The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 21, 2002



Carlisle's history of private aid for education

Few would disagree that Carlisle citizens are feeling the pinch of high education costs. While the town is struggling with the issue more than usual this year, the news is not all about having to say NO. Over the years many residents have gone beyond what was required through taxes and have given additional support for the education of our children through private philanthropy.

For example, thanks to the generosity of townspeople from years past, Carlisle is able to sponsor a modest needs-based college scholarship program. The town's scholarship advisory committee each year reviews candidates and makes recommendations to the board of selectmen.

Many years ago Caroline E. Hill left the town money to be used for financial aid, and the yearly scholarship bears her name. Alvin R. Titus and Donald A. Lapham also gave the town money to establish scholarship funds. From the town's annual report for 2001, the funds had the following balances:

Caroline E. Hill Legacy - $116,226
Alvin R. Titus Scholarship Fund - $10,479
Donald A. Lapham Scholarship Fund - $26,417

Last week the selectmen awarded six Caroline Hill scholarships, ranging from $500 to $1000 each, for a total of $5,000. While these grants are very small relative to the cost of college education, they are helpful nonetheless. Scholarship administrators have limited grant size to approximately the amount of yearly interest earned by the funds, to ensure that the scholarship programs will continue into the future. This year's awards represent 4% of the Caroline Hill Legacy.

The Caroline Hill scholarship is but one of several local scholarship programs, which include the Carlisle Garden Club's Debbie Wright Scholarship, the Concord Carlisle Scholarship Fund, and the Carlisle Teachers Association's Marguerite Grant Scholarship and Amy Lapham Award.

The Carlisle Education Foundation (CEF) focuses on improving the education of younger children by raising funds to help the K-8 Carlisle Public Schools. Earlier this spring, after the defeat of the town's budget overrides, CEF mobilized to raise the $50,000 needed to keep the school library open full-time next year. CEF has gotten help from all ages, including Brownies donating money earned from selling cookies, and fourth graders who organized a carnival fund-raiser on Spalding Field. These kids win twice ­ they gain a sense of accomplishment through helping their community, while they help their school library stay open.

Carlisle is extremely fortunate to have these private organizations and donors ­ past and present ­ who help fund the education of Carlisle's children!

I'll miss Carlisle!

About a month ago, Greg Wayland wrote a farewell column about leaving his cottage in the woods. Last year, when Town Moderator Marshall Simonds left for a new life in Vermont, he said that Carlisle was no longer the town he had moved to many years before. Now I'm adding my chapter to the story of a changing Carlisle.

In less than a month, I will also be gone, off to find a town to replace my memories of a Carlisle I first met in 1970. I had taken a bicycle maintenance course at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education, and the instructor invited his students out to his home, far out in the woods in Carlisle. He lived in a new brown house with orange garage doors on East Riding Drive (it's still there!), and we met to set off on a tour out Rutland Road, down North Road (then unpaved) and past the Great Brook Farm with its herd of prize Holsteins. We came back up Lowell Road, through the town center, and returned down East Street. It was a glorious September day, and I thought Carlisle (which I had never heard of before) was the town for me.

It took me a couple of years to convince my then-husband, but we moved from Lexington to Wolf Rock Road in 1973. We started a garden in the first town plots on Foss Farm, and installed an asparagus bed in the back yard. We read the Mosquito during its early years, and for a time we read two Carlisle newspapers. But that episode only lasted three years, and I was away from Carlisle from 1976 to 1980. An ad for a tiny Deck House in the Acton Minuteman drew me back, and I've been here for 22 more years.

Superficially, the town hasn't changed much since my 1970 bike ride. The Holsteins are gone, but Great Brook Farm's dairy cows have replaced them. North Road is paved now. The real change is that Carlisle is no longer the pastoral dream of 32 years ago. We clamor for more services ­ ball fields and sidewalks and recreation centers ­ that go with a larger community. Our tax bills reflect our hunger to be a bigger but still rural town. This isn't necessarily bad, just different.

Like Marshall Simonds or Greg Wayland, I see a town moving in a direction away from my own dreams, so it's time to pursue life elsewhere. I'm selling my house to a young, enthusiastic family who love it, and the town, for the same reasons I do. As old-timers follow their bliss elsewhere, new folks will find new dreams in an evolving Carlisle. There are wonderful people here, and the remnants of the past ­ Old Home Day, the Strawberry Festival, the annual Bird Walk, the cranberry harvest ­ continue to charm new residents. Traditions also evolve; we have lost the Pig and Pepper, but we've gained Biodiversity Day walks.

It has been a privilege and a pleasure to be able to live in a dream house, in a dream town, for so long. But there's a big world out there to explore, and more dreams to pursue.

Thank you, Carlisle!

2002 The Carlisle Mosquito