Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023

YONDR. It's the talk of the town -- or at least the talk of Illing Middle School. In a few weeks, seventh- and eight-graders there will be putting their cell phones away each day (in a locked Yondr pouch) in an initiative designed to take away that distraction so they can better focus on learning and face-to-face engagement. We have more on that and lots more below starting with a look back at homecoming festivities at MHS last weekend.

Homecoming Memories

Rained scuttled the parade and moved performances into Bailey Auditorium last Friday afternoon and then drenched players, cheerleaders and fans at the football game that night but it just made things all the more memorable.
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The Class of '24 (top left) earned 'top performance' honors (here are all the winners) and we have dozens of photos on the district FB page. As for the football team, they beat Bristol Central and are 4-1 going into home game against Berlin tomorrow night. Click for more photos.
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Illing Students Will Be Pouching Phones

After lots of community conversation including a presentation at Monday’s Board of Education meeting (and enthusiastic support from board members), the district will be implementing the Yondr initiative in a few weeks. The date is not yet set and school leaders are working through details but it's part of a growing trend. More than a million students in 2,000 schools across the country are already using Yondr pouches.

The basic plan: Students each will be given a Yondr pouch and when they arrive at school they will place their phone in it. The pouch is locked and students will maintain possession of their phone at all times. At the end of the day students tap their pouch on an unlocking base and bring their pouch and phone home.

Monday's BoE meeting started with a visit from Mayor Jay Moran, who read a proclamation in honor of Leon Haberski, the security guard at Bennet who recently saved a student who was choking on food in the cafeteria. You can watch a replay of the meeting here.

  • As for Yondr, CBS did a piece last week that gives a lot of information.
  • The next BoE meeting is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 13 at Lincoln Center with a human capital and talent update on the agenda.
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Stopping By

This is the CEA’s Bring Your Legislator to School Week with state senators and representatives visiting classrooms across the state and Rep. Jeff Currey was at Illing on Monday. That's him with Heather Sica-Leonard, who told him about the school's unified music program, which focuses on students with exceptionalities working with peer leaders. You can read more here.
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District Hiring Event Is Today

Interested in the field of education? Have experience working with children? The district has a hiring event scheduled for today from 4-6 p.m. at Central Office, which is at 45 North School St. There is a special need for paraprofessionals. For more information please check out this flier.

Also of note:

  • Project Graduation raises funds all year long so MHS seniors can have a safe, fun place to celebrate after their commencement ceremony in June. The next fundraiser is a dine out night at DQ on Nov. 6. Click to see the flier.
  • Macy's is supporting the TLC Foundation Inc. group home, with customers able to 'round up' to the nearest dollar and proceeds going to TLC through the end of October.

November is Native American Heritage Month during which people are encouraged to the celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories of Native people and to acknowledge the important contributions they have made while facing challenges both historically and in the present.

The Week Ahead

Thursday, Oct. 26
10:15 - 11:15 a.m. -- Preschool Picassos for children ages 2-5 at Mary Cheney Library.
4 - 6 p.m. -- Manchester Public Schools hiring event at 45 North School St.
6:30 p.m. -- Easy Gardening with Ted Johnson at Whiton Library (rescheduled from Sept.7).

Friday, Oct. 27
10 a.m. -- Preschool Playgroup at Mary Cheney Library.
11:30 a.m. -- Walk Audit for Downtown Main St. with State Rep. Jason Rojas starting at Mary Cheney Library.(Note new time; originally scheduled to start at noon)
7 p.m. -- Only the Lonely: Roy Orbison Tribute Show at Cheney Hall

Saturday, Oct. 28
8 a.m. - noon -- Season finale: MACC Manchester Farmers Market at the Forest St. parking lot. Rain or shine.
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. -- Open House at the Salvation Army, 661 Main St.
10 a.m. - 2 p.m. -- National Drug Takeback Day at CVS, 1121 Main St.
Noon - 4:30 p.m. -- Silk City Board Game Group at Mary Cheney Library.
3 - 6 p.m. -- Halloween Open House at iCode, 1131 Tolland Tpke.
7 p.m. -- Tribute to Stevie Nicks & Fleetwood Mac at Cheney Hall.

Sunday, Oct 29
9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. -- The Wickender - Bare Bones Disc Golf Tournament at Wickham Park.
10 a.m. - 1 p.m. -- Audition Workshop at Cheney Hall.
1:30 p.m. -- Death and mourning customs at the History Center, 175 Pine St.

Monday, Oct. 30
9:30 - 10:15 a.m. -- ABC Storytime at Mary Cheney Library.
10:30 - 11:15 a.m. -- Dino Time @ Whiton, at Whiton Library.
6:30 p.m. -- Halloween with the Horror Writers of Connecticut at Mary Cheney Library.

Tuesday, Oct. 31
9:30 - 10:50 a.m. -- Baby Rhyme Time at Mary Cheney Library.
6 - 8 p.m. -- Halloween Horror Movie Costume Party at Mary Cheney Library.
6:30 - 7:15 p.m. -- Pajama Storytime @Whiton at Whiton Library.

Wednesday, Nov. 1
9:30 - 10:15 a.m. -- Toddling Tots at Mary Cheney Library.
Noon -- Lunchtime Lecture on LTM’s upcoming production of Disney’s Beauty & the Beast at Cheney Hall..
3:30 - 4:45 p.m. -- R.E.A.D. to a Dog Children’s Program at Mary Cheney Library.
3:30 - 4:30 p.m. -- Crazy 8’s Club at Whiton Library.


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Further Down the Road

  • Second Congregational Church’s New England Country Fair on Nov. 4 will feature regional crafters, baked goods etc.

  • The annual Manchester Sports Hall of Fame induction dinner will be held at Georgina’s on Nov. 4.

  • New World Trio ‘Commemoration’ chamber music concert will be on Sunday, Nov. 5 at UUSE. Click here for more info.

  • The Town of Manchester’s leaf collection program begins on Nov. 13. Everything you need to know about the program is here.

  • State Election Day is Nov. 7. Absentee ballots will be available starting on Oct 7. Click here to find out more.

  • Disney’s ‘Beauty & the Beast’ will be at Cheney Hall Nov. 10 - 26. Click here for dates, times and ticket info.

  • The mobile mammography van will be at the Community Y on Nov. 30 and you can find out how to make an appointment by clicking here.

Senior Nights

A highlight of every high school sports season is Senior Night -- typically held when a team has its last regular-season home game. Seniors are joined by family members and given flowers and other tributes and then pose for pictures with classmates who in many cases have been teammates for years, but now for the last time.
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Earlier this week the Red Hawk boys soccer, swimming and volleyball teams had their Senior Night ceremonies and we have photos of all three on our sports Facebook page.
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  • Registration for the Manchester Road Race continues (5771 have signed up through Wednesday) and note some key dates leading up to the race by clicking here.
  • Illing will host the CRAL (Connecticut River Athletic League) Cross County Championship at Charter Oak Park on Monday, Oct 30 at 3:30 p.m. If you would like to volunteer, contact athletic director Brian McCarthy at

Youth Basketball Opportunities

  • The town is offering co-ed basketball for high school students at the Mahoney Rec on Saturdays starting in December. Click here for sign-up information.

  • Manchester Travel Basketball teams are forming this month. Click this link for the where, when and how.

  • The Hartford Shockers are sponsoring a winter travel basketball program starting in December for players in grades 3 - 8. Click here for more info.

  • Sharpen your basketball skills with Ellington High School Coach and 1,000-point scorer, Teighlor Clare-Kearney. Click here for details.

Award-winning tenor saxophone artist Javon Jackson and equally accomplished guitarist Rich Goldstein from the University of Hartford's Hartt School visited the MHS Jazz Ensemble class for a jazz workshop and luncheon this week.

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"They are both incredible," said Keith Berry, the district's K-12 Music Coordinator. "Our students had an amazing opportunity to learn from and bond with them. It was inspiring and we're all very grateful." We have more photos on the district FB page.
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DONT FORGET THE ANNEX: This is our new spillover space to other newsletters , social media accounts and more, including the 'OneManchester Planner', which has even has more calendar listings for the months ahead. Plus we share a special flashback photo from Paul Ofria each week. To get to The Annex, click here.

  • 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 that you think people would want to know about, please let us know. Photos, fliers, links, tips, whatever -- please share with Paul Ofria at
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