Academy at Charlemont to celebrate 40th year with three-day event

  • The Academy at Charlemont. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

For the Recorder
Published: 9/14/2021 3:43:01 PM

CHARLEMONT — An anticipated 100 alumni students and faculty are expected to converge on The Academy at Charlemont when it marks its 40th anniversary with a three-day hybrid celebration the weekend of Friday, Sept. 17.

“Our school really encourages a close-knit community,” Co-Head of School for Community Nora Bates Zale said. “A lot of the time our faculty and alumni talk about it feeling more like a family than a school.”

While many alumni have kept in touch due to that experience, this event will give all guests a chance to revisit those strong community roots.

On Friday evening, alumni students, faculty and parents are invited to the Shelburne Falls Bowling Alley to begin the celebration. The alley, Bates Zale said, is fondly remembered as a common gathering spot for many alumni and a common reunion tradition.

“We’re also encouraging specific alumni classes to gather on their own,” she added.

Classes are being encouraged to get together that night either before or after the bowling kickoff, as this will be an open opportunity for many to visit.

Saturday, Sept. 18, will have pickup soccer and ultimate Frisbee games in the afternoon prior to an evening auction.

The 40th Anniversary Auction will replace the academy’s annual Cornucopia Auction, and will have options for both in-person and virtual participation for all alumni over age 18. Guests will bid on items such as local crafts and getaways, and be offered drinks and appetizers.

A post-auction dinner will be catered by alumni chef Stan Langston. Former faculty, administrators and students will speak and share stories about their time at The Academy at Charlemont. Alumni faculty will put on a musical campfire performance following dinner.

The People’s Pint and Progression Brewing Co. will donate beer, and West County Cider is donating its locally made cider. People’s Bank, Berkshire Fairfield Insurance, Greenfield Savings Bank, Marcus Printing and ST Insurance Agency are underwriters.

“In the 40 years of the school’s life, we’ve partnered with area businesses often,” Bates Zale added.

The final event on Sunday morning at 10 a.m. will be a virtual coffee gathering, which will give alumni who are unable to be physically present the chance to catch up with their former peers.

Bates Zale noted that the academy’s effort to include virtual activities is a result of the many individuals who will not be traveling due to COVID-19 and the number of more recent alumni who will be away at college when the event occurs. She said the academy is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, consulting with other public health professionals and keeping as many events outdoors as possible.

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