To The Daily Sun,
In the fall of the 1982 school year, the Huot Vocational Center was nearly complete, and the newest gem in the state technical system for high school students was set to open for Lakes Region students. Jack Nelson was the new director, and I was brought in to be the coordinator, or dean of students if you wish. My number one task was to fill the seats with students from the six surrounding school districts, as well as Laconia. As a recruiter, it was my responsibility to see to it that Huot Center programs were running at full capacity, and stayed that way.
I had two basic selling points to work with, and I used them as much as possible. First off, we had a terrific set of instructors, who really knew how to give our new students a great experience in not only the academics of their particular area, but also a wonderful real-life practical experience in their chosen field. This brings me to my second selling point which I used extensively, and that was the Huot Center itself. It was a magnificent set of programs with a beautiful, practical facility that basically sold itself. When I toured groups of students through the center, they would be absolutely stunned at the multiple state of the art program areas and equipment. Yeah, the Building Trades Center was overwhelming, the Food Service restaurant warm and very appealing, the Power Mechanics shop was massive and very technical in design, but the gem, the cornerstone of the whole project was the absolutely alive Day Care Center, a beautiful home to a dozen little children and the day care students.
It was what everyone came to see, and seemed to epitomize all that we were trying to accomplish in our technical world of preparing students for the workforce. In the 13 years that followed that I helped run the Huot Center, the Child Care Program, and Child Care Center continued to be the most popular and sought-after programs we offered, fueled no doubt by the wonderful opportunity to learn directly from the little ones who were attending the day care center.
My deceased son Nathan, when he was 4-years-old, attended the Huot Day Care Center, and had an absolutely wonderful experience. You do away with this program, how are you going to sell your center, and then, what's next?
In times of budget deficits like this one, it is important to be honest about what you need and really do not need. In my 32 years as an educator in the Laconia School system, it always seemed that Laconia was very top-heavy with administrators, yet willing to cut direct service staff and programs.
Why does Laconia need a $140,000 superintendent, and why continue to have an assistant superintendent who practically does very little. The present, average student in Laconia needs all the help that can be generated through hard work and caring instructors, and programs that work, such as the Huot Center Day Care program. Please do not be shortsighted. It will cost you in the long run, (and cost you) dearly.