Year In Review: Student Accomplishments And More At Newtown’s Private Schools

Published: December 28, 2018 at 07:30 am


For Newtown’s three private schools — Fraser Woods Montessori School, Housatonic Valley Waldorf School, and St Rose of Lima School — 2018 was an eventful year, full of student achievements and school events.

Fraser Woods Montessori School

In honor of its 50th year, Fraser Woods Montessori School began the year by donating books to C.H. Booth Library on January 3. The school first opened in 1968 as the Newtown Montessori School Preschool. In honor of the anniversary year, the school offered donations of books to local libraries.

Many school projects later, Fraser Woods fourth to seventh grade students had science projects on display in the school’s gymnasium on April 26. Head Upper Elementary Teacher Brian Comstock and science teacher Zach Brown oversaw students working on the projects.

A few weeks later, Fraser Woods students staged the school’s production of James and the Giant Peach for parents and family members during the evening of May 11.

Then, on May 30, miles of accomplishments were acknowledged as 100 Mile Club members and parent and staff participants celebrated how far each participant ran throughout the 2017-18 school year.

End of the school year events marked graduation for the school’s eighth graders and kindergarten students before summer began, and when students returned to school in the fall, the building was a bit furrier. A mother rabbit, her sister, and seven babies were calling Fraser Woods Montessori School’s Zen Garden home. The school worked with local groups — including Rowanwood Farm and Baybrook Farm & Rescue — to find the rabbits a temporary home.

Students held hands and sang the lyrics to “Light A Candle For Peace” on September 21 to take part in 2018 International Day of Peace events.

Near the end of the year, students took a break from classroom activities to attend one of two assemblies featuring Newtown Police Department K-9 Officer Felicia Figol, Officer Matt Hayes, and K-9 Aris, who all visited the school on December 4.

Housatonic Valley Waldorf School

Throughout 2018, Housatonic Valley Waldorf School hosted events for the community, like sample classes and the first puppet show of the year, held on January 27.

Many months of effort came together on April 26 and 27 when eighth graders presented graduation projects. Each year, Housatonic Valley Waldorf School eighth graders are challenged to research a topic, create a project, and present the culmination of their work. This year’s Eighth Grade Graduation Projects were presented during a school assembly for students on April 26 and during an evening presentation for parents and community members on April 27.

Sunshine, flowers, and smiles were plentiful at the school’s annual May Fair on May 4. Later in the month, the eighth graders were busy again when they performed the play Harvey for students and staff on May 24 and for friends and family on May 25.

The day before Newtown’s the school hosted its eighth grade graduation, the last day of the school’s 2018-19 academic year came to a close with festivities on June 8. After a bridge ceremony was held for early childhood students, the school hosted a picnic for all students and family members.

The school’s annual Rose Ceremony was held on September 5. The event honors incoming first grade students by pairing them with eighth grade students.

Just a few weeks later, the school’s annual Michaelmas festival was held in the drizzly afternoon of September 28. Students completed an obstacle course set up by fifth grade students before the festivities began. Following the obstacle course, students ate “dragon bread” made by parent volunteers. The annual game held during the Michaelmas festival was postponed for a sunnier afternoon.

The school hosted its annual Holiday Market on December 7 and 8, when a host of vendors filled the space with handcrafted items, food, and more.

Near the end of the year, Housatonic Valley Waldorf School was preparing to host an alumni panel near the start of January as part of celebrating “30 years of Waldorf Education in Connecticut.”

St Rose Of Lima School

Assemblies and activities highlighted Catholic Schools Week at St Rose of Lima School, January 28 to February 3. The week included an open house, a spirit day, a parent appreciation day, and a Hands and Hearts Day of Service, when 2018’s Monsignor Robert E. Weiss Hands & Hearts in the Community awardee, Todd Ingersoll, president and CEO of Ingersoll Automotive, visited the school to speak with sixth and eighth grade students.

Mr Ingersoll was then celebrated at the school on March 4 as the awardee, and he was honored on March 5 at the Hands & Hearts in the Community Service Award/Tuition Assistance Benefit Dinner.

Students performed the play Annie, Jr, on May 11 for friends and family.

Then, on June 2, the class of 2018 graduated after a Mass and ceremony. The school had 28 eighth graders graduate in 2018.

The 2018-19 school year began on August 29 for St Rose of Lima School, and Principal Bardhyl Gjoka, who began his position as principal on July 1, said the day was filled with smiles.

In September, Mr Gjoka named fourth grade teacher Mary Jo Bokuniewicz as the school’s dean of student life, a new position created in 2018.

The fields at the school were filled with people mingling beneath tents on October 6, when the school hosted a Mass and Oktoberfest-themed celebration to commemorate 60 years of educating students in town. The school opened its doors in 1958.

Before preschool students sang in an annual Christmas concert for parents in December, the school had another day to celebration on November 30. A new Ben’s Bells mural was completed at St Rose of Lima School before the celebratory day, which invited Class of 2018 eighth graders back to the school to thank them for their class’s donation of the mural. The mural, made up of predominantly green tiles, with the words “Be Kind,” adorns a wall in the school’s interior front entrance.

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