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June 18, 2012
An Evening of Inventions
By Courtney Krahn, English Teacher
On the evening of June 11, the eighth grade culminated its month-long Inventions Unit with an open house. Parents and teachers were invited to come and observe students’ work, which included a model of each group’s invention or innovation, a patent letter, a persuasive essay, an advertisement, a survey, and several other marketing products. Students’ ideas – from an all-terrain cargo carrier and waterproof socks with pockets (Sockets!), to a revolutionized approach to making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches – were varied and creative. Social studies teacher Jason Sperling and I were proud to see our students productively collaborate to turn their ideas into working – or almost-working – prototypes. So many parents/guardians attended, some with younger children eagerly learning from the eighth grade class.
Last Days of School
Rarely does the opportunity arise for Monday Notes to appear after graduation. But with Tropical Storm Irene delaying school four days and two midwinter snow days, the last day of school was extended through Tuesday, June 19th at many Windham Central schools. Those who received diplomas on Saturday, of course, have completed their graduation requirements and can move forward with their summer plans and beyond. Seventh graders had started school a day before, and Monday is their annual celebratory field trip to the Great Escape, so they, too, have finished their classes and exams. Grades 8-11 will enjoy having more space and participating in the creative activities that their teachers have in store for them.
The high level of seriousness, energy, and commitment on final exam days deserves praise and admiration. Teachers, staff, and students worked hard through the testing sessions and maintained an environment of academic excellence. Behavior problems were few to none, as students were wrapped up in test questions, presentations, and essays. At 7:45am on Friday, make-up day, dozens of students attended to complete exams and major projects required for course completion.
Class Days and Graduation 2012
Three assemblies were devoted to presenting awards and student performances over the past two weeks. Journey East, the Leland and Gray Players, the Jazz Band, and Samba Band garnered the rapt attention of grades 7-11, who all hurried forward when their names were called to receive awards for improvement, achievement, and top of class. An exciting trend for student success: ten students received the perfect attendance award (last year was just one). During Class Night for seniors, their families and friends attended and cheered their many accomplishments. Leland and Gray expresses deep gratitude for the many civic organizations and individuals who contribute to our students’ recognition and support their postsecondary endeavors each year.
At both Class Night and Graduation, the Class of 2012 valedictorian, Caitlin Persa, and salutatorian, Emmet Mahdavi, were recognizes with sashes and gifts for their academic achievement as 1st and 2nd in their class. This starts a new tradition in keeping with our renewed commitment to educational excellence. Many other seniors earned awards and scholarships, and everyone was celebrated at these unforgettable events. On behalf of the L&G and WCSU administration, I would like to thank the seniors’ families and friends as well as the many faculty and staff-members who have contributed so much to their lives and their futures. As they move into a world of endless possibility and problem solving, they can rely on the knowledge, skills, tools, and confidence they received all these years. Describing the details of graduation will not do the event justice under that spectacular blue sky and warm sun, from Brandon Reilly and Eric Ginther’s hilarious speech to science teacher Bruce Whitman’s words of memorable recollection and advice to physical education teacher Thomas Russell arriving on the back of Ms. Z’s styling Harley Davidson, complete with 1970s army helmet for safety’s sake.
A special thanks goes to L&G’s registrar, Mary Martin, Spanish teacher and senior class advisor, Jeryl Julian-Cisse, information technology coordinator Peter Golrick, English teacher Linda Rood, Student Assistance Professional Megan Altshuler, and school counselor Sarah Grasso for all many months to the last days of handling the largest projects to the tiniest details of Class Night, Graduation, and Project Graduation. Director of student services Melanie Zwolinski also made substantial contributions to these efforts, as she has so often during her first year as a school administrator.
Changes Next Fall
The many suggestions from students, parents/guardians, faculty, and staff may change a number of school rules and procedures next fall. Additionally, the Vermont Legislature and the United States Department of Education mandate new policies. All changes pertinent to student behavior and consequences will be included in the 2012-13 Student Handbook. These and other changes affecting school life will also be explained in the August 2012 Newsletter.
A number of faculty/staff members will not be returning to Leland and Gray next fall. This includes Daniel Smith, Robert Zimmerman, Bree Nesbitt, and Deb Mears. Linda Rood will retire but return on a part-time basis in the fall. Thank you for all your service to our school, and best of luck in your future plans.