May 19, 2022

Lyme-Old Lyme High School, Middle School Announce Q3 Honor Rolls   

Lyme-Old Lyme High School
Honor Roll
2021-22 Quarter 3

HIGH HONORS
Grade 12:
Emily Almada, Hannah Britt, John Caulkins, Ryan Clark, John Conley, Elise DeBernardo, Elizabeth Duddy, Eleanor Dushin, Lauren Enright, Shawn Grenier, Austin Halsey, Lillian Herrera, Daniel Hoblin, Fiona Hufford, Julia Johnston, Nevin Joshy, Kian Kardestuncer, Quinn Kegley, Cora Kern, Robyn King, Felse Kyle, William Larson, Reese Maguire, Stephanie Mauro, Elle Myers, Emily Nickerson, Bella Orlando, Isabel Prentice, Olivia Schaedler, McLean Signora, Abby Speckhals, Drew St.Louis, Nikolai Stephens-Zumbaum, Victoria Stout, Madison Thompson, Olivia Turtoro, John Videll, Evan Visgilio, Aidan Ward, Melanie Warren, Ellie Wells, Jenna Woods, Avery Wyman, Jerry Zhang

Grade 11:
William Barry, Callie Bass, Livie Bass, Jordan Beebe, Gillian Bradley, Jamie Bucior, John Buckley, Hayley Cann, Liam Celic, William Danes, Anna Davis, Jacob Derynioski, John Eichholz, Zachary Eichholz, Arber Hoxha, Owen Ingersoll-Bonsack, Charlotte Judge, Jair LataYanza, Ford Macadam, Marielle Mather, Kennedy McCormick, Madeleine Morgado, Alexander Olsen, Alain Pecher-Kohout, Kelsey Pryor, Rhyleigh Russell, Eli Ryan, Stefan Ryer, Anders Silberberg, Alyssa Spooner, Mary Surprenant, Tova Toriello, Gesami Vazquez, Kaitlyn Ward, Harry Whitten

Grade 10:
Alexis Antonellis, Beatrice Barnett, Emma Bayor, Oliver Berry, Drew Brackley, Natalie Buckley, Sophia Cheung, William Coppola, Ava Cummins, Ella Curtiss-Reardon, Eric Dagher, Sydney Doboe, Amelia Gage, Marcia Geronimo, Calla Gilson, Sydney Goulding, Alexis Grasdock, Justin Green, Douglas Griswold, Katherine Gryk, Abby Hale, Ella Halsey, Agatha Hunt, Beatrice Hunt, Sabina Jungkeit, Grady Lacourciere, Katherine Mullaney, Delaney Nelson, Ronald Olin, Grace Phaneuf, Jack Porter, Hannah Thomas, Keara Ward, Louisa Warlitz, Summer Wollack, Duohui Yan, Grace Zembruski

Grade 9:
Quinn Arico, Molly Boardman, Mark Burnham, Mason Bussmann, Chase Calderon, Andrew Clougherty, Tabitha Colwell, Chloe Datum, Andrea DeBernardo, Zoe Eastman-Grossel, Caeli Edmed, Anna Eichholz, Grace Ferman, Manu Geronimo, Ava Gilbert, Kaela Hoss, Rowan Hovey, Shyla Jones, Simon Karpinski, Aven Kellert, Olivia Kelly, Ella Kiem, Peter Kuhn, Ada LaConti, Elise Leonardo, Andrew Liu, Abigail O’Brien, Kanon Oharu, Sophie Pennie, Mutia Quarshie, Ysabel Rodriguez, Ryan Shapiro, Kelly Sheehan, Paula DeSilva, Drea Simler, Madeline Supersano, Charlotte Tinniswood, Nicholas Turtoro, Kathleen Walsh, Gabriella Ziegler

HONORS
Grade 12:
John Almy, Grace Arnold, Nihad Bicic, Mackenzie Bussolotti, Evan Clark, Caroline Crolius, Michael DeGaetano, Liam Fallon, Victoria Gage, Aiden Goiangos, Meyer Goldberg, Ethan Goss, Liam Grethel, Nicolette Hallahan, Jackson Harris, Andrew Hedberg, Madison Hubbard, Zoe Jensen, Abigail Manthous, Grace McAdams, Jacob Ritchie, Calvin Scheiber, Abigail Sicuranza, Daniel Stack, Alexandra Tinniswood

Grade 11:
Whitney Barbour, Ava Brinkerhoff, Gretchen Burgess, Sarah Burnham, Jennifer Cajamarca, Luke Celic, Alexander Chrysoulakis, Grace Colwell, Nicholas Cox, Alexis Fenton, Matthew Grammatico, Willa Hoerauf, Aidan Kerrigan, Phoebe Lampos, Jonah Lathrop, Sophia Marinelli, Madalyn McCulloch, Joseph Montazella, Cooper Munson, Olivia Powers, Jaden Reyes, Izzadora Reynolds, Benjamin Roth, Jenna Schauder, Dylan Sheehan, Ned Smith, Samantha Tan

Grade 10:
Peighton Andrews, Alis Bicic, Elliot Bjornberg, Jackson Bullock, Macklin Cushman, Lucas DaSilva, Eva D’Onofrio, Mohamad Hamou, Jordan Hanes, Sedona Holland, John Holzworth, Griffin McGlinchey, Matthew Miller, Elaina Morosky, Isabelle O’Connor, Kayla O’Leary, Luisa Raby, Cailin Ruhling, Noah Sanford, Haley Shaw, Madeleine Soriano, Mason Wells, Tyler Wells

Grade 9:
Christopher Anderson, Micah Bass, Hannah Bonilla, Benedict Frazier, Hoshena Gemme, Abigail Griffith, Kyle Ingersoll-Bonsack, Hannah Johnston, Evan LeQuire, Colette Marchant, Nathan Morgan, Filip Pecher-Kohout

Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School
Honor Roll
2021-22 Quarter 3

HIGH HONORS
Grade 8:
Sienna Bari, Ilona Binch, Zoe Brunza, Alec Butzer, Trevor Buydos, Makayla Calderon, Tyler Cann, Annabelle Coppola, Colman Curtiss-Reardon, Christopher Dagher, James Dahlke, Sophia D’Angelo, Rose Dimmock, William Donnelly, Alexa Donovan, Elena Gerardo, Chase Gilbert, Alexander Glaras, Scarlette Graybill, Teagan Iglesias, Christopher Kachur, Thomas Kelly, Katherine King, Jade Lawton, Jayden Livesey, Emily Looney, Ian Maeby, Carter McGlinchey, Ryan Miller, Madeline Murphy, Nina Nichols, Ryan Olsen, Ryan Ortoleva, Isabella Presti, Taylor Quintin, Jenna Salpietro, Luca Signora, Emma Singleton, Addison Spooner, Louis St., Pierre St., Andrew Taylor, Meredith Thompson, Margaret Thuma, Madeleine Trepanier, John Turick, Eve Videll, Elisabeth Viera, Warren Volles, Oliver Wyman, Stella Young, Carl Zapatka

Grade  7:
Lucia Arico, Addison Arndt, Zak Avelange, Mia Bonatti, Ceciley Buckley, Marla Bulas, Brooke Burgess, William Burgess, Anna Bussmann, Brennan Butzer, Lillian Calabrese, Chase Catalano, Isaac Chartier, Sophia D’Amico, Amirah D’Lizarraga, Elliot Dunn-Sims, Samson Edmed, Lauren Fulara, Taiyo Gemme, Angeline Gencarella, Antonio Gencarella, Samuel Gilbert, Gavin Goulis, Harrison Goulis, Skylar Graybill, Tessa Grethel, Owen Holth, Marley Iaia, Marley Igersheimer, Josephine Kiem, Alexa Legein, Olivia Lovendale, Kaylee McCarthy, Matilda Miller, John Morosky, Emelia Munster, Grace Osborne, Eva Oulahan-Smith, Mia Palmer, Arthur Riccio, Ainsley Rinoski, Cameron Russell, Allegra Schaedler, Owen Shapiro, Kevork Shegirian, Nicholas Sokolowski, Madeline Stiles, Carli Teixeira, Magdalena Tooker, Ethan Trepanier, Kaylyn Vernon, Ivy Wilson, Brody Ziolkovski

Grade 6:
Kaitlyn Ackerman, Lillian Acosta, Lauren Belval, Scarlett Blatter, Vivian Boller, Lana Brunza, Naomi Cameron, Gabrielle Clark, John Comstock, Colin Discordia, Albert Enman, Katharine Ferman, Jonah Filardi, Avery Goiangos, Frederick Goss, Elaina Graves, Gavin Gray, Sawyer Graybill, Alistair Hampton-Dowson, Colleen Harrington, Jordyn Harris, Morgan Harris, Ryan Hill, Sophia Huang, Fiona Judge, Jillian Kleefeld, Kaedyn Koproski, Treyton LaConti, Holden Leonardo, Graham Macadam, Benjamin Mattox, Liam McCormick, Rowan McCormick, Charles McEwen, Caitlyn McHugh, William McKeever, Clarissa Mock, Addyson Morosky, Grace Morrissette, Marielle Munster, Theodore Neary, Mila Pacelli, Remi Patz, Jonah Scheckwitz, Audrey Sheehan, Avery Spooner, Charlotte Thuma, Delilah Tooker, Jonathan Toriello, Renee Viera, Ashlynn Ward, Avery Wesch, Charles Zapatka, Avery Zbierski, Ella Ziolkovski

HONORS
Grade 8:
Charlotte Antonino, Julia Clark, Jack Conroy, Benjamin Goulding, Elizaveta Gregoire, Harrison Kleefeld, William Landon, Maya LeQuire, Sebastian Lopez-Bravo, Elise Marchant, Samuel Masanz, Sybil Neary, Quenten Patz, Marleigh Piacenza, Sophia Shaposhnikova, Tanner Snurkowski, Lucian Tracano, Connor Vautrain, Katherine Zhang

Grade 7:
Collin Anderson, Phineas Barrett, Zachary Belval, Morgan Buerger, Aidan Carpentino, Brady Donovan, Kaedin Gerster, Zachariah Guidi, Charles Halsey, Lauren Herrera, Curtiss Johnson, Elsa Jungkeit, Allisondra Krol, Callahan Lacourciere, Maddux Murphy, Kaitlyn Pannier, Alexandria Sanford, Bowen Turick

Grade 6:
Anna Bjornberg, Noah Brant, Ashlynn Edwards, Alistair Grenier, Warner Grenier, Aiden Guidi, Gift Mahwayi, David McAdams, Ava Novak, Grayson Standish, Judah Waldo,

Old Lyme Girls’ Tennis Defeats Cromwell 7-0, Clinch Shoreline Conference Title

The Lyme-Old Lyme (left) and Cromwell High School teams listen to the ‘team talk’ prior to the start of yesterday’s match. Old Lyme went on to win the match 7-0 and also secured the Shoreline Conference title. Photo by A. Fenton.

OLD LYME — Playing on their home courts yesterday, the Old Lyme Girls’ Tennis team continued their extraordinary, unbeaten season with a 7-0 victory over Cromwell, confirming the girls as Shoreline Conference 2022 winners.

Read our recent article about Coach Lauren Rahr and her team at this link.

The full results were (Old Lyme girls in blue):

1st Singles:
Abby Sicuranza vs Kelly McTeague 6-2, 6-3

2nd Singles: 
Callie Bass vs Caroline Rogozinski 6-0, 6-0

3rd Singles: 
Elaina Morosky vs Emily Green 6-0, 6-2

4th Singles: 
Olivia Schaedler vs Amina Beskovic 6-2, 6-1

1st Doubles: 
Livie Bass / Alexis Fenton 6-1, 6-0
Gabriella Voccio / Amira Abdelghany

2nd Doubles:
Aggie Hunt/ Beatrice Hunt 6-0, 6-0
Julia Baymuradova / Olivia Lusitani

3rd Doubles:
Fiona Hufford / Izzy Reynolds 6-1, 6-0
Julia Drew / Aisling Gollareny

Lyme-Old Lyme Tennis Girls Remain Unbeaten, “They are Determined Players … and it Shows” (Coach Rahr)

The undefeated Lyme-Old Lyme High School team gathers for a celebratory photo. All photos by A. Fenton.

OLD LYME — The Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) girls’ tennis team is enjoying a truly remarkable season. Look at the scoresheets below and you will see that the girls not only remain undefeated, but also have hardly dropped an individual match this season.

Abby Sicuranza demonstrates the strength of her serve in this game against Morgan. Sicuranza is the Wildcats’ #1 singles player.

Coach Lauren Rahr admits with complete honesty that this situation is something, “I don’t think I have fully wrapped my head around.”

Rahr, who is a math teacher at LOLHS, recalls that “Last year was truly a dream season with all we accomplished and how it all flowed together so well,” but notes, “This year has presented different challenges.”

Asked how she would summarize the team’s performance to date this season, Rahr responded, “From last season to this season, I have seen a lot of growth and maturity from all of my players.”

Elaina Morosky is having a terrific season regularly playing in the #3 or #4 singles spot.

She said they had clearly put in a great deal of time in the off-season to continue improving their games, and as a result, “… came into this season with specific goals in mind that they want to accomplish both as individuals and as a team.”

Lyme-Old Lyme High School Girl’s Tennis Coach Lauren Rahr celebrates her team’s continuing success in this photo with her father, Dave Rahr, who serves as the team’s Junior Varsity Coach. Photo submitted.

She added, “Every match we go out and play, they continue to amaze me. There are always things we can continue to improve upon, but overall, they are determined players this year and it shows, not only in how they carry themselves but also in how they play each point.”

The #3 doubles partnership of senior Fiona Hufford and junior Izadora Reynolds has played some memorable games.

Expanding on how she feels when she is watching a match, Rahr said she finds herself thinking, “Wow, I am so lucky to have a team that is not only this strong, but this passionate about what they do.” She explained that this year she feels  they are trusting themselves more, noting, “You can see them playing smart tennis on the court, while also taking the risk of applying new skills and strategies we have talked about.”

Sam Tan, who regularly plays in the #2 singles spot, celebrates after winning her game at Waterford following a third set tie-breaker.

Rahr says Old Lyme’s toughest opponent so far this season has been Westbrook since, going into it, the girls knew they were going to be facing strong competition, which meant they were eagerly anticipating the match. The expectation was fulfilled with three out of the seven matches going to three sets, with, in Rahr’s words, “Each of them a battle. You could feel the energy on the sidelines just watching all of the matches finish.”

From left to right, Lyme-Old Lyme 2nd doubles sophomore Aggie Hunt, 1st doubles Junior Livie Bass,  1st doubles Junior Alexis Fenton, and 2nd doubles Sophomore Beatrice Hunt celebrate their respective wins over Waterford.

Recalling one of her favorite memories of the season was during the Westbrook match when the whole team was sitting at the fence watching the Old Lyme #3 finish her third set. Then, “As soon as she was done, they all sprinted down to the #3 doubles with their blankets and snack bags just in time for them to hit a volley winner to end the match.”

Callie Bass always comes through with a strong game.

Rahr said, “It was nice to see them all support each other. It is moments like these that not only bring a team together, but remind everyone why they chose to play tennis.” She explained, “Playing better competition brings out the best in teams, and I was happy to see the girls step up to the challenge so early on in the season.”

Elaina Morosky (at front in photo) has played consistently well throughout the season.

Questioned as to the factors to which she credited the team’s amazing success, Rahr replied, “This is a tough question as I have thought about this often recently. There have been so many factors that have come together to contribute to our team’s success: the new courts, the passion of the girls, the support of families…just to name a few.”

The Lyme-Old Lyme #1 doubles team of juniors Alexis Fenton (right) and Livie Bass handily defeated their Morgan opponents.

She continued, “Many people have asked me, “Is it that you are a good coach or is it that they are just good players?” In her always humble fashion, she commented, “I like to think it is a little of both. We both work together to bring out the best in each other, and that has allowed us to reach our goals and create a team chemistry that I will truly never forget.”

The Waterford and Old Lyme coaches review the rules prior to the match against Waterford. The Old Lyme girls stand to the left and the Waterford team to the right.

Reviewing the season as a whole, Rahr concluded on an upbeat note, “Another thing I think that is really important is that we take each match as a new opportunity to play the sport we love.”

Here are the results of the most recent games with the LOL players indicated in blue.

Tuesday, May 3
Old Lyme Defeats Coginchaug
6-1 

1st Singles:
Abby Sicuranza vs Piper Remillard 2-6, 1-6

2nd Singles: 
Callie Bass vs Estella Perel 6-0, 6-0

3rd Singles: 
Elaina Morosky vs Maggie Ross 6-1, 6-1

4th Singles: 
Olivia Schaedler vs Grace Hinsch 6-2, 6-1

1st Doubles: 
Livie Bass / Alexis Fenton
Nora O’Connell / Karenna Patel 6-0, 6-0

2nd Doubles:  
Aggie Hunt/ Beatrice Hunt
Monica Garbacz / Sawyer Stone 6-0, 6-0

3rd Doubles:
Fiona Hufford / Izzy Reynolds
Diya Patel / Taylor Cooney 6-0, 6-0

Saturday, April 30
Old Lyme Defeats Waterford
6-1

1st Singles:
Abby Sicuranza vs Sarah Hage 2-6, 1-6

2nd Singles:
Sam Tan vs Autumn Brothers 4-6, 6-2, tiebreak for 3rd 12-10

3rd Singles: 
Callie Bass vs Michelle Liu 6-0, 6-1

4th Singles: 
Elaina Morosky vs Ava Tinnerello 6-3, 6-1

1st Doubles: 
Livie Bass / Alexis Fenton 6-0, 6-1
Maple Siu / Hazel Siu

2nd Doubles:  
Aggie Hunt / Beatrice Hunt 6-1, 6-0
Joyce McK / Lillian Steinhouse

3rd Doubles:
Fiona Hufford / Izzy Reynolds 3-6, 6-0
Maria Molina / Bre Kilcolmons tiebreaker for 3rd 13-11

Wednesday, April 27:
Old Lyme Defeats Morgan 7-0

1st Singles:
Abby Sicuranza vs Abbie Vitola 6-1, 6-0

2nd Singles:
Sam Tan vs Molly Vitola 6-0, 6-0

3rd Singles:
Callie Bass vs Ana Colebank 6-0, 6-1

4th Singles:
Elaina Morosky vs Riley Schmidt 6-0, 6-0

1st Doubles:
Livie Bass / Alexis Fenton 6-1, 6-0
Kyra Savage / Maggie O’Donnell

2nd Doubles:
Aggie Hunt / Beatrice Hunt 6-1, 6-4
Ava Johnson / Ainsley Corgan

3rd Doubles:
Fiona Hufford / Izzy Reynolds 6-3, 6-3
Sara Morrissey / Gavin Gersz

Monday, April 25:
Old Lyme Defeats H-K 7-0

1st Singles:
Abby Sicuranza vs Elanna Tousignant 6-0, 6-0

2nd Singles: 
Sam Tan vs Kami Narducci 6-0, 6-0

3rd Singles: 
Callie Bass vs Brenna Lonergan 6-0, 6-0

4th Singles: 
Elaina Morosky vs Jenna LeMontagne 6-0, 6-0

1st Doubles: 
Livie Bass / Fiona Hufford 6-0, 6-0
Adrianne Wolf / Lauren Macy

2nd Doubles:  
Olivia Schaedler / Eva D’Onofrio 6-1, 6-0
Maddie Gordon / Devon Haase

3rd Doubles:
Old Lyme wins by forfeit

Friday, April 22:
Old Lyme Defeats Portland 7-0

1st Singles:
Abby Sicuranza vs Mia Lapinski 6-0, 6-0

2nd Singles: 
Sam Tan vs Nat Przes 6-0, 6-0

3rd Singles: 
Callie Bass vs Allison Scott 6-2, 6-3

4th Singles: 
Olivia Schaedler vs Morganne Plneda 6-0, 6-0

1st Doubles: 
Livie Bass / Fiona Hufford
Amella Hair / Isa McLelland 6-3, 6-0

2nd Doubles:  
Aggie Hunt/ Beatrice Hunt
Maddy Varano / Emily Dering 6-0, 6-1

3rd Doubles:
Elaina Morosky / Natalie Buckley
Joda Cohen / Anna Stone 6-0, 6-0

Monday, April 18
Old Lyme Defeats East Hampton 7-0

1st Singles:
Abby Sicuranza vs Liz MacDonald 6-0, 6-0

2nd Singles: 
Sam Tan vs Eshani Karkun 6-1, 6-2

3rd Singles: 
Elaina Morosky vs Charlotte Minnick 6-0, 6-0

4th Singles: 
Callie Bass vs forfeit *forfeit* 

1st Doubles: 
Livie Bass / Fiona Hufford
Emma Giovanelli / Jen Trip 6-1, 6-0

2nd Doubles:  
Aggie Hunt/ Beatrice Hunt
Melanie Hurt / Ginneg Decker 6-0, 6-0

3rd Doubles:
Olivia Schaedler / Karissa Huang
Addi Howard / Baylee Olzacki 6-0, 6-0

PARJE Celebrates Unveiling of New ‘Welcome’ Mural at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold stands with the mural’s lead artist Jasmine Oyola-Blumenthal after the mural had been officially unveiled on Wednesday at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School. All photos by K. Monson except where indicated.

OLD LYME — UPDATED WITH FULL STORY: Around 40 members of the community along with several Old Lyme and Lyme-Old Lyme Schools dignitaries joined some 200 Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School students and faculty on Wednesday to celebrate the unveiling of a new Welcome mural, which had been sponsored by Public Art for Racial Justice Education (PARJE) and created in the school.

The completed mural shows students from many nations holding hands to cross a bridge.

The mural is part of the Sister Murals Project sponsored by Public Art for Racial Justice Education (PARJE), which was officially launched March 1, 2021. PARJE utilizes the broad appeal of art and education to confront racial injustice.

One mural has already been unveiled in Norwich and now murals are being worked on concurrently in Old Lyme and New London. Jasmine Oyola-Blumenthal, who is an alumna of Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, is the lead artist of the new Welcome mural in the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School (LOLMS.)

In addition to her role as lead artist, Oyola-Blumenthal worked with school faculty to develop student workshops, which coordinated with the project.

Oyola-Blumenthal and her counterpart, Marvin Espy, in New London were selected from a field of nearly 20 applicants. In her application, Oyola-Blumenthal had described art as, “a neutral vessel,” contending that [it], “Can bring forth conversations that can be uncomfortable and promote opportunities to open dialogue on racial justice and education.”

Jasmine Oyola-Blumenthal, lead artist for the ‘Welcome’ mural, addresses the audience at Wednesday’s ceremony in Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School to celebrate the unveiling of the mural. Photo by S. Hayes.

Superintendent of Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Ian Neviaser opened the ceremony and then a number of speeches were made including one by Kimberly Monson, a professional artist, who studied at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, and subsequently became one of its faculty. She, in fact, had taught lead artist Oyola-Blumenthal when the latter was a student at the same college.

Monson noted, “An artistic legacy is passed from instructor to student and is a direct line to the artists and instructors before them. Therefore, with her training, Jas’s [Jasmine’s] pedigree can be traced back to artistic behemoths such as Saint Gaudens and Gerome.”

Monson then commented on Oyola-Blumenthal’s own legacy and its relevance to the project, saying, “Jas also has a legacy in her heritage. She holds within her … the hopes and dreams of embracing diversity, which, in addition to her talent, give her an insightful perspective to this Mural project … [She carries] the legacy, of not only the Artists housed and trained here, but also [in her role] as the voice of collaboration with our kids.”

Monson spoke warmly of Oyola-Blumenthal’s skills saying, “Jas’s sense of design was always powerful. She knows how to arrange a picture to tell a story and she has a strong command of color and pattern that celebrates her contagious optimism,” emphasizing, “All of this shows itself beautifully on the Mural painted in your hall.”

Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School students hard at work on the mural.

Three LOLMS eighth grade students read their poems related to the Witness Stones project in Old Lyme, in which houses where enslaved people were kept in town have been identified by engraved stones placed in front of them. The students were Maggie Thuma, Thomas Kelly and Anne-Marie Hinkley.

Thelma Halloran, who is the LOLMS art teacher also spoke during the ceremony. She had collaborated with Oyola-Blumenthal on many parts of the mural project. She explained how she had become involved with, “a new group in Old Lyme created by the Rev. David W. Good, Minister Emeritus of The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.”

This group, which became PARJE, was created more than a year ago in response to tragic events in the news like the death of George Floyd. Halloran said, “David wanted to remind everyone in Old Lyme that the town has a history of welcoming people – all kinds of people.”

She then listed some of those who had been welcomed into the town mentioning four refugee families from Laos, a refugee family from Rwanda, and another from Syria. She also recalled a family from the Congo, who lived in a refugee house bought by the Congregational church and families from Pakistan, Guatemala, Burma, and South Africa. In addition, she mentioned a family, whose home was destroyed by a hurricane in Puerto Rico, who also found a home in Old Lyme.  

No space was left unpainted as the mural takes form.

Halloran noted, “This history of hospitality to all who come to Old Lyme has evolved through time. It has not always been perfect. This is why there is a continued effort to strive to be a better community, including in our schools.”

She continued, “Let the message of this mural continue to be a reminder of the values we share in the town of Old Lyme, and as a community in our schools. Make the message of this mural come to life in your words and your actions with everyone you encounter, not just student to student, not just student to teacher, and not just the new faces you see.”

Urging the students to, “continue to show your kindness” to everyone in school including such people as custodians, security guards, secretaries, and paraprofessionals, she then told them also to, “Show your kindness to the student, who looks like you, but doesn’t think like you.” explaining firmly, “This is what we mean when we say welcome.” 

The intensity given to the project is clear on the faces of the students.

Halloran concluded by quoting the words of the 2021 US Presidential Inauguration poet Amanda Gorman, who said evocatively,
“The new dawn balloons as we free it.
For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

Editor’s Note: Visit this link to see the video NBC TV posted about the event.

Old Lyme’s ‘Welcome’ Mural to be ‘Revealed’ to the Community at LOL Middle School, Today at 1:30pm; All Welcome


OLD LYME —
On Wednesday, April 27, the newly-created ‘Welcome’ mural at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School (LOLMS) will be revealed to the community at a ceremony in the school’s auditorium beginning at 1:30 p.m. and lasting around 30 minutes.

All are welcome to attend the ceremony and then view the mural after its official ‘reveal.’ Members of the public attending the ceremony are requested to check-in at the LOLMS office to obtain a ‘Visitor’ sticker prior to going to the auditorium.

The mural is part of the Sister Murals Project sponsored by Public Art for Racial Justice Education (PARJE), which was officially launched March 1, 2021. The primary mission of PARJE is to utilize the broad appeal of art and education to confront racial injustice.

One mural has already been unveiled in Norwich and now murals are being worked on concurrently in Old Lyme and New London.

Lead artist for the Old Lyme Sister Mural is Jasmine Oyola-Blumenthal.

The lead artists for the Old Lyme mural is Jasmine Oyola-Blumenthal, who is an alumna of Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts

The Old Lyme Sister Mural is being installed inside Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School, adjacent to the gymnasium.

In addition to her role as lead artist, Oyola-Blumenthal has worked with school faculty to develop student workshops, which coordinate with the project.

Oyola-Blumenthal and her counterpart, Marvin Espy, in New London were selected from a field of nearly 20 applicants.

In her application, Oyola-Blumenthal referred to the ability of art to inspire people to talk to one another, commenting, “Art is a neutral vessel that can bring forth conversations that can be uncomfortable and promote opportunities to open dialogue on racial justice and education.”

 

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Name Allison Hine as New Principal of Lyme School

The new principal of Lyme Consolidated School is Allison Hine.

OLD LYME — The Lyme-Old Lyme Schools is pleased to announce that Allison Hine has been named principal of Lyme Consolidated School and will begin her position July 1, 2022.

Hine, a resident of Old Lyme, is currently the principal of Brownstone Intermediate School in Portland, Conn. She replaces Jim Cavalieri, who is retiring after 44 years in education, 20 of those as principal of Lyme Consolidated School.

Hine has more than 20 years of experience as a classroom teacher and administrator. In addition to her work at Brownstone Intermediate School, she has served as the assistant principal and as social studies curriculum coordinator for the Stonington (CT) Public Schools.

She began her career in education as an elementary school teacher for the Old Saybrook Schools.

Hine has previously served on the Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Board of Education and has been an active volunteer with Lymes’ Youth Services Bureau and numerous other community organizations.

“We are pleased to have Mrs. Hine join us in her new role as Principal of Lyme Consolidated School. Mrs. Hine’s dedication and passion for our schools stood out during the interview process. Her extensive elementary school experience will allow her to continue to support the strong programming at Lyme School,” commented Ian Neviaser, Superintendent of Lyme-Old Lyme Schools.

The selection process began in February and yielded more than 40 applicants. A selection committee comprised of over 25 people conducted several rounds of interviews as well as a site visit.

A community forum and survey were also conducted as part of the selection process. Teachers, staff members, parents, and community members were asked to rank the characteristics of a leader they deemed most important, as well as provide responses to a series of questions.

Lyme-Old Lyme MS Principal Ambruso Named CT Middle School Principal of the Year

Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School Principal Mark Ambruso has been named Connecticut’s MS Principal of the Year.

OLD LYME — Mark Ambruso, principal of Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School, has been named the 2022 Connecticut Middle School Principal of the Year.

Nominated by numerous colleagues, Ambruso is known for his leadership and authenticity. He is credited for fostering a positive, safe and fun middle school environment for all students.

Mark Ambruso

“Mark develops strong relationships with every student in our building,” says Renee Molnar, a guidance counselor at the school. “He goes out of his way to get to know something about everyone he meets. He makes you feel welcome and cared for and you leave any interaction with him feeling energized and motivated.”

Sponsored annually by the Connecticut Association of Schools and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the recognition is designed to spotlight the achievements of individual school leaders and at the same time increase public awareness of the critical role that principals play in the education of our youth.

The program honors those who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership, a passion for educational excellence, a commitment to their students and staff, and service to their communities.

Ambruso joined Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School in July of 2017 from Windham Technical High School where he was principal. Ambruso previously served as the principal, and before that the assistant principal, at Bacon Academy and as a science teacher and coach at Norwich Free Academy.

“I am humbled and honored to receive this award. This would not be possible without the collective commitment and exemplary efforts of my colleague and Assistant Principal, Noah Ventola, and Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School’s faculty and staff.  Most importantly, I’d like to thank our wonderful families and amazing students.

The success of our middle school and district is a testament to the support and direction of our Superintendent, Central Office, and Board of Education. I’d like to also thank my wife and children for supporting me and sharing in my career.”

Editor’s Note: We send hearty congratulations to Mark on gaining this well-deserved honor.

Gillette Castle Sign Honoring William Gillette Restored by Lyme-Old Lyme HS Alumna Schillawski

Former Old Lyme resident Lauren Schillawski confirms that the sign she crafted is hung correctly with the assistance of board member George Mattern (center) and park supervisor John “Jack” Hine (right.) Schillawski created the sign as an advanced woodworking project when she was a student at Lyme-Old Lyme High School.  The post and armature were installed by the Friends of Gillette Castle State Park.

EAST HADDAM, Conn. – Several years of planning by supporters of Gillette Castle State Park — in combination with a young woman’s talents — have restored a much-missed piece of park nostalgia.

It is a tall wooden post sporting a large sign paying homage to actor William Gillette, who is shown in silhouette in a deerstalker cap, the emblem of his most famous theatrical role — Sherlock Holmes. Beneath Gillette’s name are the years of his lifetime, 1853-1937. 

The sign was installed recently near Gillette’s century-old fieldstone mansion by a team of volunteers overseen by park supervisor John “Jack” Hine and Friends of Gillette Castle State Park Board Member George Mattern of Baltic, Conn. 

The sign replaces one that stood for many years along the path leading visitors to Gillette’s home, and had been a favored spot for photographers. However, that sign fell victim to structural decay and accident, even collapsing at one point.

“The sign’s removal several years ago left a void that’s now filled because of the generous help of talented volunteers,” said Lynn Wilkinson, president of the Friends of Gillette Castle State Park. “The process took time, because it was clear that long-term structural integrity and ease of repair were absolutely crucial.”

An initial effort to replace the sign about seven years ago prompted instructors at Lyme-Old Lyme High School to work with shop students on the project. One of those students was Lauren Schillawski, then an 11th-grade student of advanced woodworking.

Using images of the earlier sign as a template, Schillawski worked with the school’s computer-aided drafting (CAD) software to design and eventually construct a replica of the original hard-carved sign. 

Now a resident of Skaneateles, N.Y., working in dairy management, Schillawski credited her shop instructors — Jonathan Goss and William Derry — for their trust in approaching her with the project, and for guiding her through the difficult construction process. 

“My main interest in the project was the challenge,” she said. “Living in town, I was already familiar with Gillette’s Castle and grounds. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to make a sign that everyone could enjoy that would be around for many years.”

The armature to support the sign was designed more recently by George Mattern and approved by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) in late 2021. That set the stage for the sign’s base to be installed and the supporting post erected earlier this year. 

“It’s a beautiful sign and we’re all thrilled to see this effort finally come to fruition,” said Wilkinson.

She continued, “Our deepest thanks go to Lauren for her design work, to George Mattern for his persistent support and to all of the hard-working volunteers who made themselves available — even during the winter — to make certain that this project was completed.”

The late Connecticut stage actor’s century-old mansion is nestled atop the “Seventh Sister” hill in the towns of East Haddam and Lyme along the Connecticut River. 

The structure is scheduled to open to the public on Memorial Day weekend.

In the meantime, the park at 67 River Road in East Haddam remains open and visitors may stroll around the grounds during regular hours, which are from 8 a.m. until sunset daily year-round. Trail maps and videos of the estate may be found on the Friends website at www.gillettecastlefriends.org.

Gillette was the first actor to become internationally-famous for his performances as Sherlock Holmes. The Hartford native died in 1937 after a long theatrical career and the state eventually took over ownership of his home and surrounding estate. 

Those interested in becoming a Friends member may sign up online or download a mail-in application form at www.gillettecastlefriends.org/joinsupport, or direct their questions to info@gillettecastlefriends.org or (860) 222-7850. 

The organization’s mission includes the preservation, restoration and conservation of the historic and unique structure and its scenic grounds.

The all-volunteer, nonprofit group works in cooperation with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). Memberships help to finance park and structural improvements while preserving the estate and Gillette’s legacy.

Lyme-Old Lyme Students Present Findings from Community Survey at Forum

These Lyme-Old Lyme students led the 2022 Community Forum, which presented the findings of the 2021 Community Survey.

LYME/OLD LYME — On March 29, results from the 2021 Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB)/Lyme-Old Lyme Prevention Coalition (LOLPC) Youth Survey were discussed at a Community Forum at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School.

This survey was conducted in December 2021 with 662 students in 6th through 12th grade reporting on behaviors and trends related to alcohol, marijuana, vaping, other substances, and mental health.

Eight Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) High School students participated in a youth panel to offer parents and other community members an opportunity to learn directly from them what it is like to be a teenager in Lyme-Old Lyme.

Highlights from their well-spoken, direct dialogue with the audience included kids growing up much too fast in a time of easy access, reduced perception of harm of substances, perfectionism, being over-scheduled, and being inundated with social media platforms from a very young age.

The Youth Survey reported that alcohol is still the number one substance used by LOL students with average age of first use being reported at 14.0 years old. Lifetime and recent use trends of alcohol have reduced since 2019, but national trends advise that we should understand that a “COVID Effect” might be in play resulting from isolation and lock-down.

An alarming statistic shows that the number of students, who think drinking every day is harmful, decreased from 50.9 to 27.7 percent in just two years. Similar numbers were reported for binge drinking (five or more drinks at a time) and using marijuana one to two times per week. 

The panel of students offered some insight for this drop in perceived harm. 

One reason they provided is that during isolation kids turned to their phones and social media for entertainment and communication. They explained that Snap Chat, TikTok, and Instagram normalize drinking and drug use, and kids don’t actually realize the amount of danger they can be put in with substance use. 

Social media also supports a climate for bullying, social influencing, negative mental health and self-image. The Youth Panel reported feeling that kids aren’t ready for today’s social media in Middle School or younger. Panel members encouraged parents to educate themselves and think about their own choices for their young children when it comes to phones and social media.

Survey data revealed that the mental health of our youth has followed national trends and reduced over the past two years. 

Of the students surveyed, 70 percent reported feeling stressed, 60 percent reported feeling anxious, 28% reported feeling so sad over the past two weeks that it limited daily activity, and 21 percent reported thinking about suicide. The Youth Panel agreed with these numbers and strongly encouraged audience members to understand the challenges of growing up as a teenager right now.  

Teens are inundated with pressures, intense schedules, social media influences, and the connection with drugs and alcohol plays a definite role. The survey data shows that youth, who reported marijuana use, identify coping with stress and other challenges as a primary reason they use. 

The survey also showed that only 40-60 percent of students (grade-dependent) feel that their families have clear rules around alcohol and drugs. This is an important statistic because the October LOLPC Community Survey showed that 100% of participating parents reported clear rules around alcohol. 

This is an opportunity for parents to recognize the importance of early, consistent, and on-going conversations around drugs and alcohol. The Survey and Youth Panel identify parents as role models with parental disappointment being one of the main reasons kids choose not to drink or use drugs.

The panel reported that kids are watching their parents and how they deal with stress, cope with life around them, and how they role model substance use. One student said “That’s what we are going to absorb and see as normal. My advice is to keep talking and to do the kinds of things that are healthy and good because kids are watching.”

Marijuana use, perception of harm, and its connection to our kids’ mental health was also discussed at the Forum  

The survey data shows the average age of first use of marijuana in LOL is 14.1, and by 12th grade, 19 percent of students reported trying marijuana, but the Youth Panel felt that number was under-reported.  

They also shared that teens acknowledge drinking and driving is very dangerous, but that “smoking weed” and driving is something that “kids do all the time.” This is another area for us to keep discussing with our kids and each other, with recent adult-use cannabis legalization and its impact on our communities.

The Lyme-Old Lyme Prevention Coalition is a DFC grant-funded community organization dedicated to prevention and supporting all youth and families. 

For more information about this survey, LOLPC campaigns and programs, or to become involved, visit www.lysb.org/prevention or contact Alli Behnke, MSW at abehnke@lysb.org

Editor’s Note: Alli Behnke, MSW is the LYSB Prevention Coordinator.

Lyme-Old Lyme High School, Middle School Announce Q2 Honor Rolls

Lyme-Old Lyme High School Quarter 2 Honor Roll 2021-22

HIGH HONORS

Grade 12:
Emily Almada, John Almy, Grace Arnold, Hannah Britt, John Caulkins, Ryan Clark, John Conley, Brody Cooke, Lauren Creagan, Elias D’Onofrio, Elise DeBernardo, Elizabeth Duddy, Eleanor Dushin, Aiden Goiangos, Meyer Goldberg, Shawn Grenier, Liam Grethel, Nicolette Hallahan, Austin Halsey, Jackson Harris, Andrew Hedberg, Zoe Jensen, Julia Johnston, Nevin Joshy, Kian Kardestuncer, Quinn Kegley, Cora Kern, Robyn King, Felse Kyle, William Larson, Alex Lee, Reese Maguire, Abigail Manthous, Stephanie Mauro, Elle Myers, Bella Orlando, Isabel Prentice, Adeline Riccio, Jacob Ritchie, Olivia Schaedler, Calvin Scheiber, Abigail Sicuranza, McLean Signora, Abby Speckhals, Drew St.Louis, Daniel Stack, Nikolai Stephens-Zumbaum, Victoria Stout, Madison Thompson, Olivia Turtoro, John Videll, Evan Visgilio, Aidan Ward, Melanie Warren, Ellie Wells, Mary Wholean, Jenna Woods, Avery Wyman

Grade 11:
Olivia Alpha, Whitney Barbour, William Barry, Callie Bass, Livie Bass, Gillian Bradley, Jamie Bucior, Hayley Cann, Liam Celic, Alexander Chrysoulakis, Grace Colwell, William Danes, Anna Davis, John Eichholz, Zachary Eichholz, Willa Hoerauf, Arber Hoxha, Owen Ingersoll-Bonsack, Charlotte Judge, Phoebe Lampos, Yanza Lata, Jonah Lathrop, Marielle Mather, Kennedy McCormick, Madalyn McCulloch, Madeleine Morgado, Cooper Munson, Alexander Olsen, Izzadora Reynolds, Benjamin Roth, Rhyleigh Russell, Eli Ryan, Stefan Ryer, Jenna Schauder, Alyssa Spooner, Mary Surprenant, Samantha Tan, Gesami Vazquez, Kaitlyn Ward, Harry Whitten

Grade 10:
Alexis Antonellis, Beatrice Barnett, Emma Bayor, Oliver Berry, Alis Bicic, Elliot Bjornberg, Henry Boller, Drew Brackley, Natalie Buckley, Jackson Bullock, Sarah Colangelo, William Coppola, Ava Cummins, Ella Curtiss-Reardon, Macklin Cushman, Eva D’Onofrio, Eric Dagher, Sydney Doboe, Amelia Gage, Marcia Geronimo, Calla Gilson, Ryder Goss, Sydney Goulding, Alexis Grasdock, Justin Green, Ella Halsey, Agatha Hunt, Beatrice Hunt, Sabina Jungkeit, Matthew Mazzalupo, Delaney Nelson, Ronald Olin, Grace Phaneuf, Jack Porter, Kylie-Jean Sevigny, Hannah Thomas, Keara Ward, Louisa Warlitz, Mason Wells, Tyler Wells, Summer Wollack, Duohui Yan, Grace Zembruski

Grade 9:
Quinn Arico, Molly Boardman, Hannah Bonilla, Nathaniel Bradley, Mason Bussmann, Andrew Clougherty, Tabitha Colwell, Caeli Edmed, Grace Ferman, Manu Geronimo, Ava Gilbert, Nicolas Hatch, Kaela Hoss, Shyla Jones, Simon Karpinski, Olivia Kelly, Ella Kiem, Ada LaConti, Elise Leonardo, Andrew Liu, Kanon Oharu, Sophie Pennie, Ryan Shapiro, Kelly Sheehan, Sarah DeSilva, Drea Simler, Nicholas Turtoro, Kathleen Walsh, Gabriella Ziegler

HONORS

Grade 12:
Andrew Bennett, Nihad Bicic, Mackenzie Bussolotti, Grace Coverdale, James Creagan, Caroline Crolius, Lauren Enright, Victoria Gage, Delaney Gagnon, Samantha Geshel, Lillian Herrera, Daniel Hoblin, Fiona Hufford, Grace McAdams, Emily Mesham, Samuel Mullaney, Emily Nickerson, Michael O’Donnell, Margaret Rommel, Alexander Roth, Aidan Russell, Alexandra Tinniswood, Paige Winchell, Ryan Zbierski, Jerry Zhang

Grade 11:
Elsie Arafeh-Hudson, Cooper Bowman, Ava Brinkerhoff, John Buckley, Gretchen Burgess, Sarah Burnham, Ava Catalano, Luke Celic, Nicholas Cox, Jacob Derynioski, Alexis Fenton, Matthew Grammatico, Ethan Hale, Ford Macadam, Joseph Montazella, Caden Monte, Alain Pecher-Kohout, Olivia Powers, Kelsey Pryor, Jaden Reyes, Santiago Rodriguez, Anders Silberberg, Ned Smith, Riley Smith, Tova Toriello, George Williams

Grade 10:
Peighton Andrews, Jedidiah Arico, Morgan Bell, Lucas DaSilva, Douglas Griswold, Katherine Gryk, Abby Hale, Mohamad Hamou, Jordan Hanes, Leland Hine, Sedona Holland, John Holzworth, Dakota Kotzan, Grady Lacourciere, Griffin McGlinchey, Alexander McPherson, Elaina Morosky, Katherine Mullaney, Isabelle O’Connor, Kayla O’Leary, Luisa Raby, Cailin Ruhling, Jhayra Salazar, Madeleine Soriano, Gabriel Tooker

Grade 9:
Christopher Anderson, Oliver Avelange, Micah Bass, Gavin Biega, Mark Burnham, Chase Calderon, Gloria Conley, Andrea DeBernardo, Zoe Eastman-Grossel, Abigail Edwards, Anna Eichholz, Hoshena Gemme, Parker Holland, Rowan Hovey, Kyle Ingersoll-Bonsack, Thomas Kabel, Peter Kuhn, Colette Marchant, Abigail O’Brien, Ysabel Rodriguez, Madelin Salazar, Madeline Supersano, Charlotte Tinniswood

Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School Quarter 2 Honor Roll 2021-22

HIGH HONORS

Grade 8:
Sienna Bari, Ilona Binch, Zoe Brunza, Alec Butzer, Trevor Buydos, Makayla Calderon, Tyler Cann, Julia Clark, Annabelle Coppola, Colman Curtiss-Reardon, Christopher Dagher, James Dahlke, Sophia D’Angelo, Rose Dimmock, William Donnelly, Jonathan Farrell, Chase Gilbert, Alexander Glaras, Benjamin Goulding, Scarlette Graybill, Elizaveta Gregoire, Christopher Kachur, Jade Lawton, Maya LeQuire, Jayden Livesey, Emily Looney, Elise Marchant, Samuel Masanz, Carter McGlinchey, Nina Nichols, Ryan Olsen, Ryan Ortoleva, Louis Patana, Taylor Quintin, Luca Signora, Emma Singleton, Tanner Snurkowski, Charlotte Spiegel, Addison Spooner, Carson St. Louis, Andrew Taylor, Meredith Thompson, Margaret Thuma, Lucian Tracano, Madeleine Trepanier, John Turick, Connor Vautrain, Elisabeth Viera, Warren Volles, Oliver Wyman, Stella Young, Carl Zapatka

Grade 7:
Lucia Arico, Addison Arndt, Zak Avelange, Zachary Belval, Mia Bonatti, Ceciley Buckley, Morgan Buerger, Marla Bulas, Brooke Burgess, William Burgess, Anna Bussmann, Brennan Butzer, Chase Catalano, Isaac Chartier, Sophia D’Amico, Amirah D’Lizarraga, Brady Donovan, Samson Edmed, Angeline Gencarella, Samuel Gilbert, Gavin Goulis, Harrison Goulis, Skylar Graybill, Tessa Grethel, Charles Halsey, Owen Holth, Josephine Kiem, Allisondra Krol, Alexa Legein, Olivia Lovendale, Matilda Miller, John Morosky, Emelia Munster, Grace Osborne, Mia Palmer, Arthur Riccio, Ainsley Rinoski, Cameron Russell, Owen Shapiro, Kevork Shegirian, Nicholas Sokolowski, Carli Teixeira, Magdalena Tooker, Kaylyn Vernon, Ivy Wilson

Grade 6:
Kaitlyn Ackerman, Lillian Acosta, Lauren Belval, Scarlett Blatter, Vivian Boller, Noah Brant, Naomi Cameron, Gabrielle Clark, John Comstock, Colin Discordia, Ashlynn Edwards, Albert Enman, Katharine Ferman, Jonah Filardi, Avery Goiangos, Frederick Goss, Elaina Graves, Gavin Gray, Sawyer Graybill, Alistair Grenier, Alistair Hampton-Dowson, Colleen Harrington, Morgan Harris, Ryan Hill, Reese Holland, Fiona Judge, Jillian Kleefeld, Treyton LaConti, Holden Leonardo, Graham Macadam, David McAdams, Rowan McCormick, Charles McEwen, Caitlyn McHugh, William McKeever, Clarissa Mock, Addyson Morosky, Grace Morrissette, Marielle Munster, Remi Patz, Jonah Scheckwitz, Audrey Sheehan, Avery Spooner, Charlotte Thuma, Delilah Tooker, Jonathan Toriello, Renee Viera, Ashlynn Ward, Avery Wesch, Charles Zapatka, Ella Ziolkovski

HONORS

Grade 8:
Charlotte Antonino, Michael DeFiore, Elena Gerardo, Teagan Iglesias, Thomas Kelly, Harrison Kleefeld, Nayeli Marin Yanza, Ryan Miller, Eiley Montanaro, Jacob Prokopets, Sophia Shaposhnikova, Edith Williams, Katherine Zhang

Grade 7:
Collin Anderson, Johanna Coker, Elliot Dunn-Sims, Julio Fuentes, Lauren Fulara, Kaedin Gerster, Marley Iaia, Curtiss Johnson, Elsa Jungkeit, William Kabel, Paul Kuhn, Callahan Lacourciere, Kaitlyn Pannier, Vincenzo Pietrowicz, Madeline Stiles, Milo Stiles, Collin Swaney, Bowen Turick

Grade 6:
Anna Bjornberg, Lana Brunza, Payton Burr, Madeline Cummins, Aiden Guidi, Kaedyn Koproski, Sadie Lukasiewski, Liam McCormick, Theodore Neary, Logan Patana, Niamh Slubowski, Avery Zbierski

Neviaser Announces Masks No Longer Required on Lyme-Old Lyme School Buses

LYME/OLD LYME — Following on from his decision announced Thursday, Feb. 17, that masks will no longer required in Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools from Feb. 28 onward, LOL Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser has now decided that masks will no longer be mandatory on school buses.

He had previously said masks would continue to be required on school buses since, “that is governed by the federal government, not the state of Connecticut.”

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools reopen Monday, Feb. 28, after a week of winter vacation.

Just after 5 p.m. Sunday (Feb. 27), Neviaser sent out an email to the school community explaining,” On Friday, February 25, 2022 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new framework to monitor the level of COVID-19 in communities that includes hospitalizations, hospital capacity, and cases.”

In the email, Neviaser noted, “This new tool and guidance does not change the recent school masking guidance released by the Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) or our recent position statement on optional masking in our schools.”

But he pointed out, “As a part of that announcement, the CDC also announced the following: Effective February 25, 2022, CDC is exercising its enforcement discretion to not require that people wear masks on buses or vans operated by public or private school systems, including early care and education/child care programs.

Neviaser concluded in his email, “As such, masks will no longer be required on all Lyme-Old Lyme buses.  Individuals who choose to continue to wear a mask on the bus will still be able to do so.”

Lyme-Old Lyme HS Students Win Major Awards at 2022 CT Scholastic Art Contest

This work by Lyme-Old Lyme High School Senior Elle Myers titled, ‘Coming to the surface,’ was awarded a Gold Key in Painting at the CT Scholastic Awards.

OLD LYME — Six students from the Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) Art Department were recognized at this year’s prestigious Connecticut Scholastic Art Awards. The contest celebrates the work of talented young artists in the state in grades 7 through 12.

Student artwork is juried by professional artists and university art faculty and selected on merit for inclusion in a statewide art exhibition held at the Hartford Art School. Beyond the honor of being chosen for this highly selective exhibition, students are eligible for Gold or Silver Keys and Honorable Mention awards in each of 17 media categories.

Lyme-Old Lyme High School Senior Elle Myers received a Gold Key in Painting, as well as Silver Keys in both Painting and Drawing.

‘Timothy Posing’ by LOLHS Senior Elle Myers received a Silver Key in Drawing at the CT Scholastic Art Awards.

Lyme-Old Lyme High School Senior Olivia Schaedler was awarded a Gold Key in Photography for her work titled, ‘Cables,’ pictured below.

The winners of Gold Keys will subsequently have their artwork submitted digitally to the National  Scholastic Art Awards where they will be juried against Gold Key winners from all 50 states.

Senior Samantha Geshel received two Honorable Mentions in Painting, and Senior Shawn Grenier was given an Honorable Mention in Digital Art.

Junior Lea Wilson was awarded a Silver Key in Comic Art for the work titled, ‘Bread Duck,’ pictured above, and Sydney Goulding received an Honorable Mention in Ceramics and Glass.

The Connecticut Regional Scholastic Art Awards Program is sponsored by the Connecticut Art Education Association and the University of Hartford, Hartford Art School.

A virtual Awards Celebration was held Feb. 12.

Mask Mandate for Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Lifted From Feb. 28, But Masks Still Recommended; “Individual’s Decisions” Must be Respected (Neviaser)

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser (File photo)

OLD LYME — Subsequent to Gov. Lamont’s decision to end the statewide mask mandate in schools on Feb. 28, and delegate masking decisions to local authorities, Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser has announced that masks would no longer be required in LOL Schools from Feb. 28 onward, although they would still be recommended.

He communicated this decision to the school community via an email sent Thursday (Feb. 17) evening. The full text of his email is printed below.

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools are on winter break for the coming week and return to school Feb. 28.

Neviaser stresses in his email, “Discrimination, harassment, or bullying of anyone who chooses to wear, or not wear a mask, will not be tolerated,” adding, “All students and staff must respect each individual’s decision.”

He also notes that mask-wearing will continue to be mandatory on school buses since that is governed by federal regulations and that, similarly, student athletes will remain subject to Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) regulations regarding mask-wearing.

Asked by phone Friday morning what the key factors were in making the decision to lift the mask mandate, Neviaser stated that “The [LOL] Schools are still recommending masks be worn to prevent the spread of disease,” but noted, “The advice from the [CT] DPH (Connecticut Department of Health), based on the significant decrease in the positivity rates in Connecticut, allows us now to make masks optional.”

He emphasized that he had discussed the decision with representatives of various stakeholder groups — administration, faculty, staff and parents — and, although there were mixed opinions, “There was a majority in favor of making masks optional at this time and having a positive attempt to return to ‘normal,’ while still allowing for personal choice in terms of masking.”

Neviaser said the district will continue to monitor any changes in DPH recommendations as well as the ongoing COVID transmission rate in LOL Schools, and make any further changes in mask policy as required.

The full text of the Superintendent’s Feb. 17 email is as follows:

Effective February 28, 2022, the Lyme-Old Lyme Schools will continue to recommend the use of masks to prevent the spread of disease, but will no longer require their use for students, staff, or visitors inside any of our buildings.  In accordance with that position, please note the following: 

  • Discrimination, harassment, or bullying of anyone who chooses to wear, or not wear a mask, will not be tolerated.  All students and staff must respect each individual’s decision.
  • Through the end of March we will continue to send daily COVID-19 case numbers for those who are interested in tracking this information.  Beginning in April, we will report these numbers on a weekly basis.
  • The mask mandate for school buses will remain until its expiration (which is anticipated to be sometime in mid to late March) as that is governed by the federal government, not the state of Connecticut.
  • Parents who wish for their child to continue to wear a mask, or may wish them to return to wearing a mask at any point in the future, should communicate clearly to their child their expectations for mask wearing.  Teachers and administrators will not be responsible for monitoring student mask wearing.
  • Unless the forthcoming guidance from the Department of Public Health (DPH) deems otherwise, all other mitigation strategies including, but not limited to, quarantine and isolation guidelines, physical distancing, and increased ventilation will remain the same. 
  • Student-athletes will remain subject to all CIAC guidelines specific to mask wearing and return to play guidelines following a COVID-19 positive case.

Thank you for your patience while we evaluated many factors regarding this decision.  As noted above, we are still awaiting additional guidance from DPH specific to this issue. Once that is received, we will communicate any changes that may result from said guidance.

Death Announced of Jennie A. Rubera; Beloved Teacher in Old Lyme Schools for 37 Years

Jennie A. Rubera

OLD LYME — Jennie A. Rubera, of Old Lyme, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family at her residence on February 12, 2022.

She was born in Waterbury, the daughter of Angelo and Rose Petraroia and was the wife of the late Joseph A. Rubera.

Mrs. Rubera lived a life of serving others as a nurse and business owner before embarking on a 37-year career as a teacher in the Old Lyme public school system, first at Center School and then at Mile Creek Elementary School.  

Teaching was not just a career it was her passion.  Her years in the classroom were marked by many accomplishments including the study of the Connecticut River and its tributaries, her yearly Broadway East second grade play productions (Bambi: The Musical and Turkey Turkey Tell Me True were among the more memorable), her 1999 State of Connecticut Celebration of Excellence Award for Exemplary Teaching and her Memorial Day Commemoration Program celebrated by her 2nd grade students for 29 years in the small cemetery next to Mile Creek Elementary.

It was for her leadership in that Memorial Day Commemoration that she was nearly featured as ABC World News Tonight with Charles Gibson’s Person of the Week in 2009. ABC News was about to send a news crew to Old Lyme before deciding instead to profile a 107-year-old Army veteran, the last surviving American veteran of World War I.  She and her son in law B.J. Finnell would joke that the first line in her obituary would read: 

Jennie A. Rubera, who was almost ABC World News Tonight with Charles Gibson’s Person of the Week, passed away in Old Lyme, harboring no ill will toward the 107-year-old World War I veteran who edged her out for national recognition of her patriotism and commitment to her students!

She could laugh about it because her patriotism and commitment to her students were unquestioned and she never sought any kind of recognition for her efforts.  Her family always knew the Memorial Day ceremony was held in part to honor her brother Michael, who was killed in action in Germany in February 1945, a loss similar to those suffered by so many American families whose loved ones have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country.

Mrs. Rubera retired from teaching in 2011, having left a permanent impact on her colleagues and the hundreds of students who passed through her classroom for nearly four decades. She believed each student could become president of the United States and she asked only that they remembered her when they became famous!

She was a graduate of a two-room schoolhouse in the Bucks Hill section of Waterbury, Wilby High School, the St. Francis Hospital School of Nursing, the University of Connecticut (Bachelor’s Degree of Science) and Southern Connecticut State University (Master’s Degree of Science).  She also spent a summer at Oxford University in England, where she participated in an international program on teaching the gifted child (her philosophy was that every child was gifted and that such programs could be open to all students).

She began her career as a nurse, caring for polio and tuberculosis patients in the Hartford area, even after she and her husband moved to Old Lyme in 1951.  She also served as a Justice of the Peace in Old Lyme since 1981, marrying many couples on Old Lyme beaches, in private homes and in her own living room on Mile Creek Road.

Her colleagues, friends and in particular her family appreciated her enthusiasm, love of travel and  quirky sense of humor. She was known for telling jokes, most of which were told out of order, usually starting with the punchline then working backwards to the set-up.  Her unique approach to these anecdotes was actually funnier than the jokes themselves, adding a unique level of hilarity for which she will always be fondly remembered.

She is survived by her daughters Nancy Rubera of Berlin and Joan Finnell and her husband B.J. of Chester, VT; her sister Angela Brunetti of Prospect; her granddaughters Jennifer DelBiondo, Sarah DelBiondo, Kimberly DelBiondo and Melissa Casso and her husband John; grandsons Nicholas Finnell and Benjamin Finnell; her great grandchildren Madison, Anthony and Peyton Casso; and nieces, nephews and cousins. 

She was predeceased by her parents, her husband, her sister Marie and brother Michael.

There will be no calling hours and burial will be private.  A celebration of her life will be announced at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, and in honor of her dedication to educating the children of Old Lyme, donations in her name can be made to the Lyme Youths Services Bureau at www.lysb.org.  

To share memories of Mrs. Rubera’s extraordinary life and to sign the online guest book, visit www.fultontherouxoldlyme.com.

Gov. Lamont Ends Statewide Mask Mandate, Feb. 28, Delegates Future Policy to Local Authorities; LOL Schools Deciding Next Steps

LYME/OLD LYME — After Gov. Lamont directed that he was gong to  lift the statewide mask mandate and transfer decisions regarding masking to local municipalities, Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser sent out the following letter yesterday (Feb. 10) to the LOL school community indicating no decision has yet been taken on mask-wearing in schools after Feb. 28.

By now you have heard of Governor Lamont’s announcement that he is endorsing a plan developed in consultation with the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE).  This plan will end the statewide requirement that masks be worn in schools effective February 28, 2022.  I am writing to inform you of the considerations that we are contemplating to determine how the Lyme-Old Lyme Schools will proceed based on that announcement.  Our goal is to best balance the health and safety of our students and staff while returning to more normalcy in a mask optional environment, as soon as it is prudent to do so.  As always, we will continue to consider the guidance of our district medical advisor, Ledge Light Health District, the CDC, DPH and other public health and medical professionals, though those recommendations at times contradict one another.  I expect that we will have a definitive plan to respond to this announcement prior to our upcoming February vacation.

Some current considerations include:

  • The vaccination rates for our middle and high school students are high, yet the rate of vaccination for our elementary students is average. 
  • We have been tracking our number of confirmed student/staff cases and determining whether or not said cases have led to outbreaks, which, fortunately, so far has not occurred.
  • As of this writing, the CDC recommends that masks continue to be worn indoors in all K-12 settings. In addition, based on the continued high rate of transmission in the area, the CDC recommends that everyone in New London County should wear a mask in public indoor settings.
  • We have received some recommendations to consider extending the mask mandate for at least an additional week or two (to March 7 or 14, 2022) for the following reasons:
    • February 28, 2022 is the day we return from our February break over which many families will have traveled.  Based on our experience from our most recent school vacation, the number of infections could be elevated for a week or two after our return.
    • Students who are unvaccinated, or are not yet eligible for the vaccine, would have additional time to get vaccinated or possibly become eligible for the vaccine.
    • The weather in mid-March will be slightly warmer allowing for more outdoor opportunities, reducing the possibility of virus transmission.
  • Unless the federal government changes their position on masks for public transportation, the mask mandate for school buses will remain as that is governed by the CDC, not the state of CT.
  • The Governor’s plan is contingent upon the Connecticut General Assembly voting to extend the Governor’s existing Executive Order which gives DPH the ability to implement mask requirements in certain settings.  Until this legislative process is complete, we must continue to comply with current masking requirements, which remain in effect through February 15, 2022 when the current Executive Order expires.  Should the legislature vote to extend mandatory school masking, we will be required to continue to comply with this legislation.   
  • DPH has indicated that they will be issuing further guidance regarding isolation and quarantine recommendations associated with this new plan. As you know, current guidance requires masking in the various scenarios presented in response to a positive case.

Please do not misinterpret any of the above to imply that a decision has been made either in support of immediate removal of masks or opposed to such.  Once all considerations have been evaluated, along with anything additional as advised by the forthcoming DPH guidance, we will notify everyone of what to expect on February 28, 2022. 

We will publish details of the decisions taken regarding future mask policy by both LOL Schools and the Towns of Lyme and Old Lyme as soon as they are made.

Lyme-Old Lyme Preschool Peer Visits Offered; Register Now for a March 11 Visit

LYME/OLD LYME — The Lyme-Old Lyme Preschool is a tuition free program designed for identified special education students and selected peers. This program serves preschool age children in the communities of Lyme and Old Lyme.

If you are interested in having your three-year-old child participate in the Lyme-Old Lyme Special Needs Preschool as a peer during the 2022-2023 school year, visits are being scheduled for March 11, 2022.

Children who are three by Sept. 1, 2022 are welcome to participate in a spring peer visit.

All mitigating measures as recommended by the Department of Public Health and Connecticut State Department of Education will be implemented during the visits.

Peer selection is lottery-based, with consideration for age and gender balance in each preschool class.

Contact Jennifer Frazier or Tracy Pompano at Center School (860-434-0487) for more information.

Ruth Ann Heller Music Foundation Announces Scholarships to Lyme-Old Lyme Music Students

Photo by Marius Masalar on Unsplash.

LYME-OLD LYME — UPDATED 2/3/22 with revised information sent by the Ruth Ann Heller Music Foundation:
The Ruth Ann Heller Music Foundation Board of Trustees has announced its awards for private study music scholarships for 2020-21 to students from Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) High School and LOL Middle School.

Award recipients from LOL High School are:
Ava Gilbert Gr 9 Flute
Andrew Liu Gr 9 Bari Sax
Natalie Buckley Gr 10 Flute
Jacob Derynioski Gr 10 Percussion
Phoebe Lampos Gr 11 Oboe/English Horn
Marielle Mather Gr 11 Clarinet
Nikolai Stephens-Zumbaum Gr 12 Percussion
Avery Wyman Grade 12 percussion

Award recipients from LOL Middle School are:
Jonah Filardi Gr 6 Saxophone
Gavin Gray Gr 6 Alto Sax
Sophia Huang Gr 6 Percussion
Avery Zbierski Gr 6 Flute
Ceciley Buckley Gr 7 Clarinet
Morgan Buerger Gr 7 Saxophone
Gavin Goulis Gr 7 Trumpet
Harrison Goulis Gr 7 Trombone
Arthur Riccio Gr 7 Trumpet
Warren Volles Gr 8 Trumpet
Oliver Wyman Gr 8 French Horn
CJ Zapatka Gr 8 Trombone

As a supporting organization for LOL Schools, the Ruth Ann Heller Music Foundation awards scholarships to be used for private music instruction to students participating in LOL Middle and High Schools band programs.

The 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation was formed in 1999 after the retirement of Ruth Ann (King) Heller from LOL High School, with a mission to strengthen and improve the instrumental music program in LOL Schools.

Donations to the foundation in any amount are gratefully accepted. The mailing address is: Ruth Ann Heller Music Foundation, PO Box 298, Old Lyme, CT 06371, or alternatively, donations may be made through PayPal at http://www.rahmf.org/#donate.

Editor’s Note: This article is based on a press release issued by the Ruth Ann Heller Music Foundation.

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Host ‘Invention Convention’ for Grades 5, 7

The cheerful inventors gather for a group photo part way through the event.

OLD LYME — Inventors from Grade 5 (20 inventors) and Grade 7 (14 Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School inventors) participated in the District-Wide Invention Convention last Thursday, Jan. 29, when their inventions were displayed at Old Lyme’s Memorial Town Hall.

Inventors learned about the engineering and design process, created display boards and gave speeches to pitch their invention ideas.

Kylie Grethel stands with her invention “Pedal 4 Prizes,” which now advances to the statewide contest.

Thirteen judges from Lyme and Old Lyme including Mentor Corps for Community Development members, Lyme’s Youth Service Bureau staff, Town Hall employees and Region 18 Board of Education members, volunteered their time to judge the inventions in four different categories:

  • purpose and practicality of the invention
  • attention to detail related to the invention
  • presentation skills of the inventor
  • quality of the display board detailing the invention

We are extremely proud of all the inventors for the time, commitment, and hard work they have put into this project as they have been working on this project since September.

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser asks Annie Gingras a question about her invention, the “Tangle Tamer 2000.” This entry also advanced to the state competition.

Students advancing to the “virtual” state competition to be hosted by UConn during April and May will be:

From Lyme Consolidated:
Griffin Karpinski with his invention “Hive Alive”
Lillian Reynolds with her invention “Scoli-Cool”
Jack Montmeat with his invention “The Blanketing”

From Mile Creek:
Annie Gingras with her invention “Tangle Tamer 2000”
Victoria Glaras with her invention “Hen He​lper”
Kylie Grethel with her invention “Pedal 4 Prizes”

From Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School:
Lucy Arico with her invention “Sea Cow Saver”
Vinny Pietrowicz with his invention “Flex Tube”
Ainsley Rinoski with her invention “Wrist Guard”

Kindergarten Registration Now Open at Lyme-Old Lyme Schools

LYME/OLD LYME — Registration for Kindergarten in Lyme-Old Lyme Schools for the fall of 2022 is now open at Lyme Consolidated and Mile Creek Schools.

Children who will be five-years-old on or before Jan. 1, 2023 are eligible to register for the 2022 Kindergarten class  starting Aug. 2022.

Registration packets may be picked up at either school. The following are also needed for registration:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Three forms of proof of residency

While you may complete the registration process at either school, your  child’s school placement will depend on District attendance zones, which are determined in August.

If you would like additional information, call either school at these numbers:

  • Lyme Consolidated: 860-434-1233
  • Mile Creek: 860-434-2209

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools look forward to welcoming your child to their community.

Letter to the Editor: Lyme-Old Lyme Prevention Coalition Responds to Hartford Fentanyl Tragedy, Encourages Community Approach to Substance Abuse Issues Locally

To the Editor:

An Open Letter to the Lyme-Old Lyme Community

I’m sure many of you have heard the tragic news about two recent drug exposure incidents in two Connecticut middle schools. Tragically, a young 13-year-old boy died after being exposed to fentanyl at his middle school in Hartford. The following day, five students were hospitalized after ingesting THC edibles (candy) at their New Haven middle school.
As we process these tragic incidents, the Lyme-Old Lyme Prevention Coalition is sharing resources and support to our community’s youth and families.
We strongly encourage you to join us and embrace a community approach to supporting youth and families around substance abuse prevention. Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB) staff is working to schedule community Narcan trainings.
To receive prevention updates, visit this link to join our mailing list.
To find upcoming events and links to useful resources about current drug trends, conversation starters, and data, visit our website.
Our Coalition depends on input, expertise, and energy from community members, and we welcome you to our meetings. We are available to answer questions about substance abuse prevention, personal concerns, and be a resource to any youth, parent, or community member needing support, referrals, and/or guidance. Please let us know if we can be of help to you or your family. You can reach me at 860-434-7208 or by email at abehnke@lysb.org.
Sincerely,
Allison Behnke, MSW,
Old Lyme.
Editor’s Note: The author is the Prevention Coordinator at LYSB.