Family of the late music teacher Esther Mesh of Easthampton donates her piano to White Brook Middle School
Members of the Hampshire Regional High School robotics team are, back row, coach Sue Froehlich and students Ruth Tracy, Collin Touchette, Connor Bell and Graham Pilger; bottom row are
coaches Jim Liptak and Wendy Touchette and students Sam Spelman and Nicole Howard.
COURTESY OF HAMPSHIRE REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL
Esther Mesh taught music in Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut public schools for more than three decades.
GAZETTE FILE PHOTO
The family of Esther Mesh, a city native and longtime music teacher who died in May at age 103, has donated a piano in her honor to White Brook Middle School.
The instrument, made in 1916, “was bought for us when Esther was so young, she sat at the bench and couldn’t reach the floor,” said Mesh’s younger sister, Louise M. Fleming of Westfield. “It’s been in the family all these years.”
Mesh, the eldest of three daughters of Ely and Anna Wagner Mesh, loved music from an early age, Fleming said. A 1926 graduate of Easthampton High School, Esther Mesh went on to earn degrees in music and education from Bridgewater State University and Boston University.
She taught music for more than three decades in public schools in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont. Her sister said a music room at Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph, Vt., was named after Mesh and dedicated on her 100th birthday.
After she retired, Mesh returned to Easthampton and volunteered at Maple School for many years. She was also a lifelong member of Trinity Lutheran Church, where she served as choir director.
Fleming said her sister would be thrilled to know her upright piano is in use at White Brook. “Esther lives on in her music,” she said.
EHS store online
The Easthampton High School Clothing and Apparel store is now open online. Shirts, sweatshirts, shorts and other items in the high school colors can be purchased at https://ssastores.com/store/easthampton-high-school-easthampton-ma. Proceeds will benefit members of the EHS classes of 2013 and 2015.
Looking for a school-related holiday gift opportunity? The Center/Pepin and Maple School Library Book Gift Giving Program gives parents a chance to donate a book to an elementary school library in honor of a teacher, staff member or friend. Book wish lists are available in each of the school libraries or on school websites. Honorees will be notified of all gifts and gift cards are available for students who want to give a book to their teacher.
Maple School library is open Monday, Thursday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Center/Pepin’s library is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Maple School has begun a new “Stretch” program for 17 high-achieving students in the third and fourth grades. Principal Tim Luce said students meet every week to choose long-term projects to work on, either at home or during their “stretch time” at school. “One of the students is looking at making a newspaper,” he said. The school is planning a project fair for May when students can share their work. Luce said Stretch program students are chosen based on MCAS scores and other assessments.
Hampshire Regional High School’s Team PIE (Professional Intelligent Engineers) robotics team placed sixth in the games division of the regional First Lego tournament held earlier this month in Agawam. The contest drew 24 teams, according to Kristen Smidy, assistant principal for the high school’s middle school level. The HRHS team’s performance earned them a spot in the Dec. 15 statewide Lego robotics competition at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where more than 80 teams competed, she said.
The state’s First Lego League hosts regular events for students ages 9 to 14 who create robots according to specifications and have them perform tasks in a timed contest. Although Team PIE did not place at the state level, Smidy said members are already looking forward to gathering again in January for practice sessions aimed at future competitions.
Volunteer coach and school parent Sue Froehlich, who works at Picker School of Engineering at Smith College, said the team “pulled off an amazing feat.”
To accomplish their task of having the robot climb a bridge, “from noodling around, they discovered that the robot could climb the bridge height from the side,” said Froehlich, who has children in grades 8 and 12 at HRHS. “With articulated rear arm hooks, the robot would latch onto the bridge for its successful final move. That execution drew lots of attention and praise.”
School parent Wendy Touchette and retired HRHS math teach Jim Liptak also volunteered as coaches. Students on this year’s Team PIE are Connor Bell, Nicole Howard, Graham Pilger, Sam Spelman, Ruth Tracy and Collin Touchette.
Those interested in joining the club can contact Smidy at 527-7680.
Barbara Solow can be reached at BSolow@gazettenet.com.