• Feelings of grief and gratitude

    A message to Haverhill Public Schools staff:

    My heart was broken this weekend as I saw the hurt and felt the pain of Tim Englehardt’s family as they entered Sacred Heart Church for his funeral. To see the tears on the faces of so many of his classmates from Haverhill High, such great young men and women standing side by side, their hearts, filled with love, faith, and promise, yet crushed by Tim’s passing. Like his football coach and so many of his teachers in attendance, all were there out of love and respect, torn by the loss of a truly wonderful young man.

    Again I stood in the back of a church, St. Elizabeth’s in Seabrook, witnessing the baptism of a baby girl and baby boy. I saw the joy of their families and the smiles on the faces of the congregation as the priest held each baby up so that all could see the cherished gifts of life.

    Leaving the church I began to think about Timothy Englehardt, a member of the HHS Class of 2010, about the promise and dreams he held. I thought about what he must have been like as a classmate and as a student who was so obviously loved by so many, as Jean Ray eloquently expressed in her Words of Remembrance. I thought about those two beautiful babies, the journey ahead for them, and the roles each of you play in the journeys of so many children.

    Later I returned home and as I set out to walk my beloved dog Brannon, I received a text with a photo of one of our schools with a banner stating “Level 1” … highlighting the achievements of our schools that have achieved a Level 1 status based on the 2014 MCAS testing. I reflected on the significance and the link among those three moments, and I thought about what I said to you during my opening day remarks, “You have a sacred trust …”

    As brief as young Tim’s life was, so many of you gave him hope, promise, and the tools to succeed. Your efforts brought that great smile and wit to Tim and to so many others. Those two infants have begun their journeys, and along the way they will meet wonderful people like you. People who care and adapt to change, who take the time to reflect, to embrace new concepts and ideas, and to bring those skills to the classrooms of our cities and towns, so that those that sit before you can take pride in the collective effort to succeed.

    This week, take a moment to reflect, to make sure we are doing our very best to bring out the talents and hopes of all who sit before us. The challenges are great but the rewards last a lifetime … let’s make sure we give all that chance …

    Thank you again,
    Jim Scully

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