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Jamison G. Hoff

Seventh Founders Award Recipient – 2012

Remarks by Christopher Williamson

“It is fitting that after the Class of 2012 has presented a gift to Applewild and the Parent Association has made several gifts in support of our program and our future, that I introduce to you this year’s recipient of our Founders Award. The Founders Award recognizes loyal friends of Applewild whose service and stewardship have been particularly noteworthy.

Mrs. Jamie Hoff certainly fits that profile. She served for 17 years on the Applewild Board of Trustees, including as Vice President on two different occasions, and served on many of the Board committees during her tenure, most notably Financial Aid and Development. For those of you students who do not understand what serving on a Board means, it defines the notion of “service.” You volunteer your time and, in Mrs. Hoff’s case, drive from New Hampshire to Fitchburg sometimes three times in a week even several years after your own children are no longer at the school, and you sometimes remain on campus for hours. We have come to emphasize civic-mindedness, service and being good stewards at Applewild in part because we have such shining examples in our midst as Mrs. Hoff.

As Chair of the Development Committee for twelve years, Mrs. Hoff was responsible for providing essential guidance and training to our alumni and development effort. This effort includes our Annual Fund, capital campaigns, and planned giving initiatives – all of which encourage gifts to the school such as the ones we have received this morning. She proposed the Laverack Award as a way to recognize our alumni (and I am sure there will be nominees for Alumni Spotlight and Laverack Award from the Class of 2012) – and she initiated the Board of Visitors to help spread the word about the school’s excellence. She helped the school raise its sights in Annual Giving, increase percentages in participation, and accomplish the Campaign for Applewild that led to the construction of this building.

Your legacy at Applewild, Jamie, is not simply a smoothly functioning Development Office but parent participation at 97%, faculty and staff at 90%, and Board support at 100% — all levels that meet or far exceed national averages – and our most successful campaign in the school’s history to date, the Building Community campaign. Your legacy is also an abiding appreciation for the mission of the school, for behaving with integrity and compassion, and for the value of finding the right words. It is always a pleasure to hear you speak about the school, about what matters, and about the importance of education. We presented Mrs. Hoff with her award at the Faculty Trustee Dinner in May in the presence of many of her colleagues and faculty and staff, together with her sons Nick ’97 and Alex ’02. We wanted to our students to be reminded of the value of service, however, and it is my pleasure to welcome you as our Founders Award recipient for 2012, Mrs. Jamie Hoff.”

Remarks by Jamison G. Hoff

“I am honored and deeply humbled to receive this award, and it prompts me to ask you a question:  Did you ever wonder about how Applewild School came into existence?  It wasn’t here during the time of the Native American Indians, and it wasn’t here during the American Revolution or the Civil War, or during the big World Wars.  So, how did it get here, what happened?  It was created as something entirely new because a group of people much like you thought it was a very good idea.  The Crocker Family (who gave the land and buildings), and the Laverack Family (the first Headmaster’s family), and the Founding Trustees brought this school into being based on their belief in a good idea.

The Founders of Applewild School were people who wise and generous, certainly, but they also had something else very special, and that was IMAGINATION.  Before there was ever a great school here on this hill in Fitchburg, the Founders first created it in their imaginations.  They believed in a good idea, and then they did the hard work to bring it into reality.    That’s how Applewild came into existence over 50 years ago to be here for you today.  Over the years, other families have been very important to Applewild and it is important to remember them along with the Founders.  The Bullock family, Stone family, Ansin family, Marshall family, Williamson family are some names that you might recognize.  The reason that I tell you that little story is because now I want to ask you to think with your own imagination.  What are the good ideas that you believe in, that you can work hard to bring into the real world?  You already have all the talent, and you have the ability needed, that’s not the question.  The question is:  What is the good idea that interests you, what problem gets you thinking?

To help with that, I want to tell you about something of great value.  When a thing is very rare or special, such as a huge diamond, we know it has value.  But I want to talk about the one most rare thing of all, the one and only in the whole universe.   And that most precious thing is YOU.  If you think about it, you will realize that never in the history of time has there been another you, and there never will be again.  So, you see, you are the single, rarest, most special, most unique, most valuable thing that has ever existed.  Our world needs you.  We need you to develop your talents and abilities and imaginations in all the ways that you can, and to be a force for good in this world.  It is important that you realize just how much talent, energy, and imagination you have, and what enormous achievements are possible for each one of you.  I mean it when I assure you that you can solve any problem you decide to take on.  Do you want to make clean water available to people everywhere around the world?  Do you want to solve hunger problems across the continents?  Travel to Mars?  Invent electricity that flows through the air without wires?  Write an entirely new symphony?  You can.  Don’t ever forget that you start with your imagination, just like the Applewild Founders did, and then you get to work making your ideas into reality.  I will be so happy and excited for you as I watch all the great and fantastic things you will do.  Thank you for all the ways that your own imaginations, good ideas, and hard work will make this world a better place.”

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