Newtown High School’s musical production of "City of Angels," which ran March 19-22, received three awards at the Annual Connecticut High School Musical Theater Awards, which was held at the Palace Theater in Waterbury on June 1. The award winners were announced during the gala, and the NHS production had been nominated for 14 awards. “It was a wonderful night filled with amazing performances,” said Jane Matson, the production’s director and the high school’s choral director.
A special celebration was held in the Guidance Department at Newtown High School on Wednesday, May 27, marking the Award of Outstanding Comprehensive Developmental School Counseling Program from the Connecticut School Counselor Association (CSCA). Before the celebration, at the Board of Education’s meeting on Tuesday, May 19, Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi, Jr, offered his congratulations to NHS Principal Lorrie Rodrigue and NHS Guidance Director Cathy Ostar. “Through the Connecticut School Counselors Association, Newtown High School Guidance Department [was] recognized as an outstanding department of 2015,” the superintendent said.
A school effort that began with a book has built a school in Liberia.
Reed teachers Valerie Pagano-Hepburn, Lil Martenson, Patrice DiVanno, and Karen King visited Newtown Middle School on Friday, June 5, to share the news with former Reed students, who gathered into the NMS’s auditorium during two assemblies.
“It’s so exciting. You’re going to be blown away,” said Ms Pagano-Hepburn to her former students before Ms King shared the story of how the school came to be built.
Author and illustrator Lita Judge visited three of Newtown’s elementary schools between Monday, May 11, and Thursday, May 14, sharing stories about her life, her pets, and from her books.
Her first visit was to Middle Gate Elementary School on Monday, May 11.
Middle Gate students had read Ms Judge’s book Pennies for Elephants as the school’s One School One Read book. Between April 6 and April 10, all students, staff, and school community members were encouraged to read the book, and different activities were held throughout the week to celebrate the reading effort.
Middle Gate Elementary School held its annual STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) Night event for third and fourth graders on Thursday, May 21.
The event, organized by math/science specialist Jill Bracksieck and the school’s math intervention teacher Kristen Delgado, boasted many activities that allowed the students to learn about and explore science and math.
Some of the activities were put together by representatives from the EverWonder Children’s Museum, while others were set up by Ms Bracksieck and Ms Delgado.
Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi, Jr, noted at the Board of Education’s meeting on Tuesday, June 2, that the educators who will be retiring at the end of this school year have spent a total of 354 years working in the district.
Recognizing and celebrating the “careers of master teachers,” Dr Erardi said, is one of his favorite things to do as a superintendent.
“And this evening… I think we will all be in agreement that 354 years of service that will be standing in front of you at some point, is simply amazing,” said Dr Erardi.
Head O’ Meadow Elementary School art teacher Donna Perugini was visited by current and former students during the school’s School of Art Gallery 2015 event during the evening of Wednesday, May 20.
The event featured art work created by students in each grade at the school. Art was hung on the wall and clay creations were displayed on tables, like the “coiled clay flamingos” created by first grade students.
Ms Perugini said she had a “guest book” for this year’s event and asked each guest to leave his or her comments in the book. She also said many of the creations for this year’s art show were mixed media works of art, utilizing different materials to teach students who to use differing techniques.
Along with its repair business, Newtown High School’s NewTek program has been collecting technology devices to recycle as part of a new effort.
“The best way to recycle things is to repair things,” said teacher Michael Ornaf, as his second and third year NewTek students worked around him on Thursday, May 21. “And once we are through with repairing them, we donate them to a charity I have designated, which is the River Fund New York [Inc]. It’s a great charity that has a food pantry and serves roughly half-a-million people a year.”
NewTek is a student-run enterprise at the high school. Only students that have taken a year of computer repair courses can participate, according to Mr Ornaf. The NewTek services are available to NHS students, staff, and the Newtown community.
Parents looking for something for their children to do — whether by introducing a new topic or continuing an already established interest shown by sons and daughters — have a number of options available during summer break. Newtown Continuing Education has again scheduled summer camps with a number of topics available. This summer will mark the 24th year Continuing Education will be running its SMART (Summer Music and ARTs) summer camp. There are several engineering and computer camps also available, as well as a weeklong Knit and Chat class.