Library teams hopes to defend title at 15th Scholarship Foundation Spelling Bee

LACONIA — There are many "busy bees" in the Lakes Region forming teams and preparing for battle as the date for the fifteenth annual Lakes Region Scholarship Foundation Community Spelling Bee quickly approaches.

The Bee, which benefits the LRSF Friends of the Foundation operating fund, will be held on Thursday, Oct. 22 at 6:30 p.m. in the Laconia High School auditorium. Each year, teams from various area businesses, community organizations and schools come together for an evening of competition and fun, all to benefit a good cause. Teams are asked to dress in costume and many blend humor with their expertise in orthography (the proper spelling of a word) to get a chance to add their name to the list of winners on the coveted bee trophy.

Each of the Bee teams is sponsored by area businesses or benefactors. The competition is lively and provides the audience with a unique evening's entertainment. Last year's winners were the "Laconia Librarians". The success of this team in last year's event was particularly special to its 14 year sponsor: the Bob Merwin-State Farm Agency of Laconia. The Laconia Public Library was one of the original teams participating in the first LRSF Community Spelling Bee back in 2001. Additionally, Bob Merwin, vice president of the LRSF in 2001, undertook the daunting task of chairing the then fledgling event. So this Bee victory was particularly "sweet" to both the team and their sponsor. Merwin waited 14 years for a victory for his team, and he has agreed to continue his support of the team and the event. He is hoping that perhaps the Laconia Library bees can make it two years in a row.

Lakes Region Scholarship Foundation is a non-profit organization that currently acts as a clearinghouse for scholarship funds from close to 250 donors. This past June over $311,000 was awarded to 305 students. The June 2015 awards brought the foundation's scholarship dollars' total to over $5.2 million dollars award to more than 4,600 students. This coming year, the foundation will be celebrating their official 60th anniversary of incorporation on February 16th. So much accomplished thanks to the generosity of about 525 donors over those 60 years, not including the thousands who have contributed to specific memorial funds or special fundraisers.

The Spelling Bee is a major fundraiser to raise much needed revenue for the administrative costs of the Foundation. The primary focus of the scholarship foundation is to generate more dollars for scholarships to benefit area students in their quest for continuing education. However, the operating costs to run the office continue to be an annual challenge. By supporting the Community Spelling Bee, the board and staff will be able continue their work. For more information, you may call the office at 527-3533 or e-mail them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Goulette retiring after 39 years at local college

LACONIA — At a very young age, Lakes Region Community College Academic Affairs Vice President Tom Goulette, began a wonderful journey, a journey that he has never regretted.

Goulette was the youngest faculty member ever hired by the Community College System of New Hampshire. He was also the first system administrator that actually graduated from one of the state's seven community colleges. Goulette's journey continues as he enters retirement after serving 39 years as a Lakes Region Community College graphic arts professor, department chair, and academic affairs vice president.

Goulette, a Belmont resident, graduated from LRCC (then New Hampshire Vocational-Technical College Laconia) in 1972, received his bachelor's degree from the University of Maine, and later was awarded a master's degree, and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study Higher Education Leadership at Plymouth State College.

Goulette joined the Laconia college's faculty in 1976 at 25 years of age, was promoted to chairman for the Graphic Arts Department Chair soon afterward. He was named Academic Affairs Vice President in 1998. In addition to his academic affairs duties he also served as LRCC Director of Community Education and Student Affairs Vice President.

Goulette was also a University of New Hampshire – Durham adjunct faculty member teaching credit and non-credit courses in Graphic Communication there.

"I would really like to thank everyone, students, faculty, staff, the College, the CCSNH System, and the greater Lakes Region for the opportunity to serve," said Goulette. "Every day as I would drive to work, I would count my blessings that I had my job and worked at a place that helped people realize their dreams. I always looked forward to coming in and seeing what the next day's challenge would be."

"The College has been blessed with the support of the Lakes Region community and I have enjoyed working with outstanding people from business/industry, our local school districts, and other government agencies in support of the College's mission. Our local people are great and they value what LRCC does for the greater Lakes Region community."

"Two of my favorite times of year are the first day of classes in the fall and graduation," continues Goulette. "One sees the students come in for the first day with their dreams and commitment to their education and that is where our partnership begins. I have always admired and respected how students balance jobs, childcare, and commuting with the class work required to complete degrees; these students are my heroes and have kept me committed to doing the best I can for them because of who the students are. Fortunately, I have been able to develop relationships with students throughout LRCC that have lasted for years after they graduate."

Graduation day is a celebration of the fulfillment of our student's dreams, dedication, and hard work. "It is a wonderful event that focuses on our students and their accomplishments. The student speeches are a highlight of the ceremony and their heartfelt messages to family, faculty, and fellow students have given me lasting memories of how special LRCC students are. It is a wonderful day."

Goulette has said for years that he wanted to return to teaching in the classroom after he retires. He never planned to spend the past 17 years in LRCC administration, but it happened. Goulette hopes to teach as an adjunct in the spring if there is a need for him to do so. "I would love to teach again because that's where what we do is most important, working directly with the students in the classrooms and labs. I've always valued that the most," Goulette said.


Photo captions:

Photos show Lakes Region Community College Academic Affairs Vice President Tom Goulette today and as he appeared when he joined the faculty of the college — then New Hampshire Vocational-Technical College Laconia — faculty 39 years ago as a graphic arts instructor. (Courtesy photos)


Gilford Fire Explorer Post looking for new members

GILFORD — The Gilford Fire-Rescue Department is extending an an invitation to any interested and qualified youth to participate in the department's Explorer post.

The Explorer Program is designed to teach today's young men and women about the Fire and Emergency Medical Service in a safe and supervised environment. They will be exposed to all aspects of the fire service. The Explorers will have an opportunity to participate in a controlled environment which will include training and other fire service activities.

All activities will be conducted with close supervision. They include responding to emergency incidents (including building fires, searches and rescues, forest fires, car fires, motor vehicle accidents, and water rescues, CPR and first aid, and fire prevention.

The minimum requirements for becoming an Explorer are:

— Must be between the ages of 14-21 and successfully passed the eighth grade.

— Currently maintaining a 70 percent academic average.

— Willing and able to participate in the Fire Fighting and EMS fields.

— Have permission from a parent or legal guardian.

The Exploring program is sponsored and insured through the Daniel Webster Council/Boy Scouts of America. Membership in the Boy Scout is not a prerequisite for participation in the Explorer program, however.

Those who would like more more information and/or an application for membership, can contact Firefighter Dion DeCarli, Gilford Fire Rescue, 39 Cherry Valley Road, Gilford, NH 03249, or call (603) 527-4758 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Pleasant Street School hosts 'We Are' night program

Pleasant Street School in Laconia hosted a "We Are" night on Monday evening for its families. The presentation included information about the new math curriculum, new report cards, PBIS and the new pre-school program at the school. Pictured: Gail Bourn, the academic coordinator for the Laconia elementary schools, shares information about the district's new elementary report cards.