GPS District Digest (v4, i20)
Stories, news, and updates from Greenwich Public Schools
Hip, Hip, Hooray!
Now that the 2022-2023 school year is almost over, the hustle and bustle of our newsroom quiets down, but only for a short time! The time spent with you, our loyal GPS District Digest readers, has been quite a ride. The amazing folks that have reached out to us gave fantastic feedback. Sometimes that feedback showed appreciation, sometimes you asked for more, and some even asked for less. Regardless, if you reached out, we thanked you. And we meant it.
We hope you had fun finding the hidden song lyrics and movie quotes. We hope our silly little headlines made you chuckle. We hope our photos of smiling faces getting their lunch made you smile. We hope Winston was not hiding so well that you could not find him.
There are lots of great stories in this issue of the Digest. All good things GPS is what we like to say around here.
Enjoy issue No. 20, the final issue of the 2022-2023 school year. Thanks for reading!
GPS District Digest
P.S. Send us a postcard this summer. You know we will love it!
Superintendent Dr. Toni Jones recently announced that New Lebanon School’s Ms. Erin John is GPS’ selection for the Connecticut State Department of Education’s 2024 Connecticut Teacher of the Year Program.
“Erin John is a vivacious and incredibly talented teacher who keeps her children engaged with early childhood transitions maximizing every minute of classroom instruction,” Dr. Jones said. “She represents the essence of why New Lebanon School was recognized this year by the State of Connecticut as a School of Distinction."
According to the Connecticut State Department of Education, the Teacher of the Year Program recognizes and honors teacher excellence. It does not attempt to select the “best” teacher, but to identify, from among many outstanding teachers of the year, one teacher to serve as a visible and vocal representative of what is best in the profession. The program celebrates excellence in teaching by recognizing teachers who have inspired a love for learning in their students and who have distinguished themselves in the profession.
Ms. John has been with GPS since 2012, first as a kindergarten teacher and now as a first grade teacher at New Lebanon. She contributes on numerous teams and committees including the PTA Curriculum Enrichment Team, PBIS/Safe School Climate Team, and Social Committee as well as being a presenter for the Magnet Open House.
For more information about the CT Teacher of the Year Program, including its history, purpose, benefits, eligibility requirements, selection process, and the duties of the Connecticut Teacher of the Year, visit the CSDE website. To read more about Ms. John, read the entire press release that was distributed shortly after the selection.
Watch the video of how Ms. John found out about this amazing news.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced GHS junior Naomi Park as the winner of EPA’s 2023 Patrick H. Hurd Award at the 2023 Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Dallas, TX. Naomi’s project, “Concurrent Removal of Rising, Soluble Ocean Carbon Dioxide and Oil-in-Water Contaminants via Multi-Functional Remediation Framework,” tackles three environmental issues: Styrofoam waste, water quality, and soluble oil remediation.
"Congratulations to Naomi and to the over 1,600 finalists at the International Science and Engineering Fair,” Assistant Administrator for the Office of Research and Development Chris Frey said. “The creativity, innovation, intelligence, and drive that the students display is truly inspiring. I hope these students will keep using their STEM talents to tackle environmental issues and unlock scientific and engineering solutions that benefit all.”
Naomi recognized that current methods for oil spill remediation are typically chemical processes with adverse effects or mechanical solutions that primarily tackle oil on the waters’ surface. Naomi read about a class of nanoporous materials—hyper cross-linked polymers (HCPs)—that have the properties to bind with nonpolar pollutants like oil and carbon dioxide and can be synthesized using Styrofoam. She sought to identify a process in which the properties of cross-linked polymers could be used to remediate soluble oil and carbon dioxide from oil spill events or in ocean acidification hotspots that have been the most negatively affected by an increase in CO2 emissions. After synthesizing the HCPs using Styrofoam, Naomi constructed a multi-functional remediation framework that has a melamine foam base onto which her synthesized hyper cross-linked polymers were applied for pollutant capture and removal.
Since 2009, EPA has participated in ISEF, recognizing projects that demonstrate a commitment to environmental sustainability and stewardship. The EPA Patrick H. Hurd Sustainability Award provides for the student to travel to attend and participate in the EPA’s National Sustainability Design Expo which is held in the following year.
WMS Heads to the State Capital
Were you one of the 150+ followers on Instagram following the Western Middle School eighth graders at our nation's capital earlier this month? The account, @WMSDC2023, was set up back in May in anticipation of this amazing GPS tradition. In June, the staff gave us an wonderful hour-by-hour insider's look at everything the Wildcats accomplished on their trip to Washington, D.C.
We do not think they missed a thing. It looked fun, educational, and extremely tiring.
Superheroes Wear Costumes
Earlier this month, the high school students in the Windrose program delivered an amazing interactive play, "Dreams Come True," to PreK students at New Lebanon School. Designed by the students, they dressed up as Disney characters and superheroes to teach the preschoolers the importance of believing and following their dreams.
Cinderella, Superman, Belle, Snow White, Winnie the Pooh's friends, Batman, and Green Lantern were some of the characters teaching kids the value of friendship and persevering when following your dreams.
This event was possible with help from the Greenwich Alliance for Education.
There is a Time for Many Words
For the second year in a row, a Husky team competed at the World Finals, this year in Lansing, Michigan. There were more than 6,000 participants on 749 teams from 11 different countries competing. The Hamilton Avenue team, led by fourth grade teacher and coach Ms. Cathy Byrne, placed 18th of the 68 teams in their division. Team members included Paloma Camoes, Ben Frimere, Emma Grijalba, Rocco Meistrell, and Luca Yamasato.
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 has helped our students develop skills that will last a lifetime. At World Finals, teams participated in both the Long Term Problem and Spontaneous Problem categories.
Ham Ave students attended the Opening and Awards Ceremonies at the Michigan State University's 15,000-seat Breslin Student Events Center and Creativity and International Fairs, and participated in an Odyssey favorite event, pin trading.
The National Merit Scholarship Corporation recently shared that GHS senior Sophie Citron was offered the National Merit Vanderbilt University Scholarship in the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Competition.
About 160 colleges and universities currently underwrite approximately 3,800 National Merit Scholarships in each annual competition. Only Finalists who plan to attend a college or university that sponsors Merit Scholarship awards can be considered for one. Winners are chosen by officials of the sponsoring college or university. Each Finalist who accepts a college-sponsored award must use it at the institution financing it.
Way to go!
Don't you love when Food Services Director Mr. Dave Nanarello, and Digest bestie, gives us all an inside look at lunchtime? If you do not smile from these smiling faces, maybe the GPS District Digest is not for you.
This week over at Riverside School, Lead Cook Ms. Romeo and Food Service Worker Ms. Harper served up "Breakfast for Lunch" that included whole grain French toast sticks with maple syrup, chicken link sausages, Boar's Head ham and sliced turkey and cheese sandwiches, Caesar salad, sliced fresh cucumbers, baby carrots, fresh navel oranges, chick pea salad, whole grain bagels with cheese sticks, strawberry yogurt parfaits, and blueberry muffins.
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!
GPS has so many wonderful traditions. In May, eighth graders at Western Middle School participated in the annual Sudell Sprint Color Run. The first Sudell Sprint was initiated in 2017 because WMS' Ms. Barbara Jacowleff and her class wanted to help student Steven Sudell, who was battling brain cancer, and his family during a difficult time by raising funds to help with medical bills.
This year, the eighth graders were joined by Greenwich High School seniors who were also Steven Sudell’s WMS classmates. Donations this year went to the nonprofit group Circle of Care and funded three generous scholarships for GHS seniors who exemplify Steven’s kindness, caring, and strength.
Steven’s best friend Jack Ryan (GHS class of 2022) continues to be instrumental in helping to organize the event.
Following the color explosion, the students jogged to the baseball field at the Dorothy Hamill Rink where parent volunteers handed out pizza, water, and desserts and cleaned up.
The Greenwich Alliance for Education alerted us about amazing week-long immersive experiences in a broad range of innovative disciplines using virtual and augmented reality at their annual Virtual and Augmented Reality STEAM Camp. Sessions are taught by 2023 Distinguished Teacher Mr. Gaspare Lipari who has extensive experience with XR (AR & VR) technologies and strong relationships in the XR Education industry. Students in grades 6-12 are eligible. For more information, head to their website or email XReducator@gmail.com.
Junior Book Awards
Earlier this month, the 55th annual Junior Book Awards Ceremony was held in the GHS Library. Junior Book Awards recognized 19 outstanding juniors for a passion for reading that they have spent their entire young lives developing and nurturing.
Criteria for the awards vary, but as a starting point, students selected must demonstrate desirable qualities of scholarship and character, along with other qualities related to a particular college or university. Most importantly, the selected students must demonstrate an outstanding interest in books and a great love of reading. Many of the students credited GHS librarians and teachers for setting them on the path to developing a love for books.
Alumni from colleges attended the ceremony to present a specially chosen book to each awardee that they can add to their personal libraries and many of the selected books are written either by alumni or professors of the college or university presenting the award.
Congratulations to our 2023 Book Award recipients: Esme Daplyn (Harvard College), Martin Fomin (Williams College), Kate Friedman (Dartmouth College), Megan Geiger (Smith College), Bettina Gunnerson (University of Chicago), Ciara Herrera (University of Michigan), Zarah Hillman (Columbia University), Nancy Kessler (College of Mount Saint Vincent), Hanna Klingbeil (Wesleyan University), Andrew Lowe (Yale College), Camila Moreno (St. Lawrence University), Amrutha Nandakumar (Cornell University), Aubrey Niederhoffer (Princeton University), Lara Olmsted (Brown University), Margaret Petz (Wellesley College), Katherine Reynolds (Sacred Heart University), Frank Skibo (Greenwich Historical Society), Hannon Stern (Gettysburg College), and Sabine Tel (Trinity College).
Gabriel Bol Deng Inspires
Late last month, Western Middle School's seventh grade class welcomed inspirational speaker and Sudanese refugee Gabriel Bol Deng for a grade-wide assembly. Mr. Bol Deng capped off the day of learning about genocide atrocities and refugee issues organized by WMS Social Studies teachers Ms. Diana Willie and Ms. Tiffany Bruni. In collaboration with PTAs at Central and Eastern, Gabriel spoke at those schools the next day.
Gabriel is one of the "Lost Boys of Sudan," a group of orphaned children among the tens of thousands who fled a civil war in Sudan in the early 2000s. The boys made a harrowing journey, walking thousands of miles over four months to refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya. Along the way they scavenged for food, climbed trees to avoid lions at night and swam across the Nile River infested with crocodiles to reach their destination.
Gabriel spent 10 years in a refugee camp. He was eventually resettled in the U.S. where he attended college, became a public-school math teacher and created a successful non-profit to open schools in his home country that provide children with access to a good education. His non-profit initiative is feeling the impact of the current intense fighting in Sudan. You can find more information on his foundation at his website, Hope for Ariang, named for the village where Gabriel grew up.
There is a powerful video on YouTube of one of his past presentations. We recommend you watching it.
The GHS Athletics Department recently hosted its fourth and final Signing Day honoring student-athletes who are continuing to compete in their sports at their colleges next year.
Those athletes honored, in alphabetical order, were: Anthony Barallon, rugby, Queens College; Evan Belmont, swimming, Monmouth University; Lauren Civitillo, cheer, University of Miami; Michael DeLuca, track & field, Manhattanville College; Matthew Dorsey, soccer, Stockton University; Drew Falla, football, Endicott College; John Gatherer, rugby, Pennsylvania State University; Jorge Hernandez, football, Plymouth State University; Samantha Ings, swimming, Bryn Mawr College; Vincent Insinga, football, Endicott College; Victoria Liu, swimming, University of Chicago; Ioane Maglakelidze, water polo, Fordham University; Jean-Benno (JB) Meier, rugby, University of Louisville; Lara Nguyen, rowing, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Alexandra Pennella, soccer, Brandeis University; Kelsey Roth, lacrosse, St. Lawrence University; Sophie Roth, lacrosse, Gettysburg College; MK Savio, lacrosse, Franklin & Marshall College; Cecelia Tauber, lacrosse, Williams College. (not all student-athletes were photographed)
Cardinals Are Fast
By Gemma Hardwick
Special to the Digest
The Greenwich Girls Outdoor Track & Field team wrapped up their season successfully at both the Class LL Championship and State Open Championship.
In late May, the Cardinals competed against 24 teams to place 15th overall with several impressive finishes at the CIAC Class LL Outdoor T&F Championship in New Britain:
- In the 4x800 relay, Gemma Hardwick, Maggie McCooe, Kate Friedman, and Lauren Resnick finished third with a combined time of 9:36.73.
- Team captain senior Haley Townsend ran a season best of 16.72 in the 100 hurdles, taking fourth place.
- In the 300 hurdles, Townsend finished 10th overall with a time of 49.88.
- Hardwick placed ninth in the 400.
- Ellie Wilkinson ran a PR of 13.01 in the 100 meters to place 13th out of 49 competitors.
- In the 1600, Lily Shropshire ran a PR of 5:27.31; Orla Muir ran a PR of 5:38.14; Esme Daplyn ran an incredible PR of 4:56.84, placing third overall.
- On the field in long jump, Sophia Riche jumped 14-9.75 for 20th place and Wilkinson jumped 14-9 for 22nd.
- In the triple jump, Riche placed 18th with a jump of 31-2.
At the CIAC State Open Outdoor T&F Championship in June, the girls returned to New Britain to finish 49th out of 167 outdoor track teams.
- In the 4x800, Gemma Hardwick, Maggie McCooe, Kate Friedman, and Esme Daplyn placed sixth with a time of 9:36.44.
- Senior Haley Townsend, in her final 100 hurdles event, recorded a PR of 16.52. Go Haley!
The season concluded with the 2000m Steeplechase at the CIAC Steeplechase Championship in New Britain and the New Balance Nationals in Philadelphia, PA.
In the Steeplechase, junior Lily Shropshire placed eighth overall. As for Nationals, a group of four including Gemma Hardwick, Lauren Resnick, Maggie MccCoe and Orla Muir are racing in the Rising Stars DMR.
The girls have worked so hard and placed very well in what has been another incredible season. Go Cardinals!
Gemma Hardwick is a proud GPS District Digest contributor finishing up her freshman year at Greenwich High School. The Digest thanks her for track & field reports.
GPS Twittersphere 📱
We love sharing good news with our 2,006 closest friends on the GPS Twitter account, @GPSDistrict.
If you are not following us, 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. No negativity that you will sometimes find on social media from us!
We will keep our community informed of breaking news and all good things GPS. 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...
- Do all dogs think they should get an award for just being a dog, like Winston? Winston cannot read. But now is the time to play Where's Winston? Won't you play? Look around for the Digest's most collegiate American foxhound because he is somewhere, maybe where he should not be, in this newsletter! He is a good boy.
- We hope Karen and Linda continues to help us out next year, too! They are groovy, fabulous, far-out, neato, and nifty.
- Now that the school year is almost over, we will let you in on the secret: the first headline of every issue included a body part. Every single one! If you are keeping track, here is the list in order of appearance: back, hand, head/heals, chin, eyes, ears, shoulder, chest, tongue, arm, feet, leg, brain, teeth, finger, gut, neck, toes, knees, and hip.
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It is the Mission of the Greenwich Public Schools to:
- • Educate all students to the highest levels of academic achievement;
- • Enable them to reach and expand their potential; and
- • Prepare them to become productive, responsible, ethical, creative and compassionate members of society.