Linda Draper

Linda Draper -- Wilton-Lyndeborough Co-op

Linda DraperThe new Wilton-Lyndeborough Junior-Senior High School opened in the fall of 1971 several years after the two towns voted to become a cooperative district for grades seven through 12. The former Wilton High School had occupied the upper floor of the “old building” at what is now Florence Rideout Elementary School. This year’s seniors will be the 50th class to graduate from the building.

WLCThe school has evolved over the years, becoming a middle school by adding the sixth grade and a new wing to the building. It has adapted to the computer age, changed the former gender-segregated shop and home economics classes into to co-ed Industrial Arts and Family and Consumer Education. The girls voted to play soccer instead of field hockey.

Linda Draper’s current title is Administrative Assistant to the Principal, a person who has changed many times since she joined the staff as a special education para-professional in 1991.

“I had always volunteered with the school,” she said recently. “I worked for four years at Florence Rideout and then came up to WLC when my daughter Sara started seventh grade. I have been a para, Athletic Director, In-School Suspension monitor and alternative education coordinator, and then this position opened up. I’ve done about everything else. In a small school you do that.” 

While working in Special Education, she became an advocate of alternative education. “Things have changed so much,” she said, and what is now called Family and Consumer Science and Consumer Math should be a required courses. “Students all need some computer background, and they need to be able to read a recipe, how to make change, and balance a checkbook. This is life and they need to have life skills.”

And everyone doesn’t have to go to a four-year college. There are tech and trade schools and the military. “Those are the people we depend on, the auto mechanics, plumbers and electricians.”  She spoke of the teachers who had most influenced her: Social Studies teacher and later Assistant Principal David Campbell, a retired military man who set high standards, and Home Economics teacher Helen Dwire, whose husband Ralph was the shop teacher. “Mrs. Dwire was fantastic, really an inspiration.”  The Dwires, now in their nineties, still live in Lyndeborough.

Draper grew up in Lyndeborough, attended Lyndeborough Central School, and graduated from WLC in 1981. She is a graduate of what is now Nashua Community College with a degree in accounting.

“I took a lot of courses after that, and worked at Label Art,” she said. She has lived in Wilton with her husband Bill, a Wilton native, since 1984. They have two daughters and two granddaughters.

Accounting wasn’t her first goal, she said, it was a degree in history, “but math was easier,” and teaching did not attract her.  “Who would have thought that I would be working in a middle/high school for almost 30 years?”

“I’m always open to something new,” she said. “When I was at FRES, there were only four of us who could run the mimeograph machine. Up here I was the only one. And who can do that now? Or even know what one is? Everything is now computer-based.”

WLC, she said, “Is a lovely community, people here care. Because we are so small, everyone knows everyone else’s business, which could be hard. But the adults want to be here and want to give to the kids. My idea of a successful person is one who is happy, a well-adjusted, respected member of the community. I just want to cooperate and work with people. I try to be helpful, help out where it’s necessary.”

She is one of the first faces you will see when you enter the school office, and she will greet you with a smile.

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