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3 March 2014

Mr. Paul Duprey


Principal
Maria Weston Chapman Middle School
1051 Commercial Street
East Weymouth, Massachusetts 02189
Dear Mr. Duprey:
I am writing you in regard to the stone in the Teachers Courtyard at Chapman Middle
School that commemorates the life work of my mother, Virginia McDonald Delehanty.
Last October, I visited the Teachers Courtyard, kindly escorted by Christine Dion, a
physical education teacher in Weymouth Schools. My main purpose was to check on the
landscaping, as I had received a letter so many years ago from the legendary South
Weymouth teacher Alma Driscoll telling me that several teachers in town had contributed
to the upkeep of the courtyard, and had planted daffodils and tulips. I thought that this
was a one-time effort. As I reside near Washington, D.C., and my older brothers John and
Hugh live near New York City and San Francisco, respectively, we are not able to visit
Weymouth often.
So you can imagine my surprise when Ms. Dion told me that a campaign had been launched
recently that successfully collected donations for the upkeep of the courtyard. I was
genuinely touched to learn of this campaign, since many of those who donated to this fund
may never have known my mother. Standing in the courtyard, it struck me that since the
responsibility of maintaining the courtyard and its four memorials has fallen to you, I
thought that I should at the very least share with you some biographical information about
my mother, to help explain why a stone in honor lies in your schools courtyard. So in the
attached document I have drawn up a brief sketch of my mothers life, accompanied by
selected photos.
My mother taught second grade at Nevin School from 1957, when our family moved from
Hamden, Connecticut to South Weymouth, to 1977. That academic year, which was to be her
last before retirement, she fell ill to a brain tumor, and passed away in early 1979. At Nevin,
and within the Weymouth Teachers Association, she was a force to be reckoned with; as I
understand, in her enthusiasm for early childhood education and inexhaustible energy, she
could not help but dominate life at Nevin, where she generously served as a mentor for
younger teachers at that school and some not so very young.
My mother considered Flag Day to be an important holiday for young children. Upon her
arrival at Nevin in 1957, she set about to organize an annual Flag Day ceremony for the
entire school, which grew to feature parades, music, recitation of poems and other activities.
So it was fitting that in 1981 a stone was dedicated in her honor at Nevin beneath the

flagpole where for twenty years she had led her pupils in that annual ceremony. A few years
later, though, Nevin School closed and was torn down, and the stone found a new home at
Weymouth High School, now Chapman Middle School.
Ms. Dion also told me that once every two years, usually around Memorial Day, your school
holds a ceremony to honor Weymouth teachers, particularly those who have recently passed
away. I understood from Ms. Dion that the next such ceremony will take place in May of this
year. I would very much like to attend this ceremony, as would my brothers, if they can
make the trip. I would therefore be grateful if you would let me know if it would be possible
for our family to attend this ceremony. If appropriate, one of us would be willing to make
some brief remarks.
You may not be aware that in the early 1980s, our family established a scholarship fund in
my mothers name. The goal of the Virginia M. Delehanty Scholarship has been to provide
financial assistance to young women who graduate from Weymouth High who wish to
pursue a career in teaching, particular in the field of early childhood education. In the past
three decades, the scholarship has been one of the more generous available to young
Weymouth women, and my brothers and I are now seeking ways to shore up the fund to
assure its financial stability and growth.
I appreciate your attention to this letter, Mr. Duprey, and I would happy to provide you with
further information about my mothers life and teaching career in Weymouth, or about the
scholarship fund in her name. If it is more convenient for you, you may contact me at the
email address or phone numbers below.
Sincerely,

Dennis Delehanty
5509 Newhall Court
Centreville, Virginia 20120
Email: Donnagha@gmail.com
Home phone: 703-803-8803
Cell phone: 703-303-1974
Cc: Dr. Kenneth Salim, Superintendent of Schools, Weymouth, Massachusetts
Christine Dion
Joan Lane, former elementary school teacher, Weymouth Schools
Cheryl Sacchetti, Weymouth High School

Biographical information about Virginia M. Delehanty


Year

Event

1918

Born in New Haven, Connecticut (March 18), fifth of six children, to Donald
and Adelaide (Nelson) McDonald.

1939

Graduates from New Haven State Teachers College, Hamden Connecticut


(now the University of Southern Connecticut). First in her family to graduate
from college.

1941

Starts teaching developmentally disabled children in the Norwalk,


Connecticut school system.

1942

Marries John J. Delehanty on March 21, in New Haven, Connecticut. Shortly


after the wedding Delehanty, a lieutenant in the U.S. Armys 1st Armored
Division, sails to England and Ireland for training. Lt. Delehanty serves in the
North Africa and Italy campaigns until mid-1944.

19421944

From early 1942 to mid-1944, Virginia writes her husband a daily letter,
penning 830 in all. Lt. Delehanty writes nearly that many letters in return.
Our family has kept these letters, which provide an unusually rich description
of daily life in Connecticut and the travails of a U.S. Army officer in the
British Isles, Africa and Italy during World War II. We consider them to be
a national treasure.

1945

Virginia Delehanty graduates from Yale University with an M.A. in


Psychology. She is 8 months pregnant with her first child on the day of the
commencement ceremony, and is not allowed to attend the event.

19451955

A stay-at-home mom raising a young family in Hamden, Connecticut. Highly


active in local politics, representing Hamden in Connecticut Democratic state
conventions.

1956

Returns to full-time teaching in Hamden, Connecticut.

1957

The Delehanty family moves to South Weymouth, and Virginia starts work as
a second-grade teacher at Edward B. Nevin School, just two blocks away from
her home. Virginia is active in the Weymouth Teachers Association,
representing Nevin School in that organization, as well as in local Democratic
politics. She is the driver behind the annual Flag Day celebration at Nevin
School, an event which years later expands to other Weymouth elementary
schools. Her force of personality at Nevin earns her the nickname of
Madame Chairman.

1977

Last year as a teacher at Nevin School.