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November 16. 2013 1:25AM

Manchester innovates: Actions vs. political hot air

What was it that the losing mayoral candidate claimed over and over about Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas? Lack of vision? No legacy like a baseball stadium? And the mayor just rolled with the punches, saying talk is cheap.

Turns out, Mayor Gatsas has been quietly working, with many others, on a program that holds the promise of leaving a legacy for the Queen City far more important than a ball field.

As unveiled at Tuesday night's Board of School Committee meeting (and referenced in today's City Hall column on Page A3), the plan is to transform Manchester High School West into a learning center for science, technology, engineering, math, and art. The acronym is STEAM, so we are supposed to think of STEAM Ahead, Manchester.

Cute. But we don't think they should abbreviate. Words have meaning and science, technology, engineering, math and, yes, art, are important words for students and for the city's future. The plan is to encourage West students to enroll in these programs and, in many cases, obtain up to a year's college credit for doing so.

Nothing worth doing is going to be easy. But such a program is worth trying and the under-used West High is the perfect place to do it. If successful, it can be broadened to the other high schools.

Soon-to-be former alderman Patrick Arnold, the mayoral candidate, can now wipe the egg off his face. And he may one day be joined in the face-cleaning by members of the Hooksett school board who are hellbent on ending their tuition contract that sends high school students to Manchester in favor of farther-away Derry.

"West is Best'' may have a new ring to it.


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