BOE Celebrates Students
From a student whose “wish” created a new lounge area at Newtown High School to student athletes, the Board of Education celebrated recent student achievements at its virtual November 17 meeting.
The Board of Education routinely holds “celebrations” as part of its meetings. The November 17 celebrations began with highlighting NHS senior Cameron Powers, who has cystic fibrosis, for opting to have her “wish” granted by Make-A-Wish Connecticut be a new space created at the high school for Unified Program students to enjoy, as covered in the October 23 print edition of The Newtown Bee.
“She took the selfless route, as I call it, and bestowed that gift on the students at Newtown High School by creating a Unified Lounge at the school,” Superintendent of Schools Dr Lorrie Rodrigue said at the meeting.
Rodrigue said she was “blown away” after seeing the new space.
NHS Principal Dr Kimberly Longobucco spoke from the new Unified Lounge for the meeting, saying children granted wishes through Make-A-Wish-Connecticut have three options: “To go, to have, or to give.”
“Very rarely does anyone choose to give their wish, and Cameron did just that,” said Longobucco, adding that Cameron feels strongly about making sure all students feel included.
The Unified Lounge, which was completed with the help of an interior designer, was revealed on October 16. Since then, Longobucco said, students have been enjoying the newly furnished space.
“Cameron has the biggest heart. She is a giver and she wholeheartedly believes in inclusion,” said Longobucco. “Newtown High School is so lucky to have Cameron as a student, and we will be forever grateful for her selfless act and this amazing room.”
In other celebration news, Rodrigue shared that the NHS Unified Sports program was recently recognized by the Unified Champion Schools program.
“Newtown was chosen by Special Olympics from hundreds of schools nationwide that applied,” said Rodrigue. “Newtown’s Unified Sports program has a rich history dating back to 2014, when the program started and was named a Unified Champion School in 2017 along with the [Michaels Achievement Cup] top program in 2018.”
Newtown Athletic Director Matt Memoli said he “couldn’t be more proud” of the NHS Unified Sports program and its achievement for being recognized by the Unified Champion Schools program.
The final celebration of the evening highlighted the NHS boys’ soccer team for completing “an undefeated season at 13 and 0 and 1.”
“They won the SWC North Division title,” Rodrigue said.
Many members of the team, Rodrigue continued, were part of the 2019 boys’ soccer team that earned the United Soccer Coaches All-Academic Team Award.
“Newtown was one of 112 high school boys’ teams recognized out of 19,000 teams in America,” said Rodrigue. “That’s just astounding to me. This award is given to teams for exemplary performance in the classroom during the 2019-20 academic year.”
The team needed a minimum grade point average 3.25 for the academic year, according to the superintendent.
“I think that award speaks volumes of the program,” said Memoli. “...The culture of that program is exactly what we preach: Students first and athletes second.”