SPARTA — Hilltop Country Day School has received a generous donation from the Hudson Farm Foundation in Andover that underwrites the matching program for the 403(b) retirement fund for its employees. The school ended the matching program in 2007-2008. Because of this extraordinary gift, Hilltop can now match up to 5% for every single employee’s retirement fund once again. “I am so grateful for this incredibly generous gift from Hudson Farm, a staple of philanthropy in the Sussex County community,” said Head of School Kevin Folan. “I have long believed that no school can ever exceed the quality of its faculty and staff. The Hilltop team has been so dedicated and committed, and I am so thankful we can now provide this additional incentive as a thank you for their years of service.” As with any other independent private school, tuition alone does not fully cover the cost of the incredible education the students receive. As such, parent, alumni, staff, and community philanthropy have helped sustain and support the school for the past 50 years. But, as Folan notes, great schools are simply a reflection of the dynamic, committed team of faculty and staff.“I feel so blessed that I am able to begin saving for my retirement at the start of my teaching career, “ said Kindergarten Teacher Nicole Petrillo. “The donation from Hudson Farm means so much to me because I feel more independent and worry less knowing I will be able to support myself after I retire.”Fourth grade teacher and new father, Sean Thorne, who taught part-time at Hilltop last year, contemplated leaving to take a full-time position at a boarding school. When offered a full-time position at Hilltop, he chose to recommit in order to stay with his family despite the school not having a retirement fund matching program.“I realized I made a good decision to join the Hilltop Country Day School team,” Thorne said when he learned of the news of the matching gift. “It’s a wonderful show of support of our efforts as educators and professionals,” said Laura Petrie, middle school English teacher. Hilltop Country Day School is Sussex County’s only independent school, serving students in preschool through grade 8. Using a project-based curriculum that incorporates a S.T.E.A.M. focus across grade levels, Hilltop students enjoy small class sizes, individualized instruction, and character development.