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Castleberry Fairs

Local parents lobby for regional football team


November 09, 2011
School Board members were flooded with comments at their meeting Monday, Nov. 7 urging the consideration of a regional football team to include Belmont students eager to play ball.

Parents of Gilford and Belmont athletes were equally positive about the idea. Gilford parents spoke of the improvements they saw in their kids as students, and attributed much of the academic success to lessons learned on the grid-iron.

"It's an amazing experience for them," said Gilford resident Sarah Sanville. "If there are numbers to pull from Belmont, we should do it."

Over the past few years, numbers have dwindled on the football team. This year, the high school team has 27 players, and they have not had a junior varsity team in many years. According to coaches of the GHS team and the GMS Silverhawks, there may be even fewer next year, as seniors graduate and few students will move up to the GHS team.

If numbers continue to decline, the 10-year-old program could be nearing an end.

"We don't want to see the program go away," said Belmont parent Stephanie Shirley, whose son already plays hockey and football at the middle school level with Gilford students. "It would be great if they could play together at the high school level."

Dave Miville, Gilford Silverhawks head coach, said this decision could be life or death for the high school program.

This year, the Silverhawks brought on willing Belmont students, but as they move on to high school, they have no team on which they can play.

With only five or six Gilford students moving up to the high school level for next year, Miville said it made sense to allow the Belmont students to continue playing with their Gilford teammates on the GHS team.

Don Zimmer of Belmont brought his three sons to the meeting, and said they were all eager to play next season if it would be allowed.

With the foundation of the relationship between Belmont and Gilford already set in multiple sports across the middle school level, parents said it made sense to let students, many of whom made friends with students from the other town, to continue playing together.

Norm Harris, of Gilford, said he was one of the founders of the GHS team, and was in favor of a regional team, but said it would move the team up from Division V or VI, where smaller schools play, to Dvision III, where they would play against schools of 1,000 students or more.

According to Harris, the team could petition the league to move down in division, but they would definitely face tougher competition.

Superintendent Kent Hemingway and board Chairman Kurt Webber said they would look into the situation through the proper channels, and be in a place to make an administrative recommendation in the next month.

Hemingway recognized the student case of "The Sound of Music," and invited Parker Ayer, cast as Captain Von Trapp, and Josh Ritson, cast as Herr Zeller, to sing a number from the show.

According to the two student actors, the show starts at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11 and Saturday, Nov. 12, with a special show for local seniors Thursday, Nov. 17, and two more shows on Nov. 18 and Nov. 19. They said tickets are available at the door, and at Greenlaw's music in Laconia and the Gilford Village Store. They cost $10 for adults, and $6 for students and seniors.

Finally, GMS Principal Marcia Ross said they were graciously accepting a donation of $2,500 from Hannaford Supermarket towards E-readers for students.

According to Ross, she was looking into the use and availability needs for GMS students as they move ahead with technology in the classroom when she received a phone call from a Hannaford representative. According to Ross, the representative simply asked how many she would like, and Ross replied 25, almost cautiously.

Ross said the representative told her that was no problem, and they would send a check right away.

Ross said they had not decided on a brand yet, and they were continuing to look into available content.

Martin Lord Osman
Tiffany Eddy
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