TOWNSEND -- The original Spaulding Memorial School, built in 1932, got a multimillion-dollar renovation and expansion in 1994, then reopened in September 1995.
Most recently, a much-needed replacement of the original 1932 slate roof was completed. Now there are areas of the school in dire need of painting.
Last fall, Spaulding's principal, Becky Janda, learned of a True Value grant, "Painting a Brighter Future," through Sam Briguglio, owner of Apple Meadow Hardware Store.
"I applied in the fall and we were accepted in the spring," she said.
The grant consists of 40 gallons of paint from True Value.
There were initial criteria to be met, listed by the True Value Foundation: "The school must be a public, private or parochial school in a community served by a True Value Company retail identity ... the school must serve children in any grade between kindergarten and grade twelve, and the school must need forty gallons or less of paint, in one of the colors offered through the program. All qualifying applications are reviewed by a panel of True Value staff, with final recommendations made to the True Value Foundation board of directors."
The True Value Foundation says it provides grants for up to 40 gallons of paint through the Painting a Brighter Future program to more than 100 schools each year.
To show that Spaulding met the criteria, Janda said she took "before" pictures.
"True Value want to see what need was, and where it was
Community involvement has come in the form of parents, teachers, staff, former students and volunteers who are donating time and energy to the painting job.
Among them are Cheryl McCreda, Dawn Crane, Jill McFadden, Paul Serene, SMS custodian Frank Fernandes, SMS special education teacher Ms. Kristen Pratt, PTO member Jaima Baldwin, PTO member Kelly Stevens, SMS kindergarten teacher Elaine Bernhardt, two North Middlesex Regional High School students, Alan Ruuska, the paint manager at Apple Meadow Hardware Store and more.
Janda said most of the work is being done on the main floor.
"The nurse's office was just painted today. Tonight, we are working on completing the lobby walls. And also tonight, painting will be done in the boys bathroom, down the hall. The staff bathroom has to be painted. The girls bathroom still has to be painted. There is some outside work to be done. There is more work to be done," she said. "We are thankful for our volunteers."
Custodian Frank Fernandes is really going that extra mile for Spaulding and then some."I've spent two weeks of my vacation doing the prep work and painting," he said. "I don't mind. I'm a resident of Pepperell, and I've been working in the district for about 30 years. I like to give back to the community."
Ruuska volunteered more than five hours, painting the entrance-way and bathroom ceilings. He had a personal reason for volunteering.
"We know Frank from coming into the store. Frank's a nice guy and he was faced with an enormous amount of work," Ruuska said. "I knew that if I had a lot of work like this, I definitely would need help. So I went to Spaulding Memorial to help."
He had nothing but praise for Fernandes. "Frank took down the fixtures, spackled and sanded so it would be paint ready when the volunteers arrived."
Apple Meadow owner Sam Briguglio praised both the volunteers and his sister, Jane, the co-owner of the hardware store who died suddenly this year.
"Jane spearheaded this, she would have been the spokesperson," he said. "Jane was thrilled when Spaulding Memorial School won the grant. It's too bad she was not here to see it, but she's here in spirit."