Vaccarezza: The success of Central students ‘has been my greatest accomplishment’

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Central Principal John Vaccarezza addresses the class of 2021 during Sunday’s graduation ceremony. Photo/Stacy Harrison

MANCHESTER, NH – After seven years of ‘Central Pride,’ John Vaccarezza is stepping down from his role as principal of Manchester Central High School. 

Vaccarezza loves Central and its people, even stressing that the focus of this article should not be about him, but about the school he has spent the past seven years serving. 

First assuming the role of Central’s principal in July of 2014, Vaccarezza hoped to advance his career in the field of education, but he also wanted a challenge. 

“I wanted a large school which Central was, I wanted a school that had both tradition, that had diversity, that had a great reputation, but at the same time would be something that would be a challenge, and that I would wake up every day and have something new to go to and Central was that ideal thing,” Vaccarezza said. 

Vaccarezza expressed that he is constantly impressed by Central’s students and the diversity of their backgrounds and accomplishments. 

Central High School Principal John Vaccarezza will serve as principal at Timberlane High School in the fall.

“The success of a student who is able to come to Central, work their tail off and go to Harvard because of what Central offers is … equally as impressive to me as an individual who comes to this country, looking for opportunity without speaking English and then comes to Central and in four years can graduate and go off to be college and career ready,” Vaccarezza said. “You know, it truly has been the success of the students and what they have been able to accomplish, being a part of that—a small part of that—has been my greatest accomplishment.”

Vaccarezza also touched on how people who don’t know Central don’t truly understand it and its culture of pride. Many of these misconceptions stem from Central’s location in the heart of Manchester. 

“People don’t understand how comfortable the students are in their own school, how safe they are in their school, and how much pride the students take in their school and their achievements,” Vaccarezza said. “From an outsider’s perspective, I don’t think they really understand or would understand what Central Pride really means.”

Vaccarezza’s decision to leave Central is because of his family. Moving forward, he will be the principal of Timberlane Regional High School, where his children will attend in the future.  

“It gives me an opportunity to be both a principal and a father,” Vaccarezza said. 

Like thousands of Central students before him, Vaccarezza is leaving Central with valuable memories and lessons learned. 

“I have appreciated the seven years that I was blessed to be the principal of Central High School. The memories that I take with me are those that I won’t forget but I also won’t forget the lessons I learned … Personally and professionally, Central has made me better.”

Vaccarezza’s parting message: “and go Central Pride.”


About this Author


Rachel Phelan

Rachel Phelan is a lifelong Manchester resident and a student at Boston College.