Region In Review

March 13, 2020

Order on the Court

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Now that we have entered March, the winter athletic season is drawing to a close. Shepaug Spartans have received postseason honors.

The ice hockey team completed their regular season on March 1st, and for their efforts in upholding one of Shepaug's long-standing traditions, our skaters were recognized by the SCC/SWC Hockey Conference as Division III Sportsmanship Award winners.

The swim team competed in the March 7th Berkshire League Championships, with junior Ava Adiletti earning All-Star status in the 100-meter breaststroke, and sophomore Jessica Kisling earning All-Star status in the 100-meter freestyle.

The girls' basketball team completed a successful regular season, finishing with a 14-6 record. Junior Brooke Donaghey was named a First-Team Berkshire League All-Star by league coaches, while senior Lucy Puskas was recognized as a Second-Team Berkshire League All-Star. The #5-ranked Spartans won their first two state tournament games against Litchfield and Coventry in convincing fashion.

The boys' basketball team also completed a successful regular season, posting a 14-6 regular-season record, and played in two epic Berkshire League Tournament overtime games before losing a heartbreaker in the semifinals to eventual Champions Wamogo. Junior Owen Hibbard was voted a First-Team Berkshire League All-Star by league coaches and was recognized as the top overall player in the league. Senior Jayden Cornwall and junior Michael Perachi were recognized as Second-Team Berkshire League All-Stars.

Celebrating Dr. Seuss’ Birthday

“You can find magic wherever you look.

Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.”

Elementary students throughout the district celebrated during the week of March 2nd, the birthday of Theodore Seuss Geisel, an American author who, under the pen name of Dr. Seuss, wrote and illustrated some of the world’s most iconic children’s books. Dr. Seuss lived an amazing life and his stories have touched children and adults around the world. Elementary students engaged in a variety of activities that promoted the love of reading.

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Booth Free School and Burnham School celebrated with daily themes. Students dressed up based on a different Dr. Seuss book each day. Students read, The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins and had a Terrific Hat Tuesday showcasing many interesting and playful hats. Crazy Hair and Clothes day connected to the book Wacky Wednesday while Friday celebrated Fox in Socks with a Fun Sock Friday experience.

Washington Primary School (WPS) welcomed author Lee Bacon to share his experience as a writer with students PK-5. Mr. Bacon is the author of the children’s book series, Joshua Dread. His newest book, The Last Human, is soon to be a major motion picture. In this book, humans are extinct and robots rule the world. Mr. Bacon read the text and shared the character XR_935 and his emoji language. In addition, fourth and fifth-grade students had a very special reader, Chief Judge of the Appellate Court, Alexandra DiPentima. She read I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark and answered many inquisitive questions about Ruth’s persistent actions. Wearing her judge’s robe was also a hit. WPS ended the day with an all-school reading event. Students settled down in a quiet spot to read a self-selected book, enjoying all the adventures that print has to offer. WPS thanks the PTO for this enriching opportunity.

Dr. Seuss’ Birthday reminds us each year that reading is joyful! Providing daily opportunities for students to read a wide variety of books develops a practice of reading that will lead to life-long learning.

Senior Project Spotlight

My name is Aaryuj Trehan, and my senior project focuses on the relationship between politics and students. I have been hosting discussions focused around current events and political topics, ranging from problems like climate change to issues and debates centered around contentious topics like the debate around gun control and education in America. Giving students a way to express their political beliefs, and fostering debate around areas otherwise not discussed, I’ve tried to allow a plurality of voices and opinions to come together and just have open conversations about important issues.

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Another part of my senior project which focuses on politics, involving discussion around specific topics is the podcast I have been doing for the past year. “Why Politics?”, a podcast dedicated to talking about political topics through the perspective of high school students has been a part of my project that aims to inform and discuss contentious topics, aiming to bring opposing perspectives and inform listeners about common misconceptions and to inform on differing views. So far the podcast has 10 episodes, on topics ranging from issues like the debate between authoritarianism and libertarianism to the possibility of war with Iran. My senior project has aimed to give students a voice. Giving them a space to discuss political topics, current events, and issues that continue to shape the world around us.

Podcast link:

2020 Local Invention Conventions

After weeks of designing, creating, and recreating, our elementary students were able to showcase their amazing inventions. Students from Washington Primary School, Booth Free School, and Burnham School participated in our annual Invention Conventions.

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From the “Super Scooper” to the “Bottle Bumper”, these inventions exemplified the ingenuity and creativity flourishing within our students.

  • From Booth Free School: Matthew Foreman with Horsey Helper

  • From Burnham School: Victoria Bargellini with The Fantastic Finder for Kids & Jack Toczylowski, The Unbearable Bird Feeder

  • From Washington Primary School: Melina Kersten with her Triple Threat Athletic Bag and Isabella Saharek with her Abracadabra Hairbrush.

We are so proud of Matthew Foreman, Victoria Bargellini, Jack Toczylowski, Melina Kersten and Isabella Saharek who will continue on to the finals at UConn on Saturday, May 2nd!

Congratulations to all the wonderful inventors.

Cultivating Ideas for Growth

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As we “spring ahead” in Shepaug Agriscience, new and exciting experiences are being investigated through hands-on science. Students have been incubating and hatching chicken eggs at Shepaug, while learning about embryonic development over a 21 day gestation period. We are currently finishing off the hatch, and look forward to share information as our flock develops.

Meet our newest reptile addition to the animal labs, our native common musk turtle is about to become famous, while we run a fundraiser to ask the Shepaug community to vote on a new name.

Power Structure & Technical students have completed their safety background to get them off the ground in constructing some projects to support the Animal Science and Plant Science pathways.

Students work together in the greenhouse to measure for the watering system and create a design for a simple machine to make farm chores easier.

Middle School Agriscience

Ms. Trovato’s eighth-grade Animal Science students are developing social surveys and researching important issues related to animal science. In addition, students are learning fieldwork with animal handling and behavior. Seen here are some images of the students working with social cues, safety and handling with haltering and behavior cues. The seventh-grade students are focusing on native and invasive plants. They are learning the importance of anatomy and physiology by creating PSA brochures based on a plant of their choosing through investigation of the UCONN invasive plant database. Students also delved into the art side of career pathway with the construction of wearable designs.

Plant Science

Ms. Trovato’s Plant Science students have been exploring the structure and function of plants and are applying their skills through greenhouse production and research. Students have been learning about the importance of qualitative and quantitative data in plant research. Students have been applying the research practices in hands-on greenhouse procedures.

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NHS Blood Drive

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On Tuesday, March 3rd the National Honor Society held a blood drive through the American Red Cross. The group had a goal of 27 donations. There were 36 students, teachers, and community members who registered to donate blood. We were able to generate 28 whole blood donations helping up to 84 patients in hospitals throughout Connecticut.

Thank you, everyone, for your support of this long-standing tradition! The next blood drive is tentatively scheduled for November 11th, 2020 .... so pencil it in now!

Internet, Cell Phones, and Video Games

What Are the Negative Effects?

Adolescents (age 12-19), are accessing the internet more than in previous years. Excessive internet use can become problematic and compulsive. When an adolescent’s use of the internet begins to impair his/her daily activities, this then becomes an addiction. Excessive use of cell phones and playing video games can also have negative effects with long-term use. Decreasing the amount of time using technology, may help to lessen the mental, physical, and social consequences that can occur with continuous use. In addition, compulsive use of the internet can lessen interactions with family and friends, school/school activities and interrupt daily routines.

There are physical warning signs that occur when internet use is excessive. Some of the signs are dry eyes, eye strain, neck ache, neck pain, sleep disturbances, lack of personal hygiene, difficulty concentrating, impaired ability to think clearly, reduced cognitive learning skills, fatigue, decreased appetite, anger, and irritability- especially if internet use is suddenly interrupted. There is decreased stimulation of the lobes of the brain causing difficulty with: balance/coordination, movement, motivation, and memory. In addition, handheld devices and laptops can transmit a light (blue) that is toxic to the eyes and can penetrate to the retina (inner lining of the back of the eye). Reading on the phone can cause eye strain, headaches, and fatigue. The World Health Organization (WHO) cautions that radiation from long term/heavy use of cell phones predisposes a person to an increased risk of brain cancer. There are also negative effects that occur with the continual use of video games. These games can affect brain cells, memory, vision, and disrupt sleep. Aggressive/violent video games can desensitize a person with constant viewing.

The American Heart Association, along with the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that no more than two hours of screen time be allowed for recreational use. Encouraging more physical activity especially outdoor activity will decrease the sedentary lifestyle that occurs with continual internet use. Other measures that can be implemented are: No TV, phone, laptops, in the bedroom or in the kitchen/dining area where meals are consumed. Also, set a curfew time on internet/phone/games in the home.

Research continues to be ongoing regarding the risks of Internet overuse and the problems occurring that are most relevant to young people. Any questions regarding this topic should be addressed with the primary physician.

Edith M. Poidomani, RN, MS, NBCSN

Shepaug School Nurse

Fliers and Upcoming Events

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Region 12 Calendar

Mar 16: BOE Special Meeting, SVS, 7pm

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The Region 12 community educates, challenges, and inspires all learners to become compassionate, creative, and courageous individuals who are empowered by the knowledge, character, and perseverance to achieve their greatest potential within the global society.

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