Newtown Educators Thank Monroe

Through comments and cookies this week, Newtown reached out to thank Monroe for all it has done since 12/14.

Newtown Board of Education members - Chair Debbie Leidlein, Vice Chair Laura Roche, Keith Alexander, and John Vouros - attended a Monroe Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, January 22.

At the meeting Ms Leidlein said it was important for the Newtown school officials to attend the Monroe's Board of Education meeting to express what the use of Monroe's Chalk Hill Middle School has meant to the community of Sandy Hook School.

The fact that the school community could be kept together as a whole was amazing, said Mr Leidlein, through tears.

"I can't express to you enough thanks," said Ms Leidlein.

The events of 12/14 shook the Newtown community, Ms Leidlein said, and having Monroe as a neighbor provide a school meant much to the parents, students, and teachers of Sandy Hook School.

Monroe's efforts answered Newtown's prayers, Ms Leidlein said.

"Words just can't express what it meant to our community," said Ms Leidlein.

Ms Roche thanked a number of people from Monroe at the meeting, including its full Board of Education, First Selectman Steve Vavrek, Superintendent James Agostine, Assistant Superintendent John Battista, Chief of Police John Salvatore, and others.

"No community should ever go through what we've been through, and we are able to move forward because of what you have done for us," said Ms Roche.

In another effort to thank those in Monroe who have helped support Newtown, faculty and staff members of Reed Intermediate School were busy baking over the weekend of January 25. By Monday, January 28, the smell more than 100 dozen homemade treats lingered throughout the school.

Reed fifth grade teacher Gina De Cesare organized the cookie, muffin, and bread collection, after being inspired by the popularity of performing acts of kindness. Reed faculty and staff were encouraged to bake goods at home and bring them in on Monday, when volunteers sorted the collection, mostly cookies, into boxes to be delivered to the Monroe Public Schools, the Monroe Public Schools Central Office, the Monroe Board of Selectmen, the Monroe Police Department, and the Southbury State Police headquarters.

Last week Reed students also put together packages of Hershey Kisses and Hugs for the Newtown Police Department and every Newtown fire company, according to Ms De Cesare.

"Acts of kindness have happened to Newtown because of this," said Ms De Cesare, "and we wanted to in turn offer kindness to Monroe."

Each of Monroe's public schools received three boxes of cookies, said Ms De Cesare.

Tracey McManus helped sort the baked goods on Monday, and Reed PTA Co-President Tracey Jaeger coordinated the delivery of the goods to Monroe for Tuesday, January 29. All of the boxes used were donated by Stop & Shop and Big Y.

Each box included a letter signed by teachers and staff members at Reed. The letter read, "The teachers and staff of Reed Intermediate School in Newtown want to extend their sincere gratitude to all the teachers and staff members of your public schools for graciously welcoming our Sandy Hook family into your town. We know that many of you have volunteered your time to help prepare the classrooms for the Newtown children, and have provided additional support to our teachers and families. Many donations and gestures of love and support have poured into our town since the tragedy, and now it is our time to return that gesture of love back out to our neighbors in Monroe. We have been inspired to create acts of kindness throughout our community, and this is one little way that we can spread some of that kindness to those who have helped us at a time when we needed so much support. We hope you will enjoy our sweet treats, and know that we are thinking of all and send you lots of love!"

All the boxes were also decorated with red paper hearts with the words, "Baked with love from Reed Intermediate Newtown."

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