Gorham students among Granite States recognized by Hassan

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan held a virtual event Saturday to recognize all the people she chose as Granite Staters of the Month in 2020. The Gorham Middle High School student council sophomores were cited in December for raising money for the school's food pantry.

GORHAM — U.S. Sen.Maggie Hassan recognized all her Granite Staters of the Month recipients for 2020 in a virtual event Saturday afternoon.

Included were the Gorham Middle High School sophomore student council members who were selected for the honor in December.

Opening the event, Hassan spoke about the resilience of Congress in returning to session hours after the armed insurrection to complete the certification of the 2020 election of Joseph Bidden and Kamala Harris.

“That resilience that we all showed together reflects the resilience of the American people and the belief in our democracy,” she said.

She said those being honored Saturday as Granite Staters of the Month demonstrate “the strength of what happens when we come together.”

Class 2023 President Aimee Bousquet said the student council organized a fundraiser for the class selling chocolates but one student, Emma LaPierre ended up getting two cases instead of two boxes she had ordered for her aunt.

LaPierre told Hassan that after the company told the students to keep the extra chocolates, they decided to sell the extra chocolates to school staff and students and donate that money to the school food pantry. She said the food pantry provides weekend meals, personal hygiene and other items for students who may not have those items at home.

LaPierre said they were able to raise $200 for the food pantry. She said the students' action resulted in a local couple donating $100 to the food pantry as well.

“It just shows that if one person does one little thing, it can create a ripple effect and keep affecting more people,” said Bousquet.

“Amy, you took the words right out of my mouth, it really demonstrates what happens when one person steps up with a good idea to help others. It's a contagious thing, a wonderful thing, because the ripple effect really is there and creates one act of kindness after the next,” said Hassan.

She noted that other projects worked to destigmatize mental health, clean up litter and bring to light the state’s black history.

The senator encouraged the recipients to keep doing what they are doing and engaging more people in their efforts.

“Once you learn the strength of your engagement, and your compassion for other people, you will have the ability to take on challenges in all different kinds of places in all different kinds of arenas, “ she said.

The Gorham students recognized also included Carson Roberge, Alec Wydra and Alex O’Brien.

Full list of those honored:

• January: Rahul and Karthik Chalumuri of Keene for their efforts to organize donation drives at their school to support patients at a local cancer center.

• February: JerriAnne Boggis, executive director of the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire, and Valerie Cunningham, founder of the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail for their work to bring to light New Hampshire’s too often forgotten Black history and engage communities across the state in conversations about New Hampshire’s full past.

• March: Senator Hassan recognized all Granite Staters for coming together during the COVID-19 pandemic to try to slow the spread of the virus and help those in need.

• April: Salem High School cheerleading team for coming together, even while social distancing, to help raise the spirits of residents at a local nursing home.

• May: Kearsarge Regional High School’s student group, Students Working on Community Outreach (SWOCO) for continuing to lift up their fellow classmates and support community members — even from a distance — amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

• June: Emily Aho of Jaffrey for her efforts to provide emotional support to health care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

• July: Carter Manson of Manchester for encouraging Granite Staters and all Americans to get outside and help clean up their communities.

• August: Kendra Smith of Nashua for working to provide substantial and popular hot meals to community members in need amid this public health and economic crisis.

• September: Kristina Folcik of Tamworth for completing a 100-mile nonstop hike across part of New Hampshire’s Appalachian Trail in tribute to women in abusive relationships.

• October: Brielle Paquette of Salem for using her creative talents to confront the stigma around mental illness and open up about her own mental health struggles in the hope of inspiring others.

• November: Jo-Ann Clark of Stratham for starting an organization in her late son’s name to fund adoptions of shelter animals by veterans.

• December: Gorham Middle & High School Sophomore Student Council for choosing to resell surplus chocolate that they received to benefit their school’s food pantry, rather than sell it to benefit their class.

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