Thanks to the past two Reed Intermediate School sixth grade classes, a school in Paynesville, a suburb of Monrovia, in Liberia, has a new well, and a new school building is being constructed. This past February, Newtown Middle School seventh grade students — the former Reed students who led the fundraising efforts — learned how they helped fund a well for a Liberian school through participating in a yearly event at Reed Intermediate School as sixth grade students the previous school year. Funds were raised through two very successful Pushcart Days at Reed School, where children created their own “pushcarts” filled with selected foods and other items, and then sold the items while competing with other pushcart teams. The program was based on "The Pushcart Wars" by Jean Merrill, which tells the fictional story of a clash between pushcart vendors in New York City. At the Board of Education’s Tuesday, July 15, meeting, the school board learned how Reed sixth graders, participating in the same event this past school year, helped to build a new school building.
With summer in full bloom and melons proliferating on the vines and in the supermarkets, maybe now is not the best time to confess that I grew up a melon hater. Mostly, it was watermelon I detested. It was not the flavor that turned me off, but the messy, sticky drippiness of eating it that I found unpleasant. I had no idea, of course, that one day I would come to appreciate the positive aspects of the watermelon. One cup of melon balls contains 18 percent of the Required Daily Value (RDV) of vitamin A, and 21 percent of the RDV for vitamin C. It is a fat-free snack of only 46 calories, low in sodium, and is a source of potassium. On the down side, this one cup does contain 10 grams of sugar — but let me remind you, it is naturally occurring sugar, not added. Despite the high water content, watermelon is actually a source of fiber, too. I count it as a plus that the seedless variety seems to be predominant these days.
Between students working to create their own games, Introduction to Computer Programming Using Scratch 2.0 instructor Tim McGuire offered tips and examples of other ways to improve their projects on Thursday, July 10. The course, which was offered through Newtown Continuing Education, ran July 7-11. Guided by Reed Intermediate School's technology teacher, students in grades three and up were introduced to basic elements of computer programming, and taught how to create an interactive video game or animation using Scratch, a computer programming software developed by the MIT Media Lab.
A befuddled and loving dad, H.C. Curry (played by Jeff Rossman) is the figurehead of a family trying to find love and companionship during a personal and environmental dry spell in "The Rainmaker," currently in production at Sherman Playhouse. N. Richard Nash's tale of good, old- fashioned Americana is told with a light-hearted touch of humor and a deep sense of love, loyalty and commitment. The story covers one family's wish to find love for their sole female, while living during the Dust Bowl era and the true need for rain. Sherman Players, says Reviewer Elizabeth Young, are offering a message of hope and happiness during a hard time.
Making it all possible may have taken effort, but reflecting on her recent trip to the Republic of the Gambia, Newtown resident and St Mary’s College of Maryland rising junior Katelyn Kean said “the experience was well worth it.” Katelyn, who has lived in Newtown her whole life, explained she had to complete work with a “field school” through her college to graduate with an archaeology degree. So last summer she began researching. As an anthropology and history double major with a minor in museum studies, Katelyn chose to study with an archaeology group she says travels for a field school every two years. She spent seven weeks overseas, being accepted into her host family while also working with fellow students on their archaeology studies. Her travels have also led Katelyn to put her home life into a new perspective.
When artist and quilter Stefanie Lagana arrived at Newtown Municipal Center one recent afternoon to begin planning for an exhibit of her own handiwork, the Sandy Hook resident became immediately concerned seeing several of the memorial quilts that were delivered to Newtown in the wake of 12/14 billowing and buckling.“There were others that were falling off the walls because they had been suspended using incorrect hardware,” she told The Bee. “But unless you work with quilting displays, you probably wouldn’t know there is an optimal way to display them that also preserves them properly.” So she headed into the first selectman’s office and immediately ran into Human Resources Administrator Carole Ross, who has overseen the intake and display of most of the thousands of tribute and memorial materials that have flowed into town since the Sandy Hook tragedy, and volunteered to oversee a new project: framing and attaching hardware to many of the textiles.
When she returned to Kansas City last month for the annual SkillsUSA competition, Adell Mastro arrived with her latest quilt creation. A queen-size quilt, “Kansas City: Thank You And Farewell,” had been designed and then hand stitched by the Newtown resident, and was was her entry for this year’s national convention. During a fundraising auction on June 27, Mrs Mastro's quilt sold for more than $2,000, going to the same woman who has purchased all three of the Newtown resident's previous offerings.
"I Hate Hamlet," the current production by Town Players of Newtown at The Little Theatre, is the 20th full-length play at the Orchard Hill Road theater in which director Ruth Anne Baumgartner has had the pleasure of directing actor Rob Pawlikowski. She has directed other actors multiple times, but none more than the Roxbury resident who has become her “A-list” choice and personal friend. It is, no doubt, not the last time that the two will collaborate to bring entertainment and thoughtful contemplation to local audiences. A rapport built on mutual respect has created a bond that makes Ms Baumgartner frequently pencil in Mr Pawlikowski’s name when contemplating a play selection, and one in which the actor is loathe to turn down an opportunity to work with her, no matter how much of a character stretch she asks him to make.
What would you do, if you had only a third of the funds necessary to present a $30,000 event? If you are the Newtown Labor Day Parade Committee, you would have faith, and move forward with the plans for the 53rd annual parade, scheduled to put its best foot forward Monday, September 1, at 10 am.