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TOWNSEND — The Laureen Lyons Memorial Scholarship has been established to honor the late Townsend Cooperative Play School preschool teacher.

Lyons died Nov. 9 from pancreatic cancer. She was 53. For 21 years, she lived in Townsend and for 19 of those was a dedicated teacher at the TCP and an active member of the board of directors. Shortly after her passing, former directors from TCP decided to organize a scholarship in her memory.

“Everywhere we would go, she would bump into past students,” said Doug Lyons, her husband of 23 years. “They always had respect to call her ‘Mrs. Lyons’ and remembered the quality of caring, patience and nurturing she brought to the classroom.”

While the TCP was closed last June due to insufficient enrollment, it was unique for welcoming parent involvement into the school day. There, Lyons taught hundreds of students from Townsend, Ashby, Fitchburg and other communities who have now moved onto high school and beyond.

Naomi Lynch, fellow director and teacher at TCP, said Laureen was an integral part of the school and was someone who knew the importance of having enthusiastic and well trained approach to education.

“She was very passionate, this scholarship would be very near and dear to her heart,” Lynch said. “It was hard losing her, but in (TCP) we had a wonderful co-op that was a close-knit community.”

Lynch added that early years are the best for learning, and teaching pre-schoolers is the most rewarding thing one can do.

“It isn’t the most luxurious job, but it is the most rewarding,” Lynch said.

Lyons said his wife’s years of experience teaching fundamentals gave her the ability to not only provide basic life skills very early on, but also spot possible learning difficulties students may have. In honor of her service to children, the scholarship will be awarded to a student who plans to go into early childhood education.

Former Board of Directors Member Linda Hammill, who is organizing the scholarship, said that if there is no child going into early childhood, general education students will be considered too.

“This scholarship is something that would humble and honor her,” Lyons said, adding that she also spent time teaching CCD at St. John’s Church.

Donations can be made out to the NMRS Scholarship Foundation, and mailed to Laureen Lyons Memorial Scholarship, C/O NMRS Scholarship Foundation, P.O Box 715, Townsend, MA 01469.

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