GPS District Digest
Stories, news, and updates from Greenwich Public Schools
It's Quite a Scene, Right Here in Issue No. 19!
Devoted GPS District Digest readers know how much we like feedback. It is a way for us to make the reading experience better with each issue. We ask for it. We want it. We crave it. And sometimes, we even share it with everyone.
That brings us to our next ask: On Wednesday, families will be emailed an invitation to fill out the annual GPS Family Survey. You will be asked all about your children's experience in school. Feedback personified!
It won't take you long to complete. You will have more than two weeks to fill it out, but don't procrastinate. We are all so busy, so don't forget!
But in the meantime, enjoy issue 19!
GPS District Digest
The Essence of PTAC
The Greenwich PTAC Essence Committee, along with the PTAC Board of Directors, recently announced the winners of the 12th Annual Essence Awards. Brian Peldunas was named the recipient of the 2022 Essence Award and Stephanie Cowie received the 2022 Lifetime Essence Award. The Essence Awards were created to acknowledge individuals who tirelessly and admirably work to better GPS, whether in a position of leadership or as a member of a team. The Lifetime Award was created in 2017 to specifically honor an active, long-standing impactful PTA volunteer who has contributed over the course of many years through a variety of positions and schools.
The following is a complete list of all of the amazing volunteers who were nominated and honored at the Recognition Ceremony for their contributions to their individual schools and PTA Council committees:
- Rucchita Chhajed, Riverside School
- Marianela Cordova, New Lebanon School
- Stephanie Cowie, Greenwich High School
- Kristen Hawreluk, Glenville School
- Megan Kelly, North Street School
- Nancy Lu, Western Middle School
- Brian Peldunas, Greenwich PTAC
Pictured below, left to right: Megan Kelly, Nancy Lu, Ruchita Chhajed, Brian Peldunas, Stephanie Cowie, Marianela Cordova, Kristen Hawreluk, GPS Superintendent Dr. Toni Jones.
EMS Debate Team Wins!
Earlier this month, the debate team of Eastern Middle School seventh-graders with Liam Dozier, Kaitlyn Qin, and Lula Wang, won the Connecticut Middle School Debate League second annual state championship tournament in a virtual setting. Twenty-two teams from eight schools competed for the honor.
"I was really impressed with the work the kids put in between the last tournament and the Tournament of Champions," EMS Teacher Bruce Johnson said. "They met more than once a week and on weekends to practice, came up with new arguments, and drilled each other on both sides of the proposal. This is the result of a year of consistent training and steady improvement in both the content and presentation of their arguments."
EMS won all four rounds, arguing both for and against the United States government implementing Universal Basic Income (UBI). They beat an excellent Wilton team in the final, arguing that UBI would cause inflation, decrease the incentive for people to work, and that the expense could not justify the benefits. The judges agreed.
The Connecticut Middle School Debate League hosts competitive interscholastic Parliamentary Debate tournaments for middle school students throughout Connecticut during the academic year.
Read Beyond the Beaten Path!
It is the time of year that the folks at the State of Connecticut encourage students to participate in "Connecticut Reads, the 2022 Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge." To support summer reading, the Connecticut State Library’s statewide eGo eBook platform is now available through many local public libraries, and provides access to digital resources for all ages.
Two of the featured authors are proud Greenwich teachers! District Secondary Instructional Coach Valerie Bolling and Riverside Third-Grade Teacher Stacy Mozer were two of the honored authors! Way to go!
The great folks at GHS’s Innovation Lab program recently told us that four of its ninth grade Humanities students have won top prizes in the Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center (HHREC)’s national Genocide Awareness Contest. We encourage you to click on the links to view their incredible work.
- First Place: Maya Antipov; Original Art, “Left Behind” commemorating the victims of the war in Syria
- Second Place: Benjamin Adovasio; Original Art Display, “The Ukrainian Conflict Memorial” 3D model commemorating the current atrocities taking place in Ukraine
- Third Place: Sasha Peterson; Original Art, “The Hidden Genocide” depicting the Rohingya minority targeted by the government of Myanmar
- Honorable Mention: Lorenzo Pugliese; The Uyghurs – Video depicting genocidal actions currently being taken by the Chinese government against this ethnic and religious minority
Students were invited to create and submit an original project in visual arts, poetry, music, or other media of artistic expression that commemorates some aspect of a genocide which has occurred in the 20th or 21st centuries. According to the HHREC, April was deemed Genocide Awareness Month because “many genocides that took place in the 20th and 21st Centuries either began in April or include significant events which occurred in April.”
Through this student contest, the HHREC encourages students to raise awareness about these genocides and ongoing “crimes against humanity,” and most importantly, remember those who have been lost as a result of “man’s inhumanity to man.”
The HHREC will make a donation on the winners’ behalf to the Afya Foundation, a Westchester-based organization that provides an environmentally-sensitive, community-oriented solution to help address the critical shortage of medical supplies in underserved communities around the world.
GHS Junior Alexander Khilko ranked second in Connecticut, and 16th nationally, in the Math Kangaroo competition this year.
The annual mathematical competition, Math Kangaroo USA, takes place every year on the third Thursday in March, in several places throughout the US, and students all from grades 1-12 are invited to participate.
Math Kangaroo's vision is to encourage students to learn mathematics by presenting them with problems that are interesting and by rewarding their efforts.
Arbor Day at Riverside School
Last month, Riverside School celebrated Arbor Day with a tree planting ceremony in the school’s back field. Second- and fourth-grade classes were invited to participate, along with a handful of volunteers and school staff.
“Riverside School is deeply committed to supporting local organizations in their efforts to preserve natural resources and green spaces,” Principal Christopher Weiss said. “We are honored to receive this gift from the conservancy, and we hope that it serves as a reminder to our students about the importance of protecting trees in our community.”
Guests in attendance included First Selectman Fred Camillo; Jake Pollack, a tree climber for the Town of Greenwich; JoAnn Messina, the Executive Director of the Greenwich Tree Conservancy; Melissa Conkling of the Greenwich Tree Conservancy; and Town Tree Warden Dr. Gregory Kramer.
Greenwich Tree Conservancy is a local organization, in conjunction with the town, that aims to preserve green spaces and trees in the community.
GHS Junior Sophie Citron's essay submission was a runner-up in the 22nd Annual James W. Cooper Fellows Quintin Johnstone Statewide High School Essay Contest. Sophie's entry on the topic, “Throwing Away Our Shot?” was evaluated by a panel that included Connecticut Supreme Court justices, other esteemed judges, law school professors, and practicing attorneys from across the state.
"Congratulations goes out to Sophie," School Counselor Ms. Sachem Hodgson said. "I really enjoyed reading her essay. The arguments were clear and concise. It was well-crafted and easy to follow. I can see why it stood out in the competition!"
Now in its 22nd year, the Essay Contest was started by the Foundation’s James W. Cooper Fellows in 2000. The purpose of the essay contest is to get young people in Connecticut thinking about and exploring legal issues relevant to them.
In 2011, the Essay Contest was named after Quintin Johnstone, who was a professor at Yale Law School before his death in 2014. Johnstone served as past president of the Connecticut Bar Foundation, participated in a variety of Fellows projects for many years, and was a longtime member of the Fellows Education and Program Committee, which helps to organize Fellows projects like the annual Essay Contest.
You can read her amazing essay for yourself below or follow this link!
GHS Cardinal Café Back to Full Service
After a long hiatus, the Greenwich High School Cardinal Café is now back to full service for all students and staff. The long awaited Grill Station is back for breakfast, making pancakes, omelets, and egg sandwiches as well as favorite hot lunch items, such as burgers, oven baked French fries and grilled cheese. The made-to-order deli stations are now active with all the fixings. Acai bowls are available now with smoothies and soft serve yogurt coming soon. There's a pizza station, and grab-and-go salads are featured, along with daily hot entrees, specials, and soups.
All daily offerings featured on their new electronic menu board.
Expose your middle and high schoolers to the latest technology this summer!
Unbound Innovations XR Virtual & Augmented Reality STEAM Camps are week-long immersive experiences that introduce a broad range of innovative disciplines within virtual and augmented reality. Participants will practice, play, design and build their own experiences.
The Greenwich Alliance funds innovative programs in GPS. Unbound Innovations XR is “championed” by Gaspare Lipari and is a 2019-2022 Reaching Out Grant recipient.
The weekly sessions are from July 5 through August 5. Campers may register for multiple weeks and will be divided into two age groups:
- Rising 6th-8th Graders: Morning Session 8:30 AM – 11:30 AM
- Rising 9th-12th Graders: Afternoon Session 12:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Registration deadline: June 3, 2022
Camp Location: Western Middle School, Greenwich
Early Bird Discount: Register by May 27 and save $20!
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!
Are you one of the 1,665 amazing folks following @GPSDistrict? Are you following your favorite school or community partner?