Hudson Memorial Program Named One of the Top 40 in the Nation

February 3, 2017



by Len Lathrop

The Leonard Nute Gymnasium at Hudson Memorial School was alive Tuesday morning as executives and local representatives from State Farm’s Neighborhood Assist program were there to present a check for $25,000 to the Achievement Center, a collaboration of the YMCA of Greater Nashua, the Hudson School District and Rivier University.

Tuesday was special because the HMS program is one of only 40 such efforts around the country to get funding through State Farm’s Neighborhood Assist program. The YMCA Achievement Center at Hudson Memorial School was one of 2,000 programs that were submitted to State Farm for consideration. Of those, State Farm selected 200 to move into the voting phase with the top-40 vote getters being awarded $25,000.

The center opened last October with the goal of developing a sense of personal enrichment and achievement in HMS students by meeting academic and social needs, creating a caring atmosphere, and providing a challenging positive psychology-infused curriculum that targets students’ strengths and positive attributes.

The achievement center is grounded in positive psychology and positive youth development and, as such, focuses on the important role that positive experiences, relationships, and environments have on the development of youth. Research in these areas show that when children are in environments that make them feel good and build up their strengths they do better socially, emotionally, academically, and grow into successful adults. The achievement center is designed to help enhance the well-being of students while also buffering against potential problems and struggles that they might experience as they move through their teenage years. Each day, students in the program participate in activities designed to help build self-esteem, enhance positive character traits, and foster a sense of belonging.

During Tuesday’s event, with speakers from the YMCA senior staff and the executives from State Farm, a video was shown that was created by the students who participated in the first session of the achievement center; the highlight was sixth grader Mallory Bushnack, who spoke about the insights the program had given her. Mallory mentioned that she learned about happiness and never giving up. One highlight for her was making Christmas cards for a local nursing home of which she spoke of the feeling of kindness and holiday cheer.

Hudson Interim Superintendent Dr. Phyllis Schlichter spoke about how exciting it has been working with the YMCA and the leadership team of the Memorial School. She called it inspiring to see how successful the first quarter of the achievement center has been. Now this wonderful grant from State Farm will allow the program to continue to flourish.