School Notes: Hanover High Footlighters Open a Door

  • Hanover High School student Iva Wich plays the title role in the school's upcoming production of 'Hello, Dolly.' (Rick Read photograph)

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 4/30/2018 10:00:07 PM

Hanover High School’s Footlighters welcomed performers from outside the student body into their spring production of Hello, Dolly!.

Lebanon High School students Will Tanski IV and Keenan Leuthauser joined the cast, and Marion Cross School Principal Bill Hammond, among other adults, are singing in the chorus.

“We decided the main goal this year was to build our community,” senior Iva Wich, who is portraying the title character in the musical, said last Friday. “People are having a great time coming to rehearsals, and the guys from Lebanon are fitting in just fine.”

Meanwhile, Footlighters alumni are preparing a memorial tribute to Donna Butler, the troupe’s former music director of eight years and the longtime music teacher and director of Hanover’s Ray Elementary School. Current music director Jennifer Chambers estimated that 27 people will share memories of Butler, who died in February, before the show opens next Thursday night.

“I was a fourth-grader at the Ray School when Mrs. Butler arrived,” current Footlighters advisor Amy Good wrote in the show program. “I was the Froozie Lady in Charlotte’s Web, the first fifth-grade musical that Mrs. Butler directed. I desperately wanted to be Fern, but that honor went to my friend Sarah Duncan. When I introduced myself to Mrs. Butler as an adult, she gave me a big hug and said, ‘My Fern!’ We had a good laugh about my actual role, but I knew I was always the real Fern!”

In Dolly Levi, Wich, who has performed in several musicals for the Woodstock-based Pentangle Arts, is taking on “a role I’ve wanted to do since I was little. I worship the movie,” starring Barbra Streisand. “Whenever it came on TV, I dropped everything, I have it memorized.”

Good thing, considering “a lot of competition” for the role in the audition process, and all the recording and singing dates she’s been doing since her early teens for her country-music career, and her preparations to major in music and business at Belmont University in Nashville.

“I’ve had to cut down on gigs a lot since I started the show, but it’s worth it,” Wich said. “Our director Ashley (Barrow) and Ms. Chambers and choreographer (Denise) Frawley have been working so hard to get us ready. It’s a really big show.”

The Hanover High School Footlighters will stage Hello, Dolly!in the school auditorium, at 7 on the nights of May 10, 11 and 12. Tickets ($8 to $12) are available in the main office during weekday school hours.

Educator Excellence

Plainfield Elementary School counselor Sara Wilmot addressed her peers at the recent annual meeting of the New England League of Middle Schools, presenting research on the outdoor adventure-based program she pioneered at the school.

Wilmot described for counselors her “Healthy Habits of Harmony (H3)” program, which she said is “rooted in the experiential learning cycle and … emphasizes the group process” through team challenges while helping students “learn a variety of social, emotional and cognitive skills.”

H3 is in use at Newbury Elementary School in Newbury, Vt., as well as in Plainfield.

By Degrees

Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C., recently accepted Newport, N.H., resident Cathryn Gallione into its master’s degree program in biblical counseling. Gallione is completing her undergraduate studies in the field this spring.

Collegiate Recognition

Colby-Sawyer College’s chapter of the Sigma Theta Tau honor society for nursing recently inducted nine Upper Valley residents for their leadership and scholarship both in the classroom and in medical settings.

Colby-Sawyer undergraduates winning recognition were Lebanon resident Laura Goodrich, White River Junction’s Courtney Murray, New London’s Jacob Pushee and Claremont’s Natalie Wilson.

Upper Valley residents who have been working at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center while completing their master’s degrees in nursing at Colby-Sawyer are Woodstock’s Jane Eaton, White River Junction’s Meredith Fogg (who also has a bachelor’s degree from Colby-Sawyer), Claremont’s Erica Leonard, West Newbury, Vt.’s Jenna Parsons and South Royalton’s Lindsey Thompson.

Bryant University recently named Plainfield resident Peter Elder to its president’s list for his academic performance during the fall 2017 semester.

Upper Valley residents making the grade for the Smithfield, R.I., school’s dean’s list for the fall are West Lebanon’s Nathan Kriplin and Emily Perryman, and Lebanon’s Nathaniel Morgan.

Prep School Props

Hanover resident Sarah Miller made the honors list at the Pomfret (Conn.) School, for her academic performance during the winter term.

Artistic Merit

Albert Bridge School sixth-grader Savannah Underhill won the school’s recent contest to design a T-shirt for Brownsville’s Independence Day celebration.

Under the supervision of teacher Patricia Harris, the school’s fifth- and sixth-graders worked on designs on the theme of “West Windsor Volunteer Fire Department Sixty Years of Answering the Call.” Brownsville’s Independence Day Committee chose the finalists and the fire department picked the winning design.

Shirts, at $10 for children and $15 for adults, go on sale at the school around May 1. Proceeds go to support the annual, two-day celebration. To order shirts, email Linda Ley at

David Corriveau can be reached at and at 603-727-3304. Education news also can be submitted via


West Newbury, Vt., resident Jenna Parsons was recently  inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau honor society for nursing at Colby-Sawyer College, where she is working on a master's degree in nursing. Her hometown was incorrect in an earlier version of this story.


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