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Manchester education: Some things that are right
As Manchester taxpayers and parents of school-age children hope for the best and prepare for the worst in the ongoing budget and union battles, it is important to remember that the city’s schools are not a vast wasteland.
Two items from last week bring this to mind.
First, we note with sadness and appreciation that Beech Street Elementary Principal Eli Murphy is retiring.
“Beech Street’’ and “Eli Murphy’’ have been near-synonomous for years. Don’t think a principal makes a difference in a school? Then you have never been to Beech Street, which does a remarkable job of education in the very heart of the multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-challenged inner city.
The other day, Murphy was doing what she usually does, deflecting attention away from her and onto her students. It was a celebration of the young people from City Year, and Murphy praised them, too. But you could tell how proud she was of her youngsters.
With educators like Murphy, there remains hope for public education.
Up the street a few blocks, and a few grades, from Beech Street Elementary, the “Scholars of World Literature’’ of Dr. Selma Naccach-Hoff held their annual senior etiquette reception at Manchester High School Central.
As usual, Dr. Naccach-Hoff’s seniors are off to a very impressive list of colleges and studies.
The colleges include Wellesley, Brandeis, University of Vermont, Emerson. The studies: molecular biology, neuroscience, communication, law.
A former student, having completed his first year at Yale, was also back for a visit.
Dr. Naccach-Hoff is an exceptional teacher who inspires students to love what she loves.
Told that one incoming senior had confided to a visitor that she liked math and science more than literature, Dr. Naccach-Hoff smiled and said, “Ask her again after next year!’’
There is a lot wrong with public education and how the public’s money is spent on it. But there is much going on that remains right, too.
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