MANCHESTER, N.H. – Approximately 1,400 Manchester School District staff members and employees of Aramark and the Manchester Transit Authority arrived at Manchester Memorial High School on Friday and Saturday to follow up the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccine as well as a welcome surprise on their way out.
District leaders, students and local businesses donated time and gifts to staff members receiving their second shot at Memorial as a way to say thanks for their efforts during the pandemic.
In addition to a selfie wall with positive messages provided from students, exiting staff were given small gift bags as well as Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, smoothies and other items. At one point a pony had been scheduled to appear as well from Upreach, but it was unable to a sudden illness.
We decided to celebrate, we took this up a notch and we went out and got donations from community partners,” said Manchester School District Assistant Superintendent Jen Gillis. “It takes a lot to be doing what we’ve been doing since March 2020 and I think anytime we can give back for anyone that has been pitching in on behalf of our students and families, it’s a chance to celebrate rather than focus on the negative.”
Kelly-Jo Trippiedi, a special education teacher at the Jewett School echoed those sentiments.
“We worked our butt off this year to make things go as smoothly as possible for the kids and for us and it’s been really hard,” she said. “We’ve shown how resilient we can be and I think we deserve it.”
Ward 7 Alderman Ross Terrio was inside aiding with the vaccination efforts and was initially unaware of the celebration efforts outside. He praised the efforts to honor staff members getting vaccinated as well as the staff members themselves, with approximately 80 percent of all staff members expected to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of the weekend either from
“People are grateful and they really want to get vaccinated, this is the best way to avoid getting COVID,” said Terrio. “When I got my shot, it was little more than flu-like symptoms for 24 hours. Better to have some flu-like symptoms than get COVID.”