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March 11. 2013 11:22PM

Nashua students honored for athletic, academic success

NASHUA - In a brief diversion from budgets and attendance reports, the Nashua Board of Education took the first 30 minutes of its meeting on Monday to honor Nashua high school students who have excelled academically or athletically.

For the fifth year in a row, the Nashua High School South math team came in first in its league, defeating more than 20 other schools from around the state.

"They did excellent this year," team coach Kellie Gabriel said. "This might be our fifth time in a row coming in first, but this is the first time we placed first in every meet we competed in."

Gabriel said a big part of the team's success this year is due to a stellar freshman class headlined by Neha Prasad, Ankur Sundara and Deepike Kurup, who were ranked first, second and third of all freshman in the state participating.

"We have a lot of great freshman," Gabriel said.

Gabriel said that while the season is over, the team is preparing for the last tournament of the year, a state-wide event taking place in Plymouth on March 19th.

"I think we should do well; we won it last year," Gabriel said.

Board President Robert Hallowell joked: "I think (Gabriel) only does this because she enjoys coming to board meetings, because this is the fifth time we are here. This is good fun here. I did this when I was in high school, so I have an affinity for this award."

Athletes honored by the board included Marcel Laplante of the North wrestling team, who was honored for placing first in the Meet of Champions for his weight class. Tyler Ellwood and Christopher Dube of the South wrestling team also received certificates from the board, with Hallowell calling Ellwood and Dube "the backbone of the wrestling team."

Hallowell also honored Nathan Garner and Oliver French of North for individual state championships in swimming recently, and students who were named Merit and/or Presidential Scholars.

Saying Bill Gates was a Merit Scholar, Hallowell said Nashua, and the rest of the country for that matter, is in good hands.

"Together you represent a bright future," Hallowell told the students. "We graduate some excellent students from this district."

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