Poll finds Hooksett split over moving students from Manchester high schools to Pinkerton
By BENJAMIN C. KLEIN Union Leader Correspondent
HOOKSETT — With Hooksett's high school contract with Manchester just a year away from expiring and negotiations set to start on a new contract with Pinkerton Academy in Derry, a random survey of Hooksett parents and students shows division on whether the changes will be for the best.
Some residents would like to keep the high school ties with Manchester. Others want to leave, but say the distance to Derry removes Pinkerton from being a viable option. Yet others are thrilled their children will attend Pinkerton.
"I like Pinkerton, but that is just too far. I don't really care for the Manchester schools though, which is why we moved to Hooksett. But Pinkerton is 25 miles away from my house," said Mike Taylor of Dale Road.
His daughter, Avery, who attends Hooksett Memorial School, agreed. She said that going to Pinkerton would make it harder on her to do athletics and club activities after school.
Kim Swiderski, of West Bank Road, has three children in the district, and said that she agrees that while it was a good idea to leave Manchester, Pinkerton is just too far.
"Transporting them to a closer location than Pinkerton would be better. But not Manchester; there are a lot of hard feelings there," Swiderski said.
Tammy Pelletier, of Mason Avenue, also has three children in the district, but instead of sending children from all over town to one location, she said she believes kids should be able to go wherever they want.
"This way kids who want to stay in Manchester can, and those who want to go to Pinkerton can go," Pelletier said.
Julia Penrod, of Lancelot Drive, is entering her senior year at Manchester High School West, and was adamant that for many students Pinkerton is just not a realistic possibility.
"A lot of kids can't afford to make it to Manchester every day, let alone Pinkerton; it's too far away. It will be that much bigger of a pain," Penrod said.
Rebecca Durand, of Alice Avenue, recently graduated from West and has a sister entering her freshman year there.
"I would pick West hands down. Pinkerton is too far and it's better for Hooksett kids to go to the city and get a more varied experience," Durand said.
Kyle Macey of Park Lane also recently graduated from the Manchester School District and has a brother still in the district.
"I have heard a lot about this, and I am not sure we should have terminated the contract early. Central and West have done well in the past, and a few disagreements are not worth starting negotiations with another school that will be so far away," Macey said.
Resident Annette Massey said not only is Pinkerton too far away, but Manchester should still be a viable option.
"I was not happy when we terminated the contract. I have no issues with Central, and Manchester is so much closer. Pinkerton is just too far away for me it just would not work. Manchester realistically is the only option for (my children) unless Hooksett opens its own high school," Massey said.
However, for Carrie Lachance of Fieldstone Drive, the increase in distance and travel time would be worth the effort. Pinkerton provides a much better educational experience than Manchester, she said.
"Pinkerton is well worth it," Lachance said.
Carolyn Colle, of Morris Drive, watched her children go through Manchester schools. After that experience, she said she has no interest in watching her grandchild go through the same experience.
"I understand things have gotten much worse in Manchester, but I am not sure how convenient Pinkerton is; that might not be the answer, but I don't know," Colle said.