Pingree in the Community: Our 'Good Neighbor Policy'
Pingree School fosters a positive and cooperative relationship with the towns of Hamilton and Wenham by opening its doors to local residents, town officials and employees, and by making its fields and other facilities available to local groups. In addition, the school offers educational opportunities, service-related interactions and provides economic contributions. The school recognizes its obligation as a “good neighbor” to share its campus and resources with the community at large.
Pingree School is the site for such events as Town Meetings, workshops, receptions and staff development days for various town and school departments. In support of community organizations, the school’s facilities host events such as the Hamilton-Wenham Rotary Club Annual Dinner and election of officers, Habitat for Humanity fundraisers, Hamilton Public Library Dance Series, Wenham Museum Antique Auction and Sale, Beverly Hospital Community Lecture Series, Museum of Fine Arts North Shore Lecture Series, Essex County Community Foundation workshops, the Hamilton annual sled dog races, the Greenbelt Trail Race, and Cape Ann Youth Symphony Chorus concerts, Pingree Art Day for Wellspring House, Gabe’s Run “thank you” dinner, the fall Special Olympic Assessment Tournaments, and the American Red Cross Blood Drives. In addition, the school is the site for an emergency broadcast antenna serving the towns of Hamilton, Topsfield and Ipswich.
Each year, Pingree’s playing fields are used by thousands of young athletes participating in the Essex County Youth Soccer tournaments and regional field hockey and cross country tournaments. In addition, Babe Ruth teams from the towns of Hamilton, Wenham, Manchester, Essex and Topsfield use Pingree’s baseball field at no cost when it is available, and the Hamilton-Wenham Youth Lacrosse program plays on Pingree’s fields for a nominal fee. Masconomet and Hamilton youth basketball teams use Pingree’s basketball courts at times during the season as needed. During the year, the Hamilton-Wenham Recreation Department uses Pingree gymnasium for its volleyball teams, and the Pingree teams use the Hamilton-Wenham Recreational Center when available. In addition, the H. Alden Johnson Ice Rink is the site of numerous tournaments, teams and clinics conducted by local schools and organizations throughout the year. Rink time has also been donated for local fund raisers.
Each fall, the school hosts the regional Special Olympics soccer assessment. In addition, Pingree is the venue for the North Shore Tour de Cure, which brings 1,200 people to campus in May.In the summer of 2012, Pingree hopes to operate a family swim club and a family tennis club where people will pay a membership fee to use our pool and tennis courts in the evenings and on weekends.
Finally, Pingree’s athletics program offers intern positions to Endicott College students each year.
CONSERVATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVES
Pingree School works with local residents through cooperative efforts and open dialogue to ensure that the quality of life in the surrounding neighborhoods is not adversely affected by the traffic patterns that are inherently part of a day school. The school has worked cooperatively with the Hamilton Conservation Commission and the Essex County Trails Association to complete a beaver mitigation project needed to deter beavers from building dams that adversely affect both horse riding and cross country trails. Only organic fertilizers are used on the school’s grounds and fields, in order to protect the Essex Watershed. The school is routinely notified when “the hunt” will be coming through, and all Pingree drivers are respectfully aware of the possibility of horses crossing the property.
Pingree’s theater program is very active in the community at large, producing shows that are advertised in the community as family entertainment and include stage tours, study guides and special events. In past years, students have brought theater workshops and performances to local elementary schools. Groups from local educational organizations, social service agencies, assisted-living facilities, etc. are given a significant discount on ticket prices.
In recent years, the North of Boston Arts Center and Fred Films have used our theater to showcase their work. Colleges and universities also host student receptions here. The Community House of Hamilton-Wenham will hold its community production at Pingree in June 2012.
Service to the community is an integral part of Pingree’s arts program. Community service and interaction in other areas of the arts include an Empty Bowl Event in which Pingree student and adult potters create ceramic bowls that are purchased at a special dinner to raise money for local homeless shelters and soup kitchens. Pingree musicians perform at holiday fundraisers at the House of Seven Gables in Salem; are invited to perform for benefit events for The Samaritans, an organization dedicated to preventing suicide; supply holiday caroling at Beverly Hospital. They also participate annually in Shore Country Day School's Acapalooza to support that school’s diversity efforts and have appeared at auctions to support The Beverly School of Kenya and Homes for Our Troops. Always seeking new ways to connect with the community through music, Pingree students create programs and concerts to benefit local organizations and to share their love of music with children from neighboring towns. These events, frequently organized as senior projects, have included an Art Day for Wellspring House and an introduction to Mozart and other classical music for younger students from Lawrence. The Arts Department recognizes the value of cooperative sharing of art.
Pingree thespians have assisted with an artistic outreach program through a mental health agency in Boston; raised thousands of dollars for cancer research and raising awareness of ovarian cancer during the presentation of their fall production; and used a portion of the proceeds from their winter musical to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
The Bertolon Family Art Gallery at Pingree School mounts several shows each year, often featuring the work of local artists. The Gallery is open free to the public every day during the school year.
Additionally, the two-month Flying Horse Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit at Pingree is a free, public outdoor exhibition of 30 pieces created by artists from across New England, many from the North Shore region. Local community and school groups are invited to attend and to meet the artists at an opening reception each fall.
SUMMER CAMP and AUXILIARY SERVICES
Pingree’s summer camp program provides vouchers for free camp sessions to local public and private schools and other community organizations for their fundraising purposes. Families who apply and qualify for financial aid are granted a free session of Pingree camp. The Auxiliary Program also works together with the Lawrence Youth Development Organization to offer free sessions of Day Camp and Soccer Camp to students involved in that program. The campus is also used each June for the Essex County Youth Soccer Association’s playoff tournament. The Boston Soccer Academy and All-Court Tennis hold their camps at Pingree.
Pingree hosts classes that are open to non-Pingree students throughout the year. In the spring and summer, The Princeton Review holds SAT and SSAT classes and the Topsfield Driving School offers driver’s education classes. In the evenings and on weekends, Pingree offers adult education classes to anyone from the area through the Pingree Masters program.
North Shore Summer School is due to open in June 2012. This program will be held at and administered by Pingree, but it will be designed and overseen by a consortium of local public school leaders and partners. NSSS will offer courses for enrichment, remediation and advancement for middle and high school students in the area.
In an effort to expand the definition of “community,” Pingree has created relationships with schools and agencies in the cities of Lawrence, Massachusetts and Lynn, Massachusetts. Students from Lawrence and Lynn middle schools attend Prep@Pingree, a summer academic enrichment program at Pingree, for five weeks. Prep@Pingree provides an ongoing academic and cultural enrichment program for talented, urban, middle school students through an intensive summer program and supplemental year-round support by preparing middle-school students for independent, parochial and public high schools. Several Prep@Pingree alumni are enrolled as full-time students at Pingree School. Through this program, Pingree School enjoys partnerships with several Lawrence and Lynn middle schools, Boys & Girls Clubs and various other agencies that support Lawrence and Lynn children. Prep@Pingree recently celebrated its tenth anniversary with a free evening event featuring the Follow Hymn Interfaith Choir of Lynn and special guest Governor Deval Patrick.
For more than ten years, a strong relationship has existed, through the outreach efforts of the school’s Social Concerns Group, with both HAWC (Healing Abuse Working for Change, formerly known as Help for Abused Women and their Children), Lazarus House (a soup kitchen and shelter in Lawrence), Wellspring House (an agency that helps families and individuals on Cape Ann and the North Shore move out of poverty and live more fulfilling lives), North Shore ARC (an organization serving North shore residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities), and Special Olympics. Pingree students volunteer at Beverly Bootstraps, The Cape Ann Food Pantry, The Pettengill House, and Capernum House. Pingree students also coordinate food drives, clothing drives as well as seasonal outreach to local agencies supporting those in need. Students also volunteer for special service day events at Appleton Farms in Hamilton, North Shore Coalition for Affordable Housing in Beverly, the Trustees for Reservations, and Spencer Peirce Little Farm in Newbury.
Students at Pingree School have a 50-hour community service graduation requirement. Many students log more than 50 hours per year. Through student outreach efforts, the Pingree community has provided hardcover text books for third world countries, responded to disasters throughout the world, supported Doctors without Borders, and collected clothing and sporting equipment for orphanages in the Dominican Republic. An annual dodge ball tournament raises thousands of dollars each year for the Red Cross, and the Annual Fashion Show supports the Invisible Children’s Fund.
In addition, Pingree students raise funds and goods for the American Red Cross, the Long Island Shelter in Boston, the Beverly School in Kenya, the Jimmy Fund, Katrina Relief, Muscular Dystrophy, and many more worthwhile causes locally, nationally, and internationally. Students and adults from the Pingree community regularly participate in walks to benefit ALS, the American Cancer Society, Wellspring House, Hospice of the North Shore, and others. Pingree students volunteer at local hospitals, soup kitchens, schools, churches, and human service agencies. Moreover, students are involved in environmental initiatives and awareness of global issues such as free trade.
Volunteerism is encouraged and valued at all levels by all members of the community. The school sees these opportunities as concrete ways to fulfill our mission of instilling compassion in our students as well as honoring our commitment to the world at large.
The economic impact of Pingree School to the local community can be quantified in several ways. The school’s operating budget includes a total yearly payroll and benefits of $5,853,598, and Pingree has 86 employees, 13 (15%) of whom reside in Hamilton or Wenham. The school enrolls 37 students who live in Hamilton or Wenham. Both resident and non-resident members of Pingree’s student body and faculty and staff frequently patronize local restaurants and merchants. The school paid $633,280 in taxes, utilities and fees last year, and paid $225,000 in interest to a local debt holder. The school maintains its property and grounds with the utmost care, and capital expenditures during the last five years have totaled over $12 million.