GPS District Digest

Stories, news, and updates from Greenwich Public Schools

December 2, 2021 (volume 3, issue 7)

We're in Heaven to Bring You Issue No. 7

Wait a second! Shouldn't issue No. 7 be the special "GPS Thanksgiving Issue?" Thanksgiving is a great time to reflect on all good things and show gratitude for what we have. But where's the turkey? Where's the mashed potatoes? Where's the cranberry sauce? Where's the pumpkin pie?

We know that we are thankful for you, the GPS Digest Digest reader, but as much as we all love Thanksgiving over at the GPS District Digest, maybe it's time to move on already and get to December. Turkey for dinner seven straight nights can do that to a person.

And let's face it: Thanksgiving came and went so fast that we still haven't finished our Halloween candy (really, I'm looking at a big bag of it right now).

We hope you have as much fun reading the GPS Direct Digest as we do putting it all together. In what might be one of our favorite stories of the year, we wrote about MDD Sammy. You don't know Sammy? You should. There is no one that works harder, is more loyal, and cares more about the people around her than Sammy. To know her, is to love her.

Enjoy Issue 7!

GPS District Digest

"Follow Your Passion, Not the Position"

Almost 500 Greenwich HS students and 40 teachers had the honor of listening and participating in a live virtual Q&A session with US Secretary of Education and Connecticut native Miguel Cardona on November 22.

Sophomore Joy Greco introduced Secretary Cardona, while fellow sophs Marcos Piccininno, Caleb Kaalund, and Bernardita Thompson asked student-submitted questions.

Social Studies Program Administrator and Bella House Administrator Ms. Lucy Arecco arranged the presentation through the US Department of Education.

“In what has been a few incredibly challenging years for students and teachers, we wanted our school to have the special and memorable opportunity to hear from the inspiring leader who first guided Connecticut schools through the pandemic,” Ms. Arecco said. “Due to his success and perseverance for our state, he now has the honor to continue that work at the national level.”

You can watch the full Q&A in the video link below.

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona speaks to Greenwich High School students

SEAC Vacancies

The Greenwich Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC) has four vacant seats and a random lottery will be held live on Wednesday, December 15 at 4:00 PM via Zoom. They are looking for the following seats to be filled: Administrator, Community Member, Alternate Parent, and Alternate Teacher. If you wish to apply for one of the four seats on the Council, please fill out the application online or each out to SEAC directly. Applications are due by December 13 at noon. A full description of the SEAC bylaws can be found online.

New Lebanon Declares

Public speaking may be a lost art in many places, but not at New Lebanon School. Last week, students in Grades 3-5 participated in school's first-ever Declamation Contest! “Declamation” is a public speaking event where people deliver a portion of a speech that has been previously delivered. The goal of a declamation is to convey a message with clarity, emotion, and persuasiveness. For this contest, students chose a theater, movie, or original monologue to memorize and perform.

The program was run by ALP teacher Ms. Carol Pugliano and first-grade teacher Ms. Laura McDermott. “It was a big commitment for the students, but one I’m sure they will always remember,” Ms. Pugliano said. “It is our hope that this experience will give the students the confidence to take on future challenges.”

First-place winner of the competition was fifth-grader Rafael Rodriguez, second place went to third-grader Davi Aprigio, and the fourth-grade winner was Ximena Vargas.

The panel of judges was filled with amazingly accomplished individuals: Laura Newell (GPS program coordinator for the Arts), Rocco Natale (executive director of Open Arts Alliance), Johanna Kolar (Western MS math teacher and theater club director), Fred Camillo (Greenwich first selectman), Mary Keller (GPS head of nursing), Shoshana Bedrosian (News12 Connecticut reporter), and Jonathan Cubit (News12 Connecticut meteorologist).

This opportunity was provided with a generous grant from the Greenwich Alliance for Education.

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Roots & Shoots Club Delivered!

GHS' Roots & Shoots Club was busy the last several weeks getting ready for their 12th annual Thanksgiving Food Drive. In-person meal deliveries took place on November 22. Students packed close to 100 boxes of food for delivery after school. Fresh items (carrots, celery, onions, apples, oranges, etc.) were provided by local business and community partner, Aux Délices, and the GHS Cardinal Cooks class made 100 fresh pumpkin breads. Overall, GHS collected nearly 3,000 non-perishable items and raised over $10,000 to cover the cost of gift cards and extra items for this Thanksgiving Food Drive!

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Turn Back the Clock 🕰

At this point, you might be asking yourself, "How many postcards could there possibly be of the Havemeyer Building at 290 Greenwich Avenue?" You might also ask yourself, "Does the GPS District Digest have to keep showing these postcards to us ever other week?" And finally, "Why would anyone send a school building postcard to someone?"

Well, we aren't going to answer any of these questions today. But what I can tell you is that someone in Stamford mailed this postcard on October 12, 1905 to Mrs. Lydia N. Walker of Long Ridge, CT.

The research department at the GPS District Digest tells us that Mrs. Walker was born in 1846 and lived on her farm on Long Ridge Road with her husband, Philemon (a Civil War veteran and honey magnate) and their eight children. They moved up to the Constitution State from Brooklyn, NY when Mr. Walker started to have medical issues. Unfortunately, Mr. Walker died three years before this postcard was received, but Mrs. Walker lived until the age of 74.

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Sammy is a Rockstar🐶

Retired Mine Detection Dog Sammy visited third, fourth, and fifth-graders on the Stamford campus of North Mianus School yesterday at their Marshall Legacy Institute’s annual CHAMPS presentation. North Mianus has been actively involved with CHAMPS (Children Against Mines Program) for the past 11 years and has helped sponsor three dogs, Palmer, Emily, and Hawk, all currently in worldwide active service. After six years of dedicated and lifesaving work sniffing out landmines in Sri Lanka, MDD Sammy, a Belgian shepherd, retired in the fall of 2019 and is now MLI's Canine Ambassador.

MLI President and Executive Director Retired Colonel Perry F. Baltimore III, received a surprise visit from Greenwich First Selectman Fred Camillo, who presented him with a proclamation honoring his partnership with GPS and celebrating his pending retirement from MLI.

“We thank Col. Baltimore for his partnership with North Mianus,” Principal Angela Schmidt said. “His years of dedication to our country and children worldwide has made this planet a safer place to live.”

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