In recognition of Founder’s Day for New Hampton School on September 17, 2021, a variety of events promoting community engagement took place with the residents of the town of New Hampton.
In the early 1800s, the citizens of New Hampton had a big dream. After founding a “social library” in 1813, they planned for a school, for which they received a charter on July 19, 1821. Even today many of the names on the document sound familiar: Drake, Kelley, Hanaford, Howe, Mooney, and Woodman. The newly created “Academy” opened on Monday, September 17, 1821. Over the years there have been many ways that the town and the school joined together, from teachers and students boarding in private homes to faculty and students serving in the volunteer fire department. “Town” and “Gown” mingled on Main Street in the Church (and its choir), in the Algra Home Bakery, on the tennis courts (with free lessons all summer and a huge tournament in August), at the IGA Grocery Store, at the Post Office, and, of course, at the Gordon-Nash Library.
Friday, September 17, 2021, was a Service Learning Day for the students and faculty of New Hampton School. Service learning is an integral part of New Hampton School’s culture and community. It is embedded in the academic programs, co-curricular offerings, and International Baccalaureate projects. By getting to know and serve the greater New Hampton community, our students have a better sense of place and inspire them to maintain an ongoing commitment to service in their life. Founder’s Day provides the perfect time to re-engage in this calling. Several residents and organizations within the town of New Hampton participated in this initiative by hosting one or more groups of students at their residence or organization. Feedback from residents and organizations was extremely positive as they actively engaged with students and faculty, all of whom proudly shared their Husky Pride by wearing tee shirts embracing this year’s theme, “Together Again.”
The day opened at an all school meeting where Head of School Joe Williams spoke about the school’s 200-year history and tradition of looking outside its community to serve others. Members of the Founder’s Day Sub-Committee also addressed the students and faculty sharing stories and examples of the ongoing town-gown relationship over time.
“You will be helping to make the town of New Hampton a little better place to live and you will be acting as ambassadors from the school to the town … You will know a little more about the town when you return from your assignment this afternoon and you, hopefully, will have a feeling of accomplishment thanks to the work you have done.”
– Andy Moore ’65, P’95, ’96, Son of T. Holmes Moore and Norma Jean “Jinga” Moore.
Local clergyman, Pastor Scott Mitchell has a long-standing relationship with New Hampton School, its students, and faculty, and offered these comments reflecting upon service.
“It is a blessing to be in community with New Hampton School. We appreciate the students and faculty who are respectful and are a positive contribution to our community… New Hampton School is a respected and considerate contributor to our community as they build and develop young men and women with integrity and character.”
At the end of last Friday’s Service Learning activities, students, faculty and some of the local town hosts gathered on campus to share conversations and refreshments in honor of Founder’s Day.
Saturday morning’s schedule included a Children’s Program focusing on legos and robotics, jointly hosted by Gordon-Nash Library Children’s Librarian Christine Hunewell and New Hampton School faculty member, Kim Duncan. Town and school history presentations were offered by Kent Bicknell, Class of 1965, former founder and Head of Sant Bani School in nearby Sanbornton, and current Curator of Special Collections for Gordon-Nash Library. The morning’s events were wrapped up with a re-dedication of the Gordon-Nash Library, celebrating its 125th anniversary and a Bicentennial Time Capsule Dedication. Head of School Joe Williams spoke of the importance of strengthening the school’s relationship with the town. Town resident, a former Selectman and Library Incorporator, Mark Denoncour, spoke about the town’s work to keep the library strong and the benefits of collaborating with New Hampton School as it took ownership of the library almost two years ago. Current Trustee and Bicentennial Steering Committee member Peter Galletly ’73, P’09 dedicated the Bicentennial Time Capsule to be opened in 50 years on September 17, 2071.