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David Burnham Maritime Fund for Paul Cuffee School
By Jean Cohoon / March 5, 2015 /   Loading Disqus...
The late David Burnham, inaugural president of the Paul Cuffee School board of trustees, once stated, “The dream of those of us who founded the school has always been to enable boys and girls to become familiar with the vast world of water.”

“We thought the best way to honor Dave would be to marry his two passions – education and all things maritime. This fund ensures continuity of the maritime theme, a unique facet of the school that Dave valued greatly,” continues Maria Monteiro, the school’s director of institutional advancement.

Specifically, the fund will provide maritime fellowships for Paul Cuffee juniors and seniors to pursue maritime-related leadership development opportunities at a community-based site such as the Community Boating Center.

A native New Yorker, David earned degrees at Yale University and the University of Massachusetts before embarking on a long and distinguished career in education. He taught at Mount Hermon School for Boys in Gill, MA, and served as vice president for academic affairs at Loomis Chafee School in Windsor, CT, before moving to Rhode Island to serve as headmaster at Moses Brown School. He retired after 16 years, later accepting short-term assignments in Japan, New York, and at St. Andrew’s School in Barrington.

David then helped found the Paul Cuffee School, a charter school for Providence’s urban youth. It opened in 2001 with kindergarten through third grade. The School now serves nearly 800 students in grades K-12.

Paul Cuffee School graduated its first class on June 10, 2014. “The idea was to surprise Dave at graduation with the announcement of the fund,” Maria recalls. Unfortunately, the 85-year-old honoree died five days earlier and just hours after the death of his wife of 62 years, Anne.

“His family knows what the school meant to him, so they were thrilled we chose to honor him. They said the school was one of his proudest accomplishments,” Maria shares.

Through this fund, Paul Cuffee School students forever will know the name of David Burnham, experience leadership opportunities in his name, and perhaps share his love for both education and sailing.
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