GPS District Digest (v4, i15)
Stories, news, and updates from Greenwich Public Schools
Our Finger is on the Pulse
All of us in the GPS District Digest newsroom are so amazed by the recent feedback from you, our loyal readers. The emails keep coming in, and as you know, we love hearing from you. We love getting your tips. The amount of subscriptions to this newsletter has grown tremendously. The number of people that stop by on their lunch break to get a glimpse of what's happening in our district is in the thousands. The District's Twitter account has recently surpassed 2,000 followers. You are hungry for Greenwich Public School news and we are serving it up to you!
So do not waste anymore of your time. Get to reading about the incredible student achievements, the entertaining performances, and all good things GPS in this issue. If you can not find Winston this week, you are not looking hard enough. He is a good boy.
Enjoy issue No. 15, enjoy the Spring Recess, and thanks for reading!
GPS District Digest
It’s a Junior Innovation - It's Very Refreshing
Eight eighth-grade GPS Junior Innovators dominated the Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair (CSEF) in March at the concluding awards ceremony held at Quinnipiac University, wrapping up two weeks of fair activities.
The CSEF is a yearly statewide science and engineering fair open to all 7th-12th grade students residing, or enrolled, in Connecticut schools and Fishers Island. An important objective of the program is to attract young people to careers in science and engineering while developing skills essential to critical thinking. Through science fair participation, students are encouraged to pursue independent work using proper research methods.
In its inaugural year, GPS’ Junior Innovators program is where scientifically curious eighth grade students from each of the three middle schools take part in a 7:00-7:45 AM science research class taught by Mr. Andrew Bramante.
A complete list of CSEF results can be found online; Greenwich’s victors are listed below:
Hannah Dcruz (EMS): Implementation of Rhizobium Nitrogen-Fixation to Increase Overall Crop Production, and Inhibit Fusarium Wilt
- First place in the Environmental Sciences Awards with Connecticut Association of Conservation and Inland Wetlands Commissions ($300, trophy)
Amelia Foell (CMS): Reducing Food Waste with Early, Visual Detection of Bread-Mold via BODIPY-Colorimetric Card Detection of 1-Octen-3-ol
- Second place in Eighth Grade Life Sciences ($200, trophy)
- U.S. Metric Association Award (certificate, $25 gift card)
- Nomination to compete in Thermo Fisher Scientific Junior Innovators Challenge
Rachel Goldenberg (EMS): Enhancement of Sleep Cycle Circadian Rhythms via the Introduction of Ambient Sounds
- Bushnell Center for Performing Arts Award (pair of tickets to Monterey Jazz Festival)
Bridget Hadden (CMS): Demonstrating the Persistence of Long Island Sound Polyaromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) Contamination
- First place in Physical Sciences Eighth Grade ($300, trophy)
- Second place in Petit Family Foundation Women in Science & Engineering Award ($200/trophy)
- Connecticut Science Teachers Association's Marty Tafel Student Research Award for the Best Eighth Grade Physical Sciences Project ($500, invitation to CSTA Award Banquet)
- Nomination to compete in Thermo Fisher Scientific Junior Innovators Challenge
- Society of Women Engineers Award - Hartford Section (scientific calculator)
Amaya Khwaja-Patel (WMS): Use of Simple, Home-Remedy Cleansers to Selectively Inhibit Harmful Bacteria on Classroom Surfaces
- American Society of Safety Professionals, CT Valley Chapter Award ($150)
Sara Rahimtula (EMS): Does Our Desire for Convenient Spring Water Come at an Expense for Meaningful Microplastic Harm?
- First Place in Energize-CT Future Sustainability Awards ($300, trophy)
- Freeman Family Excellence in Chemistry Awards ($100)
Lula Wang (EMS): Simple, Rapid Detection of Early Maturity-Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY) via Random-C-Peptide Biomarkers
- First place in Middle School Stanley Black & Decker Applied Technology Award ($300, plaque, medallion)
- First place in Alexion Biotechnology Awards, Eighth Grade ($300, trophy)
- Third place in Life Science Awards, Eighth Grade ($100, trophy)
- Nomination to compete in Thermo Fisher Scientific Junior Innovators Challenge
Kate Wick (CMS): Wavelength-Specific Illumination of Hydroponic Growth Systems, for Increased Crop Production
- Fifth place in Alexion Biotechnology, Eighth grade (trophy)
- U.S. Metric Association Award ($25 gift card, certificate)
- Connecticut Science Supervisors Association Award ($125)
It's a Kid's Life at Parkway
Deeper Learning through Projects
Ninth and 10th grade students from GHS’s Innovation Lab Humanities classes presented their spring exhibition of learning at the Byram Shubert Library on Mead Avenue last month to a jubilant crowd of over 150 people.
Freshmen presented, “Memorializing History: The Triumphs and Tragedies of Germany through Memorial Parks” and sophomores shared their original artwork and symbolic representations in exhibits called, “Changes: The Impact of Social, Technological, and Cultural Changes in the 1920s on the 2020s.” Also on display was a fabulous mock-up of the 10th grade humanities magazine, Greenwich: Places to Go Before You Graduate.
Innovation Lab teachers Ms. Courtney Hawes, Ms. Kathy Mendez, Ms. Jessica von Brachel, and Mr. Michael Belanger were thrilled that their students were able to present in this public forum, the first exhibition outside of GHS into the wider Greenwich community since February 2019.
GHS’s Innovation Lab is a project-based learning program dedicated to fostering creativity, collaboration, and curiosity in a rigorous academic setting that meets all of the core course requirements. This application-based, personalized community emphasizes the importance of partnerships between students and teachers. Social Studies and English are combined into Humanities, while Math and Science are combined into STEM.
Applications for Fall 2023 enrollment are on rolling admissions. All incoming 9th-12th grade students are eligible to apply to take Humanities, STEM, or both. For more information about Innovation Lab and fall enrollment, email email@example.com or visit its webpage.
Hamilton Avenue School Team to Attend Odyssey of the Mind World Finals
Two hard-working teams from Hamilton Avenue School competed at the 42nd Annual Connecticut Odyssey of the Mind State Tournament last month at Southern Connecticut State University.
The primary team of students in grades K-2 did a wonderful job presenting their solution to “Dinosaurs on Parade” and received many positive comments from the judges. The Division I team, composed of students in grades 3-5, have been invited to attend the World Finals in Michigan in late May, representing the State of Connecticut. This is the second year in a row that a Hamilton Avenue team has had a chance to go to the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals.
Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Odyssey of the Mind is a learning experience which helps students develop skills that will last a lifetime. Students have learned to cooperate and respect the ideas of others and to evaluate ideas and make decisions on their own.
Students gain greater self-confidence and increased self-esteem through their hard work. In addition, they work within a budget so they learn to manage their money. Students see that there is often more than one way to solve a problem and that sometimes the process is more important than the end result.
The Division I team will be raising funds to reach their goal of $8,000 to send the students and their coach to the World Finals in Michigan. They are organizing fundraisers at the school and in the local community. They have received donations from many of the teachers, but they need your help to meet their goal. You can help by going to their GoFundMe page.
Headed to the Nation's Capital
This May, eighth-grade students at Central, Eastern, and Western Middle Schools will once again travel to Washington, D.C. for a 3-day, 2-night educational experiential trip with their peers and teachers after a three-year hiatus. In September 2022, the future of the D.C. trip was uncertain due to a lack of funding. Because the trip is such a treasured, time-honored tradition spanning four decades, the principals, PTA Co-Presidents and parents at all three middle schools quickly organized a 12-member fundraising committee to help facilitate the trip in 2023. In October 2022, the 8th Grade D.C. Trip Fundraising Committee was born, with the goal of fundraising for the 2023 D.C. trip and beyond.
Many community organizations sprang into action to help make this trip a reality. The Greenwich Alliance for Education was instrumental in helping to set up a myriad of logistical, technological and accounting infrastructure for the Committee. Pitch Your Peers, a local peer to peer philanthropy, believed so strongly in the spirit and mission of the trip that they provided a $20,000 grant which will be applied toward scholarships for those students with demonstrated financial hardship. The Committee also received countless pledges from donors including, but not limited to: The Per and Astrid Heidenreich Family Foundation, Feast & Fettle, and the parent communities at CMS, EMS, and WMS. Additional funds were raised by students themselves who organized school-based fundraisers such as a basketball themed free throw fundraiser and candygram and bake sales. Finally, a town-wide live music fundraiser was held on March 8 at Old Greenwich Social Club which featured EMS parent band “The Tide” who provided a rockin’ good time for all in attendance. Old Greenwich Social Club graciously donated their event space for the evening and area merchants donated items and gift cards for gift baskets that were raffled off.
This trip would not have been made possible without the incredible collaboration and support of the many generous individuals, businesses and organizations within Greenwich. If you would like to continue to keep the D.C. trip tradition alive for our rising eighth graders, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to the Greenwich Alliance by visiting its website and specify “D.C. Trip” under “Allocation.” In addition to the 8th Grade Washington D.C. Trip, the Greenwich Alliance also provides funding and support for many other educational enrichment, health, wellness, and arts programs for Greenwich Public Schools.
A Model Team
Greenwich High School represented themselves honorably at the recent National High School Model United Nations (NHSMUN) Conference in New York.
Considered by many as the premier conference on the high school Model UN circuit, NHSMUN is the largest and most diverse high school conference in the world and has hosted participants from more than 130 countries throughout its history.
Students attend meetings with the diplomatic representatives of the countries they are representing; other UN and nonprofit organization leaders visit committees for dynamic question and answer sessions.
The GHS team of 32 students was recognized for "Excellent Delegation." Individual awards were aplenty: Awards of Excellence were given to Jeremy Buss and Joshua Herman (Organization of American States) and Tavi Choudhary and Anna Marie Stempien (UN Human Rights Council). Awards of Merit were given to Nicolas Sosa (European Court of Human Rights), Lucy Li and Keen-Yin Woo (United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime), and Archer Manning and Sasha Peterson (UN Legal Committee).
There are always good eats at GPS! And thanks to Food Services Director, Mr. Dave Nanarello, our loyal readers get an inside look at what's cooking.
In this issue, we get an inside look at Central Middle School's lunch. Food Service Worker Annamaria Ceci prepared fresh garden salad for the students, Lead Cook Ms. Stacy Cosenza and Food Service Worker Ms. Hillary Clifford worked the checkout line, and Mr. William Ortega joined Ms. Ceci to serve a choice of ravioli and penne pasta with marinara sauce or meat sauce. They served whole grain rolls that were baked and delivered fresh each morning. And to drink: milk, apple juice, low sugar fruit juices, flavored seltzers, and bottled spring water
And as always, Mr. Nanarello encourages families to use the Food Service Department as a resource in setting up lunch accounts, navigating menus, and of course, any allergy concerns. He also reminds us that universal free lunch has returned through the end of the school year. Reach out anytime!
The Road to the (Math) Olympics
Impressive scores on the American Invitational Mathematical Exam (AIME) earlier this year qualified Eastern MS sixth-grader Ethan Shi and Greenwich HS senior Jason Zhong to attempt to earn a spot in the summer Mathematical Olympiad Program and the U.S. International Mathematical Olympiad team. The AIME, which was offered for those who excelled on the American Multiple Choice 10 and/or 12 examinations, is a challenging three-hour examination, composed of 15 questions, in which each answer is an integer number between 0 to 999. Nation-wide, only 558 students had reached qualifying thresholds.
“Ethan is an intellectually curious math student who is eager to learn new concepts,” Math Teacher Ms. Kristin Wilhelm said. “He is skilled at thinking creatively when solving problems and readily accepts constructive criticism.”
Riverside ALP Teacher Ms. Carrie Hancock added: “During his elementary years at Riverside, Ethan demonstrated early on that he was an extraordinary and very enthusiastic math student.”
“Jason was in my class for two years through BC Calculus and Multivariable Calculus,” GHS Math Teacher Ms. Maryann Franchella said. “During both of those years, Jason showed himself consistently to be a wonderful mathematician, a creative problem solver, and an extremely detailed worker.”
The next step in their journeys is the USAJMO competition, a six-question, two-day, nine-hour essay/proof examination. The top participants are invited to the Mathematical Olympiad Program (MOP) in the summer. Participants from the Mathematical Olympiad Program are then eligible to be selected for the following summer’s six-member team that will represent the United States of America at the International Mathematical Olympiad.
Earlier in this issue of the Digest, you learned about amazing middle schoolers at the Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair (CSEF). Now it is time to share how GHS students fared:
- Naomi Park: First place in Engineering, (providing an opportunity to compete in the 2023 ISEF), third place in Applied Technologies, third place in Physical Sciences, the Office of Naval Research Award, and the Stockholm Junior Water Prize State Nomination, for “Concurrent Removal of Rising Soluble Ocean Carbon Dioxide and Oil-in-Water Contaminants via Multi-Functional remediation Framework.”
- Justin Bernstein: Second place in Engineering for “Creation and Simulation of Function of Claramine-Atorvastatin Coated Hyaluronic Acid Nanoparticles for Targeted Dissolution of Atherosclerotic Plaque.”
- Zara Haque: First place in Future Sustainability, and an invitation to this year’s national GENIUS competition, for “Development of an Efficient and Easily-Applicable Low-Energy Process for the Degradation of PFAS.”
- Lucy Li: Fourth place in Life Sciences, for “Footprint Reduction of PET Fiber Waste in Refuse-Environments via Non-Toxic Ideonella Sakaiensis Degradation.”
- Audrey Lin: First place in Oceanology, and an invitation to a summer NOAA oceanographic institute, for “Eco-Friendly Removal of Eutrophication-Initiating NH4+ from Water via SAP-Enhanced, Activated Food Waste Biochar Adsorption Films.”
- Ashley Malkin: Third place in Biotechnology, and fifth place in Life Sciences, for “Identification of Therapeutics for Neurological Disorders through Development of a Novel Machine Learning System for Predicting Drug-Gene Interactions in the Glymphatic System.”
- Madeline Minichetti: Winner of the Office of Naval Research Award, the CT Architecture Foundation Award, and the OTIS Elevator Excellence in Engineering Award for “Reversible, Tunable Metal Electrodeposition on Pt-Functionalized, Indium Tin Oxide, Transparent Electrodes for Thermal Regulating and Dynamic Optical Properties of Smart Windows.”
- Caitlin Tice: First place in Applied Technology, and an invitation to this year’s national GENIUS competition, for “Synthesis and Investigation of Metal Organic Frameworks for the Purpose of Atmospheric Water Harvesting.”
- Ryan Wadhwa: Winner of the US. Air Force Award for “Use of Cryptomelane-Type Manganese Oxide Free Standing Membranes for Removal of Oil Contaminants in Water.”
- Keira Young: Winner of the Association of Women Geoscientists Award for “A Zero-Waste Product; Pyrolytic Conversion of Walnut Shell Waste to Light-Hydrocarbon Fuels, Biopesticides, and Valuable Soil Additives.”
In addition, fair finalists were Colin Reynolds and Maximillian Lu.
Our Socks Were Rocked
How did you celebrate World Down Syndrome Day on March 21? The good folks at Parkway School recently shared with the Digest how they celebrated and we could not be prouder.
One of the school's fourth grade students, Will Andersen, met with students from different grades to teach his peers about Down syndrome and to teach them sign language, which he uses to help communicate.
To support and create awareness, everyone was asked to wear mismatched, colorful, zany socks that day.
You're in Good Hands
Have we mentioned how much we love our loyal readers here at the Digest? Recently, we received a great tip from Digest super-fan, Georgianna, that many of our amazing middle and high school musicians who earned placement in the Connecticut Music Educators Association Western Region Festival at Wilton High School were named All-State.
The audition process was very competitive and through their outstanding performances, our GPS students demonstrated persistence, attention to detail, and excellent musicianship.
The high schoolers performed at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford.
Not only did Georgianna tell us how amazing our students performed, but she made sure to say how our dedicated music teachers gave their time and talents.
Thirty outstanding GHS students were selected:
- All State Band: Qianxue Ge, Ethan Plummer, Hannon Stern, Harrison Wolfe
- All State Chorus: Gregory Bound, Ethan Cooper, Anna Dobbins, Annabelle Edgell, Michelle Ferrone, Helen Fesko, Beatrice Healy, Maya Ito, Miyu Ito, Andy Kaplun, YeonWoo Kook, Cindy Li, Julia Macri, Christopher Messis, Joe Nagai, Sebastian Ojeda, Luke Ovsag, Madeleine Phillips, Alexander Robles, Dilailah Ruiz, Ella Ryb, Yuta Takahashi, Jacob Winston
- All State Jazz Band: Iris Araki
- All State Orchestra: Luka Dolgov, Benny Gruenbaum
Band and orchestra middle school students that participated in the Region Festival were:
- Central MS: Leo Cichy, Cole Ewen, Aidan Delaney, Amelia Foell, Alexa Hodgson, Chingiz Khalitov, Briar Lissauer, Kai Iwai, Lily Nogaki, Jagger Palange, Nozomi Tanaka, Kate Wick
- Eastern MS: Vyoma Bhatt, Hannah Dcruz, Isabella Deng, Leo Foell, Rachel Goldenberg, Simran Kumar, Mila Mitra, Lia Shum, Diya Subramanian, Mia Young
- Western MS: Ethan Hardie, Rachel Shereck
Living JC United
Julian Curtiss’ Principal McGuire recently sent us a wonderful surprise of amazing photos of their newest completed preschool classroom.
“We are thrilled to have the support of the United Way and loved having CEO David Rabin come by to see the amazing room,” Principal McGuire exclusively told the Digest. “This donation creates a pleasant physical setting and supports healthy social emotional goals. The setting makes a difference for our students and we are extremely grateful.”
She tells us that the classroom was furnished with tables, chairs, shelving, and blocks, all courtesy of Greenwich United Way, over Winter Recess. All 14 preschoolers have made themselves at home already.
Board Chair Joe Kelly recently accepted this amazing General Assembly Citation on behalf of all Greenwich teachers and educators for their "tireless work to teach, mentor and inspire our students so they can reach their full potential."
The citation was introduced by Senator Ryan Fazio and Representatives Hector Arzeno, Rachel Khanna, and Steve R. Meskers.
Everyone at the Digest agrees!
Inaugural Hope Day Set for April 23
Around the GPS Twittersphere 📱
Did you hear the amazing news? Our Twitter account, @GPSDistrict, recently surpassed 2k loyal followers. Are you one of them? If not, you should be, but only if you are one of our families, students, staff, or community members that want to see all of the good things happening around the District.
On social media, we will keep our community informed of breaking news and all good things GPS. Today, we had one of our famous Twitter Takeovers. Make sure you read the next issue of the Digest for a recap. And we love to show you some of our favorite posts from around the GPS Twittersphere. Do you have a favorite social media account? Let us know!
To Our Readers...
- We have one question for you, and one question only: Where's Winston? It is the fun game sweeping the town. Find a photograph of the American foxhound who howls the most when he misses you. He is somewhere, maybe where he should not be, in this newsletter!
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- Karen and Linda did not disappoint last issue. They are mensches.
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