By Jon Bishop
AYER — The 25th annual Ayer Community School spaghetti dinner, held this year in March, was more than just a fundraiser for the school, and more than a chance to get something to eat.
“We are a community event for Ayer,” said Susan Napper, the school’s director. “It’s a good event for the town and for the school.”
Each year, they pull in a lot of volunteers, from the Boy Scouts to Ayer Shirley Regional High School students.
“We need a lot of people to support all this,” she said. “It’s great to have them.”
Especially since there are so many regulars.
Kris Dagbjartsson and his wife, Miranda Monahan, come often, and one of their favorite parts is the raffle.
“We’ve won a few things,” Dagbjartsson said.
But Monahan said it’s also about friends and acquaintances they can talk with and greet.
“It’s nice to see people in the community,” she said, noting that “this is something we do every year.”
“It’s good to support the school,” she said.
And for staff members who have been at the school for a long time, it’s always a pleasure to see current families and to catch up with former students who have now grown up, who, in some cases, have families of their own.
“You hope you’re making an impression on families and children,” said Martha Pierce, the school’s assistant director and also a teacher. “I’ve been here for almost 20 years.”
So she knows the Van Tassell family well. According to Larry, his oldest granddaughter, now 20 years old, went through the school. The youngest ones are current students.
“They do a great job here,” he said. “They’re so good to the kids. Great people. Great teachers.”
His wife, Belinda, said she likes to talk to the people she sees only year to year.
“It’s just nice seeing the people,” she said. “It’s really nice to come to these functions,” adding that “you like to support the local (things).”
Selectman Gary Luca echoed her sentiments.
“It’s good to support the school,” he said. “I’m happy to contribute. We do every year.”
“It’s a social event,” he added. “You see people you don’t see too often.”
Appropriately enough, this year’s theme was the silver anniversary, and, as always, the students helped make the decorations. And at a silent auction, attendees had the chance to win such things as a photography session and an autographed baseball.
Napper said that any money they raise goes toward the school. But they’ve also received donated items, and not just from Ayer. They’ve come from Boston, Acton, she said.
Pierce said that they regularly serve between 300 and 500 meals each year.
“We prepare for 500. We may do only 300,” she said.
People pop in throughout the evening, grab a bite to eat, enjoy each other’s company.
And the Ayer Community School wouldn’t have it any other way.