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Looking back on Pepperell History: The Avery School exhibit at Lawrence Library

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PEPPERELL — The Friends of the Lawrence Library in Pepperell present “The Amery School: Remembrances and Reflections.”

Organized by the Maple Dene and The Moppet Schools, this unique exhibit brings together the past and present, and allows visitors to experience Amery School history through pictures and music, while also giving visitors the unique opportunity to share their own stories.

In 1941, a young couple, Priscilla and Alfred Amery, opened the doors to a small New England school: the Amery School. For 35 years, children from Pepperell and surrounding towns were ushered through its doors and educated with a belief in individuality, fostering creativity and instilling a love for learning. A rich part of Pepperell history is contained in the stories and records of this era.

Shortly after the Amery School closed its doors, another young couple attending Wheelock College had dreams of their own. After graduation, Bob Vieira and Pat Kenneally soon made plans to open a school for young children, The Moppet School. It would be rooted in the values of being “safe, friendly and responsible” and giving children “the opportunity and encouragement to explore, imagine and create.” A few years later Maple Dene Elementary School and the Summer Camp were added. Mrs. Amery was quite pleased. She was very proud of being a Wheelock graduate herself, and she loved the fact that two new graduates were continuing the tradition she had started in Pepperell.

Mr. and Mrs. Amery generously shared their life’s work and experience with Mr. Vieira and Ms. Kenneally as a way of “passing the baton” from one small school to another. This retrospective — which includes art, photographs, and historical artifacts — provides a rare opportunity to showcase a quintessential piece of Pepperell history. In addition, Amery School alumni and others will be given an opportunity to record their own personal recollections and stories, providing an immeasurable and priceless addition to this collection.

This self-guided exhibit is a unique occasion to bring past and present together, and promises to not only generate happy memories for “graduates” of the Amery School, but to create new memories for young and old alike. It is truly a one-of-a-kind exhibit that the Maple Dene community is especially proud to be able to share.

This project is funded in part by the Pepperell Massachusetts Cultural Council. “The Amery School: Remembrances and Reflections” will be open during library hours: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will run through Friday, June 2.

For more information, call Kathy at (978) 618-6048 or visit our Web site www.lawrencelibrary.org.