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Archive for July, 2010

“Job” Available?

The pay isn’t great unless you count fun and satisfaction! As we attempt to move the Association into this century… without, of course, losing all the nostalgia and good stuff… we do need to take advantage of technology. One alumni at the reunion this year said she’d “reconnected” by finding information about the reunion online — here!

Now I’m not a big fan of Facebook… but a lot of people are and it definitely seems to be getting people reconnected. So I’m thinking it might be time to consider a Chester High Facebook Page. I’m willing to set it up (I think I can figure out how to do that) but would sure like some help administering and moderating it. At this point, I’m not even sure what might be involved… but if you are interested, shoot me an email!

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Scholarship Report 2010

Caleb Robitaille receives his scholarship from Maurice Pease.

During this year’s reunion Maurice Pease, Scholarship Custodian presented four scholarships on behalf of the Chester High Alumni Association, noting that while the economy isn’t great, we continue to be able to support deserving students from Chester. 

The Pearl and Raymond Choufett Scholarship was awarded to Caleb Robitaille. Pease noted that since this fund was created, scholarships totalling over $110,000 have been awarded. 

Scholarships from the Permanent Scholarship Fund are made possible from a number of sources included donations from alumni and life memberships in the Association. This year’s scholarships went to Steven Ellershaw and Catherine Donovan. 

Maurice Pease congratulates Steve Ellershaw. Catherine Donovan was unable to attend.

Pease yielded the floor to retiring secretary Edith Whitaker for the presentation of the Amelia Jones Scholarship to her grandson Korey Whitaker. Edith noted it was a special honor to do so “on behalf of the alumni and Association. Moe noted that the Amelia Jones Scholarship has awarded over $170,000  in scholarships since it’s inception. 

Edith Whitaker makes the formal presentation to Korey.

When I asked Moe how long he’d been handling the scholarship program he said it’d been “too many years to count” and all he could say is “since Rachel (Rachel Rose Doyle Meher) gave it up.”  Moe will continue to serve as a custodian, but has passed the chairmanship to Duane C. Pease.  Graduating students from Chester are encouraged to contact their guidance counselor for scholarship information. 

The “unaudited” balance of all scholarship funds managed stood at $157,236.38 at the time of the reunion. While this may at first appear to be a sizeable number, it’s important to remember in most cases we are only allowed to use the income from these funds; not the principal. 

As a personal note, I had one of last year’s recipients contact me and make a point of expressing appreciation explaining that were it not for the scholarship she received she would have had to drop out of college. 

We do good stuff! 

The current scholarship custodians are Duane C. Pease of Chester, Maurice Pease of Middlefield, and Bruce Cooper of Russell.

Comin’ Home 2010

 Excerpts from a press release…

As over 150 Chester High Alumni and friends gathered in town, one was heard to

These folks are not waiting for a train but this is about "days gone by."

comment “Where is Normal Rockwell when you need him?” The 108th anniversary of Chester High School was indeed a picture of history, nostalgia, and community/school spirit.  The annual reunion and meeting always draws a large number of people associated with the former Chester High School, including Chester Residents who graduated from Gateway after Chester High School closed in the late 1960’s. This year’s meeting was held on June 26 at the restored Chester Train Station.

Special recognition was given to Ralph Kenyon who was present for his 74th reunion. Additional five year class attendees included William Holmes and Rita Mitchell Phelps, Class of 1945; Muriel Pease Boisseau, Edward Carrington, Rita Tracey Dempsey, Phyllis Salvini Donovan, Elinore Markham. Paul Mitchell, Maurice Pease, Fay Peltier Piergiovanni, Marjorie Morey Pulver, and Barbara Gerrish Thomas, Class of 1950. The “half century” class of 1960 included Gerald Biggs, Robert Goewey, Shirley Libardi Guzzo, Joan Hansbury, George Miller, and Paula Zisk.

What happened to the chocolate covered strawberries??

Association President Walter Boomsma noted that these reunions are “drifting in the direction of becoming as much a town event as a school reunion.” Noting that the Chester Foundation handled most of the meeting arrangements and food, he also pointed out that the Historical Society also supported the occasion by offering special hours for alumni to visit and arranging for a book signing by alumni and author Phyllis Salvini Donovan.

Author Phyllis Donovan is assisted by Fay Piergiovanni autographing "A History of Chester..."

“We had lots of help setting up and people who volunteered to stay and help clean up,” he said. “I think this is proof that small town America is alive and well, at least here in Chester.”

Election of officers was also held. Elected as President for his sixth year was Walter Boomsma. Also returned to office were Vice President, Robert Goewey; and Treasurer, George Morey, Jr. Judith Davenport Olson  and Edith Cooper Whitaker were elected to the Board of Directors. After accepting Secretary Edith Whitaker’s resignation with regret, attendees overwhelmingly elected Annette Fimbel LaMountain as to the office.

The Association has already started planning for the next annual meeting, scheduled for June 25, 2011. Those associated with or in some way connected with Chester and/or Chester High School are encouraged to be certain the Association has current mailing information by contacting Annette LaMountain, Association Secretary, PO Box 206, Chester MA 01011.

Maple Street Bridge Open

July 1, 2010 1 comment

"Pratt-through truss" design was patented in 1844.

One of the little joys of attending this year’s reunion was having a choice of how to get there! Of course some residents will admit they “forget” the choice is now available… and it is a limited choice, you can only use the Maple Street Bridge to get into town, not out! (It’s one way and narrow.)

I took the liberty of digging into Phyllis’s book for some background… the history of the bridge is interesting! And I’m not telling you everything so you have to buy the book!

I do remember when it repairs were done (late sixties?), then Road Boss Mutt Ell joked that he loved it because it wouldn’t need plowing. (The deck was a grid, the snow fell through.) According to A History of Chester the bridge was closed in 1981. For a while it looked like it would be permanently lost when the Massachusetts Highway Department threatened to demolish it. Plans for reconstruction were developed in 2006 but were a long time coming!

One of the interesting delays took place in May 2007 when the state informed the town they didn’t own it! Then Selectman Dominic Piergiovanni and his wife Fay completed lots of research to prove otherwise. We’re fortunate that there were some folks in Chester determined to see the bridge restored to its former glory! Special thanks to the Chester Historical Society for being stubborn!

For your walking and driving pleasure!