The Biography of Zachary Simmons, Haverhill:
Early life, school, broadcasting, and journalism
Zachary Nicholas Simmons was born on December 19th, 1968 in Milford, Connecticut.
He grew up moving around from Rhode Island, to Seabrook, New Hampshire, to Hampton, New Hampshire to Groveland, Massachusetts to Haverhill, Massachusetts.
Zachary graduated from Haverhill High School in 1987. A difficult home life and constant uprooting made school difficult for him. Upon graduating, he moved out of his house and earned an Associate degree in Broadcasting/Journalism from Northern Essex Community College.
After graduating, Zach worked at the radio station WCGY, primarily on the local music program Boston Music Showcase with DJ Harvey Wharfield, until the station went off the air in 1994. Zachary was the second to last person to speak on the air before the song The End by the Beatles was played.
During and just after this time, Zachary was a freelance journalist interviewing mostly bands in the 1990’s in conjunction with his radio work.
As a music journalist, he interviewed musicians from numerous popular acts, including Nirvana, INXS, Sheryl Crow, Tori Amos, Snoop Dogg, Jethro Tull, George Carlin, Dave Chappelle, Aerosmith and many other national and international acts. Much of his focus was on local musicians such as Brad Delp (Boston, RTZ) Extreme, The Heretix, Tribe, and Letters to Cleo, just to name a few.
Boston Rock Magazine took much of his work, but Metronome Magazine, The Improper Bostonian, The Rockingham County Newspapers, and the Portsmouth Herald also were great for taking his stories. By the end of the 1990’s Zachary had a weekly music column in the Rockingham County Newspapers. Zachary still occasionally interviews bands, with his last being an interview of “Weird Al” Yankovic.
Journalism took him to human interest stories as well. A farmer who was losing his farm after generations, WWII pilots of B24 bombers on the Ploesti Oil Fields air raid were some of the people he sat with. Recently, Zachary branched into food journalism in Edible New Hampshire Magazine. interviews with craft-brewers, restaurant owners, and charcuterie makers were his topics. Zachary also edited and contributed to Parnassus Magazine from Northern Essex, which won him awards for his creativity and writing.
Back to College
Journalism is always a part of Zachary, but he is through and through a teacher.
And an excellent one. Zachary went back to college and signed up to UMass, Lowell. His future wife saw his potential as a teacher and he took her advice. Directly after receiving his Bachelor’s in History in 1998, he re-enrolled in UMass, Lowell’s teaching program. Zachary befriended some of his professors and had “mini-minors” in Native American studies, Chinese history, Middle Eastern history and politics, and Model United Nations. Zachary was recruited for the prestigious Model United Nations team and went on to win awards for his research and debate skills.
During this time, on behalf of the chancellor, he traveled to the newly created Nunavut Territory in Canada’s Arctic. For his senior project he brought a group of young Inuits for a tour of Merrimack Valley middle schools.
After getting his Master’s Degree in education, Magna Cum Laude, Zachary began to work at the same high school he tumultuously graduated from, Haverhill High School. During his first six years he taught freshman through junior year history classes. He also began an International Relations class, a World Studies Class and a Model United Nations team.
The MUN team participated in many regional MUN conferences, winning many awards. In just a few years Haverhill was hosting their own with area schools participating. The popularity of these conferences obliged Zachary to seek a larger venue. The conferences began to be hosted at Northern Essex Community College. The United Nations Association got involved as well.
A group of students who helped begin the program organized the first of many trips to New York City. The National High School Model United Nation conference was held there and the UN itself was involved. The students were hooked and the annual trip has seen the conference become the world’s largest. More important, Haverhill students began to lead the conference in many capacities. Two were even Secretary Generals, the highest position, and the highest honor for the students and the school.
The first six years also saw Zachary coaching Junior Varsity Boys Soccer giving them their first win and winning season that they have seen in almost a decade. Zachary helped begin dodgeball tournaments, and other extracurricular activities.
About this time Zachary Simmons of Haverhill was recruited by a neighboring school, Masconomet Regional High School, to take over their Model United Nations program. The school was primarily affluent and had its own challenges. However, they also had big hearts and Zachary took their program to new levels. Zachary also branched out; teaching psychology for the first time.
After two years, Zachary decided to return to Haverhill High School. He hit the ground running and in a very short time created and re-recreated many traditions and programs. All of this was done with students in the lead. After a six year hiatus, dances and the Homecoming Dances were brought back. A Mr. HHS comedy show was established as the opening of senior activities. For a number of years he was even the JV girls soccer coach.
The Dodge Tournament was brought to new levels, and the Mr. HHS show added a hugely popular Comedy Club. UNICEF Club was added, and the school was awarded the New England Citizenship Award. The MUN Team continued to soar and grow. Zachary was asked by the International Model United Nations Association (IMUNA) to help with external relations and special projects. Haverhill High now had floats in the annual Santa Parade, the original Macey’s Day Parade.
Zachary became a class advisor. With this he established Unity Summits which had class officers of all classes, their advisors, student council and the administrators come together and participated on planning of school activities,
As advisor, he reinvented senior activities. There was now a senior breakfast hosted by the staff, the prom was now at the beach. Class officers received their diplomas first, teachers now wear gowns and lead the students into the ceremony. The stadium was reconfigured for a much more comfortable view. COVID made even more drastic changes and Zachary was in the heart of it. Seniors had signs placed on their laws by staff, and many other changes were forced, but the graduation was a success.
This is the greatly shortened biography of Zachary Simmons. There is much, much more. From craft beer and grilling, to poem and song writing, just to name a few other interests. But, if there is one overreaching definition of Zachary, it’s that he is a family man. He and his beloved wife of almost 25 years have two teenage children whom they are deeply devoted to. When in 2020 Zachary began aggressive cancer treatment, his wife and family were overwhelmed by the supportive generosity of the community. Through these challenging times, Zachary and his family remain close and thankful.
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