From Luminaria to School Libraries, Minuteman Trust Is Enlightening

March 14, 2023
Paul Ciaccia (left) and Cal Carpenter of the Bedford Minuteman Memorial Scholarship Trust flank school officials Andrea Salipante (holding check), program administrator for elementary school English language arts; Lane School Principal Rob Ackerman; and Dr. Tricia Clifford, Assistant Superintendent of Schools. The trust made its annual donation in support of American studies materials in the Bedford schools this week. Courtesy photo

The Bedford Minutemen, reconstituted from the 18th century, spend most of their time and energy re-creating the past. 

But an offshoot of the colonial marchers is laser-focused on the future.

The Bedford Minuteman Memorial Scholarship Trust this week presented a generous check to the Bedford Public Schools for purchasing books to augment school libraries’ collections. The criterion for the books is “American Studies,” particularly the colonial or historical heritage of the United States.

Much of the funding for the annual donation emanates from the sale of luminaria, the ground-level bagged candles that uniquely illuminate town and private buildings and walkways on Christmas Eve. Other revenue sources are individual and Minuteman company donations and investment returns.

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Cal Carpenter and Paul Ciaccia, whose involvement with the Minuteman began in the late 1970s, presented the latest contribution in a brief ceremony Monday afternoon at Lt. Job Lane School. Accepting were Principal Rob Ackerman, Assistant Superintendent of Schools Tricia Clifford, who drives the schoolwide literacy program, and Andrea Salipante, longtime English language arts coordinator for Lane and Davis Schools.

Salipante, the Minutemen’s annual contact on the donation, said she is inspired by the response to new books among students and teachers. She displayed several examples of purchases for the Lane School library, all with colonial-era themes and ranging from a National Geographic profile of Alexander Hamilton to historic fiction with woman protagonists. There were a couple of graphic novels in the collection. 

Several of the books have multiple copies, which Salipante said is needed to meet demand. She emphasized that this contribution is not treated as a budget offset, but adds to the existing inventory.

The Minutemen launched their scholarship trust in 1986, and for 30 years the money raised was presented as scholarship awards to graduating high school seniors. 

Since 2017, when the trust modified its award to benefit more Bedford students, the Bedford schools’ libraries have received grants totaling $21,000 to support American Studies, Carpenter said. Overall, the trust has awarded almost $90,000. 

Technically the trust is an entity apart from the Minuteman Company, but Carpenter and Ciaccia wore their tricorn hats for the presentation.

“The trust greatly thanks the donators as well as the generous citizens of Bedford who engage in the luminaria sale and thus support our program,” Carpenter said. “The intent of the trust is to continue the grant program for as long as we can benefit Bedford’s students.”         

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