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Allen nominated as a 'Champion for Children'

April 14, 2010
Sue Allen, a Gilford resident since 1980 and member of the School Board for 18 years, has been nominated for the NHSAA's Champions for Children program for her dedication to children.

During a School Board meeting two weeks ago, Allen said she was "shocked, humbled, and very moved" by the nomination, while members thanked Allen for her vigor and investment in the community and its youth.

Allen said when it comes to boards, committees, and volunteerism that benefits children, she has a hard time resisting the call.

"I have always taken positions on committees (that benefit youth programs). I am always apt to say yes. I am a strong believer we need to do as much as we can for our youth," said Allen. "It's important for the community to give kids a solid foundation. After all, they are our future."

Allen has worked for Normandin, Cheney & O'Neil as a paralegal for 25 years, and said as a result, she has involved with organizations such as the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association and the Local Government Center.

When Allen first moved to Gilford, she served on the Elementary Building Committee, which worked on the elementary school's addition. After serving on this committee, and dealing with deadlines and budgets for several years, Allen decided to run for an open seat on the School Board.

During her 10 terms on the board, Allen was involved with the Gilford-Gilmanton SAU separation from Laconia and the formation of their own school unit. She then helped with negotiations, as well as hiring the current superintendent and numerous principals. Allen said she took part in the GMS and GHS building project years back, and because she was involved with the donation of the Meadows on behalf of Ray and Barbara Cary, she now sits on the Meadows Advisory Committee.

Allen said the committee has tried to involve the community in deciding how to use the fields, which are now serving athletic purposes. The committee continues to move forward in a "long process" involving wetlands and environmental issues.

In 1996, Allen was one of three people to start up the Lakes Region's competitive Nor'easter softball team where she served as secretary and then president of the club until 2005. Allen said the club has continued to expand since it was first established, and teen females throughout the region are eligible to play. The club plays tournaments throughout New England and Montreal, with a tournament that wraps up the season back home.

Years ago, Allen helped establish Camp Winsheblo at the top of Liberty Hill in Gilford, and although the camp has not continued on, at the time, she said the area was in great need of a summer camp.

"There was a need to provide. We met the needs of a lot of parents and provided an avenue for young kids who wouldn't have been able to attend with no financial support," said Allen.

Allen is also closely involved with the Gilford Community Church, where she helped start up the annual silent auction, and said events such as these help raise money for valuable facilities, including the Gilford Youth Center, for local scouts, and more.

"The summer fair and the Christmas fair – these are opportunities for us to help raise money for different youth programs," said Allen, who has also worked as a youth Sunday school teacher.

Allen currently sits on the Lakes Region Board of Realtors and its scholarship committee, and she helps run an annual golf tournament where proceeds will go to a selected graduating senior from each school in the region.

Allen has sat on the NH School Board Association since 1997 and served as an officer until this past January. As a board member of the Local Government Center, Allen said she is able to present elected official's graduating senior recipients with awards. Come June, Allen said she hopes to present two School Board members' graduating seniors with awards.

Now that each SAU has nominated a local Champion, the NHSAA will go on to select five nominees and name them as Regional Champions. The individual who will represent the state is set to be announced in May.

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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