Academy at Charlemont students remember late founder

Recorder/Paul Franz
Academy at Charlemont students do community service by cleaning and organizing at Arms Library in Shelburne Falls on Thursday.  Tenzin Gyalpo washes windows from the outside while Andrew Row does the inside.

Recorder/Paul Franz Academy at Charlemont students do community service by cleaning and organizing at Arms Library in Shelburne Falls on Thursday. Tenzin Gyalpo washes windows from the outside while Andrew Row does the inside.

SHELBURNE FALLS — Academy at Charlemont students and staff remembered the school’s first headmaster Thursday with a day of community service in several West County communities.

Roughly 100 students and 20 school staff members went to work washing windows and shelving books at the Arms Library in Shelburne Falls, assisting seniors with email and Internet technology at the Senior Center, and helping with cleaning tasks at the newly remodeled Cowell Gymnasium, Shelburne’s Memorial Hall, the Mary Lyon Foundation headquarters, and the Heath and Plainfield town halls.

March 29 is the school’s annual Founders Day, and Eric Grinnell, who died in December, was one of six founders as well as the school’s first headmaster. He retired in 2002, after serving as headmaster for 20 years.

“He was an incredibly bold man,” current Head of School Mark Efinger, told The Recorder in December. “He had such a warm heart, and a strong belief in people, education, and the concept of classical education.”

Although community service has always been part of the school’s education, this is the first time it has been part of the school’s Founder’s Day events, said Academy spokeswoman Martha Tirk. “It is particularly meaningful that it is being done in his honor,” she said.

The Academy at Charlemont is hosting a celebration of Grinnell’s life and legacy, for school community members, alumni, and school families on Saturday afternoon, beginning at 3 p.m.

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