Songs for Schol­ars at Spring Street Academy

Con­cert planned for Barry Kelly Ruth Ni­chols Hope Schol­ar­ship

The Citizen-Record (Cumberland) - - CUMBERLAND COUNTY - BY DAR­RELL COLE

AMHERST — Through more than 20 years, Barry Kelly and Ruth Ni­chols touched the lives of count­less stu­dents and mu­si­cians.

The mem­ory of both ed­u­ca­tors will be car­ried for­ward in a new schol­ar­ship that will be awarded to an ARHS grad­u­ate go­ing on to col­lege or univer­sity who has been af­fected by can­cer per­son­ally or through a loved one.

To be­gin the process of rais­ing money a mu­si­cal evening is be­ing planned by their for­mer co-work­ers. Songs for Schol­ars will be held Fri­day, Nov. 28 from 6 to 10 p.m. at Spring Street Academy.

“Both Barry and Ruth in­spired a lot of peo­ple in this com­mu­nity through ed­u­ca­tion and mu­sic and it’s some­thing we want to do to carry both of their mem­o­ries for­ward,” Spring Street Academy prin­ci­pal Aaron Stub­bert said. “There’ll be a num­ber of mu­si­cians per­form­ing that night as well as a pop­corn sale and silent auc­tion. There will also be an op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple to make in­di­vid­ual con­tri­bu­tions to the schol­ar­ship fund.”

Ad­mis­sion will be a do­na­tion at the door and a prom­ise of a tax re­ceipt will be given out.

Kelly, who was prin­ci­pal at Spring Street Academy, died in 2012 fol­low­ing a lengthy bat­tle with colon can­cer, while Ni­chols died in Septem­ber fol­low­ing a short fight with pan­cre­atic can­cer.

Since Kelly died, the school’s Re­lay for Life team has been known as BK Be­liev­ers and it has been one of the lead­ing fundrais­ers for the an­nual can­cer fundrais­ing event. Phys ed teacher, Daren White, who has bat­tled can­cer on two oc­ca­sions, said staff at the school and friends have been think­ing of do­ing some­thing since Ni­chols died.

“It’s some­thing we be­lieved we had to do. Both Barry and Ruth meant so much to all of us who worked with them and the chil­dren that they taught that there was no ques­tion we were go­ing to do some­thing to re­mem­ber them by,” White said. “Hope­fully, we can raise enough money so that this schol­ar­ship can be of­fered for many years so that long after we have all re­tired and all the stu­dents have moved on their mem­ory will live on in this schol­ar­ship.”

Com­mit­tee mem­ber Tasha Boss said the con­cert has al­ready stirred up mem­o­ries of both Kelly and Ni­chols.

“It’s al­ready start­ing con­ver­sa­tions. We were talk­ing about Barry and Ruth the other day and some of the mem­o­ries we had,” Boss said.

Stub­bert said the con­cert is part of the heal­ing process. He said the school will never be able to re­place ei­ther of them, but it will al­ways re­mem­ber them.

White said a lot of peo­ple who have played with Ni­chols will be per­form­ing, in­clud­ing June MacDon­ald, Jenn and Dave Sid­dall, Sec­ond Toe, Michelle LeBlanc, El­iz­a­beth Smith-McCrossin, Steve Wells, Mike Blak­eney, Abbey and Lau­ren Letcher, Cody Lit­tle, Kather­ine Hathe­way and Paul Lohnes and Pius Burke, while there will be some other for­mer and present stu­dents per­form­ing. He ex­pects Kelly’s wife, Rhonda Kelly, and Ni­chols’ hus­band, Jonathan Ni­chols, will be in attendance and say a few things.

Along with Boss, White and Stub­bert, other mem­bers of the com­mit­tee in­clude: Susan Rec­tor, Tasha Boss, Linda Chap­man, Trudy O’Neil and Char­lene Moore.

DAR­RELL COLE  THE CIT­I­ZENRECORD

Staff at Spring Street Academy are host­ing Songs for Schol­ars on Nov. 28 from 6 to 10 p.m. to support the Barry Kelly Ruth Ni­chols Hope Schol­ar­ship. Mem­bers of the or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee in­clude: (Front, from left) Tasha Boss, Daren White, (back, from left) Char­lene Moore, Linda Chap­man and prin­ci­pal Aaron Stub­bert.

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