Thursday, March 30, 2023

MIDDLE SCHOOL is like a mythological Middle Earth, someone once wrote -- a mysterious place of challenges, obstacles, growth, discovery and intriguing characters. Starting today and over the next few weeks we hope to demystify the Illing Middle School experience a bit by introducing you to some of those in their community. Scroll down for that and lots more, including photos from yesterday’s student-staff basketball game at MHS.

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MPS Summer School Update

For the past two years, the district offered summer programming for any student interested in attending, with the experience designed to help ease the transition out of the pandemic. This summer, we are returning to our typical summer programming which will be by invitation only for students who are below grade level in reading and currently in grades K-3. Those families will be contacted starting Monday. In addition:

  • Manchester Adult and Continuing Education will also offer a fee-based STEAM camp for school-aged students from July 31 to Aug. 18. More information on that is coming soon.
  • We will continue to run credit recovery courses at Manchester High School. Again, more information to come.

This letter from Superintendent Matt Geary has more information about the district's summer programming plan. Scroll down for more about summer options offered by the town and by the Manchester Early Childhood Center
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Humans of Manchester

"These are definitely tricky times for adolescents," said Tamar Perez, a school counselor at Illing, referencing a range of factors that include all that tweenagers can be the exposed to through technology and social media. Tamar has a child at Illing, seventh-grader E.J., and they are the latest additions to our 'Humans of Manchester' gallery.
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You'll find the gallery -- which now has more than 700 people in it -- on both Facebook and Instagram.
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District News

  • There was a public hearing on the town budget Tuesday night (you can watch a replay here or read the JI story here) and the Board of Directors are expected to adopt a final budget in mid-April. For more on the budget development process and timelines click here.
  • The next BoE meeting is scheduled for April 24 at 7 p.m. in Lincoln Center and the agenda will include an update on school counseling.


The district has scheduled a teacher recruiting event for May 4 at MHS and we have more information here.

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In Our Classrooms

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Seventh grade scientists in Mr. Regan's class at Illing Middle School were learning about climates and convection currents Wednesday morning.
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School Fundraisers Etc.

  • The MHS Class of '23 is selling fun novelty socks to help keep the costs down for students to attend the prom and Senior Class picnic; the details are here.
  • Purchase your lawn sign to honor an MHS senior by April 30 by clicking here.
  • Pink Flamingos in the yard are a fun, positive way to celebrate high school accomplishments. Click here to "flock" a friend from the Class of ‘23.
  • Project Graduation will hold a fundraising pasta dinner for the Class of ‘23 at the Elks Club on April 14.

  • Silk City Coffee is sponsoring a Give Back Day for Project Graduation on April 21, 1-6 p.m. 20% of all sales will support this year's Project Graduation party- that includes merch, beans and gift cards.
  • Verplanck School’s can drive to benefit MACC Charities runs through tomorrow. Click here for details.


  • Three town-wide concerts showcasing large musical ensembles from MPS will be held at Bailey Auditorium next Monday, Tuesday and on Wednesday, April 12. Click here for details.

  • Manchester High’s class of 2023 graduation will be held on Memorial Field on June 14 (rain date: June 15)
  • Online enrollment for MELC's summer program starts April 3. This is for children currently in grade K-6 and runs from July 3 through Aug. 11. For details click here.
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  • Autism Spectrum Disorder affects about 1 in 68 children in the United States (and is about 4 times more likely in boys than girls). April is Autism Awareness Month and on Monday, the school district is recognizing Autism Awareness Day, with students and staff being encouraged to wear bright rainbow colors to raise awareness. This flier has the details.
  • Muslims all over the world continue to celebrate the holy month of Ramada; it ends with Eid al-Fitr, which the district is recognizing on Friday, April 21.
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The Week Ahead

Thursday, March 30
10:30 - 11:15 a.m. -- Shake, Rattle & Roll for ages 2-5 at Mary Cheney Library.
2:30 - 6 p.m. -- Manchester Teen Center is open, 63 Linden St.
6 - 7:15 p.m. -- Beginning Knitting Parent/Child Workshop at Whiton Library.
6 -8 p.m. -- Community Education and Awareness Forum: Fighting Homelessness Together at Manchester High.

Friday, March 31
7:30 p.m. -- ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ opens at Cheney Hall and runs through April 16.

Saturday, April 1
9:30 a.m.- 7:30 p.m. -- Opening Day at Wickham Park.
10 a.m. - noon -- Easter Show and Egg Hunt at New River Church, 314 Woodbridge St.
11 a.m. - 1 p.m. -- Hartford Foundation for Public Giving Coat Drive at Mahoney Rec Center, 110 Cedar St.

2 - 5 p.m. -- Easter Egg Hunt at First Baptist Church, 240 Hillstown Rd. (rain date: April 2)

Monday, April 3
9 a.m.-- Summer Day Camp registration begins for Manchester residents.

6:30 - 7:30 p.m. -- Poetry Hour with Steve Straight at Whiton Library.
7 - 8 p.m. -- Can and bottle drive at World-Wide Lighthouse Missions, 16 Brainard Place.

7 p.m. -- Town wide concert featuring orchestras from Bennet Academy, Illing Middle School, and Manchester High School.

Tuesday, April 4

3:30 - 4:30 p.m. - Teen Crafternoon at Mary Cheney Library
7 p.m. -- BOD meeting at Lincoln Center.

7 p.m. -- Town wide concert featuring bands from Bennet Academy, Illing Middle School, and Manchester High School.

Wednesday, April 5
3:30 - 4:45 p.m. -- R.E.A.D to a Dog at Mary Cheney Library.
5 p.m. -- Creating an LBGTQ Inclusive Environment at Manchester Memorial Hospital, 71 Haynes St.
6 - 7:30 p.m. -- Dungeons & Dragons at Mary Cheney Library.
7:30 - 8:30 p.m. -- Boy Scout Troop 25’s meeting for new scouts at Center Congregational Church, 11 Center St. Click here to learn more.

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Registration for the town's summer camps starts Monday; tonight, there's a community forum at MHS about homelessness.
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Further Down the Road:

A Hero's Welcome

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Heather Sica- Leonard, the Illing teacher who last month rescued a wheelchair-bound man from a burning van, was recently given a "Heroes of the Dream Award" at the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, N.J.. The entertainment & retail center honors heroes regularly and invited Heather and a few family members to a ceremony and a day of fun on March 19. That’s son DJ, 8, holding a plaque while standing in front of Heather. Incidentally, here’s the link to the GoFund Me page she created to help purchase a new van.
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'Dark Shades Of Skin Are Overlooked ...'

The winners have been announced for the 2023 Black Joy Youth Poetry Contest -- which was created through a partnership between the Department of Race & Equity and the town’s Neighborhoods & Families Division. To see the winners and read their work, click here.

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TLC House Seeking Volunteers For Board of Directors

TLC, the Transitional Living Center, is a residential facility for Manchester children and youth who, through no fault of their own, cannot live at home. A private, non-profit institution, TLC is looking for volunteers to serve on its Board of Directors. For information click here.
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News and Newsletters

Better Manchester Magazine: Find out who won the Black Joy Youth Poetry contest; plenty of summer camp and employment info; learn how to reserve the Northwest Park Pavilion; read the latest LFR newsletter and a whole lot more.

Manchester Adult & Continuing Ed: Women's History Month history with Dr. CK; congrats to Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce award winners that include MA&CE’s own Tamara Womack-Speaks; a few pics from the International Mother Language Day celebrations that showcase the talents of GED student Marilyn Rosario and much more.

Manchester Historical Society: Test your knowledge of Manchester churches with a leadoff quiz; Genealogy group meets April 12; an art show update - the grand opening will be on May 13 with a trolly bringing visitors to three locations; History hikes #s 7 and 8 of 23 will be on April 8 and 22; read about overwhelmed breweries and a couple of blazes that kept “firemen on toes” back in March, 1933.

Manchester Matters: A panel discussion on homelessness will be happening tonight at Bailey Auditorium; check out the employment opportunities with the town; Budget Workshop schedule; Historic preservation award nominations are due on Friday. Click here for a free subscription.


  • Fentanyl has now become deadlier with the addition of Xyalazine, an animal tranquilizer that does not respond to NARCAN. Just a tiny bit of fentanyl, usually found as a white powder or a pill, can be deadly. This flier has more.
  • Get the FACTS: The Change Collaborative of Manchester shares monthly updates on substance use prevention efforts happening in the community and our schools – including events, youth peer-to-peer supports, and resources for families. Click here to get updates.
  • The Manchester Brotherhood in Action (BIA) is fundraising to help two local families with medical bills for children who have serious health issues. Click here to learn more.
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  • Calling on kids of all ages to work on your basketball skills with Tylon Smith Jr. on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Verplanck School starting April 4. Click here for details.
  • High School spring athletic contests start on Saturday when the MHS girls softball team visits Rocky Hill. Here's the complete MHS athletics spring schedule.
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Manchester High staff members are responsible for teaching students but the tables were turned on the basketball court yesterday as the students won 76-55 in a showdown that served as a fundraiser for the Class of 2024.
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  • NOTE: OneManchester is compiled by the school district's communications office but is dependent on contributions from people and institutions throughout the town and school district. So if you have something, anything, that you think people would want to know about, please let us know. Photos, fliers, links, tips, whatever -- please share with Paul Ofria at