Tony Labranche: Who I am and Why I’m Running

Tony LaBranche

I am a current Senior at Souhegan High School. I’ve lived in Amherst for six years now. Before moving here I was a Nashua resident, spending the majority of my childhood there. I grew up in a single-parent household. This has made me respectful and grateful for my mother and for my community that has supported me in becoming the responsible person I am today. I am also a cancer survivor as I was diagnosed at the age of ten. This battle and journey have taught me much about the appreciation for life and being a good person, even when it seems like everything is against you. It has made me more grateful for the positivity that a community can bring and has inspired me to give back and help my community here in Amherst.

Since I started running for Souhegan Cooperative School Board (SCSB), I have been asked many questions, all getting at one idea: Why am I running? The simple answer is that I am running for School Board because I believe it is fitting and good stewardship to give back to the community that has treated me well, improved my life, and afforded me a great education. Souhegan is like no other high school. Souhegan’s teaching styles and student leadership opportunities have contributed to my successes as a man, and I am grateful for that too. In the past four years at Souhegan, I have had the opportunity to experience and embody the Souhegan six and the values of respect, trust, and courage, from being on Community Council for all four years to being the Chairman of the Constitutional Interpretation Committee.

In my time here I have also seen things that have concerned me. Since I moved here, Souhegan has declined in the rankings. This should be a concern for students and parents, and for those who own property in this town as property values and good schools go hand in hand. This could mean a drop in property values. I know that the reason my mother and I moved here was primarily based on educational value, as Souhegan was a highly respected high school.

While data on school performance is easily available, finding out what student life is

actually like is virtually impossible unless you are already a student. As a student, I have seen that Souhegan has lost its focus on the things that matter most. While Souhegan can give their students one to one laptops, they often leave their more advanced students doing busy work, rather than giving them opportunities to further their learning ahead of traditional pace. I have seen some of the brightest minds stuck doing busy work due to the bureaucracy that surrounds going outside the required curriculum. We should be letting our brightest kids grow and pursue their passions, so compete with the best of the best, and become the leaders of tomorrow.

Another issue that we must address is the lack of maintenance into our facilities. As a student and a member of the Souhegan 2.0 Task-Force I have seen the state of our school, and it’s high time we address this. How is it that we spend upwards of eighteen million dollars a year on our school yet we have climate control issues, safety issues with science labs, and we have non-functional team-based classrooms. Where is the money going? As a member of Task-Force, I have seen the cost savings that these repairs and updates would benefit our school. We have great people living in Amherst. We can and must do better for our students and community.

Like most of you, I want Souhegan to be even greater. I know we can do this with less cost and greater efficiency. Thank You for your consideration, and on Tuesday, March 10th, please vote for Tony Labranche for Souhegan Cooperative School Board.