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Nichols Contributes Toward Renovation of Dudley Elementary School Playground

Nichols DES Playground


DUDLEY—Nichols College President Susan West Engelkemeyer, Ph.D., recently presented a $17,000 check to Dudley Elementary School (DES) officials to pay for new playground equipment.

Nichols Dean of Students PJ Boggio and Nichols Student Government Association (SGA) President Brieanna Baron joined President Engelkemeyer in presenting the donation to DES Principal Terri Caffelle and Dudley-Charlton Regional School District Superintendent Gregg Desto during recess on Monday, June 13.

Nichols DES Playground

Nichols staff viewed the existing recess grounds and equipment as kids ran around and climbed onto the 16-year-old equipment. One jungle gym and a row of swing sets are currently entertaining 361 children in grades 2-4. Principal Caffelle explained that the school is in need of additional playground equipment, as the last renovation to the school and playground was in 2000. The original school was built in 1957.

“We thank President Engelkemeyer and the Nichols College community for their generous contribution to Dudley Elementary School,” said Principal Caffelle. “This gift will allow us to expand the playground equipment, which will, in turn, expand the opportunities for successful play at recess. This will no doubt benefit our pupils cognitively, socially, and emotionally.”

According to Dean Boggio, the College community pitched in to raise the donation amount. The SGA gifted $6,000; and offices including Student Services, Marketing and Communication, and the Office of the President gave a combined gift of the additional $11,000.  

Baron, a senior sport management major from Woodstock, Conn., joined the kids at recess on the jungle gym.

“I was extremely honored to present the Dudley Elementary School with this donation,” she said. “The excitement on the children’s faces gave me a feeling I will never forget.”

Recess is an important period of a pupil’s schedule. Supt. Desto explained that it helps students feel balanced and re-energized for the remainder of the school day.

“Playtime has a positive effect on a child's learning,” he said. “Even we as adults need downtime to recharge for the hard work we have to do and the responsibilities we have to fulfill.”

Updating the DES playground will not only benefit the elementary school, but also the Webster-Dudley Boys and Girls Club. That facility is located behind the schoolyard, and children from the program often use the DES playground.

Giving back to the town of Dudley—whether through monetary donations or volunteering time—is important to Nichols College, according to Dean Boggio. For example, students from the College’s Emerging Leaders Program volunteered in the 2016 spring semester in Dudley Elementary classrooms to connect with pupils through math and reading lessons. Allowing children to interact with college students sets a good example and shows them that college is an attainable goal, Boggio added.

“We believe it’s important for Nichols College to be part of the positive fabric of the local community; we also appreciate all the support we get from Dudley as our home community,” she said. “What better way for a college to show that appreciation than to enhance the learning environment for the young people in our town?”


Nichols College is a college of choice for business and leadership education as a result of its distinctive career-focused and leadership-based approaches to learning, both in and out of the classroom. Founded in 1815, Nichols transforms today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders through a dynamic, career-focused business and professional education. Nichols serves students interested primarily in a comprehensive business education that is supported by a strong liberal arts curriculum.


Lorraine U. Martinelle
Director of Public Relations
Nichols College
123 Center Road
Dudley, MA 01571
Twitter: @NicholsNewsroom