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Tom DeBenedetto is featured this week.

Occupation: I teach social studies for seventh grade at Newtown Middle School, and I’m the NMS assistant athletic director. I coach the boys’ basketball team, and I’m in charge of organizing both boys’ and girls’ basketball.

Family: My wife is Michelle. We have 4-year-old twin girls, Aryanna and Gabrielle.

Pets: We have a 6-year-old black lab. Her name is Savannah and she is a recently trained therapy dog. She started out as a Guiding Eye dog.

How long have you been in Newtown? We live in Southbury, but I have been teaching at NMS for 13 years.

What do you like to do in your free time? In summer, I like to travel with my wife and kids. My wife would tell you my secret is that I like to play golf, golf, and more golf. Whenever I get a chance, I play. And I certainly enjoy reading.

Do you have a favorite book? I love history books, periodicals, and especially anything about World War II. I’m a big World War II buff. I just finished Citizen Soldier, and 1776, about George Washington. I’ve read all of the Band of Brothers series and watched the miniseries about it.

Do you have a favorite travel destination? Before kids, I went for anything shiny and flashy, like Disney or Vegas, where there’s always so much to do. With the girls, we have gone to Sesame Place and Hershey. We like to do things nearby, too, like just go apple picking or that sort of thing.

What is the best thing about Newtown? The best things are the kids. The students here are just so funny. Listening to them, they make you feel young, and they keep you up to date. I like that Newtown has a small town atmosphere, and I love the scenic and historic nature of the town.

Do you have a hero? The person I admire the most is my wife, for putting up with the everyday stuff that she does, including from me. I admire her compassion. She always has time for others. If I could model myself after her, I’d feel great.

Do you have a personal philosophy? Dare to dream. One year, our cluster printed up “D-Wear” Dare To Dream T-shirts and sold them. The money went to the student council to support a family at Christmas.

What makes you laugh? I have an innate ability to laugh about almost anything that isn’t tragic. I like to look at the lighter side of life. But the things my children do, and the things the kids at school do, really make me laugh. I laugh, too, at how seriously some people take themselves. I try to find humor in everything. Life is too short to go through feeling upset.

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