College acceptances are rolling in for our high school seniors. This senior class is being accepted to some excellent schools. Beyond the exceptional public colleges and universities in New England, many students have applied to public and private institutions outside of the region with great results. Some examples:

Virginia Tech
RPI (Troy NY)
North Carolina State
Temple (Philadelphia)
Trinity Univ (TX)
Florida State
U of Hawaii
American University (DC)
Auburn U (Alabama)
Penn State
Rutgers (NJ)

Examples of some impressive New England private schools include:

St. Michaels (VT)
St. Anselms (NH)
Sacred Heart (RI)



Ayer Shirley Regional High School will be performing Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” in April. Click here to learn more about the production and how to purchase tickets.


AYER –It’s not new news that Ayer Shirley Regional High School recently underwent a major overhaul thanks in part to the State of Massachusetts, not to mention countless individuals dedicated to the improvement of our schools and District. Now that the walls are up, the floors are in, and things are more or less getting back to “routine” without construction everywhere, it’s time to open up the new space and fully christen it.

Part of this is offering the region’s students, families, local organizations and community businesses the opportunity to own part of it.

The Ayer Shirley Regional School District is celebrating the high school’s beautifully fresh auditorium by making it possible to take a piece home — in theory. Each of the 575 plush, burgundy seats in the auditorium is up for adoption.

Don’t worry if the color doesn’t match your home décor — once adopted, seats stay where they are, with one important change: your business, inscription, name, or personal dedication in memory of someone is engraved on a brass plate, there for people to see every time they enjoy an event in the auditorium.

Each plate measures 4″ x 1.5″, offering three lines of text, up to 25 characters per line. You can note your name or your family name and the year. You can promote your business. You can list the alphabet backwards — it’s your seat, write you wish (within reason). And once your seat is adopted, it will not be re-adopted.

One seat, one sponsor, securely attached to the back of the chair.

The cost to adopt is just $150 each for individuals (students, friends and their families). Up to three families can be noted as sponsors per plate, so consider combining your adoptions. Seats promoting businesses are just $300 each and can include your company name, address, contact information and/or website. All adoptions are tax deductible, with 10 percent off if ordered by May 31.

All proceeds will be split equally amongst ASRHS Music, ASRHS Drama Club and the district, to help provide additional opportunities for the students in our region.

To request an adoption form or more information, contact ASRHS Drama Director JulieAnn Govang at 978-772-2545, or email Adoption forms are also available for download via the ASRHS Drama Club website at

Read more:

The new and great Ayer Shirley Regional High School addition/renovation project received the highest architecture award, the 2015 CEFPI Northeast Region Ed Kirkbride Award recognizing quality and innovation in both school planning and design. The CEFPI jury recognizes projects that stand out as forward thinking and inspiring, with exceptional achievement in the design of learning, physical and community environments, as well as the planning process. Congratulations to all who brought this project to fruition: Former Superintendent Carl Mock and his educational team, School Building Committee, School Committee, SMMA, Dore & Whittier, Consigli, town officials of Ayer & Shirley, and the taxpayers in Ayer & Shirley for supporting this project!

ASRHS in U.S. News Top High Schools of 2015


ASRSD and the ASRHS are very proud to announce that ASRHS has been selected by US News and World Report as one of America’s Best High Schools in its 2015 rankings. Congratulations to Principal Haas and his staff and students!

According to the rankings, ASRHS is in the top 12% of high schools nationally and the top 22% in Massachusetts. For this ranking ASRHS was awarded a Silver Medal. Only 10.3% of the high schools evaluated nationally (19,753 total evaluated) were awarded Silver Medals. Only another 2.5% were awarded Gold.

In Massachusetts, ASRHS was one of only 79 high schools (out of 352 public high schools in the state, including charters) to be awarded a Gold or Silver Medal.

The rankings are based on 2012-2013 academic year data. We expect that with about the same MCAS scores and improved Advanced Placement (AP) participation and passing scores in 2013-2014, we will maintain or even improve our ranking next year.

For more information on the rankings and the methodology used, please visit US News and World Report.


AYER — Picture this: You’ve just been released from a psychiatric hospital, and you, along with your spouse, decide to rent a cabin in the woods, whose owner is a creepy farmer. Your sister comes for a visit, and then things spiral down into the abyss.

That’s a small snippet of “I’ll Be Back Before Midnight” by Peter Colley, a Canadian playwright. And Ayer Shirley drama, under the direction of Mike Hoffmann, is performing it for the fall play.

Ryan Messcher, a sophomore, plays Greg, the husband. And he’s no stranger to the stage.

“I’ve been in multiple shows — my first being ‘Cinderella,'” he said.

Last year, he was in “Footloose,” which was Ayer Shirley’s spring musical.

Messcher is also a member of the school band, and he has participated in Destination Imagination, a program dedicated to teaching science, technology, engineering and math to students. He’d like to continue with music, but, ultimately, he wants to be a film director.

Brooke Martinez, also a sophomore, plays Laura, Greg’s sister.

“This is my first real show,” she said. She became interested in acting a year ago, and improv and doing the pit for “Footloose” were the catalysts. Hers is a villainous role, and that has her excited.

Katherine Krieger, a freshman and a stage veteran, plays Jane, Greg’s wife, who has just recovered from a nervous breakdown.

Thus the role tests ranges.

“This is one of the most complicated parts I’ve probably ever played,” Krieger said, adding that the character “gets angry quickly, it seems.”

“She’s definitely not stable,” she said.

Hoffmann said that “out of everybody, she has the hardest of the roles.” Also, “I’ll Be Back Before Midnight” is difficult because it has such a small cast, he said.

“It’s not the terribly easiest thing when you’re on stage all the time,” he said.

But the show will very likely frighten audience members.

“If we really rehearse it very, very well, it really is quite dramatic and scary,” he said.

Admission Tickets

Hoffmann, who has directed such shows as “Charlie Brown” and “Cinderella” and who has studied piano at Indian Hill Arts, is in his first year as director of theatre at Ayer Shirley Drama. He has big ideas for the program, and they include exposing students to many different kinds of performance.

“We’re going to try to get them into a BSO concert,” he said, also mentioning opera and community theater, with the ultimate goal being a New York trip in the spring. Students will also get to take tech classes and learn the basics of set construction.

The renovated high school will have the space to accommodate his vision. The auditorium, which will open in November, will be state of the art and will have professional sound and lighting, he said.

“We’re really trying to rebuild the drama program and get it up to” a high level, he said.

Jared Bloch, a new music teacher at Ayer Shirley Regional High School, has the same ambitions.

“The whole performing arts program is smaller than what we’d like it to be,” he said. “We’d like the performing arts program to be as strong as we can get it.”

The school offers classes in band, choir, guitar, piano, music theory and composition, and the history of rock. Bloch said that they would like to develop theater classes as well.

But, luckily, they both have backing.

“Ayer Shirley has been very supportive of what we’re trying to do here,” he said.

The show dates for “I’ll Be Back Before Midnight” are Dec. 12, 13 and 14.

Read more: