The community came together on Thursday evening to thank Mary Campbell for her 23 years of service on the school board. (Ashley Finethy) (click for larger version)
April 25, 2012BRISTOL—On Thursday, April 19, faculty, staff, students and community members gathered in the Newfound Regional High School auditorium to thank Mary Campbell for her 23 years of service on the Newfound Area School District's School Board.
"It is not my nature to be the center of attention," said Campbell. "It is my nature to serve."
Campbell was, however, the center of attention for the evening, which began with video thank-you's from members of the community, close friends and colleagues who were unable to attend the event.
"This is very, very overwhelming," said Campbell. "This is more than I could have ever imagined."
Following the video presentation, the Newfound Regional High School Select Chorus sang a few selections for Campbell.
"Mary has always been a huge supporter of the music program," said music teacher Edward Judd. "She has been to every concert."
The select chorus sang "The Sky Boat Song" and the "Newfound Alma Mater."
"A few years ago, we performed a Scottish folk song that Mary was very fond of, and we would like to perform it for her," said Judd.
After the musical selection, members of the teacher's association, local selectmen, and policy committee members all spoke about Campbell's outstanding service and commitment to the community, and expressed their thanks for everything she had done in her 23 years of service.
"As one of the longest serving school board members in the state, your service has been a shining example of service on the local, state and national level," said a letter read by a policy committee member on behalf of New Hampshire School Board Association Executive Director Ted Comstock.
Campbell was given hand prints from students of one of the schools, as well as the original keys to one of the schools as well, to express everyone's thanks for her service. Superintendent Marie Ross had other plans.
"What do we get as a token to Mary Campbell?" asked Ross.
Ross explained that at every event Campbell attended in the auditorium, she would sit in the same chair, K32, which was the fourth row up on the top tier of the auditorium. Ross read a poem she wrote entitled "The Chair," which spoke about Campbell's commitment to the chair she loved in the auditorium, and her commitment as the chair of the school board.
At the end of the poem, Ross presented Campbell with her chair, K32, attached to a base for Campbell to use as an office chair. A plaque at the base of the chair commemorated her time on the board from March 16, 1988 to March 16, 2012.
Campbell sat in her chair and addressed the crowded auditorium, taking about her time with the school board.
"I want to expend my thanks to those who daily touch the lives of our students, and who daily make a difference in these Newfound journeys," said Campbell.
Following the gathering, there was a dessert and coffee reception in the cafeteria, where those in attendance shared their favorite memories and personally thanked Campbell for her dedication and hard work.