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Renaissance (young) man: LHS senior excels in academics, music & sports

LACONIA — Andrew Emanuel, senior at Laconia High School, has shown over the past few years that he is capable of anything he sets his mind to pertaining to athletics, academics and arts. Even under undesirable personal circumstances, he has excelled and become an example of excellence in the school district and the community at large.
Emanuel was going through the motions in life at the start of middle school, putting in enough effort to do well and get by; however, in the middle of seventh grade he lost his mother to lung cancer, which would forever change the focus of his life. In a matter of months, Emanuel found himself without a mother and with a grieving father, who slowly began to spend more time in Bow where he worked, than in Laconia with his son.

By the start of Emanuel's freshmen year he was primarily living alone an the family apartment with the potential to "indulge parties" and "late nights".

Emanuel, though, chose to take a more promising course, straying from parties and distractions. "I chose to behave in a fashion that I think would make my mother proud, despite how discouraging it is to think that she might not even know," he recalls.
Not claiming to be much of an athlete, but rather an uncoordinated, "chubby" teen, Emanuel chose to join the cross country team, as it was the only sport he knew of that did not him to be successful based upon natural skill, but rather dedication and effort. At the start of his freshmen year, he completed his first race with a final time of 24 minutes and 34 seconds, a far cry from where he wanted his time to be. Determined to improve, Emanuel said that going into his sophomore year he asked his coach, Andrew Mercer, what he needed to do to improve. Mercer provided Emanuel with a running schedule that he followed every day for the next year. Following the year of hard training Emanuel's technique had improved significantly, and by his senior year he was the only Laconia High School male runner to qualify for the 2014 NHIAA Meet of Champions with a personal record time of 17:42.
Emanuel continued to make strides in other facets of his life, including academics. By junior year he decided that pursuing a college education was the only way to ensure his future success; he packed his junior and senior year with rigorous AP and honors-level classes.

Although the class work did not all come easy to Emanuel, he preserved and maintained a high average in all of them, helping to raise his GPA over a 4.0 (A) by the start of his senior year, placing him 11th out of 166 in the Class of 2015.

Emanuel has also earned various academic awards, including the English Award for the Junior Class, as well as the N.H. Constitution Day Essay winner for 2013. When asked why he is so focused on academics, Emanuel replied, "I want to be able to look back and see that I couldn't have pushed myself harder, because I know a lot of adults that look back and say they wish they wouldn't have goofed off so much in high school."
In addition to Emanuel's passion for athletics and academics, he has submerged himself fully into music since his mother's death. Throwing himself into the arts, he began mastering the skills of clarinet and learning conducting skills from middle school music teacher  John Cardin. After his entry high school, he began pursing excellence in band, becoming a drum major his junior year as well as band president.
Emanuel was also exposed to the art of jazz when he began playing alto sax at the end of freshmen year. The tenor sax came in his life for the first time during the middle of his sophomore year, when the jazz band was short a player. "I thought I was going to just fit into the jazz band and do my job for the ensemble, but I started to like it more and more, and was eventually appointed as section leader of the saxophones junior year."
Junior year, Emanuel made Classical All-State on clarinet sitting as eighteenth clarinet out of twenty four. This year Emanuel went out for Classical All-State again, ranking 11th on clarinet, 3rd on alto sax, and 1st in the state on tenor sax. In less than two years of playing the tenor sax, Emanuel went from a beginner to currently ranking as number one in the state. Emanuel's high rankings qualified him for the Chamber Festival, featuring the top musicians in All-State. He also was selected for Lakes Region Music Festival as lead tenor sax in the jazz band; and this fall played as part of the Plymouth State University All New England Band Festival as a first clarinet.
"My biggest inspiration has been my band director, Debbie Gibson, who has taken the role of not only my band director, but also as a mother figure," says Emanuel, "Ms. Gibson encourages me to do my best both musically and morally."
Emanuel is currently applying to colleges in New England as a Music major. He thanks classmates Michael O'Brien, Mitchell Baily, and Marissa McDermott, and their families, for supporting him and encouraging him throughout the years. When asked whether he thinks all his hard work has paid off he replies, "Yes, I like imagining how good it is going to feel to look back and see that I really tried my best to make my life and high school experience the best it could be."

Last Updated on Friday, 26 December 2014 11:17

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Gilmanton voters will be asked to approve purchase of modular classroom for $197,000

GILMANTON — The School Board has voted to put a article on the 2015 warrant for the lease-purchase of a modular classroom unit for the Gilmanton School.

Superintendent John Fauci said this week that the proposed modular unit would cost $197,000, including installation.

He said the cost is higher than the $148,000 that was on the 2014 warrant because the School SDistrict learned from the State Fire Marshall requires sono tubes to tie down the free-standing unit.

Fauci said the district would own the modular in five years.

Fauci said the big difference between the new request and the one that was defeated at the 2014 Annual Town Meeting is the modular unit comes at the recommendation of a Space Needs Committee convened solely for the purpose of evaluating the school.

Budget Committee member Stan Bean, who served as the chair of the committee, said yesterday that the the panel was comprised of two School Board members, two school administrators, two members of the Budget Committee, two parents, two teachers, a now-retired paraprofessional aide, and a member of the Planning Board.

He said there is a unanimous consensus, albeit reluctant, that the school is crowded and something needs to be done.
He said the approximate total cost of a modular unit is about $250,000 which is much less expensive than a "bricks and mortar" permanent expansion of the school.

Bean noted that the Gilmanton School, which has existed in its present configuration in 1997, was designed to meet the needs of a maximum of 400 students, using standards and building requirements acceptable in the mid-1990s.

He said not only have the standards changed in the past 17 years, but the number of students now exceeds 400.
At last check, enrollment was at 405 students.

Bean said that for some reason and at this point in time, Gilmanton and Alton are bucking the state trend toward declining school enrollment numbers. He also said that in the long run, the trend toward declining enrollments will likely happen in Gilmanton as in the rest of the state, so he said a five-year temporary solution is the committee's recommendation.


Last Updated on Thursday, 25 December 2014 11:59

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SUV hits Union Ave. utility pole with terrific force

LACONIA — The driver of a Jeep Cherokee that hit a utility pole off lower Union Avenue in Laconia was transported to Lakes Region General Hospital early Christmas Day for treatment of what were described by emergency responders as a severe leg injury. Few details were available at press time, but the Fire Department reported that the vehicle struck the pole — midway along the driver-side — with such force it pushed the frame of the Jeep more than halfway into the passenger cabin. The driver was ejected on impact and when first responders arrived on the scene was being attended to by bystanders. (Photo courtesy Laconia Fire Department.

Last Updated on Friday, 26 December 2014 01:14

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Fluid Dynamics: LHS students get hands on experience controlling robotic arms

LACONIA — Members of Laconia High School's applied physics class are having fun programming hydraulically controlled robotic arms to do some precision lifting.

The robotic arms are made from kits that students have assembled themselves. The arms are moved by applying pressure to liquid-filled syringes which are connected by tubes to the hand-like gripping devices and lifting parts of the arms, helping give the students insight into fluid dynamics and the principles which make things in the real world actually work.

The syringes are color-coded so that the students know which part of the arm will be affected by their actions, as well as exactly how much pressure it takes to make the desired move.

In recent weeks they have been developing a task-oriented approach in which the arms perform a variety of functions in lifting objects and transferring them to different types of containers.

The students were then asked to provide a written list of instructions on each step needed to accomplish those tasks and on Monday were visited by a group of freshmen in the Foundations of Math class who had to follow those instructions, which included the use of decimals, in order to have the mechanical arms to perform the tasks which were outlined.

''Getting the procedure exactly right is the key. The students have to be very organized and very careful to provide detailed instructions so that other people can follow them precisely,'' says College and Career Ready Applied Physics teacher Jo-Ann Gilbert.

Alexis Johnson, 16, a junior, was one of those who set up program which freshmen Kaya Jenkins and Serina Mitchell used to pick up and move objects. Johnson said that knowing how to describe each step required a lot of thought and took the better part of day to complete.

Justin Bilodeau, an 18-year-old senior, said that fluid dynamics is ''something that I could get into.'' He is currently specializing in preparing for a career in the plumbing and heating field.

Matt Roman, a 17-year-old senior who will be attending the Universal Technical Institute in Norwood, Mass., next year to prepare for a career as an automotive technician, said that he is very familiar with fluid dynamics, having already learned about brake systems and power steering in his classes at the Huot Technical Center.

He made his program more difficult by using round objects which needed extra precise movements and required those who were following the instructions, like freshman Justin Padua, to learn how to have the arms grip round objects at the exact center point.

''The students love these kind of hands on challenges and it really gets them involved. It's also fostered a lot of cooperation because they all help each other out and learn a lot from what the other teams are doing. They're learning that it takes practice and the good use of technology to make things work the way you want them to,'' said Gilbert.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 December 2014 11:36

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