Bonnie Riley Honored at KSC

by on April 1, 2009 in Nelson People with 2 Comments

Bonnie Riley, a longtime Nelson resident, was among four women honored on March 30 at Keene State College’s 19th annual Outstanding New Hampshire Women ceremony. The event is a celebration of New Hampshire women’s accomplishments and creativity. “Women Taking the Lead to Save Our Planet” (the theme for 2009) recognizes women who have made extraordinary contributions to our college, regional, and state communities.

Bonnie surrounded by many Nelson friends.

Bonnie surrounded by many Nelson friends at the Award ceremony.

Bonnie was presented with the Monadnock Region Community Award, honoring her support of other women; for her work as a role model, organizer, motivator, and life-long educator; and for her community building for local women.  She has had an impressive career as a high school teacher and a post-retirement career as an educator at Westmoreland prison, the New England College LINEC program, the ConVal High School adult evening program, and Keene State. But the group that nominated her – the Tuesday Academy – was one she founded in 1981. The Tuesday Academy counts among its members women from 40 to 90: doctors, lawyers, teachers, musicians, businesswomen, and homemakers. They meet weekly to study a range of topics in literature, science, and social sciences, as well as dance. The Academy encourages its members to act on their convictions: Granny D’s now famous cross-country walk began as a Tuesday Academy discussion. Through the Tuesday Academy, Bonnie Riley has for decades inspired the women who inspire others throughout the region, and the Tuesday Academy has expanded to include a host of other adult-education offerings. Many members of Bonnie’s Academy were present for the ceremony at the college.

bonnie-allen_2asBonnie was a dance teacher in New York City when she began coming up to Dublin to teach a summer program at the Dublin School. She provided extra-curricular activity by bringing  her students to the Nelson contra dances. She made the transition from “summer person” to year-rounder in about 1960, when she built a house on land above Lake Nubanusit. Except for a two-year stint in Nigeria, where among other activities, she used Ralph Page records to teach contra dancing to her local African community, she’s been in New Hampshire ever since.

Congratulations Bonnie!

Some information from this article was from an article written by Bonnie’s God-daughter, Lisa Sieverts (also of Nelson) for the Monadnock Folklore Society website. Click here to read that article.

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  1. Kathy Schillemat says:

    Lovely article! Congratulations, Bonnie! One never realizes the impact of one’s everyday actions.

  2. Sienna M Giffin says:

    Belated Congradulations Bonnie, Your a steady source of inspiration to me. You have the spirit and grace that all woman need to reconnect with.All my love. SMG

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