Dear Mayor Gatsas,
During the first mayoral debate, you referenced two valedictory addresses given by Manchester students this past spring as evidence that Manchester schools are doing well. This was not the first time that you have cited those speeches, as they have been referenced publicly during meetings of the Board of Mayor and Alderman, meetings of the Board of School Committee, and subsequent debates.
We, Nicholas Britton and Aidan Ryan, valedictorians of the Manchester Memorial and Manchester Central High School Classes of 2017, respectively, condemn your use of our speeches as part of your political campaign.
Our speeches praised the institutions that developed us from curious learners to courageous leaders. They praised the teachers, administrators, and staff members who inspired us, who continue to make it their duty every day to ensure that each student receives the highest quality of education possible, regardless of the substandard resources and underfunded budget allocated to schools. Out of context, you frame the themes, words, and structures of our addresses as complimentary and exalting of your leadership as Mayor and chairman of the Board of School Committee. This could not be further from the truth. We praised Manchester Memorial High School and Manchester Central High School, Mayor Gatsas, not you.
There is little doubt that we are strong advocates for the education we both received from our respective high schools. Our experiences at Memorial and Central were memorable and have prepared us well for college and beyond. As fierce supporters of our high schools, however, we also recognize that there is room for vast improvement. Advocacy is not solely blind support, but rather an understanding that things can always be better. Our schools are not perfect, as we referenced in our speeches. However, we believe that with proper funding and support, the sky’s the limit for every student in Manchester.
We may not go to school in the Queen City any longer, but we will always be students of the Manchester School District. Going forward, we hope that Manchester students will not only have access to the opportunities that allowed us to succeed, but also an expanded number of resources. Mayor Gatsas, you have demonstrated that a change in leadership for Manchester is necessary. For these reasons, we are proud to support Joyce Craig, a champion of public education, for mayor of Manchester. When votes are cast on November 7th, these will be votes for not only change, but for a brighter, more prosperous future for the students and citizens of Manchester, New Hampshire with Joyce Craig as mayor.
Manchester Memorial ‘17
Dartmouth College ‘21
Class President and Valedictorian,
Manchester Central ‘17
Harvard College ‘21
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