GPS District Digest (v3, i15)
Stories, news, and updates from Greenwich Public Schools
Up on Your Screen, Here Comes Issue No. 15!
A conversation was recently started in the newsroom about the quantity and quality of content we get to include in the GPS District Digest. The Greenwich Public Schools community is so proud of all student and staff accomplishments in the District, and we are humbled about how highly you think of us to share all that is good with everyone. We are grateful that thousands of you read what we have to offer.
The current Digest is loaded. There are fundraisers, music performances, and champions, and we had the chance to quote Magnus Pyke yet again. We turned back the clock to learn about Blanche Wolfinger, a former resident of Greenwich whose daughter was a teacher at GPS a century ago. And social media was abuzz with so many great Twitter posts to share.
Enjoy Issue 15!
GPS District Digest
St. Baldrick's Foundation
Last week, under the leadership of Assistant Principal Kerry Gavin, the Western Middle School gym was filled with staff, parents, and students to raise money for lifesaving childhood cancer research and the St. Baldrick's Foundation.
Music was provided by J and the B-Sides, food donated by Garden Catering was devoured, and heads were shaved by Mike Bellantoni from Fred’s Barber Shop in West Harrison and Eric Alfano and staff from Generations Barber Parlor in Old Greenwich.
Six staff members, along with two staff spouses, and 22 students raised more than $13,300. All "shavees" were wildly cheered by family and friends, as it takes a brave soul to have one's hair publicly removed to help people they will likely never meet.
The St. Baldrick's Foundation is a volunteer and donor powered charity dedicated to raising money for lifesaving childhood cancer research and funds more in childhood cancer grants than any organization, except for the U.S. government. Since the Foundation's first grants as an independent charity in 2005, St. Baldrick's has funded more than $314 million to support the most brilliant childhood cancer research experts in the world.
Click on the images below to get a closer look at the action.
March Madness struck our elementary schools when library media specialists selected picture books for their annual March Madness competition.
At International School at Dundee, the theme was the "International Baccalaureate Learner Profile" that describes a broad range of human capacities and responsibilities going beyond academic success.
Coordinated by Library Media Specialist Ms. Jeannine Madoff, ISD students voted "bracket-style" on 16 different books that highlight these character-based attributes. There were lots of class discussions, as each round got them closer to their favorite learner profile picture book.
The winner? The Cool Bean by Jory John and Pete Oswald!
Odyssey of the Mind
Odyssey of the Mind teaches students how to develop and use their natural creativity to become problem-solvers. Hamilton Avenue and Central Middle Schools teach students to become champions!
Earlier this month, teams from both schools competed in the Odyssey of the Mind State Competition. HAS took first place in the "Escape vroOM Division I" and CMS tied for first place in the "Classics... : The Musical Production Division II."
"Our scholars demonstrated their natural creativity and problem solving skills to create original solutions to problems they faced," Hamilton Avenue Principal Dr. Shanta Smith said. "They bravely competed against students from across the state and they came out on top. Ms. Catherine Byrne did an extraordinary job supporting the team as the school-based coach throughout the year."
"We are so incredibly proud of these kids. They have done all of this work during their free time with no adult help," Tonya Gojani, a CMS parent said. "They worked extremely hard, they were professional, and most importantly, they operated as a team. Seeing it all come together was amazing."
The HAS champions are: Paloma and Victoria Camoes, Ben and Ty Frimere, Emma Grijalba, Rocco Meistrell, and Luca Yamasato.
The CMS champions are: Bancker Appleman, Murphy Bennett, Asha Chattoraj, Eden Citron, Daniela Gojani, Elliot Ornstein, and Sylvester Pecora III.
Both teams have been invited to attend the World Finals in Iowa at the end of May.
Western Region Middle School Festival
Greenwich sent three superstars from Central Middle School to the Western Region Middle School Festival earlier this month in Wilton: eighth-grade trombonist Aayush Dalal, eighth-grade trumpeter Miller Fishback, and seventh-grade flutist Alexa Hodgson. The festival was hosted by the Connecticut Music Educators Association (CMEA), an organization that has been dedicated to providing programs and activities for professional educators, students, and future music educators striving to enhance the quality of music education for all children since 1932.
"It was a thrilling weekend," CMS Music Teacher and Western Region Jazz Ensemble Chair Mr. Michael Strange said. "Our students did an amazing job and represented the best of our CMS values."
The nationally-renowned Joyce DiCamillo served as jazz director, and the concert band was led by Michael Tiskewitz.
National Finals of the Harlan Virtual Supreme Court Competition
Greenwich High School Juniors, Arjun Kishore and Nicole Orlofsky, will be headed to our national's capital on April 25 at Georgetown Law School in the National Finals of the Harlan Virtual Supreme Court competition.
The growing, highly involved international program featured 40 teams in the competition’s 10th year. Pairs of competitors prepared a formal brief of a minimum of 2,000 words and submitted a recorded, 15-minute argument, as either petitioner or respondent, answering questions from their coach. Virtual live rounds were then conducted, starting with 24 teams initially, 12 from each side. Teams were eliminated through three more rounds with the “Final Four” on March 20.
"I'm enormously grateful for all the help we have received from everyone who volunteered their time," Arjun Kishore said. "This competition is truly incredible. I have never done anything like it. I really appreciate the fact that this competition is as difficult as it is because it makes it that much more rewarding.”
The program is run as a component of the We The People: The Citizen and the Constitution team at GHS. This is the fourth time the program has sent teams to the National Finals, winning the National Championship in 2016. University of Texas and Harvard professor Sanford Levinson assisted the students as well as local lawyer Duke Maloney and We The People program alumni Nick Abbott and Connor Harris. Additionally, AP Government teachers Mr. Ryan Jones, Mr. Thomas Murphy, and Mr. Daniel Silkman assisted with rounds and suggestions.
“Our team showed tremendous grit in their research, oral argument, and practice efforts over the past five months," Coach and Social Studies Teacher Mr. Aaron Hull said. "But most of all, I’ve been impressed with their collaborative and listening skills. The pair had to make a tactical choice to concede a strict scrutiny interpretation of the case while standing their ground. I could not be more impressed by their efforts.”
“Participating in the Harlan competition has been a fantastic learning experience, and I am so excited to finish it off in Washington DC for the championship round," Nicole Orlofsky said. "I do not think there is any other competition like Harlan because it allows students to truly take charge of every step of arguing a case, from researching to coming up with arguments, to writing a brief and then preparing for and delivering the oral argument. In addition, I am passionate about constitutional law and jurisprudence, so getting to immerse myself in that world and act as a lawyer has been a real highlight of this year.”
Greenwich High School science research students once again “stole the show” at the Connecticut Science & Engineering Fair, receiving many notable awards, including the two best projects in the state fair. GHS students received nearly $65k in scholarships and awards.
The CT Science & Engineering Fair 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.
GHS projects included innovative treatments for ischemic strokes, pioneering methods to remediate pollutants from our waterways, detection of mild concussions in real-time on the playing field, innovative ways to time-release much needed pesticides into crop soil, new medical and wearable devices that read skin pH, outdoor UV sun exposure, or detect illicit drugs in one’s drink, rapidly in a typical casual setting.
Complete results can be found on the Fair's website, but top GHS winners are below that have an opportunity to compete in the 2022 International Science and Engineering Fair:
- Ambika Grover: first place in Life Sciences (Best of Fair), first place in Engineering, the Joseph A. Gerber Silver Medal of Excellence, and second place in Biotechnology
- Naomi Park: first place in Physical Sciences (Best of Fair, the Joseph A. Gerber Silver Medal of Excellence, and second place in Engineering
- Ashley Malkin: first place in Computer Science, fifth Place in Life Science, and fourth place in Biotechnology
Additional winners included: Justin Bernstein, Zara Haque, Adam Kleshchelski, Isabella Gega, Angelina Fogarty, Audrey Lin, Madeline Minichetti, Yurika Sakai, and Elizabeth Wallace.
Turn Back The Clock 🕰
When this postcard came into the GPS District Digest newsroom, there was a nice cheer. The seventh card featured in this space since September shows off beautiful manicured bushes, hedges and grass, and the sky is a nice shade of blue, with a smattering of stratus clouds overhead.
Ms. Lydia Kinney, Ira's wife, went to her mailbox at 218 Pine Street in Langhorne, PA to find that her very busy friend, Blanche Wolfinger, finally had a moment to check in on April 14, 1921. Blanche and her family were natives of the Pocono Mountain region of Pennsylvania and then moved to Greenwich a few years before sending this postcard.
Blanche lived at 72 Havemeyer Place with her husband Henry and their 28-year-old daughter Fannie, a teacher who worked in the same building at the GPS District Digest headquarters! I am sure that morning walk to her classroom was lovely in the spring and fall.
Blanche lived in Greenwich until her death on December 2, 1946 at the age of 76.
Around the GPS Twitterverse
Click on the images below to see what our administrators, teachers, and others in the community have been sharing on social media!
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