By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — The New Hampshire Union Leader has placed two young professionals at work in the city in distinguished company by naming Tate Aldrich, chairman of the English Department at Laconia High School, and Justin Slattery, executive director of the Belknap Economic Development Corporation, to its annual "40 under 40" list for 2017.
A native of Pelham, Slattery, 36, graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in political science and earned his master's degree in business administration for Plymouth State University. He joined John Lynch's successful campaign for governor in 2003 and served on his staff during the first three of his four terms. After spending two years with Hire Vision Staffing of Concord recruiting software engineers, Slattery returned to public service at the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development. In 2014, he came to the Belknap Economic Development Council where he has played a key role in the project to renovate and restore the Colonial Theatre.
"It's a very nice and very humbling honor," Slattery said of earning a spot among the 40 under 40. He said that he is moved to contribute the community because "New Hampshire is my home" and has "provided me many opportunities." He serves as a director of Winnipesaukee-Opechee-Winnisquam Trail and the 200 X 2020 Workforce Development Initiative as well as a member of advisory committee of the block grant program of the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority while chairing the board of directors of the Alliance of Regional Development Corporations. "I've got plenty to do here," Slattery said. "I'm not going anywhere."
At 30, Aldrich is among the youngest to be honored. In 2009, five years after graduating from Laconia High School, he returned with his degree in English from the University of New Hampshire to teach and his year was named New Hampshire Teacher of the Year. He considers his career both "a big honor and a big responsibility" as well as an opportunity to contribute to the community where he was raised. Sharing his origins with his students, he said, enables him to appreciate their circumstances and moves him to enrich their lives.
Outside the classroom, Aldrich has played a part in both "Stand Up Laconia," a coalition of volunteers from all walks of life come together to tackle substance abuse, and "Got Lunch!," a pioneering program to prove needy young people with nutritious meals during the summer vacation. He said that he hopes he is setting an example of civic responsibility for his students. Aldrich has also working with "Stay, Work, Play," the organization aiming to encourage more young people to pursue their careers in New Hampshire.
"It's not only an honor to represent the city of Laconia," said Aldrich, one of two teachers among the "40 Under 40." "It's an honor to represent the educators of our state. Real teaching," he continued, "requires educators to immerse themselves fully in their communities. He added that he represents all the teachers at Laconia High School and elsewhere "who've committed themselves to improving the lives of young people. I hope our 40 stories serve as an inspiration to others."
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