Front: Col. Samuel Holmes (Malcolm “Tink” Taylor); Back: William Rolfe (Jay Moskowitz), James Little (Tim Keefe), Elizabeth Greenleaf (Marcia Schmidt Blaine), Noah Worcester (Bill Crangle), Hon. Arthur Livermore (Joseph Bourque), Rev. Drury Fairbanks (John T. Downs), Betsey Mulliken (Rebecca Noel), Dr. John Rogers (Ross Deachman) and Robert Fowle (Alex Ray).
PLYMOUTH, N.H. — Plymouth State University alumni gathered on campus earlier this month were treated to the first of three events being planned to celebrate two centuries of higher learning in the town of Plymouth, N.H.
Dubbed “Holmes Schooling,” the celebration will commemorate the institutions that have provided higher education in the area for nearly 200 years, beginning with Holmes Plymouth Academy in 1808.
“It is important to recognize that the citizens of Plymouth initiated the creation of Holmes Plymouth Academy,” said University archivist Alice Staples. “The community’s commitment to education has survived and flourished over the last 200 years.”
A short musical theatre interlude entitled Incorporate, Celebrate! premiered at the Alumni luncheon. The musical introduced townspeople influential in the development and passage of the charter for Holmes Plymouth Academy, which was named for its chief benefactor, Col. Samuel Holmes of Campton. Academies were private secondary schools in an era when public high schools were not yet widespread. An academy education was considered sufficient preparation for a teacher in the early 1800s, and some academies claimed to produce teachers, although no formal programs existed before 1823.
Written by PSU Professor of Education and Integrated Arts Trish Lindberg from historical research by PSU faculty members Marcia Schmidt Blaine, Rebecca Noel, Cynthia Vascak and Staples; and local journalist Malcolm “Tink” Taylor, the program included original music composed and performed by William Ogmundson. The cast of the program included Schmidt Blaine, Noel, and Taylor as well as community members Alex Ray and Ross Deachman; and Tim Keefe, Bill Crangle, Jay Moskowitz, and Joseph Bourque of PSU.
It’s the 13th Academy in the State/And we aim to make the education first rate!/English, Latin, Mathematics, Greek/Literature they’ll come to seek/At the Holmes Plymouth Academy!/ We’ll teach your youth for eternity! claims one stanza in the production.
The charter was granted on December 7, 1808. Some of the names on this charter are familiar to Plymouth residents today according to Staples, such as Ward, Noyes, Cummings, Russell and Webster. Plymouth’s ongoing commitment to higher learning is also familiar to people in 2008. Throughout the ensuing years, the schools named “Plymouth” (New Hampshire Normal School at Plymouth, Plymouth Teachers College, Plymouth State College and Plymouth State University) have enjoyed the ongoing support of the town of Plymouth.
To recognize the bicentennial of higher learning in Plymouth, the University has created the Holmes Plymouth Academy Bicentennial Endowed Scholarship to celebrate two centuries of higher learning on the site of what is now Plymouth State University.
The scholarship will be awarded to graduates of Plymouth Regional High School who attend PSU. The new endowment joins the Michael D. Currier Scholarship as the second such scholarship exclusively for this purpose.
Additional events are in the planning stages for fall and December, 2008. Short-sleeved t-shirts have also been created to recognize the ongoing celebration. The white and green t-shirt back sports words from The New England Primer: “Love Your School/Mind Your Body/Strive to Learn/Be Not a Dunce” and the front has a reproduction of a photograph of the building. The shirts sell for $12 each and will be available at University events.
For information about the “Holmes Schooling” project contact Steve Barba, executive director of university relations, at (603) 535-3268 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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