Hopkins Academy marks 350th year with tribute to graduates

Last modified: Thursday, February 06, 2014
HADLEY — As many as 250 family, friends and Hadley residents gathered at Hopkins Academy Jan. 26 to honor distinguished alumni of the school.

Hopkins Academy, believed to be the fifth-oldest high school in Massachusetts, held the event as part of its 350th anniversary, a year-long celebration.

The day recognized a variety of people, living and deceased, who have touched Hopkins Academy and town.

Nominees had to demonstrate outstanding service to the school and have accomplished professional excellence or service to the community, state or nation.

From town employers, farmers and teachers to historians, Ph.D.’s and members of the Navy, all were honored and spoken about at the two-hour event.

Among the deceased honored was Eddie Adams, a member of the Class of 1965, who lost his life in Vietnam while serving for the U.S. Navy.

Adams is believed to be one of the only Hopkins Academy alumni memorialized on the Vietnam War Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. He entered the Navy upon graduation and lost his life three years later while on patrol on the Mekong River.

His mother, Julia Adams, 95, was able to attend to receive the certificate in his name.

“The cafeteria was transformed into an exclusive dining area with over 20 tables decorated beautifully with floral arrangements,” said Joseph Pelis, co-chair of the recognition committee.

The Mothers Club of Hadley contributed baked products and refreshments and Stanley Adams, the brother of Eddie Adams, contributed a palm tree structure made out of pineapples that towered over the fruit salad display.

“Altogether it was a fantastic event,” said Gerry Devine, co-chair of the recognition committee.

Among those attending were state Sen. Stan Rosenberg and state Rep. John Scibak. Rosenberg and Scibak presented each of the 31 honored alumni with a proclamation certificate from the Legislature and a rose to congratulate them. Superintendent Donna Moyer was also presented with a plaque engraved with the names of alumni and their dates of graduation.

Hopkins Academy was founded in 1664 as a private school for boys and eventually became a public school to serve the town. It is said to be among the 10 oldest schools in the United States and has an educational history as long with schools such as Harvard and Yale universities.

University of Massachusetts co-founder Levi Stockbridge walked its halls.

The school with will continue to celebrate its 350th anniversary with events throughout the year.