GHS celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

By hosting featured speaker Richard Haynes


Richard Haynes presents to GHS students in honor of Martin Luther King Day

Natalie Lapointe, Staff Writer

January 20, 2020. A day to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. and his accomplishments and contributions to the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. While many schools in New Hampshire chose to celebrate by closing for the day, the Goffstown and New Boston school districts took a different approach and kept schools open on this day. Goffstown High School used this opportunity to invite a guest speaker to highlight the importance of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement.

This year, Mr. Richard Haynes, nationally recognized artist and admissions counselor from the University of New Hampshire, had the honor of speaking to the students of Goffstown High School. While the University of New Hampshire is one of the many New Hampshire schools observing the holiday by closing, Mr. Haynes decided to spend his day off to speak about his educational background and experience with the college process.

To start off his presentation, Haynes describes his parents’ lack of education and opportunity in the South. His father left school in the sixth grade to work in the fields to help support his family after Haynes’ grandfather’s untimely death. His mother was in a similar situation and had to drop out of school when her father died unexpectedly. She had an eighth grade education.

The norm in that time period, was that by age five, children were expected to be in the fields helping their parents support the family. This was Mr. Haynes’ reality. By age seven, Mr. Haynes had learned to read and began to notice the social segregation in the South. His grandmother would tell him “you are just as good as anyone else.”

Mr. Haynes and his family were able to leave the south for a better life in New York City. They lived in Harlem, in a rat-infested apartment where a cockroach soon made it’s home in his younger sister’s ear. But living in the rat-infested apartment in New York was better than living in the Deep South. New York offered new opportunities to Mr. Haynes. He was able to go to school full time and complete most of his schooling. He met an “angel,” a middle school teacher who encouraged him to continue his schooling. He was sent off to the Vietnam war and was not able to finish his education. When he came back, his angel encouraged him to finish his education. He moved on to become a nationally known artist.

Mr. Haynes shared his story as an example to the students to show the difference education can make in life. Mr. Haynes’ main message to the crowd of high school students was “don’t let someone’s opinion of you be your reality.”

“I thought [the presentation] was very inspiring,” reflected Hannah Young, a freshman present in the crowd. “It was a little bit more education focused than civil rights focused, but overall a good presentation,” observed freshman Harvest Fladd.

Overall, Mr. Haynes’ presentation focused on the opportunities hard work in the academic world brings if students are willing to put forth the effort now. Mr. Haynes reiterates to students, “Education will give you opportunities in this world.”