February 5, 2016

Country School Offers $10,000 Merit Scholarship

open_house_january_2016In celebration of The Country School’s 60th Anniversary, the school’s Board of Trustees is providing a $10,000 merit scholarship to a student applying for admission to Grades 4-8 for the fall of 2016. Additional scholarships will be offered to students entering those grades based on applicants’ qualifications and/or need. Founded in 1955, The Country School is celebrating its 60th anniversary during the 2015-2016 school year.

This will be the second 60th Anniversary Merit Scholarship awarded in honor of The Country School’s founding six decades ago. Eloise de Landevoisin Campbell, currently an 8th Grader from Lyme, was awarded the 60th Anniversary Merit Scholarship for the 2015-2016 school year. In addition, other students received partial scholarships after applying for the merit scholarship.

Head of School John Fixx will share information about the 60th Anniversary Scholarship program on Sunday, Jan. 31, at 12:30 p.m. in conjunction with the school’s Winter Open House (taking place from 1-3:30 p.m.). While students sit for the Merit Scholarship test, parents will have the opportunity to tour campus and speak directly with faculty members, current parents, and administrators.

To learn more and register, go to http://www.thecountryschool.org/admission/60th-anniversary-merit-scholarship.

The recipient of the $10,000 Merit Scholarship will be selected on the basis of academic merit and personal promise as demonstrated by the merit scholarship testing, school records, and an interview. Finalists will be asked to write an essay describing how a Country School education might benefit them and will be invited to spend a day on campus. The scholarship recipient will be notified in early March.

On Sunday, Jan. 31, visitors will learn about the academic program and the wide academic, artistic, athletic, and leadership opportunities on campus. They will also learn about The Country School’s six decades-long history of preparing graduates for the strongest independent secondary schools and high school honors programs in the area and throughout New England. Families will receive the impressive list of where Country School graduates attend college and hear how the Secondary School Placement Office assists families in attracting similar scholarship support for secondary school.

Students will sit for the Merit Scholarship test and experience hands-on learning and design challenges similar to those current students experience on a regular basis. They will also explore the campus and meet teachers and students.

The 60th Anniversary Scholarship is for a new student and is renewed each year that the student is enrolled at The Country School, provided the recipient stays in strong academic standing and consistently demonstrates good citizenship. It is The Country School’s expectation that merit scholarship recipients will contribute significantly to the life of the School, creating a stronger overall experience for all students.

The Country School is a coeducational, independent day school serving 200 students in PreSchool through Grade 8, ages 3-14, on its 23-acre campus in Madison. This year, also in honor of the school’s 60th anniversary, the campus is undergoing a major transformation, with new athletic fields, tennis courts, and playground areas being installed. Future enhancements will affect classroom buildings, campus infrastructure, and outdoor common spaces.

For more information, contact Pam Glasser, Director of Admission and Curriculum, at 203-421-3113, ext. 122, or pam.glasser@thecountryschool.org.

For further information, visit www.thecountryschool.org.

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Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Host Kindergarten Registration

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Registration for Kindergarten in Lyme-Old Lyme Public Schools for the fall of 2016 is being held today, Tuesday, Jan. 26, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Lyme Consolidated School and Mile Creek School

Children who will be 5 years old on or before Jan. 1, 2017 are eligible to register for Kindergarten for September 2016.

While you may complete the registration process at either school, your child’s school placement will depend on District attendance zones.

Please bring to registration your child’s

  • Birth Certificate
  • Immunization/Health Records
  • Three forms of proof of residency

If you cannot register on these days or would like additional information, call either school at these numbers to place your child’s name on the Kindergarten list and/or have your questions answered:

Lyme Consolidated: 860-434-1233

Mile Creek: 860-434-2209

 

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New Officers Elected at Region 18 Board of Education, Roche is Chair

The newly elected chair of the Region 18 Board of Education Michelle "Mimi" Roche.

The newly elected chair of the Region 18 Board of Education Michelle “Mimi” Roche.

At their December regular monthly meeting, the Region 18 Board of Education elected new officers.  This is a normal occurrence at the December meeting, but this year a new chairman had to be elected because the board’s former chairman, Jim Witkins of Lyme, had not sought re-election in November.

Three new members, Stacey Winchell and  Erick Cushman representing Old Lyme and Mary Powell St. Louis from Lyme, also took their seats for the first time at the December meeting, having been elected in November.

The results of the paper ballot election were unanimous on all counts.  Michelle ‘Mimi’ Roche of Old Lyme was elected Chairman and Dr. Beth Jones of Lyme became Vice Chairman.  Rick Goulding and Jean Wilczynski were elected Secretary and Treasurer respectively.

The board meets monthly on the first Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. in the Lyme-Old Lyme High School Media Center.  Their next meeting is Jan. 20 and is a Special Meeting to accommodate preparations for the 2016-17 budget.

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Williams School Hosts Prospective Student Information Session, May 15

The Williams School in New London is offering a series of Prospective Student Information Sessions with the final one being held Sunday, May 15, from 1 to 3 p.m.

These sessions will provide an opportunity for families to enjoy a campus tour by a Student Ambassador, hear from a panel of current students and faculty, and experience mini lessons taught by faculty in their classrooms. They are one of many ways to learn about Williams’ academic, athletic, arts, and community opportunities.

Register online for Sunday’s Information Session.

For more information, contact the Admissions Office at 860.443.5333 or 

The Williams School is a college preparatory day school serving middle and upper school students in grades 6 – 12 located on the campus of Connecticut College at 182 Mohegan Ave. New London, CT 06320

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Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Name Hilda Heck as New Athletic Director to Replace Buscetto

Hilda Heck

Hilda Heck

Region 18 Schools have announced the appointment of Hilda Heck (photo added 1/4/16) as the new Athletic Director for the Lyme-Old Lyme Public Schools. Heck currently serves as the Athletic Director at The Classical Magnet High School and Middle School in Hartford, Conn. 

A graduate of Springfield College, Heck has coached both indoor and outdoor track as well as cross country. In addition to serving as a physical education and health teacher in Hartford, Heck has also taught gymnastics and swimming at the Westbrook YMCA. She will begin her tenure in January, replacing outgoing Athletic Director Bill Buscetto.

Region 18 Superintendent Ian Neviaser commented.“We have been fortunate in our district to have a number of very talented and dedicated Athletic Directors in Rob Roach and Bill Buscetto. Hilda Heck fits the mold of high quality people we have had in this position. We are excited for her to pick up right where Bill left off and continue providing top notch athletic opportunities for our students.”

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Mile Creek School Hosts Farm Animal Fundraiser, Benefits Those in Need Across the World

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This year Mile Creek School tried something new in place of the usual tradition of purchasing holiday gifts for teachers … and the result was a huge success!

Parents, faculty and administration donated money to Heifer International and this past Tuesday, the grand total of funds donated was announced — an incredible  $2740.23!

The contributions, in honor of the teachers of Mile Creek, will allow the purchase of:

1 Heifer
1 llama
1 alpaca
2 water buffalo
2 sheep
3 goats
3 beehives
4 pigs
5 flocks of chickens
5 flocks of geese
5 flocks of ducks

Heifer International will deliver the animals to the areas most in need and decide which animals will be best suited for the appropriate locations.  The organization also sends someone to the villages to train the families in animal maintenance and upkeep.

A delighted Patricia Downes, principal of Mile Creek School, commented, “The most beautiful thing about this program is, as families get on their feet, the offspring of the animals will be donated to other families.  This is truly the gift that keeps on giving.”

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Country School Selected as Finalist in United Arab Emirates STEAM Initiative

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Learning through STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math).

The Country School is one of three finalists selected to advise the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ministry of Education as it seeks to implement a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) curriculum for all Kindergarten-3rd Grade students.

Following a global search, the UAE identified the independent Pre-School through 8th Grade school as one of its top three choices to assist with the planning and implementation of the nationwide STEAM initiative. If selected, The Country School will partner with SmartStart Education, an academic solutions company based in New Haven, to plan and oversee implementation.

“We couldn’t be more honored that our signature STEAM program may serve as a global model for 21st century learning,” said Head of School John Fixx. “For the past five years, Country School teachers have immersed themselves in this effort to inspire meaningful, deep, and lasting learning through integrated science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. We know it works on our campus, and we look forward to sharing what we have learned with others across the globe.”

Fixx said The Country School was also delighted to be partnering on this venture with SmartStart Education, a team of administrators, teachers, and academics committed to helping people reach their full potential. He commented, “Like The Country School, SmartStart is all about promoting excellence in teaching and learning.”

Founded in 1955, The Country School serves 200 students, ages 3-14, on its 23-acre campus in Madison. STEAM is one of several signature programs at The Country School; others include Elmore Leadership, Outdoor Education, and Public Speaking. Through STEAM, students are invited to tackle real-world problems that require them to ask challenging questions and work together to come to a solution.

By integrating all elements of the curriculum, STEAM engages all learners, and the hands-on, creative nature of a STEAM exploration means the learning will last. Perhaps most importantly, STEAM gives students the skills they need for success in the future—communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity—and the inspiration to be tomorrow’s innovators.

Since adopting the STEAM model five years ago, The Country School has shared its learning in a variety of ways: during a summer teacher institute, through periodic teacher workshops, and through a series of STEAM events for area students and families. In addition, Country School teachers have been invited to facilitate STEAM workshops at outside conferences.

The Country School also hosts regular forums on the topics of parenting and education through its Teacher Institute-Partnering with Parents program. The next Teacher Institute-Partnering with Parents event will have a STEAM focus when, at 6:15 p.m. on Feb. 4, 2016, The Country School hosts a screening of Most Likely to Succeed, the acclaimed new film that invites us to reimagine education.  This has been brought forward from the previously announced 7 p.m. time to allow for a panel discussion and Q & A after the film.

Visit www.thecountryschool.org or contact communications@thecountryschool.org for more information.

For more about SmartStart Education, visit www.smartstarteducation.com.

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Wilczewski, Hartmann Named Region 18 Superintendent’s Leadership Award Winners

Region 18 Superintendent Ian Neviaser stands between Hattie and Brett Hartmann

Region 18 Superintendent Ian Neviaser stands between CAPPS Leadership Award winners Hattie Wilczewski and Brett Hartmann

Hattie Wilczewski and Brett Hartmann, students at Lyme-Old Lyme High School, have been awarded the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents’ (CAPSS) Superintendent/Student Recognition Award for leadership service to the school, academic prowess relative to ability, and service to others in the community at a ceremony held Dec. 7, at Saybrook Point Inn.

Ian Neviaser, Superintendent of Schools of Regional School District 18, made the presentation as part of a program designed by school administrators to recognize students who have served their schools and communities while maintaining good scholastic progress.

The Superintendent/Student Recognition Program awards a Certificate of Excellence at the discretion of the local superintendent of schools according to a distribution formula set for all state school districts. Awards are generally given during American Education Week in November in order to provide a meaningful focus for each school district and to enhance the quality of the certificate.

Hattie Wilczewski is a natural leader; she is a bright, curious, and well-rounded student who is committed to excellence on all levels.  She is self-directed and goal-oriented, combining rigorous academics with a great many extracurricular activities. A National Honor Society member and Saint Michael’s Book Award recipient, Wilczewski has consistently challenged herself with the strongest compilation of classes and has repeatedly been recognized with high honors and academic excellence awards.

She displays self- discipline and diligence when tackling difficult concepts in and out of the classroom.  Her approach to learning, as it is with everything, is to invest 110 percent. This energy and dedication have resulted in the achievement of an overall 99 weighted grade point average.

Wilczewski is a leader in her school and community holding positions like President of the Community Service Club and the Liaison Officer to the Kiwanis Club.  She is a contributing member of several other clubs, among them the Environment Club, the Spanish Club, and the Local History Club. 

As a responsible and articulate student, Hattie also helps produce the high school news on the WLYM morning news program. You may also catch her giving a spirited ukulele performance at the Nightingale Café in Old Lyme.

Wilczewski invests the same energy to her athletics, not only rising through the ranks with Kempo karate and mixed martial arts but as a dedicated member of the highly successful crew team. She has earned the Most Improved Player Award, the Scholastic Athlete Award, and been a contributor to both State and National Championship Regattas. Overall, Wilczewski displays integrity, character, and perseverance. 

Brett Hartmann is an accomplished student on every level and one of the strongest students who seeks the most rigorous challenges our school has to offer. A National Honor Society member, he has earned the prestigious Academic Letter and AP Scholar as well as numerous academic accolades.

Hartmann is one of the true student leaders in the school. He serves as a class officer and is an active member in many of our other student organizations. Without question, he is a “go-to” person who sees that things get done and done well. The entire Old Lyme community has benefitted from his drive and passion as he has served in many of the town’s events and programs. 

As a two-sport athlete, Hartmann shines on the baseball diamond in the spring and was elected co-captain of the boys’ soccer team this fall.

Above all, he is a true gentleman who cares about others and works hard to make the school and community a better place.

The Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents is the statewide school superintendents’ professional organization and based in West Hartford. It provides professional development, personal support, statewide conferences, legislative information and educational services to its membership.

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Lyme School Students Achieve Success with Socktober

The students of Ms. Alger's class at Lyme Consolidated School show their pride in the socks they collected.

The students of Mrs. Alger’s and Mrs. Flanagan’s classes at Lyme Consolidated School show their pride at the number of pairs of socks they collected.

Did you ever think one small grade, one small school could change the lives of hundreds of people? If you said no, I am sorry, you are wrong.

The fourth grade teachers [at Lyme Consildated School], Mrs. Alger and Mrs. Flanagan, made it possible along with YouTube sensation ‘Kid President.’ He deeply inspired the fourth grade students of Lyme Consolidated to give socks to the homeless with a community service project called Sock-tober.

Instantly, we were challenging other classes and bringing in socks on our own. We blew our first goal of 275 pairs of socks out of the water in a mere two weeks, so we lifted it to 500 pairs.

We knew we could make a difference.

Pretty soon two other teachers, gym teacher Mrs. Ambruso and second grade teacher Mrs. Sestrom suggested Sock-tober to their children’s schools (Quaker Hill School and the Integrated Day Charter School in Norwich) and our hopes for Sock-tober soared.

By the end of October, we had collected 719 pairs of socks. They were donated to New London Homeless Shelter.

We knew it was possible to change lives, and we happily obliged.

Editor’s Note: This article was written by a student in Mrs. Alger’s class, Constance Sharp, who is 9-years-old.  We’d like to hire Constance as soon as she’s ready!

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Lyme–Old Lyme Education Foundation Funds State-of-the-Art Maker Space for High School Tech. & Engineering Dept.

Advanced Engineering and Design student Hunter Thornton at the CNC Plasma Cutter.

Advanced Engineering and Design student Hunter Thornton at the CNC Plasma Cutter.

The Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Education Foundation recently awarded a $17,390 grant to the Technology and Engineering Department of Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) for advanced equipment to complete a 21st century Maker Space.

The new tools, a CNC Plasma Cutter and CNC Lathe, will enable students to cut and manufacture highly accurate parts, molds and prototypes for use in electronic vehicle design, passive solar energy machines, robotic components and more. This new equipment adds tremendous value to the LOLHS Technology and Engineering Department.

Advanced Engineering and Design student, Sam Frankel working on the CNC Lathe.

Advanced Engineering and Design student, Sam Frankel working on the CNC Lathe.

The newly-designed space provides the flexibility to maximize use of the equipment in a wide range of courses.  Students experience the full engineering process, with design instruction integrated with the manufacturing process. Design, manufacturing, testing and evaluation are now performed with Computer-Aided Design(CAD) in the adjacent computer laboratory. Students work and learn in a space similar to laboratories in top engineering schools.

James Witkins, Chairman of the Lyme-Old Lyme Board of Education, notes,“The grants vastly enhance our capabilities in Tech. Ed., and more importantly, they support the collective vision of creating a high school STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Center without peer in Connecticut.”

The LOL Education Foundation anticipates that the new equipment will increase student participation in Tech. Ed. programs. Use of evolving technologies both enhances student safety and fosters interest in new learning experiences. Students now have access to hands-on training using 21st century engineering tools. This grant will further develop students’ real-world skills while promoting creativity, collaborative problem-solving, and future success beyond the high school years.

Lyme-Old Lyme Education Foundation President Mike Kane states, “While we are thrilled to play a part in the enhancement of the Tech Ed Department’s Maker Space and appreciated the recognition of our efforts, our supporters and benefactors deserve most of the credit. Thanks to the generosity of those who entrust LOLEF to channel their donations in the right direction, our vision becomes reality.”

The Lyme-Old Lyme Education Foundation is an independent, 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization established in 2006 to support and enhance public education in our community. The Foundation is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors and supported by an advisory group of members of the community.

The Foundation seeks to raise and distribute funds to enhance or expand enrichment programs, support innovative teaching and learning, and build educational partnerships between students and community

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Candidates for Region 18 Board of Education Respond to Our Questions

Last week’s “Meet the Candidates for the Region 18 Board of Education” was not covered by the media — in our defense, our editor was moderating the event! — so we decided to give the five Old Lyme candidates the opportunity to present their biographies and answer a couple of questions.

All five accepted and we are pleased to publish their responses today ready for our readers to review prior to voting on Tuesday.

The four positions open on the board are all four-year terms.  Old Lyme residents will elect three of the five candidates.

The fourth open spot on the board will go to the Lyme candidate, Mary Powell-St.Louis (R), who participated in the debate but since she is uncontested, we did not request responses from her.

The two questions were

  1. Why are you running for the Region 18 Board of Education?
  2. Why should someone vote for you?

Click on the links below to read each candidates responses.

Erick Cushman – R

Paul Fuchs – D (Incumbent)

Peter Hunt – D

Michelle “Mimi” Roche – D (Incumbent)

Stacy Winchell – R

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3.  Polls will be open at the Firehouse on Hamburg Rd. in Lyme and at the Cross Lane Firehouse in Old Lyme from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.  We will publish the results on LymeLine.com very shortly after their announcement.

Absentee ballots are available through the Town Clerk in each town.

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Op-Ed: Valley Warriors Need to Reconsider Outdated, Distressing Mascot

valley regional2I am a proud alum of Lyme-Old Lyme High School, class of 2010. I could not have asked for a better education or community. One of the most important experiences I had as a student there was my involvement in athletics. I enjoyed every moment of cross country that did not involve running, and during basketball games, I ensured that the team’s bench remained warm at all times. I also supported my friends in their athletic pursuits, especially those dedicated enough to travel to another school to play football for the Valley Regional Warriors. Having heard about their growing success, I’ve begun to follow along once more and I’m proud to see that some of the team’s best players are from LOLHS, some of whom I know from my time as a summer camp counselor in town. However, I was saddened to see that the image used for the mascot is an antiquated, stereotypical depiction of Native Americans.

The image used to represent the “warriors” is a red face with black hair and two loosely hanging feathers. It is, in my opinion, a highly problematic image. The image would be problematic anywhere, but it is particularly troubling given the region’s history of violence against native peoples. The Pequot War, the war that ensured colonial hegemony in Connecticut, culminated with the Mystic Massacre of 1637, during which colonists and their native allies attacked a Pequot village and shot or burned to death over 400 hundred men, women, and children. The attackers targeted the village after bypassing a stronghold of warriors, knowing that non-combatants would put up less of a fight. To misappropriate the imagery of that time period is a deeply uninformed way of grappling with our violent history.

This imagery also promotes a racialized view of American life. The idea that there is a race of “red” people is an idea that Euro-Americans constructed in the 18th and 19th centuries to justify campaigns of conquest and displacement. Far from being an ideology of the past, this racism is still very much alive and dangerous. Few people know that police kill Native American men at about the same rate as African American men. It has been encouraging to see the removal of imagery that glorifies the Confederacy and chattel slavery, and we must now remove symbols that trivialize the centuries-old abuses of native peoples. Only then can we begin to combat the caustic racism that continues to permeate our society.

Finally, using Native Americans as mascots promotes the myth of the “vanishing Indian.” This myth, which dates back to the early-19th century, contends that Native Americans died out in the course of American history, unable to adapt to new contexts or hold their lands. The myth could not be more wrong. Native peoples, who represent countless languages, cosmologies, and identities, have displayed remarkable resilience and have been intertwined in American life since the early-colonial period. Native peoples have shaped American politics, contributed to the American ethos, and served in our wars in greater proportion than any other population. And they have fought tenaciously to preserve their lands and cultures. While they lost a great deal under the onslaught of imperialism, and now grapple with the resulting poverty and trauma, they are proud of what they have maintained. I’ve travelled to numerous reservations—I recently returned from a month-long trip to the beautiful Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota—and the people there work tirelessly to elevate their communities without losing sight of their heritage. They continue to fight, every day, to revitalize their languages and resist new forms of encroachment, such as the Keystone XL Pipeline. They’re not a novelty or a relic of the past. They are students and teachers and parents and artists, and they cannot be encapsulated by a picture of a red face and feathers.

I’m being oversensitive, you might say. Perhaps. The mascot debate is by no means our most important. But it’s a good place to start. So can we change the image used by Valley Regional’s football team? The important things—the lines on the field, the minutes in a half, the positive impact of playing on a team—will remain unchanged. This problematic image will be the only thing to go, and when it does, our boys will have even more to be proud of.

Editor’s Note: Michael McLean graduated from Lyme-Old Lyme High School in 2010.  He went on to obtain an undergraduate degree from Trinity College in 2014 and is currently studying for his PhD in American History at Boston College.  He is a contributor to the online history magazine, “We’re History” at http://werehistory.org.

 

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Country School Students Fund Well in Uganda with Support from Local Community

Joseph Coyne presents a Run Well t shirt from the school’s 5K fundraiser to Jordan Rizza, publisher of Coastal Connecticut magazine. The magazine invited Joseph to speak at a recent VIP reception during a Grassy Strip Music Series concert, where The Country School’s well project was the featured nonprofit.

Joseph Coyne presents a Run Well t shirt from the school’s 5K fundraiser to Jordan Rizza, publisher of Coastal Connecticut magazine. The magazine invited Joseph to speak at a recent VIP reception during a Grassy Strip Music Series concert, where The Country School’s well project was the featured nonprofit.

Following a full year of fundraising, and with generous help from the local community, students at The Country School recently announced that they had raised enough money to underwrite the creation of a well to provide clean drinking water in Kaberamaido, Uganda.

The successful conclusion of the fundraising effort, a partnership with the Madison nonprofit Call To Care Uganda, means construction can begin this summer. The well will be based at the Odongai Primary School and will provide clean water for as many as 1,500 people, including students at the school and others who live near it. The TCS well will mark the 28th well Call To Care Uganda has dug since its founding in 2007.

The Country School’s well effort began last fall after Joseph Coyne, an 8th Grader and member of the Student Leadership Committee, learned about the work of Call To Care Uganda (www.calltocareuganda.org). In addition to the obvious health benefits, Joseph discovered that a well would mean that children – primarily girls – could remain in school, rather than having to spend several hours each day walking miles back and forth to deliver potable water to their families.

Knowing that The Country School has a strong service learning component, Joseph suggested that his school embark on a well project with Call To Care Uganda, both as a way for Country School students to “serve their communities and the larger world,” as the school mission statement calls upon them to do, and so students could learn about children in other parts of the world.

Joseph Coyne, the student leader on the fundraising project to construct a well in Uganda, with his mother Beth Coyne, Dean of Student Life at The Country School, and Martha Hoffman, founder of Call to Care Uganda.

Joseph Coyne, the student leader on the fundraising project to construct a well in Uganda, with his mother Beth Coyne, Dean of Student Life at The Country School, and Martha Hoffman, founder of Call to Care Uganda.

The full cost of the well is $8,500, and so it was an ambitious undertaking for students at a PreSchool-8th Grade school, but Joseph and his Service Committee colleagues were confident it could be done. Starting in September, they held a series of fundraisers, from a school wide-coin collection to sales of Ugandan jewelry and dress down day fundraisers. This spring, they organized a 5K run on campus, attracting scores of local runners and inspiring several local businesses to serve as sponsors.

By the end of the school year, they had raised $5,353. With a little over $3,000 still to go, they were considering their options when they were invited by Coastal Connecticut magazine to be the featured nonprofit at the first Grassy Strip Concert of the summer, a performance by Christine Ohlman at the Madison Beach Hotel. During the concert, students sold jewelry and collected donations, and Joseph delivered a speech as part of a VIP reception.

The evening raised close to $1,300, but students still had a gap to close. Shortly after the concert, they heard from Jordan Rizza, publisher of Coastal Connecticut, who told them the magazine would cover the balance so they can officially proclaim, “Well done!” Construction of the well is expected to begin this month.

The Country School is extremely grateful to Coastal Connecticut, to sponsors of the 5K run (Zane’s Cycles; Dr. Laura Miller, DDS; Bershtein, Volpe, and McKeon P.C.; Group Insurance Associates; Woodbridge Running Company; and Barndoor Lighting Outfitters), to the countless individuals who made donations, and to our partners in this initiative, Call To Care Uganda, and its founder, Martha Hoffman, who visited The Country School repeatedly throughout the year to share news from and information about her program, students at Odongai, and Uganda.

Hoffman also helped Country School students initiate a pen pal program with Odongai students, and last fall, Country School students held a shoe drive, collecting 600 pairs of new and gently used shoes to send to their partner school. Recently, Hoffman forwarded photographs of Odongai students wearing their new shoes. The next photo Country School students hope to see their pen pals drinking clean water from their new well.

Founded in 1955, The Country School is a coeducational, independent day school serving students in PreSchool through Grade 8. At The Country School, a rigorous academic program is accompanied by a commitment to hands-on learning, a dynamic STEAM curriculum (integrated science, technology, engineering, arts, and math), a focus on the whole child, and service learning. The Country School prepares students to meet the future with confidence, encouraging them to reach their highest, both in school and in life. Learn more at www.thecountryschool.org.

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Fifteen Vista Students Embark On New Journey After July 10 Graduation Ceremony

A time to celebrate -- Vista graduates (from left to right) Casey Cincotta, Max Gebert and Danielle Garley share a smile.

A time to celebrate — Vista graduates (from left to right) Casey Cincotta, Max Gebert and Danielle Garley are all smiles after the ceremony.

One door closed and another opened recently for the 15 graduates of Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center, a nationally accredited non-profit education program for individuals with disabilities.

Bob Brown, Dana Butler, Kathleen Cassella, Casey Cincotta, Cody Clark, Alex Drago, Sarah Gabow, Danielle Garley, Max Gebert, Jason Jakubovic, Jackie McMahon, Kyle Palubicki, Lan Tagg, Matt Tarnell and Mickey Teubert graduated on July 10 in a ceremony held at Westbrook High School. Over 250 people attended the ceremony, including State Representative Noreen Kokoruda (R-101) and keynote speaker Lisa Mikis, former publisher of Shore Publishing in Madison.

Miksis, who came to know Vista and many of its students and members throughout her career with Shore Publishing, offered the graduates encouraging words of wisdom as they start the next chapters in their lives.

“You all worked hard to be sitting on this stage today. Be confident in what you have learned and achieved and in who you are,” said Miksis, now Vice President and Director of Marketing for Respond Systems. “As you step out into the world of tomorrow, know that all of your friends and family at Vista, and so many of us you meet out on the street in the community, are here to help you succeed.”

The Class of 2015: front row, (seated) from left to right are Alex Drago, Kyle Palubicki, Max Gebert, Jason Jakubovic, Bob Brown, Sarah Gabow and Lan Tagg. Back row (standing) from left to right are Mickey Teubert, Cody Clark, Kathleen Cassella, Danielle Garley, Matt Tarnell, Casey Cincotta, Jackie McMahon and Dana Butler.

The Class of 2015. Front row (seated) from left to right are Alex Drago, Kyle Palubicki, Max Gebert, Jason Jakubovic, Bob Brown, Sarah Gabow and Lan Tagg. Back row (standing) from left to right are Mickey Teubert, Cody Clark, Kathleen Cassella, Danielle Garley, Matt Tarnell, Casey Cincotta, Jackie McMahon and Dana Butler.

Graduation is a monumental occasion that acknowledges the achievements of Vista students who have reached a level of independence and, as a result, graduate from Vista’s Entrance Program— a residential post-secondary program.

Through the Entrance Program, students receive hands-on life skills instruction, vocational training, support and guidance, helping them develop the skills and behaviors needed for adulthood. The next step in their journeys involves living in their own homes or apartments within local communities in Vista’s service area as members of Vista’s Outreach Program.

“We’re so proud on the shoreline of these graduates,” said Kokoruda, whose district covers Madison and Durham. “Whenever I come to the Vista graduations, I know what real perseverance is with the families, with the friends, with the staff— but most importantly, with the graduates.”

In addition to a Vista Diploma, each graduate received a commendation certificate signed by Congressman Joe Courtney (D-2).

The graduation festivities ended with a reception at Chamard Vineyards in Clinton. There, each graduate received gift baskets complete with a cookbook and various housewarming items for their new homes or apartments.

Based in Madison and Westbrook, CT, Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center is a 501©3 nonprofit organization. Vista’s mission is to provide services and resources to assist individuals with disabilities achieve personal success.

For more information about Vista, visit www.vistavocational.org

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“Celebrate Center!” Historians Visit Old Lyme Historical Society Exhibit

The entire committee in front of a Celebrate Center display that showcased original signage and furniture: kneeling (left to right): Anne Colangelo, Lizzy Duddy, and Lauren Presti. Standing, left to right:  Emily Nickerson,  John Coffey,  Gabe Katwaru,  Zoe Jensen, and Elise DeBernardo.

The entire committee in front of a Celebrate Center display that showcased original signage and furniture: kneeling (left to right): Anne Colangelo, Lizzy Duddy, and Lauren Presti. Standing, left to right: Emily Nickerson, John Coffey, Gabe Katwaru, Zoe Jensen, and Elise DeBernardo.

On Thursday, June 4, seven of the eight students who were the driving force behind the May 1 “Celebrate Center!”  ceremony and display visited their new neighbor, the Old Lyme Historical Society (OLHS), to take in their current exhibit, “A Glimpse of Early Schools in Lyme, Connecticut, 1650-1868.”  The invitation was extended by Kevin Cole, a member of the OLHS Board of Trustees, Region 18 Liaison; Center School alumnus; and a fifth-grade teacher there, recently retired.

Alison C. Mitchell and Kevin Cole address the Celebrate Center committee when they visited the Old Lyme Historical Society.

Alison C. Mitchell and Kevin Cole address the Celebrate Center committee when they visited the Old Lyme Historical Society.

Although these students did not have ‘Mr. Cole’ as a classroom teacher, he was a familiar, popular presence at the school. Exhibit Chair Alison C. Mitchell, along with Cole, greeted the children and, after time for refreshments provided by the Historical Society, guided them through the various displays.

The 'Celebrate Center' Committee stands in front of the school (left to right): Lauren Presti, Elise DeBernardo,  Lizzy Duddy, Emily Nickerson, Zoe Jensen, Gabe Katwaru, and John Coffey. Missing from photo: Anne Colangelo.

The ‘Celebrate Center’ Committee stands in front of the school (left to right): Lauren Presti, Elise DeBernardo, Lizzy Duddy, Emily Nickerson, Zoe Jensen, Gabe Katwaru, and John Coffey. Missing from photo: Anne Colangelo.

The students learned that during this historical period, local school districts certified their teachers to teach; a certificate is on display. Along with numerous photos, there are such artifacts as a schoolmaster’s watch; schoolbooks of the day, including a hornbook—students were surprised at the small size of some of these books; a slate pencil; toys; and a flag with 13 stars.

Fifth-grader Lizzy Duddy was intrigued by the books. “They were very interesting because of all the different spellings. I liked all the cool pictures and artifacts.” Staff Advisor Helen Traver Scott felt this was “a wonderful opportunity for the students to see what it was like before Center School was built. The students were interested and polite and asked intelligent questions.”

Back at the school following the tour, the students were met with a surprise …

A T-shirt presented to the students showing the mural inside the front lobby of Center School.

A T-shirt presented to the students showing the mural inside the front lobby of Center School.

Scott, an Old Lyme native herself and Center School alumna who spearheaded ‘Celebrate Center’ and coordinated the students’ efforts, presented each student with a small photo album containing pictures of the display boards the students made for Celebrate Center, a copy of the speech he or she made during the May 1 program, and a T-shirt printed with an image of the mural in the front lobby of Center School.

Student committee n front of display board, with Center School mural in background (left to right): John Coffey, Lizzy Duddy, Emily Nickerson, Anne Colangelo, Zoe Jensen, Elise DeBernardo, and Lauren Presti. (Missing from photo: Gabe Katwaru.)

Student committee members stand proudly in front of an event display board with the Center School mural in background. From left to right, John Coffey, Lizzy Duddy, Emily Nickerson, Anne Colangelo, Zoe Jensen, Elise DeBernardo, and Lauren Presti. (Missing from photo: Gabe Katwaru.)

This mural depicts local scenery, both current and historic, and was created by all the students several years ago immediately following the renovation in the pointillism style, with each student adding dots of color.

The student committee at the Old Lyme Historical Society (left to right, kneeling): Lizzy Duddy, Elise DeBernardo, and Lauren Presti. Standing, left to right: John Coffey, Zoe Jensen, Gabe Katwaru, and Emily Nickerson. Missing from photo: Anne Colangelo.

The student committee at the Old Lyme Historical Society (left to right, kneeling): Lizzy Duddy, Elise DeBernardo, and Lauren Presti. Standing, left to right: John Coffey, Zoe Jensen, Gabe Katwaru, and Emily Nickerson. Missing from photo: Anne Colangelo.

There were eight students who made all the displays for Celebrate Center. Anne Colangelo, unfortunately, was not able to tour the Historical Society. Those attending were John Coffey, Elise DeBernardo, Lizzy Duddy, Zoe Jensen, Gabe Katwaru, Emily Nickerson, and Lauren Presti.

Two of these students are “descendants” of other Center School alumni: Lizzy Duddy’s sister, Lexi Duddy; father, John Duddy; grandmother Patricia Bugbee; great uncle Don Bugbee; and great-grandfather Donald Bugbee as well as various aunts, uncles, and cousins all attended Center School.

Emily Nickerson’s grandmother Beverly Mathiason and several uncles attended the school.

Friday these fifth grade students will make history as the very last class to graduate from Center School. A clearly pleased Scott points out, “They will take all the friends they made and the history they learned with them when they move on to middle school.”

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Lyme-Old Lyme High School’s Presidential Scholar Pan Goes to the Capitol

Eric Pan, left, reacts to the applause from politicians in the State Capitol.

Eric Pan, left, savors the applause from politicians in the State Capitol.

On May 30, Lyme-Old Lyme High School senior Eric Pan was introduced on the House Floor of the State Capitol by Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd). Pan was recognized for being named a 2015 U.S. Presidential Scholar, a highly prestigious honor given to only to a maximum of 141 students nationally.

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, appointed by President Obama, selects honored scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.

Of the three million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 4,300 candidates qualified for the 2015 awards determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, and through nominations made by Chief State School Officers or the National YoungArts Foundation’s nationwideYoungArts™ competition.

The 2015 Scholars are comprised of one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and from U.S. families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at-large and 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts.

Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored almost 7,000 of the nation’s top-performing students with the prestigious award given to honorees during the annual ceremony in D.C. The program was expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, literary and performing arts.

The 2015 ceremony will be held June 21, when each honoree will receive a Presidential Scholar Medallion.

Pan plans to attend the University of Connecticut in the fall, where he will study biomedicine and medicine.

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Mile Creek School Holds Memorial Day Program, Teacher of the Year Mary Bradford Also Honored

Mile Creek students sing during the Memorial Day program.

Mile Creek students sing during the Memorial Day program.

The traditional Mile Creek School Memorial Day program was held last Friday. During the program, Roger Haynes, who taught history at Lyme-Old Lyme High School for more than 35 years, spoke to the second and third graders.

He walked the children through the Pledge of Allegiance, clarifying the meaning of the language used so long ago.

Taking flowers to the veteran's graves.

Taking flowers to the veteran’s graves.

The second graders recited Flanders Field, before proceeding to the adjacent cemetery to decorate the graves of local veterans dating back as far as the Revolutionary War.

Roger Haynes presents Mary Bradford with a VFW award for Teacher of the Year.

Roger Haynes presents Mary Bradford with a VFW award for Teacher of the Year.

The members of the Old Lyme Veterans of Foreign Wars presented second grade teacher Mary Bradford with an award for Teacher of the Year.

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Teacher of the Year Mary Bradford (center) stands with the VFW members who came to honor her.

VFW members present at the ceremony were former Old Lyme First Selectman Tim Griswold, Roger Haynes, Bob Whitcomb and Commander William Appleby. Mile Creek Principal Patricia Downes is also in the photo at right.

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Region 18 Budget Vote Passes Easily

Superintendent Ian Neviaser answers post-result questions from 'The Day' reporter Kimberly Drelich.

Superintendent Ian Neviaser answers post-result questions from ‘The Day’ reporter Kimberly Drelich.

Voters in Lyme and Old Lyme overwhelmingly approved the Regional District 18 Board of Education’s budget proposal of $32,547,409 budget for the fiscal year July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016.

A total of 418 Yes votes and 106 No votes were cast in the district: in Old Lyme, 296 residents voted Yes while 87 No votes were recorded and in Lyme, there were 122 Yes votes and 19 voted against the budget.

The total number of registered voters in Old Lyme is 5,103 and so the voter turnout today represented a mere 7.5 percent of the total.

After the Moderator Larry Peterson had announced the Old Lyme results in the Cross Lane Firehouse, a delighted Region 18 Superintendent Ian Neviaser commented, “I think again we brought forward a responsible budget, which continued to support our programs.  The continued support of our voters shows how important education is to our communities.”

He also added, “Over the last three years the budget increases have averaged around 1.5 percent,” which he described as, “Highly unusual.”  Asked to explain why it has been possible to maintain such low increases, he cited the twin reasons of, “Declining enrollment coupled with strong fiscal management.”

The 2015-16 budget represents a 1.83 percent increase over the current 2014-15 budget.

 

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Lyme-Old Lyme High School Senior Eric Pan Named Presidential Scholar

US Presidential Scholar Eric Pan

2015 US Presidential Scholar Eric Pan

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the 51st class of U.S. Presidential Scholars yesterday in a news release, recognizing 141 high school seniors for their accomplishments in academics or the arts.

Eric Pan, a senior at Lyme-Old Lyme High School, was announced as one of the two – one young man and one young woman – Presidential Scholars for Connecticut. Pan, in turn, named his high school physics teacher Glenn Elliott as his most influential teacher.  Pan is the son of Gonghua Pan and Wen He.

The other 2015 Presidential Scholar from Connecticut is Evaline  Xie of Wilton High School.

“Presidential Scholars demonstrate the accomplishments that can be made when students challenge themselves, set the highest standards, and commit themselves to excellence,” Duncan said.

He continued, “These scholars are poised to make their mark on our nation in every field imaginable: the arts and humanities, science and technology, law and medicine, business and finance, education and government—to name a few. Their academic and artistic achievements reflect a sense of purpose that we should seek to instill in all students to prepare them for college, careers, civic responsibilities, and the challenges of today’s job market.”

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, appointed by President Obama, selects honored scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.

Of the three million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 4,300 candidates qualified for the 2015 awards determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, and through nominations made by Chief State School Officers or the National YoungArts Foundation’s nationwideYoungArts™ competition.

The 2015 Scholars are comprised of one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and from U.S. families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at-large and 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts.

Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored almost 7,000 of the nation’s top-performing students with the prestigious award given to honorees during the annual ceremony in D.C. The program was expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, literary and performing arts.

The 2015 ceremony will be held June 21, when each honoree will receive a Presidential Scholar Medallion.

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Center School Celebrates “80 Years of Change”

view_of_school_with empty_maypole_compressed

school_date_plaque_368x333Center School hosted a program last Friday to celebrate “80 Years of Change.”  The school opened in 1934 as a 1st through 12th grade school but has had many grade iterations since, including its most recent one as a 3rd through 5th grade school, which goes back some 30 years.

The final three grades have been phased out of Center School in the past three years during which time no new grades have entered the school.  The Kindergarten through 5th grade population has thus now been divided between Mile Creek and Lyme Consolidated Schools.

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Next year Center School will take on a whole new persona as it becomes both the administrative offices for the District housing the superintendent and his support staff and the home of the District’s Pre-School program.

maypole
Friday’s celebrations included a rendering of “Happy Birthday” by the Pre-K students, a speech by former student and teacher Kevin Cole and a maypole demonstration by students from the final four classes at the school.

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Alumni of the school were honored with boutonnieres and, along with students, parents and members of the public, they listened to the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School band play under the direction Ms. Carrie Wind and Mrs. Herel’s class sing the Center School song.

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One alumnus, Jim Fafalla (pictured above), who attended the school from 1948 to 1956, told LymeLine he has fond memories of his days at Center School.  When he attended the school it housed  1st through 12th grades and he recalled the best thing about the school being that, “Everyone looked out for each other.”  He also explained that, at that time, the younger grades were on the right hand (south) wing of the building as you walked into the school and the older grades were on the left (north) side.

Fafalla mentioned that six generations of his family have lived in Old Lyme and members of three of those attended Center School and even now, in its swansong era, his granddaughter Lauren Belville is there.

Michele&Lauren_Dickey_301KB

Center School alumni, mother and daughter, Lauren (left) and Michele Dickey. Michele, who graduated from Center in 1963, recalls fondly that she was in the same class as Kevin Cole!

The school’s gymnasium had effectively been converted into a museum by the Celebrate Center Committee with a wonderful display titled, “Through the Decades.”  Display boards filled with photos and information of each decade that the school had operated were on display along with memorabilia and artwork associated with the school.

View_of CS_gym_as_museum_compressed
The boards and museum exhibits were lovingly planned, designed and built by a dedicated group of eight Center School students who worked weekly, sometimes daily, for months to put together the exhibit.  The members of this club also each spoke at the celebration as did various other teachers, alumni and the school principal, Lori Susi.

memorabilia_from_school
Also on view were the 2015 time capsule that has been created, a memory wall, a timeline and a video including memories shared by alumni and former staff members.

OL_Schools_Pre-1933

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