Boys’ tennis opens their season with multiple wins

  Three wins begin the boys’ tennis team’s success with a victory of 3-2 against Masconomet, 5-0 against Amesbury, and 5-0 against Pentucket. 

  Over the last weekend in March, the boys competed in the MAC Jamboree. They lost to St. John’s Prep after beating Marblehead and Pentucket.   

  According to coach Robert Bilsbury, the team’s rivals this year are Pentucket, North Reading, Masconomet, and Triton. 

  According to Bilsbury, the line-up for the team is flexible because there are still many challenge matches to be played. 

  The game against Masconomet on April 4 ended in the boys winning 3-2. Junior Michael Fuca played No. 1 singles and won (6-0)(6-2), freshman Dewey Komishane won at  No. 2 singles (6-2)(6-4); and eighth-grader Garrett Lamothe lost at No. 3 singles; First doubles won with junior Jeffrey Durkin and sophomore Jake Rich (6-4)(6-4), and second doubles junior Winston Feuerbach and sophomore Azzie Economo lost.  

  “Our goal this year is to go deep into the state tournament and win the league,” Rich said. 

  According to Bilsbury, the boys are all doing tremendous and will play some great matches.

  The boys also won the CAL Individual Open for the second year on Sat., April 12.

  Members of the team are optimistic about their standing and potential in the Cape Ann League matches.

  “The team has a lot of talent, and we can definitely do some damage in the league this year,” captain Seth Cohen said.

  Against Amesbury on April 9, the boys had a win of 5-0. Fuca, at first singles, won (6-0) (6-1); Dewey Komishane won second singles (6-0) (6-0); and Justin Eichenberger won (6-0) (6-1) at third singles. First doubles team Garrett Lamothe and Winston Feuerbach won (6-1) (6-2), and second doubles Azzie Economo and Josh Brewster won (6-4) (6-1).

  On April 14, the boys won 5-0. Fuca won on first singles (6-3) (6-1); Komishane on second singles (6-3) (4-6) (6-4), and Lamothe on third singles (6-4) (6-0). Durkin and Cohen won on first doubles (6-3) (6-2), and Rich and Eichenberger won second doubles (6-3) (6-1).


Sophomore Erin Carlson creates new club called Students for the Humane Treatment of Animals

Tenth-grade student Erin Carlson has turned her passion for helping animals into a way for others to help animals in a new club called Students for the Humane Treatment of Animals.

  Carlson would like to start the club in the fall.

  There are four co-advisors for the club: chemistry teacher Keith Gray, history and Learning Center teacher Shannon Alger, math teacher David Alger, and English teacher Allison Krause. 

  “I wanted to create this club because I’m interested in a career with animals, and our school doesn’t have a club or program that provides time with animals,” Carlson said. 

  This club will do hands-on work with animals, raise funds, and hopefully provide foster homes for animals. Carlson has gotten a response to help out Cape Ann Animal Aid, Northeast Animal Shelter, and Sweet Paws. 

  There is no student limit at the moment for the club, but there will be a cut off if there gets to be too many people. The club will first be open to high school students, but if there are not enough students, then it will be opened to middle school students.  

  According to Carlson, it is undecided where the group will meet and how the students will get around to the places they are going to help out with. The students may have to carpool, or there may be a bus. 

  “I hope the club meets twice a week. Only one meeting per week is mandatory for the students. There are exceptions for students who participate in sports or other activities,” Carlson said.  

  The club may interfere with some activities, but said it is completely understandable to miss them for those activities. 

  According to Carlson, the first meeting of the month will most likely set up the schedule and have signups for hands-on activities, and the other meetings will be mostly setting up or planning fundraisers. The meetings for this club will be no longer than an hour and a half. 

  The club will most likely provide community service for the students, Carlson said.

  The teachers involved are just as interested in starting this program. 

  “I am a huge animal lover, and I am interested in being involved in an organization that cares for animals,” Shannon Alger said. 

  According to Gray, this club is necessary because animals don’t have a voice and too many of them are abused. 

  Some students, according to Carlson, may have to go through some type of training depending on the type of work they will be doing in the club, Carlson said.


New Teacher Returns to his old school

Alex Pirrotta, a student that graduated from Manchester- Essex High School in 2005, is back as a math teacher eight years later.

During his years apart from the school, he ventured to Illinois to attend Lake Forest College where he got his bachelor’s degree in psychology. Not many years later he received his Master’s degree in marketing analysis.

Before his job at Manchester-Essex, Pirrotta was working as a marketing consultant in the Manchester area and in Rochester.

Now, as a teacher, Pirrotta teaches Quantitative Reasoning, both honors and prep classes, to seniors. He also teaches DECCA to the sophomores, juniors and seniors.

“I like this math curriculum. It’s based on real world stuff,” Pirrotta said.  Besides that, he believes that “everyone should take these courses” because they are important in life and will teach useful skills to a person.

His goals are to “sweep at District and States,” which is scoring higher and holding the top three slots for everything they compete in at District and States. During competition, the students must take a written test. The test is then followed by an interview where they are given a certain situation which they must solve to the best of their ability.

Talking about the school, he said, “the building is fantastic and all the teachers are amazing.”

Pirrotta also said that he wishes to stay here “as long as they will have me.”

“I think that he has been doing a good job making up for the learning we have missed in Mr. Martino’s absence,” said a tenth grade student girl.

One thing that Pirrotta said is especially hard for him is calling teachers by their first names. “I had a lot of these teachers. I can’t break the habit of calling them by their last names, like a student would,” he said.

Fun Facts:

  1. What is the favorite place that you have travelled? – Rome
  2. Why is Rome your favorite place? – Because there is so much amazing history and culture there
  3. What is your favorite movie? – The Avengers
  4. Favorite ice cream? – Mint chocolate chip
  5. What do you do in your free time? – I do not have any free time
  6. Are you a cat or dog person? – Dog


Undocumented Slave Hideaway

Seventy-eight School Street in Manchester is a rare find. Within its walls there can be found a board-and-batten back door, original paneling, plaster walls, possibly a ghost, and an undocumented slave hideaway.

The current owners of the house are John and Sally Huss, who have been living there since 1979 when they bought the house from John and Sally Gibson.

The house itself is basically the same since its creation in the early 1720s, provided a few newer details and an addition in the back.

“We do everything we can to preserve the house,” John Huss said.

The entrance to the hideaway is found in what was the parlor but now is a dining room. The door to the hideaway is about a foot and a half to two feet long. The inside is just as small except it goes back a couple feet. There area is currently used as storage.

The hideaway actually contained stairs, no longer there, that led up to a hidden room on the second floor. Markings of where the stairs were can be clearly seen on the wall.

Sally Gibson, the previous owner of the house, wrote a document that states, “In the 1840s the house’s owner, John Lee, was an ardent anti-slavery man and is said to have hidden escaping slaves on the Underground Railroad with the help of the ‘secret’ staircase.”

On the opposing wall to where the stairs were, is newspaper from the 1840s which is believed to have been used for insulation purposes. ,

The whole house was built around its large chimney. The front door was made to face south, which was done in the 18th and 19th centuries so that when someone walked out of his or her house, the sun was facing the front door.

Sally Gibson created a painting that shows what the house and its surroundings would have looked like in 1850.

“Mrs. Gibson said there was a ghost in the house, and do not be surprised if you smell apple pie baking,” John Huss said. The Husses said that they have not encountered any ghostly activity recently, but they believe that if there is a ghost, it is friendly.

“We feel that we are stewards of the house and that we belong to it. We are just taking care of it for the next family,” Sally Huss said.


Historic home preserves Gilded age legacy

By Sara Stanton

  On the road to Singing Beach, a cottage sits on the right hand side of the intersection of Masconomo Street and Beach Street. Looking back a century, though, an enormous hotel stood there instead.

  In 1867, an actor named Junius Brutus Booth Jr. and his actress wife, Agnes Booth, came to Manchester and bought a property. Originally, the house they built was used as a summer house. As time went on, the Booths believed that the house was becoming too small for them and their actor and actress friends that visited.

  To accommodate the numerous amounts of people they invited over, they decided to build a hotel. During the summer of 1878, the hotel opened for business and was a hotspot for actors and actresses to interact. Some major actors and actresses at the hotel were Junius Brutus Booth Jr. himself, Agnes Booth, Edwin Booth and John Wilkes Booth, the man that killed President Abraham Lincoln.

  “The most famous feature was the plays out here. Those were big deals,” said George Smith, the current owner of the house. These plays, typically held in the lawn, were executed by the Booth family and their friends. Two of the plays held on the lawn were “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “As You Like It.”

  The hotel also offered dances, parties, and concerts. Sports offered on the hotel’s eleven and a half acres of land included swimming (in the ocean), lawn tennis, billiards, bowling and boating.

  In 1883 Junius died. Then later, in 1910, Agnes died. The house was then bought by a John R. Schoeffel, who continued to run the hotel. Around 1915 he died and the hotel was given to one of his friends, Isabel Sullivan. She continued to run the hotel, but in 1919 the hotel caught fire.

  After the fire, the cottage part of the hotel was restored and became a house once again.

  The property was then sold to the “Singing Beach Trust” in April of 1931. Thirteen years later, a smaller portion of the property was sold to become a private residence.

  People today can see what remains of the once grand hotel, along with a few small cottages that stretch as far back as Blossom Lane.

  “The most outstanding physical feature is the location,” Smith said.