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Hudson~Litchfield News

Hudson~Litchfield News Hate Come From?

Volume 21 Number 43 May 20, 2011 20 Pages

The Laramie Project: Where does

When Steel Can Speak

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National news interview the local authorities during the Laramie Project by Doug Robinson

When the stage lights went black at the final curtain, all the air within the school gymnasium seemed to have been sucked from the room. The several hundred audience members in attendance seemed to pause, before coming to their feet offering their applause of appreciation and gratitude for the stage performance they had just witnessed. Some in attendance had the beginnings of tears, while others sat with shoulders slumped, emotionally drained from Alvirne High School’s Class Act performance of The Laramie Project.

Start the Conversation tee-shirt hangs over the entrance to the theater

“What is hate? Where does it come

from? Are we born with it or do we learn it from others? How does one deal with hate? What accompanies it and what are its consequences? It echoes and resounds in our pop culture from movies and TV to art and music, assaulting us at every turn. You hear it in name-calling and harassment in our schools. It is there or is it right here - right here where we live and breathe? Turn on the news, flip open your phone, surf the net, read a newspaper, listen to the radio, walk down the halls of a local school, it’s here and it seems unavoidable,” writes Class Act Director, Jennifer LaFrance. The Laramie Project discusses and projects the end game of hate, of abuse, of harassment, and that belittlement which has transcended generations. While scripted in the late 1990s the message of The Laramie Project has tested time. “Start the conversation,” continues

LaFrance. In October-1998, in Laramie, WY, a

young man named Matthew Shepard was savagely beaten and left to die on the cross buck fence. Two local boys, born and raised in Laramie, were accused of the beating. The small town “exploded” into national attention because the beating was considered a hate crime. Matthew was beaten because he was gay.

As the story unfolds, prejudices, personalities, and preachers become center to the dialogue. God, family, and values become scrutinized and examined. Hatred has become the center of a national discussion because, “a violent act of bullying (was) taken to the extreme,” continues LaFrance. Words used

inappropriately can build or they can hurt, destroy, and decimate. “Fag, homo, Jew, dyke,

fat, skinny, white, black, stupid” are words used to destroy self-esteem and are the “seeds of violence” as stated in the script. “It’s okay he’s gay, as long as he is not bothering me,” comments a fellow actor. Those who knew, really knew Matt, knew him as a kind and caring person. His friends wrote of him, “You give the best presents,” “You could make a picnic lunch seem like a dinner at the Ritz,” and “You had a happy heart.” The Class Act actors created tee- shirts that hung above the entrance to the theater’s performance. “All we need is love,” “Live and let live,” and “We share this world.” Every tee-shirt shared the same message, Start the Conversation. Hate is not accepted. Erase hate, every day, in every way. Audience members were asked during the panel discussion at the conclusion of the play, “Could what happened in Laramie, happen in Hudson?” All audience members in attendance stood to signify that “yes, this could happen in Hudson.” It could happen because hate is everywhere. The play was conducted at center court, with all the technicians on the stage. The multi-media production hosted a large screen that had the ability to have backlit images broadcast. The sidewalls of the theater we painted to reflect, Laramie to the right and Hudson to the left. AHS actor Alan Foster, class of 2013, writes, “My performance tonight is dedicated to Scotty Joe Weaver, an 18 year old who was beaten, strangled and stabled numerous time, partially decapitated and was doused in gasoline and set on fire because he was gay.”

AHS actor Kara Spinney, class of 2011, writes, “Robbie Kirkland was only 15 years old when he committed suicide, because he could no longer handle the harassment he was facing at school. Bobbie felt alone and worthless. The brutal bullying he received from his peers just because of his sexuality drove him to take his own life.”

Actor dedications also included a remembrance to the students of Columbine, Rodney King, and Martin Luther King. At the play’s conclusion, members of the audience were asked to reach under their seats, and remove the angel wing, which had the name of an individual who had been involved in a hate crime. These paper angels were then to be taped to the mural walls of the theater, signifying a moment of respect and understanding of that person’s struggle with hate and bullying. All involved with The Laramie Project researched and dedicated their performance to an individual who had been subjected to a hate crime. Over 600 names had been written on angel winds and attached to the chairs.

With a 9 ton Memorial on the truck, Firefighters Corey Morin and Jason Silver, honor its meaning with a flag covering for the trip back to Hudson.

by Len Lathrop “At 8:46 on the morning of September 11, 2001, the United States became a nation transformed. An airliner traveling at hundreds of miles per hour and carrying some 10,000 gallons of jet fuel plowed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. At 9:03, a second airliner hit the South Tower. Fire and smoke billowed upward. Steel, glass, ash, and bodies fell below. The Twin Towers, where up to 50,000 people worked each day, both collapsed less than 90 minutes later. At 9:37 that same morning, a third airliner slammed into the western face of the Pentagon. At 10:03, a fourth airliner crashed in a field in southern Pennsylvania. It had been aimed at the United States Capitol or the White House, and was forced down by heroic passengers armed with the knowledge that America was under attack.

More than 2,600 people died at

the World Trade Center; 125 died at the Pentagon; 256 died on the four planes. The death toll surpassed that

at Pearl Harbor in December 1941,” is from the executive summary of the 9/11 Commission report—something that I have read in the past and have seen the pictures and videos along with it, as most of us have. On Thursday, May 12, I had the honor to travel with the Hudson delegation to the New York and New Jersey Port Authority to pick up a piece of the World Trade Center, which was destroyed on 9/11. I believe the hardest part of the trip would be getting to the Leonard Smith Central Fire Station at 2 a.m. It wasn’t, and neither was the five- hour ride in an unmarked Hudson Police cruiser. The convoy arrived at terminal at 7:19 a.m., and Captain David Morin and Firefighter Jason Silver went to check in. We were advised that there were two trucks in front of us to be loaded with steel to go California; it was the first sign that this was a special place, while it looked like a tired TransAir hanger. The two trucks from Baja, CA, were polished to a high shine and even the tires were blacked. It was explained

that it would be about 45 minutes before the truck could be loaded; the tractor-trailer would travel down the side of the hanger and back in. The rules were that you could take pictures of your steel being loaded, but no other pictures were allowed. The delegation was invited to sit inside while we waited; suddenly, we were offered a tour of the hanger—an unofficial tour—and no pictures were allowed. This is where I have to tell you the

trip got very hard; not physically hard, but emotionally. We saw pictures of the towers before the attack and some after, and it was explained that various pieces were going to different museums and displays. Then, we went into the hanger. There was metal that used to be a tower, and it was twisted, bent, and some showed signs of being melted. The place was silent; the metal almost spoke to me, and you could see the pain. Everyone by their adulthood had seen some horrible thing—car wrecks, building fire results, and even people

continued to page 9- 911 Beam

Lady ‘K’ougar Julia Nolan Records 500th Strikeout

Te mural wall of Hudson covers up the bleachers of the AHS gym

by Marc Ayotte She entered the 2011 high school softball campaign with 384 strikeouts. She was aware of potentially reaching five hundred strikeouts when coach Gatherum, at the end of last season, pointed out how close she was. She started actually thinking about reaching the five hundred strikeout plateau after her one 100th victim of this season. That certainly didn’t leave Campbell’s ace hurler very much time to ponder accomplishing the rare feat. As a matter of fact, after recording number 484 in a game vs. Conant on May 11, Julia Nolan had approximately the time it took to face 20 more opposing batters to think about it. On Friday the 13th, the Cougar flamethrower fanned 12 Prospect Mountain batters in a mercy-shortened game, leaving her just three shy. Then, if you showed up five minutes late for her next start against Hopkinton - you missed it! Nolan in her typical, methodical approach, efficiently disposed of the first three hopeless Hawks to step into the batter’s box to record career ‘K’ number 500. And, for good measure, she proceeded to mercilessly fan the next six consecutive batters before yielding the pitching rubber to her younger sister, Allie. An amazing element of Nolan’s achievement is the fact that she amassed the 500 strikeouts in less than three and a half years of pitching at the varsity level. As Cougar head coach Laurie Gatherum recalls, Nolan wasn’t even number

Celebrating Julia Nolan’s 500th “K,” left to right, AD Dan Kiestlinger, AD Gabe Falzarano, Julia Nolan, Coach Laurie Gatherum, Principal Bob Manseau, Assistant Principal Laurie Rothhau

one on the depth charts when she entered Campbell High. Gatherum remembers when she had three ninth grade pitching prospects; “Julia was number three,” she noted. The Cougar coach almost apologetically recalls that she felt Nolan’s control was too wild as a freshman; “she was the fastest, but wild.” Consequently, Nolan spent the first half of her rookie year playing shortstop and catching.

Jokingly, Gatherum mentioned that if she had given

Nolan a shot at pitching before half way through her freshman year, the milestone may have been attained on a ‘sunny day’ as opposed to the driving rain experienced on this past Monday.

Nolan attributes a lot of her early learning of pitching fundamentals to Dave Hogan, who was her pitching coach in junior high and as a freshman; “he really got me to the next level.” In her sophomore year, Nolan attributes her skill’s advancement to Jen Williams, who at the time was a pitching coach for Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU).

Currently, the Cougar ace has much respect for her head coach. Nolan mentioned that Coach Gatherum is so supportive. “She’s been able to give me advice if I get frazzled, she keeps me relaxed. She’s always been there and supported me.” Because Gatherum was also a pitcher

continued to page 13- Nolan


staff photos by Doug Robinson staff photos by Len lathrop

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