2 average and Sophie Czerwinski with a 4.0 average.
The School Board approved a statement of its annual goals for 2015-16, which emphasized enhancing student learning, developing a coalition of community organizations to address nutrition, mental health and substance abuse programs, resource management and enhancing safety and developing school facilities.
The board also approved a change in its non-resident tuition policy which will allow children of professional staff members who do not reside in Gilford to attend district schools for 50 percent of the specific school's per pupil cost.