Since 1894, Pomfret School and the Town of Pomfret have been neighbors and partners. We’ve grown up together and it’s difficult to imagine one without the other. Organized around five unique impacts — economic, recreational, cultural, human, and environmental — this document is an open and honest accounting of all the ways we are giving back to a community that has given so much to us. So on behalf of the entire school community, thanks for sharing this special corner of Connecticut with your neighbor on the Hilltop.
Supporting the Quiet Corner
We contribute a substantial amount to the economies of Pomfret, Brooklyn, Killingly, Putnam, Thompson, and Woodstock. We consider these towns, especially the town of Pomfret, our towns, and we have made it a strategic priority to invest in them.
Payments and Contributions
This year, the School paid $1.8 million to vendors from the town of Pomfret. This amount included payments made in the form of taxes, permits, and fees, and contributions made to the fire department and other municipal agencies. This amount also included electric bills paid by the School on behalf of the town. In addition, Pomfret paid $2.1 million to vendors from the surrounding five towns.
This year, 129 school employees lived in the town of Pomfret. Another seventy-eight lived in one of the five surrounding towns. Taken together, the School paid more than $8.3 million in salaries and another $1.5 million in benefits to these employees, making Pomfret School one of the largest employers in the area.
This year faculty, staff, and students purchased $306,000 worth of goods and services from Pomfret businesses and vendors and $1.3 million worth of goods and services from businesses and vendors in the surrounding five towns.
This year the School awarded $1.1 million in financial aid to fifty-four day students living in northeastern Connecticut. In addition to the value of the aid itself, tax payers saved thousands of dollars in cost avoidance for each student who chose Pomfret School over the local public high school.
Making a Difference
At Pomfret we believe service is more than an idea. It’s a call to action. Ever year our students and faculty work to make a real difference — one person, one neighborhood, one community at a time.
Over the years, Pomfret has developed valued relationships with a number of partners, including The Thompson Ecumenical Empowerment Group (TEEG), Pomfret Senior Center, Friends of Assisi Food Pantry, Access Agency, American Red Cross, American Cancer Society, Connecticut Food Bank, Pomfret Public Library, Hole in the Wall Camp, Connecticut Audubon Society, Palmer Arboretum, Daily Bread, Habitat for Humanity, Access Agency, and Arc Emporium.
Our signature events include the Northeastern Connecticut Relay for Life, an overnight walk that raises money to support cancer research and treatment, and Empty Bowls, a supper that raises money for local food banks. In addition, the School regularly participates in blood, clothing, and food drives; fundraisers for cancer, diabetes, homelessness, and disaster relief; land stewardship efforts; and youth and senior citizen outreach, among many others.
Protecting the Last Green Valley
We care deeply about the health of the natural world and the preservation of our rural heritage. By acting more sustainably, Pomfret is committed to protecting the Last Green Valley for generations to come.
Trigeneration and Natural Gas Conversions
At Pomfret we utilize “trigeneration” technology to produce power, heat, and coolant simultaneously. Thanks to this smarter system, we now generate enough homegrown electricity to cover about 50 percent of our power needs, and 100 percent of our heating and cooling needs. Because we are committed to significantly reducing our carbon emissions, we also switched from oil to natural gas — a much cleaner and more efficient fuel.
Pomfret is home to three buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. This honor has been designated by the Secretary of the Interior because these building possess “exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States.” We take great pride in preserving these architectural gems on behalf of the larger community.
Habitat and Wildlife
Our manicured campus is bounded by several hundred acres of open space. This wilder side of Pomfret includes hilltop meadows, forest uplands, low-lying wetlands, and a river, which are home to a plethora of bird, mammal, reptile, and amphibian species. Because our property abuts several larger parcels of conservation land, these holdings serve as a key wildlife corridor for large animals and migratory bird species.
Food and Farms
At Pomfret, we believe nothing is more important than the food we put in our bodies, and we feel fortunate to live in a place where small-scale agriculture is still alive and well. In the dining hall, we source all of our milk from a local dairy farm. In addition, we make sure that all of our seafood is purchased according to Seafood Watch guidelines, our eggs come from certified cage-free chicken farms, and our poultry is purchased from farms that avoid the routine use of antibiotics. In addition, the Helios Project, a passive solar aquaponics greenhouse built and managed by students, supplies fresh vegetables to the dining hall and much-needed produce to local food pantries.
Pomfret has recently embarked on a long-term commitment to reduce the amount of waste it produces. This year we installed “smart” water fountains in several buildings on campus, which calculate the exact number of plastic bottles saved every time a student or faculty member fills up with a re-usable bottle. The school has also limited the use of single-use plastic bags on campus, invested in compostable dinnerware and cutlery, and scheduled a recycling audit for the coming year.
Each year we host dozens of programs and events — all free and open to the public. Whether it’s a famous speaker or the next spring play, there is always something to do at Pomfret.
Schwartz Public Lecture
Every January, the Schwartz Visiting Fellow program brings a world-renowned speaker to Pomfret. As part of the fellowship program, this speaker delivers a free public lecture. Past fellows include the writer Joyce Carol Oates, marine archaeologist Robert Ballard, author Bill Bryson, and historian David McCullough, to name a few.
The performing arts are alive and well at Pomfret. Our free public performances include a fall and spring play, a winter musical, as well as dance and music performances. Every December, the School welcomes the community for a holiday service in the Chapel called Lessons and Carols. For many in the town of Pomfret, this annual event has become a family tradition.
Pomfret plays host to hundreds of games each year. Whether you’re in the mood for soccer, field hockey, football, volleyball, cross country, ice hockey, basketball, squash, wrestling, crew, tennis, golf, lacrosse, or baseball, there is always a sporting reason to cheer on the home team.
Sharing the Hilltop
Every year thousands of people flock to the Hilltop to enjoy a game, take a walk, or celebrate a milestone.
Pomfret youth sports make regular use of our playing fields and recreational spaces where they hold clinics, practices, and games, free-of-charge. In July and August, summer campers show up in droves to live in the dorms, eat in the dining hall, and enjoy summer days Hilltop-style.
Our hockey rink is home to the Griffins Youth Hockey Association, a local organization that serves 200 children. In addition, local residents hit the ice every winter for “family skate” events, which take place most weekends. Lastly, the boys and girls hockey teams at Woodstock Academy call Jahn Rink home.
Our beautiful stone chapel is a popular place to get married. Perhaps more importantly, when the Pomfret Congregational Church burned to the ground in 2013, worshippers began attending weekly church services here.
This unique space, which includes a soaring ceiling, massive stone fireplace, and outdoor patio with hilltop views, is available to rent. Members of the community regularly take advantage to celebrate important milestones with friends and family.
Strong Field House
Our field house is home to a public indoor tennis league, and is an official emergency shelter for the town of Pomfret.
Pomfret Woods includes miles of well-maintained trails, and is a joy to walk. Wappaquia Brook, which meanders through the property, is reason enough to visit when school lets out each summer.
In addition to these specific facilities, we maintain a close relationship with the Pomfret Fire Department, which utilizes our campus for training exercises throughout the year.