February 19, 2017

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools 2017-18 Proposed $33.6M Budget Approved Unanimously by Board, Reflects Lowest Increase on Record

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser

At a Public Forum held Wednesday evening, Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser presented a budget for the 2017-18 school year of $33,634, 371 reflecting a 0.49 percent increase over the current year.  The Region #18 Board of Education subsequently approved the budget unanimously at their regular meeting, which followed immediately after the forum.

Asked via e-mail Thursday morning for his thoughts on the budget, Neviaser told LymeLine.com, “We are proud to present the lowest budget increase on record for Region #18.  While the increase is exceptionally low, this has been achieved through savings that do not impact any of our existing programs or services. ”

He added, “Detailed information will be available in the upcoming budget edition of the Focus on Education newsletter, which will be delivered to homes as an insert in The Lyme Times in early March.”

At Wednesday’s forum, Neviaser explained the budget was set to support the objectives outlined in the Strategic Plan by:

  • Preserving and building upon the high standards of education in Lyme-Old Lyme while remaining fiscally responsible to our communities
  • Supporting the ongoing renewal of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and staff development activities in response to the expectations of state and national standards.
  • Continuing to plan and provide technology infrastructure and applications that are consistent with highly effective and efficient programming and operational standards.
  • Maintaining high facility standards for all district buildings and grounds.
  • Maintaining a dynamic and responsive approach to programming needs and mandates in special education.
  • Maintaining both compliance and reasonableness in response to state and federal mandates.

He noted that budget increases include certified and non-certified salaries, instructional programming, and administrative services while decreases include costs for benefits, special education and debt service.

Neviaser stressed that while showing only a minimal increase, the operations/program budget still reflects:

  • Continued adherence to class size guidelines
  • Reduction of staff to account for enrollment decline
  • Continuance of existing academic and extracurricular activities
  • Adjustments for anticipated changes in the special education population
  • Adequate funding for maintenance and repair of buildings and grounds
  • Scheduled replacement of technology and equipment
  • Program improvements that are consistent with high academic and operational standards

He also highlighted that, again despite only a marginal increase in the overall budget, several new programs were being implemented and a selection of facilities being upgraded. Program improvements include a new/updated elementary math program, technology infrastructure advancements and replacement of staff computers.  

Facility upgrades include installation of window AC units at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School and Lyme School​; addition of main campus pathway lighting​; increasing the number of security cameras​; installation of a concrete lacrosse practice wall​ and replacement of the fuel oil tank at Lyme School​.

Further presentations of the budget will be held in the upcoming months, during which time the public can submit comments on the budget to the superintendent. A district budget hearing and referendum are tentatively set respectively for Monday, May 1, and Tuesday, May 2.


Last Day, Two Chances, to See ‘Hello Dolly!’ at Lyme-Old Lyme High School


Meghan Cushman (left) plays the title role in Lyme-Old Lyme High School’s production of ‘Hello Dolly!’

The Old Lyme Players present “Hello Dolly!” in the Lyme–Old Lyme High School auditorium this evening, Thursday, March 10, at 7:30 p.m., with subsequent performances Friday, March 11, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 12, at both 2 and 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $15 for adults/$12 for seniors for reserved seating and can be purchased via this link. General admission tickets can also be purchased for $10 at the door by cash or check only.

Dolly 1
“Hello, Dolly! is a musical with lyrics and music by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart, based on Thornton Wilder’s 1938 farce “The Merchant of Yonkers,” which Wilder revised and re-titled “The Matchmaker” in 1955.  It won 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical — a record held for 35 years.

See “Hello Dolly!” at Lyme-Old Lyme High School before Bette Midler reprises the role on Broadway in 2017!

And if you still have any doubts about whether to go see this great production, check out this ‘commercial’ for the show made by students at the high school.


After Solid Start, Wildcats End Up Clawing Desperate Overtime Victory

Josh Turkowski makes a shot from the foul line during last night's game against Lyman Memorial.

Josh Turkowski makes a shot from the foul line during last night’s game against Lyman Memorial.

Sixth-seeded Old Lyme appeared to be on their way to an expected victory last night over Lyman Memorial (seeded 27) at half-time when the score stood at 35-22.  Things were still on track at the end of the third quarter when the Wildcats had advanced to a comfortable 45-32 lead.

And then it all fell apart in the fourth quarter when Lyman outscored the ‘Cats  23-10 to force a completely unanticipated and nerve-wracking overtime at 55-55.

Kirk Kaczor’s boys fought back in overtime ably assisted by senior George Doll, who had sat on the bench until the final minutes of the fourth quarter due to an injury.  Doll scored five critical points in overtime, which helped Old Lyme finally claim a 67-60 victory.

Drake Gavin was top scorer for Old Lyme with 19 points, while Matt Watts St-Germain added 16.

Old Lyme now faces No. 11 Coginchaug tomorrow evening at Lyme-Old Lyme High School with a 7 p.m. tip-off.  Despite their lower ranking, Coginchaug defeated the Wildcats in the regular season so the game promises to be intense.

Go Wildcats!


New Senior Administrative Appointments Announced in Lyme-Old Lyme Schools

Lyme-Old Lyme Public Schools have announced the appointment of three members of the administrative staff.

For the 2015-2016 school year, Michelle Dean will serve as the Interim Principal of Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School while Ellen Tyler is on a one year leave of absence. Superintendent Ian Neviaser praised Dean’s work stating, “For the past three years Mrs. Dean has earned the respect of the entire Region #18 community in her role as the Assistant Principal of Lyme- Old Lyme High School. Her leadership has been a key component of the ongoing success of the school. Mrs. Dean’s drive and passion will allow for a seamless transition in leadership at the middle school furthering the great work of Mrs. Tyler, the students, and the staff.”

In Mrs. Dean’s absence, Heather Fitzgibbons has been appointed to the position of Interim Assistant Principal at Lyme-Old Lyme High School. Fitzgibbons comes to Region #18 from Saint Bernard School where she served as the Assistant Headmaster for Academics. A graduate of Skidmore College, Fitzgibbons earned a Master of Education in Curriculum Development from DePaul University and completed the Education Leadership Program at Sacred Heart University. In addition to her administrative duties at Saint Bernard, Ms. Fitzgibbons has extensive experience teaching science in Connecticut, New York, and Illinois.  She will begin her new position on Aug. 14.

Neil Sullivan

Neil Sullivan

Neil Sullivan has been appointed to the role of Assistant Principal at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School. Sullivan currently serves in the same capacity at Torrington Middle School and comes to Region #18 with a wealth of experience teaching English in Connecticut and Illinois. Sullivan is a graduate of Fairfield University, holds a master’s degree from DePaul University, and completed his sixth year work at Southern Connecticut State University. Mr. Sullivan will begin his position on Aug. 24.

In response to the appointments of Fitzgibbons and Sullivan, Superintendent Neviaser stated, “I, along with the Board of Education, am extremely pleased with the quality of candidates that showed an interest in working in our district. Mr. Sullivan and Ms. Fitzgibbons will be great additions to what is a very strong administrative unit. I encourage all members of our school community to stop in and meet these two exceptional educators.”


Congratulations to the Lyme-Old Lyme High School Class of 2015!

The traditional hat toss ended the ceremony.

The traditional hat toss ended the ceremony.

It was a perfect evening last Friday for the commencement ceremony of the Lyme-Old Lyme High School Class of 2015. Eighty-seven students received their diplomas from Region 18 Superintendent Ian Neviaser and Region 18 Board of Education Chairman James Witkins.

Region 18 Board of Education Chairman James Witkins (left) and Superintendent of Schools ian Neviaser stand at the podium in front of the speakers and board of education members.

Region 18 Board of Education Chairman James Witkins (left) and Superintendent of Schools Ian Neviaser stand at the podium in front of the faculty speakers and board of education members.

We offer here some memories of the evening in both images and advice from a selection of the speakers.

Class President Meredith Aird at the podium.

Class President Meredith Aird at the podium.

“Growing up in a town where it is impossible to drive down Lyme street and not recognize almost every car along the way, our close knit community and the environment it fosters, has created for us the means to find success in whatever it is we hope to do … The memories these towns and the people in it have created for us are unique and unmatchable.” Meredith Aird, President, Class of 2015.

Commencement speaker and English teacher Jill Ressler.

Commencement speaker and English teacher Jill Ressler.

“Be committed to taking in each moment of your new day. Take out the ear buds, close the i-pad and turn off that cell phone … Take notice of the world around you … Always carry a great piece of literature with you … reading will exercise your brain … Don’t just look at the dashboard while someone else does the driving. Drive your own car.” Jill Ressler, Commencement speaker

Honor Essayist Liam Corrigan

Honor Essayist Liam Corrigan speaks.

“Don’t be content with monotony or material enjoyment. Do what you love, and love what you do. Wake up! You’ve got a life in front of you. Seek out all the things that you can do with a true sense of enjoyment, and above all, just have fun, because as Van Wilder says, “You shouldn’t take life too seriously. You’ll never get out alive.” Liam Corrigan, Honor Essayist, Class of 2015.

LOLHS Graduation 2015

Salutatorian Abigail Cipparone at the podium.

‘As Margaret Meade put it, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has” … Let’s be that fulcrum of change that opens doors to the poor, oppressed and forgotten. Let’s go out there and be 86 living hinges, and see just how much good we can do.” Abigail Cipparone, Salutatorian, Class of 2015.

Valedictorian Eric Pan gives his speech.

Valedictorian Eric Pan gives his speech.

“Don’t forget where you came from, and don’t forget where you’re going … As a very wise band director, Mr. Wilson, once said, “Try something new, and don’t be afraid to fail.” Remember that your ability to do anything is limited, but only by your lack of willingness to try. As we go forth, remember … “The limit does not exist.”” Eric Pan, Valedictorian, Class of 2015

Michelle Dean

Vice Principal Michelle Dean addresses the audience.

“Do not be afraid to take a risk, step out of your comfort zone or pursue an experience that may change your intended path … learn from your struggles, relish the places you will explore and take care of your relationships with family and friends as life with these components is ultimately sweeter. If you keep these things in mind, I promise, your destination will take care of itself.” Tracy Lenz, Director of School Counseling.


The graduates in the choir sing the school song one last time.

And as the evening came to a close, a hawk settled on the school’s flagpole — perhaps a symbol of the great heights to which the Class of 2015 will soar.

LOLHS graduation Hawk_on_flagpole_cropped


Lyme-Old Lyme Rowers Seek Donations for Florida Trip to Compete in Nationals

Photo by Brian Corrigan. Rowing away from the award's dock with their silver medals are (from right to left) Liam Corrigan (stroke), Jeremy Newton, Harry Godfrey Fogg, Joshua Swanski and coxswain Tom Crisp.

Florida bound! Rowing away from the award’s dock with their silver medals are (from right to left) Liam Corrigan (stroke), Jeremy Newton, Harry Godfrey Fogg, Joshua Swanski and coxswain Tom Crisp. Photo by Brian Corrigan.

The Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) crew team, as a whole, has had a very successful season this spring; theirs is a story of which movies are made; an unlikely bunch with the heart, skill and determination of champions.  They medalled at the Founder’s Day regatta for the first time, winning four state championship titles (Girls and Boys 1st and 2nd boats). Then, through the state championship, all four boats qualified to participate in the National School’s Championship Regatta in Virginia this weekend, June 6-7.

After competing at the New England Interscholastic Rowing Association championships (NEIRAs) against the top private schools in New England, the 2nd Boy’s Boat brought home bronze and the 1st Boy’s Varsity Boat won silver, qualifying them for the prestigious 2015 Youth National Championships being held in Sarasota, Fla., June 11-14.


The LOLHS Boy’s Varsity 1st Boat crew.


Despite a tight budget, LOLHS plans to contribute towards the team’s travel expenses with additional fundraising efforts underway such as today’s carwash to assist with transportation and lodging costs. The team would be grateful to receive any tax deductible contributions which can be made payable to “Old Lyme Rowing Association”, earmarked “NEIRA” and mailed to 6 Stonewood Drive, Old Lyme, CT. 06371

The 1st Boys Varsity four of Liam Corrigan, Harry Godfrey, Jeremy Newton, Josh Swanski and coxswain Tom Crisp, won silver at the Head of the Charles regatta last October against a competitive field of 85 international participants, rowing as the Blood Street Sculls.  They have now gone on to demonstrate that they are as successful in head to head sprints as they are in 5K time trials.

Coach Louis Zubek

Coach Louis Zubek congratulates the boys on their qualification for the US Rowing National Youth Championships – a first for Lyme-Old Lyme High School!

Coached by Louis Zubek and Steve Baranoski, the LOLHS boys and girls 1st  and 2nd boats will row for the National School’s Championship title in Virginia, hoping to improve on the silver and bronze medals that they won last year.


When these boys return from Florida, Corrigan and Newton are off to National Selection Camp to seek selection for the US National Team to travel to Rio this summer for the World Rowing Championships.  Corrigan will return briefly to graduate from LOLHS before returning to Pittsburg.

Godfrey, a dual American:Finnish Citizen is off to Finland to perform his National Service, Swanski will be taking up a place on the Division 1 rowing team at Marist College in New York and Crisp will be teaching robotics at The Country School and sailing before entering Colby College in Maine.

Visitors are always welcome to watch the team train on Roger’s Lake.


Lyme-Old Lyme HS Team Wins Middlesex Math League for Second Consecutive Year

Eric Pan receives his scholarship from the Tresurer of the Math League, Bill Varas of Portland High School.

Eric Pan receives his scholarship from the Tresurer of the Math League, Bill Varas of Portland High School.

In an extraordinary victory, the Lyme-Old Lyme High School Varsity Math Team recently won the overall title of the Middlesex County Math League.  Comprised of Middlesex County high schools along with Regional Hebron Andover Marlborough (RHAM) High School and Lyme-Old Lyme High School, this League has 11 members and is divided into a large and a small conference.  Lyme-Old Lyme is a member of the latter, making this overall championship win for the second consecutive year even more exceptional.

The leaders of the team are seniors Eric Pan and newcomer Jared DiCarlo.  Pan has played for four years and recruited teammate DiCarlo last year.  Pan was recognized as the highest scorer as a freshman, sophomore, junior and again this year.  As a senior, this accomplishment was recognized with a scholarship.  DiCarlo also scored very well and similarly earned a scholarship for his second highest score of all seniors.

LOLHS Varsity Math Team League Champions 2015

The Lyme-Old Lyme High School Varsity Math Team are the Middlesex League Champions 2015!

The team consists of five official scoring members of which only two can be seniors and at least one must be a freshman or sophomore.  These junior members also contributed to the success, especially junior Ryan Harty who scored the most of any junior in the League.

The Lyme-Old Lyme High School Varsity Math Team proudly display their trophies

The Lyme-Old Lyme High School Varsity Math Team proudly display their trophies

Other contributors to the team include senior Thomas Roth, juniors Austin Pilgrim, Evan Deng and Jason Feng, sophomores Jeff Zhang, Natalie Rugg, Laura Lee Wayland and Cole Dushin and freshmen Reed Spitzer and Gabriel Zumbaum-Stephens.

Congratulations to the team and their coach Glenn Elliott on this amazing result!


See Lyme-Old Lyme High School’s Fall Play, Nazi Labor Camp Survivors to Speak After Performance

Director and history teacher Brett Eckhart gives instruction to cast members during a recent rehearsal for "Letters to Sala."

Lyme-Old Lyme High School fall play director and history teacher Brett Eckhart gives instruction to cast members during a recent rehearsal for “Letters to Sala.”

This year the Lyme-Old Lyme High School fall play will be “Letters to Sala.”  The performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 14 and 15, with an admission price of $7, or $5 with a canned good.

LymeLine.com has received an exciting update to the performance details as follows:

Henny Rosenbaum Simon, an 89-year-old survivor of three camps and Ben Cooper, a liberator of Dachau, will be attending the Saturday performance.

Following the show, they will share some of their stories, and Cooper is going to bring some of the artifacts he has collected over the years.  He is a wonderfully engaging speaker and the items he has to share (e.g., his army jacket to match the one in a photo of himself at age 19, or the 20 foot Nazi flag taken from a building), are both chilling and fascinating.

“Letters to Sala” is a true story about a woman “sharing her past with her family” through letters that she wrote while in a labor camp during World War II, according to Brett Eckhart, the director of the play, who also teaches in the history department at the high school.  Eckhart says he “came across [the play] by accident” while “sifting through some [play options] online.” He chose the play because students had asked for a more dramatic piece, rather than his usual comedic selections.  Being a history teacher, Eckhart says he just, “fell in love with the story,” which is based on real life.

The play details the “trials and tribulations of a young lady in the Holocaust,” comments Eckhart.  Sala is an old woman by the time she divulges the letters to her daughter, Ann, and her two granddaughters, Caroline and Elizabeth, so the play takes place in both the modern day and the 1940s during World War II.  Eckhart wants “Letters to Sala” to “shed light on labor camps,” which were not like the well-known concentration camps.

“Not many know about the labor camps, which were instituted during the war,” says Eckhart. Operation Schmelt, which began at the start of World War II, involved the creation of 177 different labor camps around Nazi Germany and its allies so that those countries were supplied with people to sew uniforms and complete other menial tasks for the soldiers.  In the labor camp, Sala, along with the other workers, was allowed to send and receive mail until 1943.

Cast members rehearse a scene from "Sala's Gift."

Cast members rehearse a scene from “Letters from Sala.”

Eckhart wants the performance to be “educational as well as entertaining” and has reached out to local survivors of the war and also children of survivors to attend the performances and speak to the cast, so that they might gain insight in to what life was like at that time.  At the end of each performance, a screen will come down in front of the stage, and Eckhart will show pictures of the real Sala and her family, as well as other labor camp workers whom Sala knew.

“Letters to Sala” is based on a book titled, “Sala’s Gift,” written by Ann Kirschner, Sala’s daughter, as well as the true accounts that Sala gave her daughter and grandchildren when she showed them the letters.  Anne donated the letters to the New York Public Library, which currently has the letters on show in an exhibition in their building. The Library also has a permanent online exhibition on their website, so that people can view the historical documents from any online location worldwide.

Eckhart concludes, “If the play is done right, the audience will be emotionally drained — in a good way.”


Lyme-Old Lyme School Budget Referendum Today

Tonight at 7:30 p.m., the District 18 Board of Education hosts a public hearing in the Lyme-Old Lyme HIGH SCHOOL auditorium on their proposed budget of $31,963,401 for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015 as recommended by the board.  The proposed budget reflects a 0.7 percent increase over the current budget with just over three-quarters of a percentage point of the increase made up of debt service on the high school renovation.  The remainder of the increase is accounted for by changes in programs and operations through out the district.

The budget is split between the two towns according to enrollment with Old Lyme being responsible for 79.1 percent of the total while Lyme pays for the remaining 20.9 percent.

Click to view options for reading the Region 18 Budget Book online.

A district-wide referendum on the budget will be held tomorrow in both Lyme and Old Lyme  between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.   Voting will take place at Cross Lane Firehouse for Old Lyme residents and Hamburg Firehouse for Lyme residents.

The individual town results will be announced at the respective polling stations shortly after 8 p.m. and published on LymeLine within  minutes of their announcement.  The final result reflects the combined tallies from both towns.

Regular board of selectmen’s meetings are also scheduled for today with Lyme’s starting at 3:30 p.m. at Lyme Town Hall and Old Lyme’s commencing at 7:30 p.m. in Memorial Town Hall.


Lyme-Old Lyme HS Environmental Club Honored by Old Lyme Land Trust

LOLHS members (from left to right) Isabel Ritrovato, Hugh Cipparone, Madalyn Gibson-Williams, Philip Hallwood and club adviser Heather Fried were honored as 2013 Volunteers of the Year at  the Old Lyme Land Trust's Annual Meeting last Sunday.

LOLHS Environmental Club members (from left to right) Isabel Ritrovato, Hugh Cipparone, Madalyn Gibson-Williams, Philip Hallwood and club adviser Heather Fried were honored as 2013 Volunteers of the Year at the Old Lyme Land Trust’s Annual Meeting last Sunday.

At its 48th Annual Meeting, the Old Lyme Land Trust (OLTT) presented its “Volunteer of the Year” award to members of the Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) Environmental Club.  On hand to receive the award were Isabel Ritrovato, club president, Madalyn Gibson-Williams, Hugh Cipparone and Philip Hallwood, as well as club adviser and LOLHS teacher, Heather Fried.

The Club has provided OLLT with critical stewardship assistance, clearing trails on the OLLT Goberis-Chadwick Preserve and blazing a new trail on the Esther and Bob Heller Preserve.

“There is discussion among environmental groups that today’s youth is not connected to nature and the outdoors, and concern about where the next generation of conservationists will come from,” said OLLT President Christina Clayton. She noted Ritrovato and Fried had participated on a panel devoted to this subject co-sponsored by OLLT, Lyme Land Conservation Trust and Connecticut Audubon Society in the autumn of 2012.

Clayton continued, “But it was a pleasure to behold how efficient these high school students were; how comfortable they were in the woods; and how they were enjoying themselves.  You would have no concern about the future of conservation if you watched them.”


Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School Teams Share Victory in CT Science Olympiad

Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School science team members display their medals after both LOLMS teams shared  first place honors in the state tournament.

Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School science team members display their medals after both LOLMS teams shared first place honors in the state Science Olympiad.

Two Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School (LOLMS) teams shared top honors to win the Connecticut Science Olympiad for the third year in a row.  In an extraordinary performance, team members from LOLMS won a medal (1st,2nd or 3rd) in 23 of the 24 events.

The teams now move on to the national competition in Florida which takes place May 16-17.

Congratulations to science teacher Shannon Glorioso, and Lucy and Johnny Walters, who head up the after-school science program that makes this all possible.  And, of course, congratulations also to all the students who participate in the program.

Go Wildcat Scientists!


LYSB Hosts Kindergarten Readiness Workshop This Evening,


Join members of the Kindergarten and Preschool Teams from Lyme-Old Lyme Public Schools on Tuesday evening at 6:30 p.m. in the Lyme-Old Lyme High School Media Center to learn about how you can prepare your child for kindergarten.

Some of the topics to be covered under the title , “How Do I Know If My Child Is Ready?” include:

  • Kindergarten Readiness Checklist
  • Kindergarten Today – It’s Not What it Used to Be
  • Late Birthdays – new Connecticut dates to consider
  • Emotional, Social and Academic Development

This program is free and open to the public.  Parents of children age 3 and up are welcome to attend.

Childcare  will be provided

For more information, contact LYSB at 860.434.7208.

This event is sponsored by the Lyme-Old Lyme Early Childhood Council.


Wildcat Boys Win 4 x 800 Class ‘S’ State Title

Class 'S' 4 x 800m state champions!

Class ‘S’ 4 x 800 meter state champions!

The Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) boy’s team of (from left to right in photo) Ross Golebiewski, Cole McKnight, Stuart Ross and Jeff Davis won the 4 x 800 meter relay yesterday during the  Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Class S boys’ indoor track and field championships at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven.

The boys finished in an outstanding time of 8:18.49.  Click here to watch a video by Euan Ross of the race.

Congratulations boys, on this amazing achievement!

Kaylin Wiese successfully clears the bar in the Class 'S' pole vault.

Photo by G. Wiese.  Kaylin Wiese successfully clears the bar in the Class ‘S’ pole vault.

In the girl’s competition, Old Lyme’s Kaylin Wiese finished sixth in the pole vault — extraordinarily Wiese only took up this sport three short months ago.

The LOLHS girl’s 4 x 200 meter relay team of Sam Lee, Megan Burns, Caroline Cox and Allison Scott came in sixth in their race in a time of 1:54.37.


Valley/Old Lyme Complete Undefeated Season Tonight, Defeat H-K 48-0

The Valley Regional/Old Lyme football team advanced to an 11-0 undefeated record and ended a spectacular season as the top seeds in the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) Class M division with a 48-0 win over Haddam-Killingworth tonight.

The Pequot Football Conference South Division game at the H-K field saw Old Lyme senior Phil Cohen throw two touchdown passes for  the Warriors.

View a video of the Warriors previous game against Gilbert-NorthWestern at this link.

Congratulations, Warriors!


Unbeaten Valley/Old Lyme Football Wins Pequot Conference, Moves Onto State Championship

The teams line up before the start of tonight's game.

The teams warm up before the start of tonight’s game. Photo by T. Devlin.

The Valley Regional /Old Lyme football team blanked Gilbert/Northwest Regional 35-0 tonight to complete an amazing 10-0 unbeaten season and win the Pequot Conference overall title.

Valley/Old Lyme are likely to be the top seed in the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) Class M tournament, which starts with the quarter-final Tuesday, Dec. 3, with a home game on the Valley field.

Congratulations and go Warriors!


New Underage Drinking Prevention Campaign Launched in Lyme, Old Lyme

Lyme-Old Lyme’s prevention coalition, Community Action for Substance Free Youth (CASFY), announces the launch of a new media campaign aimed at parents and all adults.

CASFY's newest anti-alcohol campaign.

CASFY’s newest anti-alcohol campaign.

“While underage drinking has decreased in Lyme-Old Lyme among school age youth according to our data, it is still our Number One youth drug problem,” reports Karen Fischer, CASFY’s Prevention Coordinator.  “All adults in our communities play a very significant role in preventing underage drinking.  CASFY members chose our new campaign with the objective of reinforcing adults to do the right thing and protect all of our youth.”

Community members will see posters of hands with the message “To Get to Alcohol, Kids Have To Get Through Us.”  Shoreline Sanitation trucks and road banners will display a message specifically for parents:  “I Will Be a Parent [Not a Bartender.]  The Majority of Parents Say “No” to Underage Drinking.”

Mary Seidner, Director of Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau, is optimistic about reducing underage drinking.  “CASFY has been keeping a steady drumbeat of messages to youth and adults about the risks of underage drinking and what can be done to prevent it.  It is encouraging to me that more and more parents report that they are calling the parents of their teens’ friends to check on monitoring plans for parties and sleepovers.”

Glenn Bair, a parent member of CASFY, observed, “Parents seem to feel more empowered to discuss their family’s rule of “no underage drinking” with their own children, their children’s friends and their parents, too.  We want more parents to have these conversations to sustain the gains we have made and further decrease alcohol use among our teens.”

Julie O’Brien, another parent member of CASFY, says, “I’m not hearing adults say that underage drinking is “just a rite of passage” nearly as much as in the past.  And I think the majority of parents have gotten the message that allowing drinking at home and “taking away the keys” not only increases drinking but also puts parents in legal jeopardy.”

Martin Lane, Old Lyme police officer, stresses that all youth and adults in the community should know underage drinking laws.  “CASFY sent all parents of Lyme-Old Lyme High School students a summary of Connecticut’s underage drinking laws, including the penalties for youth who use and adults who either provide alcohol to underage youth or allow underage drinking on their property.  We also sent a summary of marijuana laws.  All high school students received the same information.  Many were unaware of the jeopardy to their families if they made the wrong decision about drinking and drugs.” (Copies of the laws are available at lysb.org.)

“I can’t emphasize enough how the whole community has pulled together to work on keeping our youth safe,” said Mrs. Fischer.  “School personnel, selectmen, town librarians, police officers, firefighters, members of the business community, parents, youth—the cooperation and collaboration is outstanding.”

A CASFY banner displayed on a sanitation truck

A CASFY banner displayed on a Shoreline Sanitation truck

The Coalition would especially like to thank Old Lyme resident John Morrison and his company Connecticut Sign for many hours of work on this project and his generous in-kind donation that reduced the cost of the campaign.  CASFY also deeply appreciates the cooperation of Gary Yuknat of Shoreline Sanitation for donating the use of his trucks for the campaign graphics.

Funding for the media campaign is from a federal grant through the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and Child and Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut.  It is licensed from Middlesex County Substance Abuse Action Council.

Local businesses and others wishing to participate in the campaign by displaying campaign images either on posters, flyers, websites or Facebook pages should contact Karen Fischer, 860-434-7208 or email fischerk@childandfamilyagency.org.

The Mission of the Community Action for Substance Free Youth (CASFY) is to prevent and reduce alcohol and other drug use among youth by collaborating with the community to raise awareness, modify social norms, educate youth and adults, initiate policy change and promote healthy activities.  All youth and adults who live or work in Lyme or Old Lyme are invited to join in their efforts.  Contact CASFY through lysb.org or call 860-434-7208.


MacCurdy Salisbury Awards Educational Grants for Coming School Year

MacCurdy Salisbury awardees gather for a photo.  From left to right, seated are: Maria Awwa, Veronica Lee, Jennifer Kowalski, Lauren Colburn and Lindsey Scott; standing: Foundation President Ned Perkins, Christian Tompkins, Georgia Male, Jackson Bennett, Vincent Angeli, Erik Carlson, Anthony Goncalves, James Hubbard, Tim Shoemaker, Allyson McCarthy, Jabez Crook, Blaise Berglund, Caroline Tompkins, Rebecca Tompkins, Foundation President Rowland Ballek, Gregory Garrison. Absent when photo was taken were: Gunnar Abrahamsson, Mollee Labriola and Taylor Teixeira.

MacCurdy Salisbury awardees gather for a photo. From left to right, seated are: Maria Awwa, Veronica Lee, Jennifer Kowalski, Lauren Colburn and Lindsey Scott; standing: Foundation President Ned Perkins, Christian Tompkins, Georgia Male, Jackson Bennett, Vincent Angeli, Erik Carlson, Anthony Goncalves, James Hubbard, Tim Shoemaker, Allyson McCarthy, Jabez Crook, Blaise Berglund, Caroline Tompkins, Rebecca Tompkins, Foundation President Rowland Ballek, Gregory Garrison. Absent when photo was taken were: Gunnar Abrahamsson, Mollee Labriola and Taylor Teixeira.

The MacCurdy Salisbury Educational Foundation held its Annual Reception for this year’s High School Seniors receiving Foundation awards on Monday afternoon, June 17, at the Lyme Art Association in Old Lyme. Over 100 students, parents, contributors and Foundation Board Members were present.

At the reception Foundation President Rowland Ballek stated that this is the 120th anniversary year for the Foundation and the 40th anniversary of the Brevillier (Lyme) portion of the fund.  He also said “This is the first time since the fund was established for Lyme students in 1973 that Lyme awards will be based on the same formula as the awards given out to Old Lyme students.  This is because many generous contributors helped boost the Lyme portion of the Foundation’s endowment to be in proportion with the Old Lyme fund.” He thanked supporters in the audience and the community whose contributions helped the Foundation achieve this balance and also helped the entire fund keep up with the ever increasing cost of college.

This coming academic year the Foundation expects to give out $236,050 to 78 students from Lyme and Old Lyme who are attending colleges throughout the United States. Included in these numbers are 20 students graduating this year from Lyme and Old Lyme who were awarded grants at the reception totaling $66,900 to use for the coming school year.

In the past six years the MacCurdy Salisbury Educational Foundation has given out over $1.3  million dollars (actual number: $1,322,850) to students from Lyme and Old Lyme.

Foundation awards are based on the degree of financial assistance a student requires to meet their college expenses. If a student keeps a satisfactory grade point level they will continue to receive the same award for an additional three years of their undergraduate studies.

From left to right, Foundation President Rowland Ballek, Salutatorian Maria Awwa of Old Lyme, Valedictorian Jennifer Kowalski of Lyme and Foundation Secretary Treasurer Ned Perkins.

From left to right, Foundation President Rowland Ballek, Salutatorian Maria Awwa of Old Lyme, Valedictorian Jennifer Kowalski of Lyme and Foundation Secretary Treasurer Ned Perkins.

The Foundation presented two $500 awards at the reception; the W.E.S. Griswold Valedictorian Award to Jennifer Kowalski of Lyme who will attend Haverford College and the Willis Umberger Salutatorian Award to Maria Awwa of Old Lyme who will attend  Barnard College.

The MacCurdy Salisbury Educational Foundation has a long standing tradition of providing financial support to local students going on to further their education at colleges and universities after their high school years. Founded in 1893, the Foundation began giving direct grants to students to continue their education beyond High School in 1918, a practice that continues today.


“Lucky” Lyme-Old Lyme Graduates Urged to “Leave No Door Unopened”


The weather was perfect for a graduation. In the fields behind the newly-renovated Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS), friends and family chatted eagerly in their seats; their anticipation was electric, intensifying the bright colors of summer and the crisp, blue sky.

Then the LOLHS band, directed by Jacob Wilson, began to play the classic graduation anthem, Pomp and Circumstance, and the excitement began to escalate, climaxing in cheers as the graduating Class of 2013 finally emerged.


First to speak was Class President Nora Syed, who praised her class for sticking together from their early days in elementary school to the “awkward” middle school phase, and finally through the construction at the high school.  She ended her speech in a triumphant, “Congratulations Class of 2013, we did it!”



Principal James Wygonik was next, thanking the senior class for all they had contributed to the school by working hard and giving back to the community.  Remarking that it would seem odd coming from him, since he had spent the past four years encouraging the Class of 2013 to be risk-averse, he now advised the Class to take risks and step outside their ‘comfort zone,’ whether in the making of new friends, taking of a difficult course or applying for a tough job.

“Embrace the road less traveled,” he urged, while congratulating them on a challenging four years, which had spanned the entire high school renovation.


Aron D’Aquila, the history teacher at LOLHS, offered his own wise words, “Be true to yourself … yet trust.”  Peppered throughout with references to his beloved Abraham Lincoln, he told the story of his decision to pursue his passion — history — rather than become an engineer as expected like his father and grandfather.  Although he was initially nervous to tell his father of his change of plan, his father was, in fact, very receptive, encouraging his son to follow his own instincts.  D’Aquila told the Class of 2013 to do the same on their unceasing search for “self”.


Michelle Gao, the Honor Essayist, described her high school experience in her speech, comparing LOLHS to an open door.  She reminisced about middle school days and then alluded to the class’s future beyond the threshold of high school: employment, mortgage, marriage, children and more.  No longer children themselves, she urged her class to overcome their fears and take advantage of any opportunity.  Her sage advice to her peers?  “Leave no door unopened.”


After a rousing rendition of Phillip Phillips’ Home by the LOLHS combined choirs, directed by Kristine Pekar, Salutatorian Maria Awwa drew a parallel between the growth from freshman to senior and the renovation of the high school.  Like the high school, the Class of 2013 needed “fixing up” in their freshman year but, by senior year, they were ready to shine.


Valedictorian Jennifer Kowalski cleared up any superstitions about “unlucky” 13.  She proceeded to thank her family, teachers, and classmates for supporting her and for allowing her to be herself.  She recounted many of her fond memories at the high school, concluding that she and her class were, contrary to the superstition, “very lucky.” and wishing them a future of, “Good luck.”


Following the presentation of the Mildred Sanford award for Outstanding Educator to Spanish teacher Jeanne Manfredi, the presentation of the diplomas by Superintendent of Region 18 Schools Ian Neviaser and Chair of the Region 18 Board of Education, James Witkins began.

Excited parents armed themselves with their cameras as the soon-to-be alumni confidently walked onto stage to receive their diplomas.  Despite the request that all applause should be held until the very end, the audience could not help but erupt into cheers (and sometimes airhorns) after each candidate.

Finally, Assistant Principal Michelle Dean reminded the Class of 2013 to always find humor in life and never take them selves too seriously.  In a final farewell, she commended them for their joyous camaraderie and wished them much luck for the future.

And with the toss of their hats, the Class of 2013 stepped from childhood into adulthood.

Lyme-Old Lyme High School Class of 2013

Erik Knut Abrahamsson
Gunnar Stephan Abrahamsson
Vincent Robert Angeli
Maria Awwa
Sebastian Blaize Bakoledis
Jackson Church Bennett
Blaise Nash Berglund
Jeffrey David Berry
Nicholas Elliott Berry
Lilly Marie Birk
Olivia Susan Borsari
Gabrielle Faith Borzillo
Alexandra Marie Bowker
Alex Richardson Brault
Michael Allen Bray
Paul Edwin Burdick
Amanda Rose Burke
Dylan Joseph Burton
Devin James Byrne
Nathan Todd Carabello
Kayla Marie Carberry
Erik Leighton Carlson
Micaela Elizabeth Caulkins
Patricia Louise Celone
Madalyn Adelle Cika
Lauren Carol-Helen Colburn
Samantha Lorraine Constantinou
James Bennett Cromarty
Jabez Alan Crook
Sean Xavier Crowley
Nathan Daniel Crysler
Georgia Morrell Cummins
Daena D’Mello
Chris Anthony Espinal
Keegan Rain Fecher
Agatha Ruth Forstein
Tyler Miguel Franco
Matthew James Fuller
Andrew Michael Ganey
Michelle Gao
Gregory John Garrison
Richard Arthur Gaudet
Anthony Ramiro Goncalves
Slater Broderick Gregory
Frederick John Harrison
Lily Claire Hartmann
Matthew Joseph Harty
Hunter Graham Holmes
Audra Jayne Inglis
Trevor Talbot Kegley
Najee Nicole Keller
Steven Wayne Klimaszewski
Lindsey Brooke Knepshield
Jennifer Kay Kowalski
Molly Kristen Labriola
Veronica Oddny Lee
George Harold Logan
Cara Lord Lucey
Agatha Luma Magalhaes,
Georgia Elizabeth Mal
Tanya Malih Malik
Carly Janette Mangs
Michael Austin Mann
Kathryn Rachel Mastrianna
Allyson June McCarthy
Robert William McDonald
Isabelle Erin McKeon
Lucky Hana McLaren
Mercedes Marie Mercado
Anne Elizabeth Meyer
Victoria Jane Montanaro
Dylan Joseph Morrissey
Elliott Patrick Mueller
Erik Gunnar Nicholson
Meghan Ellen Nosal
Aidan Brooks O’Donnell
Paige Elizabeth Palenski
Kelly Biren Patel
Shawn Patrick Pelissier
Andrew Masayoshi Pitman
Rory Elizabeth Plyler
Robert Edward Poirier
Katherine Mary Quinn
Travis George Russell
Taylor McCall Saunders
Lindsey Beverly Scott
Crow Jared Sheehan
Arielle Rose Sherman-Golembeski
Timothy James Shoemaker
Audrey Elizabeth Spina
Samuel Thomas Stadnick
David Benjamin Sturgell
Samuel Brooks Sweitzer
Nora Binti Syed
Sarah Allyn Talcott
Xinyue Cynthia Tan
Taylor Marie Teixeira
Arin Jean Thomas
Alexis Rayanne Thornton
Brooke Andrea Tinnerello
Caroline Kay Tompkins
Rebecca Grace Tompkins
Andrew Robert Tyrol
Amber Gabriella Vernacatola
Brenna Rose Visgilio
Spencer Thomas Ward
Caleb Isaac Weissinger
Lucille Iva Welles
Morgan Ward White
Samuel James Wilkie
Alexis Marie Wright


The End of an Era in Lyme-Old Lyme Schools

From left to right, Lyme-Old Lyme High School Principal Jim Wygonik stands with Athletic Director Rob Roach and Classics teacher Marlene Estabrooks.

From left to right, Lyme-Old Lyme High School Principal Jim Wygonik stands with Athletic Director Rob Roach and Classics teacher Marlene Estabrooks.

At the Region 18 Board of Education meeting last Wednesday evening, six teachers who were retiring at the end of the current school year were acknowledged in front of a standing room only audience.  But these were not a group of teachers who had spent just their twilight years in Old Lyme, but rather teachers who had given their life’s work to the district serving, in most cases, well over 30 years.

Marlene Estabrooks joined the high school in the 1980s and, as its current principal, Jim Wygonik, noted she has pretty much experienced “the lifecycle of the building.”  Estabrooks had taught classics at the high school and during her tenure, Wygonik estimated she had taught Latin to over 3,000 students.   Describing her as the “consummate professional,” Wygonik noted that, such is her passion for the subject, she frequently spends her summers on archaeological digs in Greece.  He concluded emphatically, “There is no replacing Marlene.”

Turning his attention to Athletic Director Rob Roach, Wygonik mentioned first that the New London Day had recently aptly labeled him, ‘Mr. Old Lyme.’  Wygonik continued by saying that Roach really had been the “lifeblood of Lyme-Old Lyme sports for over three decades,” noting, “There isn’t an award he hasn’t received.”

While at Old Lyme, Roach had managed to achieve not only a greater than 50 percent participation rate in extra-curricular sports by the students – an extraordinarily high percentage – but also had served as a “pioneer of girls’ soccer” in the state.

Wygonik mentioned that he had become aware as he visited schools in Connecticut that it was crystal clear there was a universal, “genuine respect” among coaches and athletic directors for Roach, who had successfully located, “multiple offsite venues,” during the extended period of school construction in order that school sports program might continue.  Saying he really could not put a number on the students whose lives Roach had impacted, Wygonik noted that Roach, who was an outstanding All-American athlete in his youth, had served as a teacher, coach, athletic director and assistant principal during his years in the district.

Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School Principal Chris Pomroy joins science teacher Richard LaMesa (left) and School Counselor Don Desautels.

Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School Principal Chris Pomroy joins science teacher Richard LaVecchia (left) and School Counselor Don Desautels.

Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School Principal Chris Pomroy opened his comments about retiring school counselor Don Desautels with the words, “They just don’t make them like they used to …”  Describing him as “an icon,” Pomroy continued, “I just don’t know how many lives he has touched with his influence and inspiration,” adding, “Don is an amazing counselor, who is regularly visited by students, who see him as an outlet.”  He commended Desautel’s true passion for his job over his more than 30-year tenure, which has not only involved teaching and counseling, but also serving as the extremely successful coach of the high school girls’ soccer team, which brought home two state championships under him.

Pomroy closed by wishing Desautels, “Congratulations on your retirement …” adding with a chuckle, “… and condolences to your wife!”

Then Pomroy turned to science teacher Richard LaVecchia, who has been with the district some 40 years.  Describing him as a “timeless” member of the faculty, Pomroy said that LaVecchia also has touched thousands of student lives with his “boundless energy … and sense of humor.”  Noting that LaVecchia rarely sits during classes he is teaching, Pomroy commented that students seek out LaVecchia for help and guidance.  To ripples of laughter from other members of the middle school faculty present, Pomroy also thanked LaVecchia for being “an integral member” of the middle school team giving “frequent and ongoing” input to all matters under discussion in the school.

School Psychologist Barbara Fitzpatrick (left) stands with Region 18 Director of Special Education Nancy Johnstone

School Psychologist Barbara Fitzpatrick (left) stands with Region 18 Director of Special Services Nancy Johnston.

Director of Special Services Nancy Johnston then introduced Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School Psychologist Barbara Fitzpatrick, noting that Fitzpatrick has “successfully served for over a quarter of a century,” in Region 18 Schools and had been, “a visible person everywhere.”  Johnston had asked several of her colleagues to say what they remembered and would miss most about Fitzpatrick and the answers came back remarkably similar.  Words like, “soft-spoken, kind, gentle, caring and supportive,” were all repeated over and over again.  One staff member recalled she had never heard Fitzpatrick say, “a harsh, angry word,” while another said, “She was always there for us,” and a third extolled her “steady patience.”  Apart from all these characteristics, Johnston mentioned another skill for which Fitzpatrick was renowned – her baking prowess, for which she will be universally missed!

Fifth grade teacher Kevin Cole and Center School Principal Ellen Tyler.

Fifth grade teacher Kevin Cole and Center School Principal Ellen Tyler.

Center School teacher Kevin Cole has served a total of 38 years in Lyme-Old Lyme Schools, “18 years and eight months in the middle school and 19 years and two months at Center School,” according to Center School Principal Ellen Tyler, who said she had known him variously during that time as a “parent, colleague and principal.”  She continued, “Kevin has worked diligently for every single day,” noting, “he is one of the most talented, caring and hard-working teachers I have known.”  Tyler noted that much of Cole’s work is unseen, arriving early to see a parent, staying late to help a colleague, and “quietly coming to a new principal to tell her how to handle a prickly situation.”

The new teacher evaluation plan had clearly evoked considerable comment from Cole to the extent that Tyler had created a sample one for his retirement.   She presented it to much laughter with target percentages including development in his role as a retiree along with whole family and retired teacher indices.

Saying he would be much missed, Tyler concluded by wishing Cole, “much health and happiness … and an exemplary retired husband rating!”

Linda Stannard (center)stands surrounded by her colleagues in the second grade team at Mile Creek School.

Linda Stannard (center)stands surrounded by her colleagues in the second grade team at Mile Creek School.

Mile Creek Principal Patricia Downes spoke warmly of retiring elementary school tutor Linda Stannard, who she described as, “a critical part of an extremely successful team.”  Downes noted that Stannard was, “deeply committed to her students … and passionate about learning.”  A special gift that Downes had identified about her colleague was that she was a, “wizard at scheduling,” something Downes said would be especially missed by the principal’s office.

After saying she would miss her dearly, Downes concluded simply, “Thank you for committing your professional life to Mile Creek School.”


A Crash With a Cause


Last Thursday morning, the entire student body of Lyme-Old Lyme High School left their classes to witness an accident.  Gathered in the school’s junior parking lot, they listened intently to a recording of four of their peers supposedly traveling home together from a party in one car.  It became apparent from the conversation that the designated driver had not been entirely faithful to his task and his friends chastised him for swerving as he drove.

Then came a chilling, ear-splitting crash and, in the ensuing silence, you could hear a pin drop.

Members of the Lymes’ Youth Services Bureau youth group pulled back the cover from a car to reveal a car smashed into a tree with the chilling sight of a body splayed across the hood of the wrecked car with a shattered windshield.

The driver emerged from the vehicle, stumbled around, checked for signs of life in his friends and then made a desperate call to 911.


First the Old Lyme Police arrived and quickly determined that the youngster had gone through the windshield was ‘deceased’ and the the two girls in the back were both ‘seriously injured.’

The driver was taken away by the police.

Old Lyme fire-trucks and ambulances arrived to set about the grisly task of extricating the girls.


Each girl was treated and then carefully placed on a stretcher …


… and then wheeled to a waiting ambulance.


Then came the heart-wrenching sight of a hearse drawing up to remove the ‘deceased’ young man …


… who was taken away in a body bag.


Not a sound was uttered by any of the watching high school students and, after the shock of the accident, the program continued in the high school auditorium where a grieving mother gave a eulogy for her ‘deceased’ son and a representative from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, who had lost her own child to a drunk driver, spoke to the students.

The program was organized by LYSB in an effort to demonstrate the harsh and sometimes fatal realities of drinking and driving.  LYSB Executive Director Mary Seidner explained that they carry it out every four years at the high school so that each student sees it once.  She said passionately, “It’s an enormous undertaking and requires tremendous cooperation and support from the Old Lyme Emergency Services, which we greatly appreciate, but if it saves just one life, it’s all worth it.”

Seidner continued, “All the research shows that the program, which is employed nationwide, really does make an impact on kids.  My sincere thanks go to Missy Garvin (Youth Service Coordinator at LYSB) who pulled together the whole event for us and all the students who participated in so many different ways.”