This Community Impact Statement was prepared in March 2019 for the Town of Ashburnham's Annual Report:
Established in 1865 as one of the first co-educational secondary boarding schools in the nation, Cushing Academy was the vision of Ashburnham native Thomas Parkman Cushing. In its first year of existence, 122 students were enrolled; most were from Ashburnham, but others came from throughout Massachusetts and neighboring states. Today there are approximately 390 boarding and day students, representing 30 countries and 25 states.
From its founding through the early 1960s, when the Ashburnham-Westminster Regional School District was established, Cushing proudly served as the town’s public school.
In July 2018, Cushing welcomed Dr. Randy R. Bertin as the thirteenth Head of School. Under Dr. Bertin’s leadership, the 168 members of the administration, faculty, and staff work with the Board of Trustees to fulfill the Academy’s mission: Cushing Academy exists for students and develops curious, creative, and confident learners and leaders.
For over 150 years, Cushing Academy has transformed students as scholars, athletes, artists, and individuals who are endlessly curious and actively engaged in discovering new talents and interests. A Cushing education begins and ends with inquiry. We challenge and support each student through intentional collaboration, feedback, and reflection.
As part of the comprehensive facilities renewal undertaken to transform the Cushing experience, recent major campus improvements have included the construction of the Watkins Field House and of Lee House and Sanborn House dormitories, the replacement of the turf on Quimby Field, and the renovation of the Iorio Arena, which has also benefitted the local hockey community utilizing this facility. Most recently, the expansion of the Fisher- Watkins Dining Commons and the renovation of Ashburnham House dormitory were completed. The renovation of Ashburnham House, built in 1915, has preserved a historic building that is meaningful to the Cushing community and to the Town.
Our students, alumni, and faculty were recognized for many awards, achievements and championships in fiscal year 2018. Highlights include:
- 100% of graduating seniors who applied to colleges were accepted.
- Cushing was granted continued accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
- Six Cushing performers represented Cushing in Massachusetts Central District honors ensembles, an all-time record for our school. Two of these students were admitted to the 2018 All-State Music Festival and performed at Boston’s Symphony Hall.
- A student won first place in his division in the 16th Annual Young Artist Piano Competition held at Westfield State University.
- Seven Cushing artists were recognized for their work at the 35th Annual Mount Wachusett Community College Regional Exhibition of High School Art.
- Twenty Cushing students were inducted into the Cum Laude Society, a national honor society recognizing scholastic achievement.
- For the first time in the history of the program, Cushing's Robotics team advanced to the VEX Robotics Southern New England Regional Championship.
- Three students qualified for the American Invitational Mathematics Exam (AIME), offered for those who earned a score in the top 5% on the American Mathematics Competition (AMC) 10 or 12. Six students received honors in the AMC 10 or 12.
- A student-created bronze sculpture, featuring penguins and the globe, was installed as a permanent outdoor feature at the new Lee and Sanborn House dormitories. Forty-eight additional works of art by students and alumni grace the dormitories.
- The Varsity Boys’ Hockey team earned the championship title in the 44th annual Groton School/Lawrence Academy Holiday Hockey Tournament.
- Varsity B Boys’ Hockey captured the championship title in the 2018 Bob Rust Memorial Hockey Tournament.
- Varsity Boys’ Hockey advanced to NEPSAC post-season tournament quarterfinals; Varsity Boys’ Basketball advanced to the semifinals.
- The Fourth-annual TEDx Cushing event was planned and executed by students and included student and faculty speakers.
- Two students were named to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association High School National Academic Squad, each receiving the title of Scholar of Distinction.
- A member of the ski team became the 2018 NEPSAC Class C Championship Giant Slalom (GS) Overall Winner.
- Track and Field competed at the New England Championships; one female athlete became a New England Champion in the high jump.
- Eight athletes were additionally recognized at the district and league levels for accomplishments in their sports.
- Cushing was represented by three alumni on the USA Women’s and Men’s 2018 Olympic Hockey teams in PyeongChang: Meghan Duggan ’06, Chris Bourque ’04, and Broc Little ’07. Meghan was a silver medalist in the 2010 and 2014 Olympics, and as Captain of the USA Women’s 2018 team, led the team to its first gold medal in two decades. Additional alumni also participated in the 2018 Winter Games as a studio analyst, on the Olympic Organizing Committee, and on the NBC Broadcast team.
Cushing Academy is proud to be located in Ashburnham and to participate fully in the Ashburnham community. In fiscal year 2018:
- More than 3,500 hours of community service to the Ashburnham community and environs are performed on the annual Tony Fisher Day of Service, which commemorates the life and legacy of alumnus and Board President M. Anthony Fisher '69, who was killed in a plane crash in April 2003. In 2018, students spent the day working at such places as the Greater Boston Food Bank, Heywood Hospital, Oxbow Wildlife Sanctuary, Community Harvest Project, Walden Pond, Salvation Army, Tully Lake Campground, Otter River State Forest, Chair City Community Workshop, Forbush Memorial Library, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Westminster Congregational Church, The Caring Place, Ashburnham Fire Station, William J. Bresnahan Scouting and Community Center, Gardner American Legion, Bickford Field, St. Denis Church, Stevens Memorial Library, and the Ashburnham Community Church.
- The Academy welcomed the public free of charge to student performances and to the Cushing Academy Performing Arts Series, which featured three performances by visiting artists. The public was also welcomed, free of charge, to all sporting events throughout the year.
- Cushing hosted the inaugural Girls in Sport Leadership Summit, organized by a faculty member. Student athlete-leaders from around New England participated in a full day of leadership programming and workshops.
- Many members of the faculty and staff serve as volunteers with local organizations, including Ashburnham Town committees, schools, scouting groups, community organizations, and churches.
- Along with volunteering in and around Ashburnham, our students planned and executed two major fundraisers, including Cushing Rocks!, a benefit concert which raised $5,300 for victims of natural disasters. Students also held the 9th Annual Pink the Rink hockey fundraiser, raising over $5,000 for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
- Students and faculty volunteers also again served as Dana-Farber runner escorts at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
In addition to ongoing outreach, new areas of outreach during the current fiscal year include:
- In Fall 2018, Cushing hosted a Special Olympics Young Athletes program, an inclusive play initiative for children ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities. Cushing students served as volunteers for the free program held on Sunday mornings for 5 weeks. The program will resume in the spring of 2019.
- A student-organized trip to participate in a 4ocean cleanup on Revere Beach, where Cushing students sifted through sand and seaweed to collect and remove trash from the coastline. Additional fundraising has continued for this worthy cause.
Cushing is pleased to host events and to offer facilities for free or at greatly reduced rates to area organizations. In 2018, Cushing:
- Hosted the 17th Annual Ash-West Community Benefit HockeyGame
- Provided cookies and hot chocolate for the Town’s 6th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony
- Provided free and/or discounted ice time to the Oakmont Regional High School Ice Hockey Team
- Provided the Iorio Arena snack bar to an area hockey club to assist in their fundraisers
- Hosted the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce’s Ashburnham Candidates Meet and Greet
- Hosted weekly meetings of Boy Scout Troop 18, the 2018 Cub Scouts Blue and Gold Banquet, and the Scouting for Food drive, during which approximately 3,000 food items were collected for the Ashburnham Community Church Food Pantry and the People’s Church Food Pantry. Cushing also served as a sponsor for the 2018 Cub Scout Pinewood Derby.
During 2018, Cushing Academy provided over $15 million in economic impact to Ashburnham and the surrounding communities.
This economic impact took the form of:
- A $112,000 grant to the Town of Ashburnham Police Department to provide for a second police officer on the overnight shift, providing greater public safety to all residents of Ashburnham.
- Cushing Academy paid over $12,000 in permit and service fees to the town.
- Cushing Academy paid $1.9 million to over 335 vendors, suppliers and independent contractors who reside or conduct business in Ashburnham or its surrounding communities. Our three most highly paid vendors – including the Town of Ashburnham itself – received a total of $1.2 million and all proudly call Ashburnham their primary place of business.
- As part of the major renovation project for the Fisher-Watkins Dining Commons and Ashburnham House dormitory, Cushing Academy paid more than $4 million to vendors and contractors in central Massachusetts. More than 40 people per day came to our campus in connection with these projects, and they patronized Ashburnham’s stores and restaurants daily.
- Cushing Academy employs 17 individuals who own homes in Ashburnham. These families provide over $127,000 in real estate and excise taxes to the town.
- Cushing Academy provides over $450,000 per year in grants and scholarships to enable 26 local students to attend the Academy.
- In 2018, Cushing Academy had a payroll of over $8.7 million; over 46% of the total payroll was paid to Ashburnham residents. Another 23% was paid to individuals who lived in abutting towns/cities.
- It is conservatively estimated that in 2018 Cushing Academy students, faculty and staff spent $246,000 patronizing local businesses and vendors, primarily in the town center. (This assumes that half of Cushing’s 390 students and of its 210 residents and employees spent $20 per week during the school year.)
Cushing Academy has been a proud partner of the Town of Ashburnham, and we look forward to continuing to work together.