Wisdom from the late Charles Hemenway, former Head of School - Aspen Country Day School


Wisdom from the late Charles Hemenway, former Head of School

November 8, 2016

The early years of Aspen Country Day School
from an interview with Charlie Hemenway, assistant headmaster from 1970-73, then headmaster until 1980. After many years as head of St. Paul’s Episcopal School in New Orleans, he passed away May 6, 2017 at his home in Covington, Louisiana. Obituary here.

The first Aspen Country Day School students arrived on campus in September of 1970. Prior to their arrival the school’s faculty all worked together to get the campus ready, doing carpentry, painting, plumbing, and gardening.

I was one of those faculty members, and I often wondered what I had gotten myself into. The first head, Carter Hall, offered me a position as science teacher and assistant head. That is how a boy from the swamps of Louisiana found himself in the mountains of Colorado.

The school was quite small; there were fewer than 100 children, and the faculty had to work hard to make our shool a viable educational alternative. Finances were always a concern. However, the school had a solid core of friends and parents who were determined to see it survive.

When snowstorms would prevent us from taking the kids home on the school bus, we would grill cheese sandwiches on the stove in the kitchen and sleep on the floor.

In a school as young as ours was, it is hard to imagine that there were any traditions, but where were some. The annual Regatta on the ponds, Blue-Green Day, the turkey gruel we served to the students and faculty on the day before Thanksgiving, the overnight trips (even for Kindergarten) all come to mind.

I much enjoy reading about Country Day. I cannot help but notice how well so many ACDS grads have done out in the big world.

I am sure ACDS is still a special place. I know it is for me.