Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Townspeople

October 31, 2013

Town honors Punchard High School namesake

More than 150 years after his gift helped pave the way for the creation of Andover Public Schools, town officials at last honored the man inside the building once named for him.

A ceremony in the entrance of the Town Offices on Bartlet Street earlier this month officially celebrated the building’s original use as Punchard High School.

The recognition was especially intended for one man: Benjamin Punchard, who endowed $50,000 to the town following his death in 1859 to establish a free school for residents.

A new plaque recognizing the history of the former school building was dedicated as part of the ceremony.

The plaque hangs inside the front entrance of what today is the Town Offices. The entrance once served as the main entryway for Punchard High, with the principal’s office on one side and district superintendent on the other.

“It started with a $50,000 donation,” Town Manager Reginald “Buzz” Stapczynski said at the ceremony. “The foresight that gentleman and his family had was absolutely incredible to produce a legacy like that.”

The effort to install a plaque was championed by the Punchard Free School Trustees after member Bob Stefani sent a letter to the Andover Townsman in February 2012 raising the issue of the lack of a dedication in the building.

“I grew up here, left in my early 30s, and I was (in New York) for 43 years,” Stefani, a 1951 graduate of Punchard High School, said.

“I came back and I saw the oversight every time I came down to pay something in this building. I see everything else, except that this was once a high school.”

Bunny Downs, one of 89 students who graduated from Punchard High in 1965, said she felt the dedication was “wonderful.”

Downs was readying to attend her 63rd class reunion following the plaque ceremony.

She said she wished more of her classmates had joined her for the program.

“I have fond memories of Punchard High School,” she said. “I wish I told the people about it today, and they probably would have come — a lot of them.”

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Townspeople
  • AT TAMMY

    Courtesy photo Megan McCann, left, and Melanie Scharn, right, have launched a fundraising campaign to assist Tammy Jusczak, center, a longtime toddler teacher at Bright Horizons in Andover who is battling cancer.

    A bright spot: Co-workers, parents support day-care teacher with cancer Posted 13 hours ago 1 Photo
  • AT GARDEN CLUB MEMBERS

    Frances Y.J. Wheeler/Courtesy photo Andover Garden Club welcomes new members, from left, Donna Rudolph, Chris McDermott, Paula Eriksen, Erin Ryan, Debbie Freedman, Anne Collins, Barbara Reichter, Isabel Seely, Caroline Grady and Heather Moody Holman as club president Anne Feeney, left rear, looks on. Fellow new member Linda Shottes Bouchard is missing from the photo.

    Growth spurt for Andover Garden Club Posted 13 hours ago 1 Photo
  • AT HOWARD KOH

    U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES/Courtesy photo Dr. Howard Koh will step down as U.S. assistant secretary for health after five years to rejoin Harvard School of Public Health this fall in a new position in its Department of Health Policy and Management.

    Koh to rejoin Harvard School of Public Health Posted 14 days ago 1 Photo
  • 48 locals to pedal in Pan-Mass Challenge Posted 14 days ago
  • AT HANNAH CURRIE

    Courtesy photo Hannah Currie is spending 10 days this summer becoming immersed in the music industry at GRAMMY Camp in Los Angeles.

    Currie hits note at LA's GRAMMY Camp Posted 14 days ago 1 Photo
  • Thursday, July 10, 2014
  • South Church names new senior pastor Posted 21 days ago
  • AT BOYS GIRLS CLUB GOLF1

    COURTESY PHOTO Andover residents Patrick James, left, Adam Geaslen, Ryan Byrd and Dan Bryant claimed first place at the 35th annual Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence Golf Tournament at Indian Ridge Country Club in town.

    Local foursome aces Boys & Girls Club tourney Posted 21 days ago 2 Photos
  • AT LOCKS SISTERS2

    COURTESY PHOTO The Marble sisters --Anna, 8, left, and Isabel, 11 -- post-donatin to Locks of Love.

    Sisters pair up to donate pony tails to Locks of Love Posted 21 days ago 4 Photos
  • AT HOST1

    DESI SMITH/Staff photo Former Andover residents Dana Cohen and his wife, Ginny, back, left, have regularly hosted foreign exchange students since 1989. Farrah Moussa, back right, from Egypt, and Paula Valverde, front right, from Spain, are the latest students to spend a year with the Cohens, who now live in Gloucester.

    Former Andover couple welcomes exchange students for quarter-century Posted 21 days ago 4 Photos
  • Thursday, July 3, 2014
  • LENO1

    FILE PHOTO Jay Leno, who honed his comedy skills growing up in Andover, will receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor this fall during a performance at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington.

    In good comedy company Posted 28 days ago 2 Photos

Pictures of the Week
Stocks