A Special Visit to Hillside School and Lexington & Concord

Written by: Holly Blair, Massachusetts State Regent
June 4, 2019

My first visit as President General was to Boston for the Sons of the American Revolution convention where I met Holly Blair, the Massachusetts State Regent. Holly and I joined forces this year to schedule a visit to Hillside School in Marlborough which became my last visit. It seems appropriate that this administration started and ended where the American Revolution began. I have asked Holly to share her insight and experience about our tour to this impressive school.

- President General Ann Dillon

It was a sunny, invigorating morning on Tuesday May 7, at 1 Harborside Drive in Boston, Massachusetts where the seemingly ever smiling students of Hillside School, along with their representative and mentor, Rich Meyer, awaited with anticipation for the forty-five visiting Daughters flying in from coast to coast to attend a special tour of Hillside and Lexington and Concord.

Hillside School, located thirty miles west of Boston on a 150-acre campus, has a total enrollment of 165 students.  Established in 1901, Hillside began as an orphanage, and became a DAR approved school in 1925. Not a traditional Prep School, Hillside’s approach to education includes preparing students to approach socialization, within life and the workplace, through patience, creativity, individualism, and the intrinsic skills of living and working as part of a supportive team.

On Wednesday, May 8, NSDAR Daughters were officially welcomed to Hillside School by the students and faculty. Campus tours were led by the students, which included but were not limited to Hillside’s working farm, classrooms, the science lab, the art studio, sport and locker rooms, and the DAR State Library. The pinnacle of the day was the annual DAR Scholarship Day Ceremony. Over 60 awards and scholarships were presented totaling over $23,000. President General Ann Turner Dillon and National NSDAR Schools Chair Peggy Carney Troxell, presented the awards to the deserving students. Many thanks go out to the chapters, state societies and individuals for their generosity.  After the awards ceremony in the school gym, Daughters moved to the cafeteria and enjoyed lunch served and shared with the students, affording a more personal account from each student about their beloved school. Lunch concluded with Mr. Ed Chase, Head of Hillside School, speaking about the improvements, progress and future plans for the school.

The celebration of Hillside School continued Wednesday evening with a dinner and program that included Hillside alums, student speakers and performers, along with Massachusetts DAR and CAR ladies participating. In anticipation of Thursdays tour of Lexington and Concord, Mr. William Leonard, the eighth great grandson of Captain Issac Davis, who was the first officer killed at Concord Bridge, was in attendance.

Thursday, stopping in Lexington first,  daughters toured the historic Buckman Tavern and the many monuments located on the Battle Green, including the famous Minuteman statue. A wreath was placed by President General Ann Turner Dillon and I at the Revolutionary Monument, a granite obelisk erected in 1799.  In Concord, traveling down Battle Road, daughters saw where Paul Revere was captured along with many historic homes, such as “The Old Manse” a home built by the family of Ralph Waldo Emerson, which stands just a short distance from Old Concord Bridge. Across the bridge, the statue of a farmer that left his plow and picked up a musket was where Mrs. Dillon and I honored patriots with a wreath.  At the close of day,  high tea was served in downtown Concord at the historic Colonial Inn. 

A heartfelt thank you goes to Mrs. Dillon and Mrs. Troxell for their support in this tour; to the National Vice Chairs of DAR School Tours, Cricket Crigler and Tammy Clemmons for arranging this special tour and making it a reality; to Hillside School for welcoming us and showing us your wonderful school; and a special thank you to our tour guides, Patricia Karakashian, MDAR State Historian, and Charlene Goddard Lyle, Chapter Regent of the Old Concord Chapter, for arranging and narrating Thursdays tours.

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