September 18, 2020

Old Lyme Zoning Delays Decision on LOL Schools’ Proposed Artificial Athletic Field Pending Drainage Review, ‘It’s All About Drainage’ (Cable)

This image, courtesy of Milone & MacBroom, shows the current field behind Lyme-Old Lyme High School (left) and the proposed synthetic turf field (right.)

OLD LYME — The Old Lyme Zoning Commission listened patiently in their meeting held Monday evening via Zoom to a presentation by representatives from Milone & Macbroom on the proposed synthetic turf multi-purpose field, which Lyme-Old Lyme Schools plan to build to the rear of Lyme-Old Lyme High School. The first part of the meeting constituted a Public Hearing for the project.

The new field, priced at approximately $2.5 million, will be built on top of the existing geothermal system and the presenters agreed the selected contractor would have to perform, “Pre-construction tests to make sure the the geothermal system isn’t compromised.”

They also detailed how, “The premise is that water is going completely through the carpet [the synthetic turf]” and then drained away through a vast system of pipes.

Asked whether there was any danger of pollution from the drained water, the presenter replied, “Because of the way we design the system, the water running off is clearer than the rain going in,” adding, “There’s chemicals in there, but the materials do not ever leach out. We don’t see any environmental impacts.”

He noted that the use of recycled tires for the production of synthetic turf also, “Saves tires going into landfills.”

Asked by commission member Jane Marsh how long the artificial field could be expected to last, the presenter responded, “Eight years is the expected life … I’ve seen up to 14 years. He concluded, “The fields should easily last 12 years.”

When the time comes to replace the field, the presenter explained, “All the infrastructure below the turf [the geothermal system] will remain. Just the turf will be replaced.”

There were no questions or comments from the public and so the commission voted unanimously to close the Public Hearing.

The commission then went on to discuss the project as an item of business in their regular monthly meeting and that was when things took an unexpected turn. Long-term commission member Jane Cable stated, “I don’t feel competent to evaluate the drainage. This should automatically have gone to Tom [Metcalf – the Town Engineer.]”

Commission member Maria Martinez agreed with Cable saying, “We should do due diligence and double-check.”

Cable said pragmatically, “It’s all about drainage.”

Marsh added, “My breath is being taken away by the cost of this thing,” but Martinez reminded her that the commission’s job is not to consider the cost of the project but rather, “We have to approve [its] safety.”

Members of the commission concurred that the Old Lyme Inland Wetlands Commission had already approved the project but with a condition relating to the permeability of the walkway. They requested that Land Use Coordinator Dan Bourret should send the plans to Metcalf for his review, to which Bourret agreed.

Cable then proposed a motion, “… that we put our decision off to next month to get the review from Tom.” The motion to continue the discussion to next month’s meeting was unanimous.

Editor’s Note: Visit this link for more information about the proposed synthetic turf field, 

 

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Old Lyme Zoning to Discuss Lyme-Old Lyme Schools’ Proposal for Synthetic Turf Field Tonight

This playing field behind Lyme-Old Lyme High School is the proposed site of the turf field. This project will be discussed at the Old Lyme Zoning Commission meeting this evening.

OLD LYME — The Old Lyme Zoning Commission meets this evening via Webex at 6:30 p.m. for its regular monthly meeting. Agenda items include a Public Hearing regarding a proposal to change one of the playing fields on the Lyme-Old Lyme Schools campus on Lyme St. from manicured lawn to synthetic turf.

A Special Permit Application has been submitted, “to permit proposed field improvement, which will modify the playing geometry and playing surface from manicured lawn to synthetic turf, at the Lyme-Old Lyme Regional High School located at 69 Lyme Street.”

After the Public Hearing, the application will then be discussed by the Commission during their regular meeting.

If you wish to join the meeting via Webex, use the following link: https://oldlymect.webex.com/oldlymect/j.php?MTID=m992a8cacca14fba3609037  with meeting number (access code): 173 919 2428 and password: GJwFDpmh694.

If you wish to join the meeting by phone, dial+1-408-418-9388.

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Lyme, Old Lyme Schools Celebrate a Successful (Masked) Start to School

Don Gerber of Lyme looks wistfully at the bus heading off to Lyme-Old Lyme Schools with his grandson and daughter aboard. Photo by Emily Gerber Bjornberg.

LYME-OLD LYME — It was the first day of the new school year for Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools yesterday although, due to the COVID-19 situation, parents had the option to keep their children home and have them follow a virtual program of learning. “We are excited to welcome our students back both in our classrooms or from their homes,” said Ian Neviaser, Superintendent of Lyme-Old Lyme Schools in a press release.

There was a definite air of anticipation for all the students as they entered their respective schools again for the first time since March 13, and in the end, only 10 percent of the 1,300-strong Pre-K through Grade 12 student body opted to stay home for their schooling. That percentage was achieved despite enrollment increasing this year, which had necessitated the addition of an additional Pre-K class; new students had also joined LOL Schools at every grade level.

Frequent cleaning, physical distancing and additional protocols are in place throughout all the schools. Meanwhile, social and emotional health is being emphasized, particularly in the first weeks of school as students adjust to a new normal.

“This year may look different, but what hasn’t changed is the dedication and commitment of our teachers, students and staff,” said Neviaser in the press release. Perhaps the most visible difference is that all administrators, staff, faculty members, and students must wear masks throughout the day … including when reading to students at Mile Creek School (see photo above) …

… or in the Center School gym (see photo above), where Tim Gavin is instructing Pre-Kindergartners during a physical education class.

Masks are now worn throughout the school day in elementary school (see photo above) …

… in middle school (see photo above) …

… and even at recess!

Photo by Michelle Tappett.

And then it was time to board the bus home, in this case (see photo above) from Lyme School.

Asked how the first day went, Neviaser told LymeLine.com exclusively, “We had a great first day and feedback from staff has been incredibly positive. Students did a great job of wearing masks and following new rules.”

Photo by Emily Gerber Bjornberg.

He added, “Dismissal was a little bumpy with some traffic issues, but we are looking at ways to improve the process.”

These two photos (above and below) are Elliot (age 14) and his sister Anna (age 10) of Lyme, grandchildren of Don Gerber (see first photo), and children of Emily Gerber Bjornberg and Jason Bjornberg.

Photo by Emily Gerber Bjornberg.

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Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Reopen to All Students , ‘We are Excited About the Return of our Students’ (Neviaser)

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

LYME/OLD LYME — A new school year starts Tuesday for all students resident in Lyme and Old Lyme, who have chosen to return to Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools.

Administration, faculty and non-certified staff, however, returned to work last Monday, Aug. 24, to spend the following six days familiarizing themselves with all the new protocols and procedures that have been implemented in response to the COVID-19 situation.

Asked how the week of preparation had gone overall, LOL Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser wrote in an email, “It was a very busy but very successful week of training and preparing for a safe reopening of school.”

He added, “In addition to safety preparations, staff spent time adjusting curriculum and lessons to address the unanticipated instructional changes from last spring.”

Some of the changes being introduced involve mandatory mask-wearing by all students, regardless of grade — this therefore now includes Pre-Kindergarten students. Students and staff must provide their own masks, but if they arrive without a proper mask, one will be provided for use that day. The student or staff member will then be expected to return with an approved mask on the following school day.

Anyone — including members of the public, as well as parents and caregivers — who enters any of the LOL School buildings is also required to wear a mask.

In a letter explaining the Reopening Plan for LOL Schools sent out Aug. 17, Neviaser states, “Our mask guidance is based on the CDC face covering guidelines but is more stringent in that all masks must cover the nose, mouth, and chin area. Bandanas, gators, balaclavas, buffs, masks with one-way valves or vents, or any other face covering that does not meet the administration’s determination of appropriateness are prohibited.”

He also clarifies that, “All students PK-12, all staff members, and anyone who enters any of our buildings must also utilize our self-screening tool prior to arrival each day.” The self-screening tool is available on the reopening page of the LOL Schools’ website.”

There are also new procedures for school buses, use of which Neviaser has previously advised is now, “discouraged, but not prohibited,” physical distancing and cohorting.

Neviaser said in an email to LymeLine.com that the faculty and staff had responded positively throughout the week of Professional Development to all the changes, noting, “The staff is very much focused and committed to adhering to the new protocols and procedures that will allow all building occupants to remain safe.”

Parents were able to opt out of sending their children back to school but were obliged to confirm that by Aug. 21. Neviaser said in an earlier conversation that around 90 percent of students would be returning to in-school instruction. He was  enthusiastic about welcoming students back to school on Sept. 1, saying, “We are excited about the return of our students and look forward to a safe reopening on Tuesday.”

One of the most common questions being raised by parents is what happens if a student or teacher tests positive for COVID-19. Neviaser responds in the Reopening Plan, “… the answer is that each case will be addressed based on the details of the individual situation, contact tracing results, and the recommendation of Ledge Light Health District.”

He added in his Aug. 29 email to LymeLine.com, “We will continue to closely monitor health data and our mitigation strategies and adapt as needed to ensure a healthy and productive learning environment.”

Regarding the athletic program, which has been subject to frequent — and often frustrating — change by the Connecticut Interscholastic Conference (CIAC), Neviaser commented, “It is my hope that very soon the DPH (Department of Public Health) and the CIAC can collaborate and agree on a strategy to ensure a safe athletic experience for all of our student athletes.”

The current situation is that conditioning was permitted to begin Aug. 24, in, “Cohorts no larger than 10, through Sept. 20,” then a decision will be made Sept. 21 whether “full team practices” can commence at that time dependent on the seven-day average percentage of COVID-19 cases against certain thresholds. Games, which currently include football and volleyball, will not start before Oct. 1.

The key to success in what Neviaser describes as this “historic” year is, in his words, “flexibility.” He states in the Reopening Plan, “As the guidance we receive is constantly being updated and/or revised, we ask for your patience in allowing us to make decisions based on the best interests of our students and staff … and to adapt to new information and practices that help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

 

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CIAC Permits Conditioning for Fall Sports to Resume

CHESHIRE/LYME/OLD LYME — Connecticut’s governing body for school sports, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC), issued a statement yesterday evening saying that after, “… positive discussions with the Connecticut Department of Public Health [DPH], the CIAC Board of Control voted at its Sunday meeting to restart conditioning for all fall sports.”

The CIAC had suspended conditioning Aug. 14 .

The statement added, “On Saturday, August 29, schools may begin non-contact sport specific skill work,” but specified, “Both conditioning and skill work are to take part in small cohorts in adherence with guidance from the National Federation of State High School Associations and the DPH.”

Conducting conditioning and sport specific skill work as non-contact and in small cohorts is classified as low risk regardless of the sport.

Significantly, the statement notes, “The Board of Control has determined that any fall sport that is cancelled will not be played at a later time during the 2020-2021 school year,” stressing, “… the plan will remain fluid.”

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Neviaser Supports CIAC Decision to ‘Pause’ In-person Interscholastic Sports Activity Until Aug. 24

The CIAC have mandated a ‘pause’ in all sports under their jurisdiction until Aug. 24.

LYME/OLD LYME/STATEWIDE — 8/21 UPDATE: The CIAC issued a statement today, Aug. 21, which says in part, ” The CIAC will delay the first date for all fall sports to Saturday, August 29, 2020.” Most other aspects of fall sports remain undecided at this point.

The full statement reads as follows:

 The CIAC Board of Control met this morning to review last night’s discussion with the DPH and establish a timeline for decisions on the start of fall sports.

The CIAC has requested that the DPH consider allowing our member schools to resume the non-contact conditioning workouts which they have been conducting since July 6, 2020 as early as Monday. Additionally, the CIAC understands that, at today’s ReOpen CT Rules Committee meeting, consideration will be given to the inconsistent guidance issued for CIAC interscholastic athletics versus non-CIAC youth sport opportunities. The CIAC and the DPH will continue our collaborative work once an update from those discussions is available, either later today or over the weekend.

For our member schools’ planning purposes, the CIAC Board of Control has established the following timeline:

  • The CIAC Board of Control will meet again at 7:00PM Sunday. 

  • The CIAC Board of Control will submit modified fall sport plan options to the DPH for consideration, which it has indicated it would welcome for review. 

  • The CIAC will delay the first date for all fall sports to Saturday, August 29, 2020. 

This timeline will allow the DPH adequate time to consider CIAC’s revised fall sports plans, which it will submit early next week, and athletic directors the time necessary to begin a sports season. The CIAC will update member schools on the return to conditioning workouts as soon as more information becomes available. 

(From the previous CIAC statement) On Friday, Aug. 14, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) Board of Control convened and extended an invitation to the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) to meet in the coming week to discuss its recommendations for interscholastic athletics.

Based on DPH recommendations, the board took the action to pause all in-person interscholastic fall sport activity including conditioning programs which are already underway until Monday, Aug. 24.

The CIAC will look to emphasize the value of the integration of athletics with the return to education and concerns of equity and consistency between interscholastic athletics and other athletic opportunities.

Coaches are encouraged to promote virtual safe contact and conditioning with their athletes during the pause so as to not lose the conditioning gains and socialization benefits made during the summer.

Asked to comment on this mandated pause in sports activity, Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser said, “We support the CIAC’s decision to pause the beginning of the fall sports season in order to ensure a safe playing environment for all student athletes.  We will follow forthcoming guidance once the CIAC has consulted with the DPH to provide such to all schools in CT.  We look forward to a safe return to the playing fields and courts for all of our student athletes.”

 

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Neviaser Confirms Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Will Reopen Fully in Fall, Assuming No Change in COVID Count; Parent Survey Indicates Overwhelming Support

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Curriculum Director Michelle Dean responds to a question during Wednesday evening’s ‘Community Conversation.’

LYME/OLD LYME — “We are not planning to go to a hybrid plan.”

That was Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser’s response when asked Wednesday evening if LOL Schools were going to change their reopening plans for the fall in light of Governor Lamont’s recent decision no longer to mandate that schools in Connecticut must fully reopen in the fall. This change of heart by Lamont allows the option for schools to implement hybrid plans (a combination of in-school and remote learning.)

Neviaser spoke to LymeLine by phone after moderating the first of two ‘Community Conversations’ hosted by LOL Schools in which parents were able to discuss reopening plans with key members of school administration and faculty in a virtual Zoom event. He stressed during the ‘Community Conversation’ and while talking to LymeLine that the plan to re-open schools fully, “Assumes the health data remains the same.”

If the local health department were to advise, “an increase in the number of cases in the school community,” or the community in general had occurred, the plan would be reviewed immediately with health department and might then be changed.

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser moderates Wednesday’s ‘Community Conversation.’

Noting that it was some of the larger towns and school districts, which had been resistant to Lamont’s original plan to reopen all schools fully, Neviaser noted that because Lyme-Old Lyme is a smaller school district, “We can work safely [within the social distancing and other requirements.] We have the data to support it,” whereas larger schools do not have the space to accommodate them.

Neviaser told LymeLine that his “general take” on whether parents in Lyme and Old Lyme wanted to send their children back to school was that they were “very eager” to do so and therefore the district was “working hard to make that happen.” His opinion was based not only on what he heard during the ‘Community Conversation’ but also from the responses to the parent survey sent out after the district had submitted its Reopening Plan to the state.

That survey had yielded more than 350 responses from parents and approximately 90 percent of those indicated, “Families plan on sending their kids back to school,” said Neviaser.

Asked how the teaching staff felt about resuming to in-school teaching, Neviaser responded, “They’re very supportive,” adding, “More than 65 people worked on preparing the reopening plans for the district and the majority of those were staff members.”

Emphasizing again that, “The plan is flexible and will change if the health data changes, ” Neviaser concluded that as of now,”The general consensus is very positive. People recognize we all need to work together. The vast majority is being very supportive and helpful,” adding encouragingly,  “Really, they’re being wonderful about it.”

Editor’s Note: We talked at some length Wednesday evening with Superintendent Neviaser about how the LOL School sports program might look in the fall but he noted a plan was being sent out from the state within the next few days. The plan has just been received and so we will write an article incorporating that latest information shortly.

 

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Lyme-Old Lyme High, Middle Schools Announce Q4 Honor Rolls

Lyme-Old Lyme High School 2019-20 Quarter 4 Honor Roll

High Honors

Grade 12:

Anabella Arias, Emily Balocca, Audrey Berry, Chloe Cahill, Madison Cann, Faith Caulkins, Emilia Cheesman, Elizabeth Cravinho, Maria Denya, Raymond Doll, Theodore Enoch, Araselys Farrell, Nicholas Fava, Jada Fuentes, Tanner Griffin, Sophia Griswold, Kamber Hamou, Lauren Huck, Jeffy Joshy, Caroline King, Renate Kuhn, Rachael Larson, Melissa Mauro, Thomas McCarthy, Ryan McTigue, Chandler Munson, Kyle Myers, Samantha Olson, Samantha Owen, Sofia Pecher-Kohout, Jenna Porter, Jared Ritchie, Colby Sides, Emily Speckhals, Evan St.Louis, Olivia Stack, Olivia Tetreault, Ryan Tetreault, Lydia Tinnerello, Sydney Trowbridge, Kiera Ulmer, Megan VanSteenbergen, Jackson Warren, Theodore Wayland, Katelyn Wells, Clair Wholean, Maggie Wisner, Conner Wyman, Katherine Zelmanow

Grade 11:

Kaylee Armenia, Sophia Arnold, Rachel Barretta, Michael Battalino, Maxwell Bauchmann, Ava Berry, Emma Boardman, Sadie Bowman, Kyuss Buono, Kate Cheney, Hunter Collins, Emerson Colwell, Megan Cravinho, Michael Cushman, Patrick Dagher, George Danes, Emily DeRoehn, Francette Donato, Corah Engdall, Leslie Farrell, Isabella Flagge, Sadie Frankel, Fiona Frederiks, Eveliz Fuentes, Jackson Goulding, Samantha Gray, Schuyler Greenho, Lillian Grethel, Emma Griffith, Regan Kaye, Paige Kolesnik, Avery Lacourciere, Grace Lathrop, Owen Macadam, Elle McAraw, Brendan McTigue, Brianna Melillo, Michael Milazzo, Riley Nelson, Timothy O’Brien, Sophia Ortoleva, Connie Pan, Olivia Papanier, Gavin Porter, Aidan Powers, Jacob Quaratella, Ethan Rivera, Julie Rudd, Hayden Saunders, Tait Sawden, Jesper Silberberg, Isabella Smith, Tessa St.Germain, Kassidy Standish, Lian Thompson, McKenzey Thompson, Lauren Wallace, Kelly Walsh, Alison Ward, Ellery Zrenda

Grade 10:

John Almy, Grace Arnold, Nihad Bicic, Hannah Britt, Evan Clark, Ryan Clark, Lauren Creagan, Elise DeBernardo, Elias D’Onofrio, Elizabeth Duddy, Eleanor Dushin, Iona Fitzgerald, Victoria Gage, Aiden Goiangos, Shawn Grenier, Nicolette Hallahan, Austin Halsey, Andrew Hedberg (also Q3), Fiona Hufford, Zoe Jensen, Julia Johnston, Nevin Joshy, Kian Kardestuncer, Cora Kern, Felse Kyle, William Larson, Reese Maguire, Abigail Manthous, Stephanie Mauro, Emily Mesham, Evan Morgan, Samuel Mullaney, Elle Myers, Michael O’Donnell, Bella Orlando, Lauren Presti, Adeline Riccio, Jacob Ritchie, Frank Sablone, Lloret Sala, Olivia Schaedler, Calvin Scheiber, Abigail Sicuranza, McLean Signora, Abby Speckhals, Drew St.Louis, Nikolai Stephens-Zumbaum, Victoria Stout, Maverick Swaney, Olivia Turtoro, Aidan Ward, Melanie Warren, Mary Wholean, Avery Wyman, Ryan Zbierski

Grade 9:

Elsie Arafeh-Hudson, William Barry, Callie Bass, Livie Bass, Cooper Bowman, Gillian Bradley, Ava Brinkerhoff, Jamie Bucior, Gretchen Burgess, Sebastian Burgio, Sarah Burnham, Hayley Cann, Liam Celic, Luke Celic (also Q3), Alexander Chrysoulakis, Grace Colwell, William Danes, Anna Davis, John Eichholz, Zachary Eichholz, Alexis Fenton, Clarence Hinckley, Willa Hoerauf, Arber Hoxha, Karissa Huang, Owen Ingersoll-Bonsack, Aidan Kerrigan, Celia LaConti, Phoebe Lampos, Theodore Lampos, Jonah Lathrop, Marielle Mather, Kennedy McCormick, Madalyn McCulloch, Caden Monte, Calvin Monte, Cooper Munson, Alexander Olsen, Alain Pecher-Kohout, Olivia Powers, Kelsey Pryor, Izzadora Reynolds, Benjamin Roth, Rhyleigh Russell, Eli Ryan, Anders Silberberg, Alyssa Spooner, Samantha Tan, Tova Toriello, Kaitlyn Ward, Harry Whitten, Quinn Williams

Honors

Grade 12:

Faith Brackley, Rory Cavicke, Kevin Davidson, Isabel Dean-Frazier, Leah Fouquette, Connor Hogan, Natalie Meyers, Dylan Mulligan, Chase Reneson, Samuel Roth, Aedan Using

Grade 11:

Bianca Dasilva, Justen Lessard, Katelyn Zbierski

Grade 10:

Lillian Herrera, Alexander Roth, Aidan Russell, Madison Thompson

Grade 9:

Kylie Dishaw, Matthew Grammatico, Monique Lavoie, Marco Supersano, George Williams

Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School 2019-20 Quarter 4 Honor Roll

High Honors

Grade 8:

Emma Bayor, Oliver Berry, Alis Bicic, Elliot Bjornberg, Drew Brackley, Natalie Buckley, Sarah Colangelo, Ava Cummins, Ella Curtiss-Reardon, Eric Dagher, Eva D’Onofrio, Amelia Gage, Ryder Goss, Sydney Goulding, Nyla Goulis, Alexis Grasdock, Justin Green, Katherine Gryk, Nathaniel Heon, Sedona Holland, Agatha Hunt, Beatrice Hunt, Sabina Jungkeit, Emmerson Kaye, Grady Lacourciere, Audrey LeCour, Luke Legein, Brodie Lippincott, Griffin McGlinchey, Lucas McMillan, Matthew Miller, Katherine Mullaney, Delaney Nelson, Isabelle O’Connor, Kayla O’Leary, Ronald Olin, Jack Porter, Luisa Raby, Cailin Ruhling, Owen Snurkowski, Madeleine Soriano, Hannah Thomas, Louisa Warlitz, Mason Wells, Summer Wollack

Grade 7:

Christopher Anderson, Emma Arelt, Quinn Arico, Oliver Avelange, Natalie Barndt, Micah Bass, Gavin Biega, Molly Boardman, Chase Calderon, Andrew Clougherty, Tabitha Colwell, Amber Cutler, Chloe Datum, Andrea DeBernardo, Jared DeMarco, Zoe Eastman-Grossel, Caeli Edmed, Anna Eichholz, Davis Fallon, Grace Ferman, Samantha Fiske, Benedict Frazier, Hoshena Gemme, Ava Gilbert, Marco Gonzaga, Henry Griswold, Kaela Hoss, Kyle Ingersoll-Bonsack, Hannah Johnston, Shyla Jones, Simon Karpinski, Olivia Kelly, Ella Kiem, Peter Kuhn, Bronwyn Kyle, Ada LaConti, Elise Leonardo, Evan LeQuire, Andrew Liu, Elizabeth Lopez, Colette Marchant, Hannah Miller, Abigail O’Brien, Kanon Oharu, Sophie Pennie, Mutia Quarshie, Andrew Sicuranza, Drea Simler, Nola Slubowski, Audrey Spiegel, Morgan Standish, Madeline Supersano, Kathleen Walsh

Grade 6:

Zoe Brunza, Alec Butzer, Makayla Calderon, Tyler Cann, Colman Curtiss-Reardon, Christopher Dagher, James Dahlke, Sophia D’Angelo, Rose Dimmock, William Donnelly, Arthur Fusscas, Eric Fusscas, Chase Gilbert, Alexander Glaras, Scarlette Graybill, Christopher Kachur, Thomas Kelly, Katherine King, Harrison Kleefeld, Jade Lawton, Maya LeQuire, Jayden Livesey, Emily Looney, Sebastian Lopez-Bravo, Ian Maeby, Elise Marchant, Samuel Masanz, Carter McGlinchey, Ryan Miller, Eiley Montanaro, Sybil Neary, Nina Nichols, Michael Nickerson, Ryan Olsen, Ryan Ortoleva, Quenten Patz, Isabella Presti, Jacob Prokopets, Luca Signora, Emma Singleton, Tanner Snurkowski, Charlotte Spiegel, Addison Spooner, Carson St.Louis, Andrew Taylor, Meredith Thompson, Margaret Thuma, Lucian Tracano, Madeleine Trepanier, Elisabeth Viera, Warren Volles, Oliver Wyman, Carl Zapatka

Honors

Grade 8:

Henry Boremski, Douglas Griswold, Anna McAdams, Gabriel Tooker, Tyler Wells

Grade 7:

Nathaniel Bradley, Mark Burnham, Erin Durant, Max Novak, Andrew Sprankle, Ava Wilcox

Grade 6:

Charlotte Antonino, Trevor Buydos, Jack Conroy, Alexa Donovan, Benjamin Goulding, William Landon, Jeremiah Miller, Taylor Quintin, Connor Vautrain, Edith Williams, Julius Wilson, Katherine Zhang

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Re-Opening Plans for Lyme-Old Lyme Schools in Fall Include Mandatory Mask-Wearing, Physical Distancing, Cohorting

What will a classroom look like in Lyme-Old Lyme when schools reopen in the fall?

LYME/OLD LYME — “The only constant in these plans will be flexibility,” said Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser during a phone conversation with LymeLine.com on Wednesday while discussing the numerous changes that will be implemented in the upcoming fall semester at Lyme-Old Lyme Schools in order to for them to reopen safely.

Neviaser started by explaining that the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) has recently issued a 50-page plan titled, “Adapt, Advance, Achieve,” which requires each town or Regional School District in Connecticut to submit a fall 2020 reopening plan incorporating the state’s guidelines to the CSDE by July 24. The state plan calls for reopening all schools in the state to all students in the fall of this year.

Noting that two district committees — ‘Operations’ and ‘Remote Learning’ — are currently working on preparation of this LOL Schools’ reopening plan, Neviaser said he intended to share it with parents towards the end of July or early August. He stressed that this plan would be the district’s overall plan and that individual school plans are currently being drawn up by the school principals in association with a team of teachers and parents at each school.

Neviaser explained that the Remote Learning Committee is looking at models for hybrid learning (a combination of in-school and at-home study) and the Operations Committee is responsible for, “Everything else … which includes buses, masks, health,” and more.

After the district-level plan has been distributed, Neviaser said a survey would be sent out to parents including questions such as whether their children would be returning to school; traveling to school by bus; and using the school’s lunch service.

Key points of the reopening plan are that:

  • The 2020-21 school calendar has been changed so that all six teacher development days are at the beginning of the school year and the first day of school is pushed back to Sept. 1.
  • Face coverings will be required by all persons in all school buildings. There will only be exceptions for verified medical reasons.
  • Physical distancing will be implemented by various means throughout all five schools. Neviaser noted they are now using the term ‘physical’ rather than ‘social’ since it is felt that students benefit from social engagement.
  • Cohorting will be introduced for students, in Neviaser’s words, “as best we can … to limit the number of interactions students have with larger groups.”

In response to a question about whether students will be required to return to school, Neviaser said, “Allowances will be made for families to participate remotely.” He added that he had participated in a call set up by the LOL Schools’ accrediting body, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), with a number of  schools in other countries, which have already been through the COVID-19-related return-to-school process. Their experience was that roughly “20 percent of students did not return initially” but that after two to three weeks, that number had risen to almost 100 percent.

Neviaser commented, “We’re hoping for the same phenomena here.”

On the subject of buses, Neviaser noted strict protocols would be in place to promote physical distancing on board school buses but the use of buses will be discouraged whenever possible, saying, “If someone can drive you in[to school], we’d prefer they drive in.”

Explaining ways in which physical distancing will be implemented in the schools, Neviaser said, “We’re changing the traffic patterns in the high school so that all hallways are one-way.”

He also noted that arrangements for school lunches would be markedly different from previous years with all elementary age children (K-5) eating lunch in their classrooms while middle schoolers would eat with their grade in two different locations — the gym and the cafeteria — with 40 to 45 students physically spaced in each space.

Meanwhile at the high school, the number of lunch waves would be doubled from two to four thus reducing the number of students at each wave with provisions being made to allow the students to sit further apart. Neviaser also mentioned that all students will be encouraged to bring their own lunch to school whenever possible.

Asked whether LOL Schools would have a sports program in the fall, Neviaser responded, “We’re following CIAC [Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference] guidelines … and our intention is to have sports.” He noted that a letter would soon be going out to parents from the LOL Athletic Director, Hildie Heck, saying that at this point students, “will go through the regular process” for sports sign-up’s. Neviaser added though, “As we get more information, we will adjust if necessary.”

Art and Technical Education classes are presenting special challenges in terms of the planning due to the use of shared materials. Neviaser said, “We’re working on trying to address those things,” adding that students will be required to wear protective gloves when appropriate, for example when using a drill but not an electric saw. He also noted that music classes — both instrumental and choir — require detailed planning with an increasing awareness of the nature of virus transmission.

“We’re buying a lot of disinfectant wipes,” Neviaser commented, “… and students will be cleaning up after themselves whenever possible.”

Asked what the plan is should anyone in the schools appear COVID-19 symptomatic, Neviaser replied that the individual would be moved to the Isolation Room by the appropriately protected school nurse (there will be an Isolation Room in each school) and then, “The school will follow the recommendations of Ledge Light Health District and proceed on the advice of the school district’s Medical Adviser.” He said the precise response to each individual and the associated quarantine requirements will be determined “on a case by case basis.”

In response to a question regarding the greatest concern he is currently hearing from parents and the broader community, Neviaser didn’t hesitate to respond, “Mask-wearing … especially for younger children.” He pointed out that presently, “The state’s expectation is that all children wear masks.” This would therefore include pre-schoolers but Neviaser noted that he, along with numerous other superintendents, around the state has raised further inquiries about masks requirements for that age cohort and a response from the state is still pending.

Neviaser also remarked that a new aspect of school life will be introduced in September when “mask-breaks” become a regular feature of the academic day. During these breaks, students will be permitted to remove their masks.

Throughout the conversation, Neviaser stressed repeatedly that these plans could change in the time leading up to the start of school and also once school has started. Saying,”We’re doing a lot of planning now but we’re prepared to change at any time,” he added, “We can shift to a hybrid plan [a combination of in-school and remote learning] or a completely remote plan,” as circumstances dictate.

He concluded, “Flexibility is key.”

Editor’s Note: Visit this link to read the previous article by Olwen Logan published July 11, titled, Neviaser Discusses Lyme-Old Lyme Schools’ Draft Reopening Plan with BOE; Says “This is New to Everyone. Schools Have Never Run Like This”

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Neviaser Discusses Lyme-Old Lyme Schools’ Draft Reopening Plan with BOE; Says “This is New to Everyone. Schools Have Never Run Like This”

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser discusses the reopening plan for LOL Schools during the Board of Education meeting held virtually July 1.

LYME/OLD LYME — At its regular monthly meeting held virtually July 1 via Zoom, the Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Board of Education discussed the Connecticut State Department of Education’s plan titled, “Adapt, Advance, Achieve,” which had been received the previous week.

The plan gives guidelines for reopening all schools in the state in fall 2020 and requires all Connecticut towns and regional school districts to submit their own specific plans for reopening, which incorporate the state’s guidelines, by July 24.

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser noted that the 50-page document from the state, “Covers the major areas the state expects us to focus on,” which he said LOL Schools have broken down into five main sections.

The first is ‘Priorities,’ which gives “a general focus on a reopening model, in which every single student will have the opportunity to return in the fall,” adding that it does however, “have an allowance for students not to participate.” There are also requirements to appoint a School Liaison point-person, who will be available for any questions on the reopening of LOL Schools, and to create both a Communications Plan and a Data Collection Plan for the district.

The second section is ‘Operations,’ which includes the areas of facilities, cohorting, child nutrition (school lunches) and transportation. Neviaser commented that there was considerable work to be done to determine how lunches would be handled, but they “Won’t look the same.” He also mentioned that transportation is “the only area where they [the state] have identified a detailed description of what it will look like,” noting that all students will be required to wear masks on buses.

The third area of ‘Health Practices and Protocols’ focuses on training for staff regarding COVID-19 on, for example, how to sneeze and/or cough, and identifying symptoms of the virus. It also describes a Health Monitoring Plan, which must be maintained to record the numbers of COVID-19 cases reported, and also shared with the local health department.

A fourth area titled, ‘Family Support and Communication’ relates to the issues of social and emotional support with, “a strong focus on reconnecting students and families with school.”

The final section of ‘Staffing and Personnel’ relates to matters including teacher certification and professional development.

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Board of Education Chairman Diane Linderman listens as the Superintendent discusses the reopening plan for LOL Schools.

Neviaser explained that two LOL Schools’ Committees — namely ‘Operations’ and ‘Distance Learning,’ (which Neviaser mentioned should now be called ‘Remote Learning’ to be consistent with the state’s terminology) — have been working intensively since the schools were closed in March.  The latter is planning models for both ‘blended’ (a combination of in-school and at-home study) and ‘at home’ programs since, in Neviaser’s word, “We need to be prepared for both of those.”

The superintendent had prepared a draft calendar for LOL Schools for the 2020-21 school year in which all six teacher development days are moved to the beginning of the school year and the first day of school is pushed back to Sept. 1. The idea behind this proposal is that “a lot of educating for our staff” needs to take place before students can return, adding, “There is much more to open school this year than any other year.”

He stressed that the draft calendar is very tentative at this stage and still a topic of active discussion. Similarly, Neviaser noted that although a reopening plan has to be submitted to the state by July 24, things may still change after that, “on a day to day basis,” and emphasized the need for staff, students and parents to be flexible with adapting to the reopening procedures.  

Nevaiser stated the reopening plan, “will continue to evolve — even after school has started … What we say today could very well change two months from now … We fully anticipate that there will be changes and we recognize that we need to adapt to those changes.”

Questions from board members ranged from how the plan is going to be communicated to parents and how attendance will be recorded — especially in light of the ‘opt-out’ possibilities for students — to how the type of masks used by students will be regulated and what the provisions will be for teachers and/or students who are unable to wear masks.  There were also questions about whether additional staff would be required to implement the reopening plan and how the requirement for students to wear masks all day would be handled.

Neviaser responded that, in many cases, “We don’t have all the answers yet,” but said “mask-breaks” were being planned when students could remove their masks under certain specified circumstances.  He noted schools will be required to have isolation rooms for students and teachers who may have contracted COVID and emphasized that, “This is going to look slightly different at each school building … school principals will develop plans for their building.”

Regarding communication of the plan, Neviaser said he anticipated “providing information to parents” in late July or early August and would follow that with a parent survey seeking responses on whether their children would be returning to school, whether they would be using school buses (Neviaser noted use of buses will be discouraged where possible) and whether the student(s) would be using the school lunch service.

Neviaser summed up the whole reopening situation saying, “This is new to everyone. Schools have never run like this; we will adapt and improve, and work towards getting better at this every day.”

Editor’s Note: Olwen Logan contributed to this article.

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Neviaser “Very Pleased” with Governor’s Plan to Reopen All CT Schools in Fall 2020

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser

OLD LYME — Asked his reaction to Governor Ned Lamont and Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona’s announcement yesterday that all schools statewide should plan to reopen to all students in the fall of 2020, Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser told LymeLine exclusively by phone this morning that he is “very pleased with the Governor’s plan.”

The plan calls for mandatory mask-wearing by students and staff with certain exceptions, cohorting so that teams function independently as much as possible, and social distancing combined with heightened health and safety protocols.

The full press release from the Governor’s office is published in its entirety below.

Neviaser said, “I’m especially glad to see that they’re giving local flexibility … one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to schools … schools are different sizes, have different populations … or to put it another way, we’re different from Old Saybrook and East Lyme … and Hartford.”

Regarding next steps, Neviaser explained, “We have two committees already in place that have been anxiously awaiting this guidance.” He said that apart from the full return to school option, they have been looking into “remote learning” and also “a hybrid model with students coming into school on alternate days.”

Now the committees will work intensively to determine the optimum ways to implement the Governor’s plans specifically for Lyme-Old Lyme Schools. Neviaser said, “Ideally, we’ll get everyone back [to school] in a way that follows all the guidelines to keeps students and staff safe.” He added that LOL Schools will be working with the local health departments to ensure they comply with all health and safety guidelines.

Asked whether he thought the fall sports program would take place, Neviaser responded, “We intend to [have it in place] … the CIAC (Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference) does too [for all schools in the conference] — we just don’t have any details yet.”

Finally, Neviaser noted that he does not know yet whether LOL Schools will have to supply masks to students and faculty, if the state will supply them or if students and faculty will be required to supply their own. Indicating he awaits further direction on that, he said that in the meantime, “I just have no idea.”

The following is the full press release issued by Governor Ned Lamont’s office yesterday, June 25:  Governor Ned Lamont and Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona announced details yesterday of the framework to allow all students – in all school districts statewide – the opportunity to have access to in-school, full-time instruction at the beginning of the 2020-21 academic year, as long as public health data continues to support this model.

While Connecticut has determined reopening schools for in-person instruction can be achieved based upon the state’s successful COVID-19 containment efforts, this model will be supported with more intensive mitigation strategies and specific monitoring, containment, and class cancellation plans.

“While we’ve made good strides to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in Connecticut, the virus hasn’t gone away and we need to do what we can to keep students and staff safe while also doing our best to provide our young people with access to an education that prepares them for the future,” Governor Lamont said.

He continued, “Working with public health and medical experts, and with the support of our educators, we are preparing a number of steps that protect the health and safety of everyone who makes contact with our school system.”

In assessing the approach to a required operating model, the Connecticut State Department of Education (SDE) considered input from school representatives, educators, families, students, educational stakeholders, advocacy organizations, and union representatives. The department conducted a review of nationally and globally published school reopening plans. The importance of access to in-person schooling rose as a priority related to educational opportunities, safety, wellbeing, and social-emotional learning.

“This pandemic represents more than a virus, it represents an historic disruption to our school communities and created barriers to how we best deliver academic and non-academic supports in a way that is accessible, equitable, and meaningful,” Commissioner Cardona said.

“Addressing the educational setbacks and the social-emotional toll caused by COVID-19 is best addressed by maximizing in-person instructional time,” noted Cardona, adding, “In developing this plan, we worked in close consultation with public health officials to prioritize the safety of our school communities and, just as intensively, engaged students, parents, and educators for their critical input. We stand with our districts, educators and families as we commit to making 2020-21 a year devoted to creativity, innovation, courage, and reimagining education together.”

In addition to the framework released today, SDE plans to release a more detailed guidance document next week that will provide more comprehensive information for school districts.

**DownloadExecutive summary of Connecticut’s 2020-21 school planning
**DownloadPresentation on Connecticut’s 2020-21 school planning

Framework for Connecticut Schools During the 2020-21 Academic Year
Guiding Principles

As Connecticut schools plan to reopen, the guidance and considerations outlined in this framework are grounded in six guiding principles:

  1. Safeguarding the health and safety of students and staff;
  2. Allowing all students the opportunity to return into the classrooms full time starting in the fall;
  3. Monitoring the school populations and, when necessary, potentially cancelling classes in the future to appropriately contain COVID-19 spread;
  4. Emphasizing equity, access, and support to the students and communities who are emerging from this historic disruption;
  5. Fostering strong two-way communication with partners such as families, educators and staff; and
  6. Factoring into decisions about reopening the challenges to the physical safety and social-emotional well-being of our students when they are not in school.

These guiding principles require all districts to develop their plans with a certain level of consistency, however they retain wide discretion in implementing approaches to reopening given unique local considerations. School districts must balance their planning with contingency plans to provide robust, blended learning or remote learning for all grades in the event that a school, district, or region has to cancel or limit in-person classes due to health precautions.

Main Operational Considerations

Cohorting

  • Districts should emphasize grouping students by the same class/group of students and teacher (into a cohort) so each team functions independently as much as possible. Consider this methodology by grade levels.
  • Placing students in cohorts is strongly encouraged for grades K-8, and encouraged where feasible for grades 9-12.

Social Distancing and Facilities

  • Review building space and reconfigure available classroom space, such as gymnasiums and auditoriums, to maximize social distancing, consistent with public health guidelines in place at that time.

Transportation

  • Districts should plan for buses to operate close to capacity with heightened health and safety protocols, including requiring all students and operators wear face coverings.
  • Plans must be developed to activate increased social distancing protocols based upon community spread.

Face Coverings

  • All staff and students will be expected to wear a protective face covering or face mask that completely covers the nose and mouth when inside the school building, except for certain exceptions including when teachers are providing instruction.

Ensuring Equity and Access

  • Equitable access to education is a top priority that supports a full-time in-school model by mitigating any barriers to education or opportunity gaps that increased during the pandemic. Efforts to support equity, close the opportunity gap, and provide a wide range of support for students in the state is best achieved with in-person schooling opportunities for all ages.
  • Districts should identify gaps and develop action plans for reopening that specifically address inclusion, equity, and access for all learners with strategies and clearly defined action steps.
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Lyme-Old Lyme Lions Award Four Scholarships to LOLHS Seniors


OLD LYME — On Wednesday, June 17, the Lyme-Old Lyme Lions awarded four $1500 scholarships to deserving Lyme-Old Lyme High School Seniors in the Meeting Hall at the Old Lyme Town Hall.

Old Lyme First Selectman Tim Griswold, right in photo above, presented the scholarships and was assisted by Michael Kolar, President of the Lyme-Old Lyme Lions, left in photo.

Also pictured in the photo above are, from left to right:

  • Kyle Myers, recipient of the Don McCue Memorial Scholarship, which is offered in memory of Donald McCue, a man dedicated to his community
  • Evan St.Louis, recipient of the Lew Krouse Memorial Scholarship, which is offered in memory of one of the greatest Lions to belong to the LOL Lions Club. In honor of his profession, the primary criteria for award eligibility is a desire to pursue an undergraduate degree in communications. Other criteria that will affect the decision include community service, academics, and athletics.
  • Julia Stout, recipient of the Harold Nickerson Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded based on a combination of scholastic and athletic achievement.
  • Elizabeth Cravinho, recipient of the Ralph Kehoe Memorial Scholarship, awarded to a graduating senior with a solid academic record, who has been accepted as a full-time student at a post-high school accredited institution and involved in some community and/or school activities.
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Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Recognize Four Students with CABE Leadership Awards

Emily Balocca (left), pictured in this screenshot from the June 6 LOL Board of Education virtual meeting was the female recipient of the 2020 CABE Student Leadership Award. Emily’s mother Katie is pictured at right in photo.

OLD LYME — Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser and the LOL Board of Education recognized Emily Balocca and Raymond Doll at the June 3 Board of Education meeting as recipients of Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) Student Leadership Awards. Both Balocca and Doll are 12th grade students at Lyme-Old Lyme High School.

Delaney Nelson and Justin Green, who are 8th grade students at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School, were also recently recognized with CABE Student Leadership Award.

Students are nominated to receive this award by their school principal and must have exhibited the following leadership skills:

  • Willingness to take on challenges
  • Capability to make difficult decisions
  • Concern for others
  • Ability to work with others
  • Willingness to commit to a project
  • Diplomacy
  • Ability to understand issues clearly
  • Ability to honor a commitment
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Old Lyme Historical Society Announces Scholarship Winners

Old Lyme Historical Society Inc. Scholarship winner Conner Wyman (center) of Old Lyme stands with his parents Erin and Rick Wyman, and his two brothers, Avery and Oliver. Photos by James Meehan.

OLD LYME — At the 15th Annual Meeting of the Old Lyme Historical Society Inc. (OLHSI), which was held virtually June 8 via Zoom, Kevin Cole, Chairman of the OLHSI Scholarship & Youth Outreach Committee, announced the recipients of the 2020 Carol Noyes Winters Scholarship Awards,  which are given annually to outstanding Lyme-Old Lyme students intending to study history in college.

The second OLHSI Scholarship winner was Audrey Berry (center) who stands with her parents Mandy Campbell Berry and Rob Berry.

Cole noted, “Once again this year, there were two exemplary recipients: Conner Wyman and Audrey Berry,” adding,C”ongratulations to both of them!”

The awards were presented in person June 10, at a ceremony held at the OLHSI building on Lyme St.

During his announcement in the Annual Meeting, Cole went on to give more details of Wyman and Berry’s credentials which caused them to be selected as the award winners.

Cole described Wyman’s, “Seriously impressive responses on his application and exemplary references,” which included many previous awards such as the Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) Social Studies Scholar Award 2019 and the VFW Voice of Democracy Certificate of Merit 2017.

Cole noted that Wyman had attended the Global Peace Conference in Cali, Columbia and was selected by LOLHS History teachers to attend the 2018 Connecticut Boys’ State Conference.

Mentioning that Wyman volunteers at a Soup Kitchen and is an accomplished musician, Cole commented that Wyman is passionate about history and has a unique vision of how it applies to his future plans and goals.

Wyman, who will attend Oberlin College in the fall, is interested in issues of social justice, is considering joining the Peace Corps, Amnesty International, or Human Rights Watch in the future.

Similarly, Cole noted that Audrey Berry gave, “exemplary responses in her application and superior references,” and had “Many noteworthy awards and accomplishments.” She is a three-year member of the LOLHS Local History Club and served as its president this year. She received the following LOLHS Awards for Excellence: Civics and Law, Roots of Democracy, Advanced Placement (AP) European History, and AP US History.

Berry was a Rotary Student of the Month in Social Studies and volunteered for a year in OLHSI archives. She also wrote an article about Emily Sophie Brown, which was published in the CT Explored magazine’s Women’s Suffrage issue titled, “One of the First Five.”

Cole noted that Berry, who will attend UConn in the fall, plans on pursuing a career in historical research and writing.

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Joyful Car Parade After Lyme-Old Lyme HS Drive-Up Graduation May Have Started a New Tradition


Editor’s Note: We are pleased to include some photos in this essay taken by professional photographer Kim Tyler. If you would like to access her photo gallery of the ceremony, visit this link. The gallery will be available for three months after publication  for online ordering. Kim, who is an alumni of Lyme-Old Lyme High School, is now a sought-after photographer, and proud to call many Lyme and Old Lyme residents clients.

OLD LYME — It was unlike any graduation ceremony witnessed in Old Lyme previously.

Commencement ceremonies for the Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) Class of 2020 took seven full hours starting at 10 a.m. on Friday. The handful of dignitaries on the stage wore not only their traditional gowns but also face-masks adorned with a Wildcat pawprint.

Photo by Kim Tyler.

Each graduating student — wearing a face-mask — drove up to the appointed place in front of the high school with their family and closest friends — also all wearing masks — and in no more than two cars per student.

Photo by Kim Tyler.

Honor Essayist Theodore ‘Teddy’ Wayland smiles broadly after receiving his diploma.

Students were allowed to remove their masks after receiving their diplomas for family members to snap a few quick photos.

Photo by Kim Tyler.

Photo by Kim Tyler.

Photo by Kim Tyler.

Photo by Kim Tyler.

The faculty were out in force – but socially distanced — lining the high school roadway all wearing masks but not gowns, holding signs and enthusiastically cheering on the students.

 

There were no speeches nor songs and no bands nor bouquets, there was no choir nor crowd, no marching in nor marching out, and no celebratory turning of tassels nor tossing of caps … and yet this will probably go down as one of the most memorable of all commencement ceremonies.

Normally, on the evening of graduation, the graduates are whisked off to an all-night party at a secret location. That obviously could not happen this year and so instead a group of parents of the seniors organized a car parade for the graduates.

The appropriately decorated cars gathered at Town Woods Park and then the cars under the watchful eye of the Old Lyme Police and supported by the Lyme and Old Lyme Emergency Services, began their journey up Town Woods Rd., right onto Boston Post Rd., then south down Lyme St. and McCurdy Rd.

The atmosphere was charged and the roads were lined with well-wishers.

Sirens were blaring, horns were honking and signs and balloons were everywhere.

The community was thrilled to be able to celebrate the student’s success after such a challenging year. The universal message both spoken person-to-person and on social media was that this parade should become an integral part of future graduations.

How wonderful that after all the disappointment of not having a traditional graduation ceremony, something may have been born that will become a staple in Lyme-Old Lyme High School Commencements of the future!

Sincere thanks to our army of photographers: Kathryn Wayland, Lynn Fairfield-Sonn, Susan Irwin, Michele Dickey, and Michellee Spiers.

We’ll add more photos, a video, and the pre-recorded speeches Sunday morning. Come back and see us  then! Meanwhile, enjoy this wonderful video taken by Old Lyme Volunteer Fireman James Oldfield of the parade from the top of the Old Lyme Fire Department ladder.

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Congratulations to the Lyme-Old Lyme HS Class of 2020! Read the Speeches, Names of Graduates

THE SPEECHES

Senior Head Advisor and Speaker – Ms. Emily Macione, who was also presented with the Mildred Sanford Outstanding Educator Award.

Good evening members of the board of education, distinguished faculty and administration, family and friends, and most especially the Class of 2020. 

It is a pleasure to be here, and to share in celebrating this group of wonderful individuals, who are so many things to so many people. To your teachers, you are creators, engineers, mathematicians, and entrepreneurs. To your coaches, you are competitors, motivators and play- makers…to your friends, you are sounding boards, comedians, confidants….to your parents, sons and daughters……but to me, you’ve always just been “my class.” 

It might surprise you all to know that I have been working on this speech for the past four years. Way back when you first walked through the doors of the high school on that warm August evening for your freshman picnic, and we were introduced for the first time…I went home that night and began to envision our future together. I may not have yet put pen to paper (or fingers to keys), but much like you, I started to imagine what the next four years might hold. And still even then, I was also envisioning a specific day, four years in the future, where instead of looking at what lay ahead, I would be reflecting on what was now behind. Your time here at Lyme-Old Lyme High School. Today. Graduation day. 

In the four-year span of time in between, I have been making mental notes, adding to my ‘outline’ of this speech with references to pep rallies, class events, spirit weeks, junior prom, senior ball and so forth. I promised myself I would make at least two good jokes about the infamous freshman Lock-In. I’m still not sure how I let the class officers convince me that would be a good idea. Going back over everything, as I’m sure some of you have in recent days, little things would pop up in memory here and there, all coming together in my mind to form the mosaic of your high school experience. The paragraphs began to take shape in my head. I would end with something about the senior banquet, our class trip, graduation rehearsal…the final moments we all shared, encapsulating your four years. 

Only, as you all know, that was not the ending we got. Without warning, this school year took a drastic and unexpected turn. We have all been forced to live in a new reality, and abide by a set of rules we had no hand in making. Like many of you I have spoken to, at one point, the idea of ‘school from home’ seemed kind of wonderful. Sleep in every day? Sure. Make my own schedule? Definitely. Take breaks when I feel like it? Love that. But, as is always the case with the “greener” grass…there have been drawbacks. 

I returned to the draft of my speech and started to consider those drawbacks. What did I miss the most about school? What did I want back? Perhaps not so surprisingly, it was not any class event or fundraiser. It wasn’t anything in particular…just you. All 127 of you. That’s what I was missing. Those little moments in my daily routine, where one of you bellowing ‘Hi Ms. Mass’ down the hall or giving me a fist bump would brighten my day. Seeing our many senior athletes on game day, pumped for their matches. Chatting with the line of seniors in the office for early dismissal. Daily interactions in my homeroom. Laughing at practice with my lacrosse players. A collection of tiny little moments. I imagine that I speak for many fellow faculty members when I say that I don’t have strong memories of my own high school dances, or class fundraisers, or even graduation. I have a sense of the time, composed of little seemingly insignificant moments with my friends and family. Moments that back then, seemed easy to forget. Yet here I am, age 39, still remembering them. In the end, it turns out that those little moments were actually the big moments. Or, at least, the moments that really mattered. 

As you prepare to leave the confines of Lyme-Old Lyme and step into the ‘real world,’ you have a unique opportunity to experience life in a way that no one before you has. You take this next step forward in the wake of a paradigm shift, where terms like quarantine and social distance are now a part of our vocabulary. Hopefully your time away from school this spring has taught you something. I’m here to tell you, whatever it may be, do not let the lesson go to waste. 

Appreciate the small things. 

Don’t take time for granted. 

Have compassion for your neighbors. 

Nothing lasts forever. 

Be present. 

There is nothing quite like a global pandemic to make the world collectively pause. Nature is powerful, and we know this, but it is an easy thing to forget, the more we become insulated in the frenetic pace of life…always looking forward to the next thing, the next goal we want to accomplish, the next stage of our lives. Trust me, it happens in a flash. 

Now, no graduation speech is complete without a quote to let the audience ponder. There is no shortage of applicable content out there, but the quote I’ve chosen for you is one that I settled on many years ago, long before I took on the role of class advisor. It comes from a show called One Tree Hill, and those familiar with the series will know that it centers on the lives of teenagers, much like yourselves, and the trials and tribulations of growing up. Sadly, it is no longer on Netflix, but with nine seasons, I assure you that it is highly binge-able should you get the chance to watch it. In the final episode, the lead character, now a father himself, reflects on the course his life has taken, and remarks: “It’s the oldest story in the world. One day, you are 17 and planning for ‘someday.’ And then quietly and without you ever really noticing, someday is today. And then someday is yesterday. And this is your life.” 

I cannot emphasize enough how much this quote still resonates with me, as it has every day since I first heard it. In my opinion, it touches on a concept that’s difficult to grasp – the passage of time, and what it is to grow up. For what feels like forever, your life is one way, and then suddenly it’s not. You knew the day was coming, and then the day is here, and then it’s gone. I don’t think anything sums up being a teenager more perfectly than that. 

So be present. Live by your terms, in the moment. As much as today is a time to reflect, it is also a time to look forward, to the next chapter of your life. To all that’s ahead of you. It’s your time – what will you do with it? 

Congratulations Class of 2020 – go get ‘em!

 Valedictorian – Ryan McTique

Greetings to the families, guests, faculty, administration, Board of Education, and especially the Class of 2020, whenever and wherever you see this. I cannot make this speech without acknowledging the extraordinary circumstances in which we are currently graduating. Obviously, none of us ever imagined that our last day in school would be that dreary, uncertain, mid-March day, instead of the usual triumphant, sunny day in June. At the very least we have this celebration, but we cannot define our high school based on the last third of our senior year. I think that it is imperative to look fondly on the rest of our time, not just through this darkened lens of lockdown, but despite it. Each of us individually certainly missed at least one significant moment that we would have remembered for years, but that does not mean that we have none of these meaningful moments. I do not want to deliver an elegy for the last third of our senior year; instead, I want to take a moment to remind ourselves of what the past four years have meant to us. 

I remember Sr. Vazquez gave my Spanish class some advice that I think is important at this time. He said that there is a world inside of you, which is the core of your identity, and a world outside of you, which is how others influence who you are. This inner world can be hard to keep in touch with and remember–like trying to view an object through a small mirror–but this is what gives you guidance especially through difficult times. Without staying in touch with our inner world, we can lose sight of who we are. The principles that govern the core of our identity result from our families, our community, and the individual experiences we each have. 

We will all inevitably change in the future, but that change does not mean that we lose this inner world, and how it has been shaped by our time in high school. These years have undeniably changed each of us, so let us embrace that and remember the experiences that have come with them. 

Going forward, I will have memories that I will cherish, and honestly, many of those memories arrive in the seemingly insignificant moments. I suppose that in crew, one day that sticks out to me was when Callum made a casual comment about how one of the wheels on his seat in the boat sounded funny, followed shortly with its bearing shattering without hope of repair, ending our practice after only fifteen minutes. 

When the band went to Hawaii, a few of the guys to one side of our hotel room decided to play ‘Hot Cross Buns’ off their balcony in the middle of the afternoon, and I soon learned that Wilson was in the hotel room next to mine when he stepped out onto his balcony and yelled at them to, “go back inside or get better music!” 

In class, one of my personal favorites was during an English class when Aedan and I had to give a presentation on Horatio Nelson. Mrs. Burke had encouraged videos for this project, and one of the first videos that came up under a google search for “Horatio Nelson” was a pronunciation guide of his name. The video was an unchanging image of the words “Horatio Nelson” typed in large, Times New Roman font on a white background with a person repeatedly saying only “Horatio Nelson” at spaced out intervals. We decided that we had to include this riveting video in our presentation—immediately after our title slide. After getting up in front of the class to deliver our presentation, we played the video of a disinterested voice flatly repeating his name four or five times. We then followed the grand display of pronunciation by mispronouncing “viscount,” quite literally the next word in our presentation. 

These moments could include a memorable discussion in class. I remember a physics class about thermodynamics when someone asked what happens when a fork gets put in a toaster. The roller coaster of a discussion this sparked ended with whether microwaves cause cancer. (If you are curious about the answer, it was a definite no because they do not have enough energy to be a form of ionizing radiation.) I know that each of us has those small memories that can anchor our feelings now and remind us of who we are. 

The memories might just include a small habit, like chatting with Phil in the commons, even though you know that you really should be getting back to Bio right about then, or the various mentions of mouth pipetting in our chemistry class, followed by Mrs. Kelley giving us the obligatory “that’s not proper lab procedure” warning. Apparently, it is safer and more accurate to use the actual pipettes. 

Some of you may recognize a few of these instances, and I am sure that all of you have your own memories that stem from those seemingly insignificant moments. We should all take a little time to look back on them, and realize what they mean to each of us individually. I implore each of you to keep finding those moments–wherever they come–so that we can continue to find comfort and happiness in the little moments. Keep making these memories, big or small, blunder or genius, those will continue to define us, and keep us grounded, even in times like these. 

I will finish with a quote by a great poet, Lord Alfred Tennyson. I want to give some background for how I stumbled onto this quote because I think how I found it speaks nearly as much to what I have been trying to address as the quote speaks for the last point that I want to make. I never would have looked for quotes by Tennyson if it were not for an obscure literary reference in a James Joyce novel we read in Mrs. Burke’s class. We had a discussion about an event in the novel that brought two of the characters into a fistfight over whether Lord Byron or Tennyson was a better poet. I wanted to see if I recognized anything that Tennyson had written, but instead I found a quote that has become very meaningful to me recently, and one that I have reminded myself of when I am not having a great day. He wrote, “hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, ‘it will be happier.’” 

As we begin to navigate this new normal, after high school and reintegrating our normal lives after all the closures and changes, there will probably be days that we need to remind ourselves that we are not defeated, and it will be happier.

Salutatorian – Emily Speckhals

Good morning, afternoon, or evening – whenever you may be watching this. Congratulations to my classmates and fellow high school graduates. And thank you to all families, friends, teachers, guests for “being here” – which I suppose now means not skipping through this part of the video. 

When I think of high school, the first thing that comes to mind is the people I’ve passed the last 4 years with. Imagine one of your favorite memories from high school. What was going on around you? How did you feel? Who was with you? Now imagine the same event, activity, whatever it may have been except now you are alone. I think most of us will find the most notable experiences we’ve had depended on who we shared them with more so than whatever was actually happening. That being said, I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the people that made my memories over the last 4 years. I think you all know who you are, but I wouldn’t be who I am today if not for my friends, teachers, and family. 

As a class, the little everyday moments we spent together are what stick out to me. Sitting in the commons with friends each morning. Teachers saying “hi” in the hallways. Team warm ups at sports practices and school dances. I’m sure we all have scraps of the last four years that will stick with us. Some of these memories we share. From EGO day to our last day of school on Friday the 13th we really have spent a significant amount of time together. I wasn’t going to talk about our current situation, but a part of me knows this speech would be incomplete without acknowledging the fact that we aren’t sitting in rows on the field today as we always expected to be. The reason I bring up the memories we share is that when we look back on high school, we will all see this period of time – to some extent – similarly. In that way we will be together even as reality holds us at a distance. 

Now I’m not going to give you all some profound advice because I don’t know any more than any of you do. I’m not going to talk about how much we’re going to miss Lyme-Old Lyme High School because, whether or not that’s even true, I don’t think anyone wants to hear about it. What I can do is share something that really had an impact on me in the last four years. 

I think a lot of you know this about me, but robotics has been basically my whole life for most of the last three years. That being said, a little-known story is that of how I got there. I remember the first robotics meeting I ever went to. I think it’s interesting that I don’t quite remember what convinced me to show up to that meeting. I remember I was late because I’d come straight from a cross country meet so I stood at the back of Mr Derry’s room listening to current team members speak to their experiences. They concluded the meeting by explaining the extent of the time commitment robotics requires. That it’s not like the clubs that meet for 15 minutes once a week and it isn’t for everybody. I remember wondering how long I’d last on the team. I doubted whether I’d be up for the commitment and the effort, but look where I ended up. I’ve poured more hours than I could count into robotics and enjoyed (almost) every single one. 

I will always be grateful for the experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve met because I went to that first robotics meeting, and a second meeting, and many more to follow. I think something we could all do to remember as we move out of the familiar bubble of Lyme-Old Lyme High School is the importance of trying new things and seeing what sticks. You could end up finding your people in a group you never even quite planned to join. So that’s my little bit of advice for us, myself included, to try to remember to put ourselves out there. 

And with that, I wish the best of luck to all my classmates in whatever the future may hold for you. Thank you.

Honor Essayist –Theodore Wayland

To start off, I’d like to thank all of my classmates, friends, teachers, parents, and family who have helped create such a wonderful high school experience for the class of 2020. I didn’t know what I was getting into four years ago, but now that it’s coming to an end, I see it all turned out just fine. 

We first started our journey into high school in the fall of 2016. I’m sure we all remember those first days, struggling to find classes, seeing what seemed like a million new faces, and not knowing which lunch waves we were in. So much has changed since these days, except maybe understanding lunch waves, and we are finally graduating. I remember hearing past seniors’ speeches about how time flies over these four years, and I’d think: that can’t be, the second semester of Junior year seemed to drag on forever. But now, when I look back at the last four years of my own life, I find myself asking: Where did the time go? 

Half of this time we were underclassmen. I know you might not want to remember that, but I recall just trying to do well in my classes and have some fun along the way, not really knowing where the rest of my life was headed. We were told to be productive in study hall, although doing nothing always seemed more enticing, at least to me. 

A common experience for many of us during these first two years was getting exciting for the next sports season, the next state tournament game, or shoreline finals match. Coming together to support our school shows the passion in our class. I think as freshmen we would all look forward to junior and senior year when we could be team captains, mvps, or maybe even recruits to a college for our favorite sport. 

Approaching junior year, we started to take harder classes, and classes that were more specific regarding a career path. Again, we are supposed to be setting ourselves up for success in the future. Whether it was shop classes, art classes, music classes, or something else, being able to have more flexibility in our schedules for the things we loved most seemed like the best thing ever. 

High school seemed to only get better every year. 

I always thought that the first three years of year school just built up to a great senior year but look at our lives now. We can’t go anywhere, do anything, or even see any of our friends. The supposed peak of our high school careers, our senior spring, is nothing like we imagined. 

We may have our post-high school plans, but we don’t know what happens after that. This thought nagged me ever since out last normal day of school, until I finally came to a conclusion. You can spend your whole life worried about what happens next, or you can enjoy what you have. 

The most important lesson I’ve learned, and what I think we’ve all learned, is to say yes. Throughout your time in high school, you may have been asked: 

Do you want to join our club? 

Will you play on our sports team? 

Are you going to see the state finals? 

Do you want to retake that test you failed? 

Are you applying there for college? 

Do you want to go on this fieldtrip? 

I feel that our class is unique because the answer to all these questions has always been yes. Even though in this moment, it might feel like we are missing out on our high school experience, I promise you, our high school experience has not been lacking in any way. We can still think back to better days, but we have to live in the moment and enjoy it, because it disappears quickly. We won’t get any substitute for all that we’ve missed our senior year, but that’s ok. Instead of torturing myself wondering when life will go back to normal after this whole covid-19 situation is over, I realized that it won’t. This is our high school experience, and it’s unlike anything else that has come before us. When I look back and wonder where the time went, I see now it went into fulfilling a high school experience unlike any other.

Class President, Trevor Wells

Teachers, administrators, families, underclassmen, and my cherished classmates, welcome to this landmark of a moment. First, I’d like to give a reminder. Speeches and ceremonies tend to feel so minute in the scheme of our lives, so forgettable in the vastness of time. During events like these, our minds and bodies always long to be elsewhere. But as we graduate today, let’s try for a while not to worry about memories or plans, and instead to be present, to be awake to the great significance of now. We’ve made it to the end of an era, and this celebration marks the beginning of an immense change in all of our lives. So, catch yourself before it’s too late; slow down, take it in, and don’t allow your consciousness to sleep or speed through this sacred metamorphosis. Be mindful, and make this moment last. 

I’m sure books are the last things you want to hear about today, but when I reflect on the past four years, I can’t help imagining them as episodes in an epic novel, the collective, autobiographical origin story of a class of fascinating characters. In the way a novel’s yet unwritten pages give the author’s mind freedom to explore and map the depths of fantasy worlds, high school has provided us with hundreds of blank, unmarked days on which to imprint our tales, develop our character traits, and shape our arcs. And I think our story is worth telling and retelling; at least I know it is one I will keep picking up for the rest of my life. What stays with us most from the books we read, and what I expect will remain in our thoughts long after this graduation ceremony, are the characters, the archetypes we have encountered along the way, around which our own personal folklore is molded. You, my classmates, are that body of heroes, jesters, sages, and outlaws to which I will forever be alluding. You will always tint the lens through which I view the world and determine the way I relate to its inhabitants. 

As I meet new people throughout life, I’m sure I will think of their qualities in comparison to yours. I don’t think I will ever meet someone whose poetic voice equals Jane’s, or whose sassy swagger matches Mason’s, but when I encounter new characters down the road, they might remind me of certain prototypical characteristics among our ranks, like the Kendallian sense of style or the Malizian sense of humor. My future colleagues and friends might possess shadows of Arianna’s sense of purpose or a hint of Faith’s sense of rhythm, though their traits will never be completely like yours. In the same way the character Mentor symbolized what he was to Odysseus so perfectly that his name became a synonym for leader, role model, and teacher, and in the same way Caesar has translated into Kaiser and czar to mean “ruler,” I expect that if we give it a century or so, we will find “McTigue” in the dictionary as “a humble genius,” and “Salkin” defined as “a catalyst for political reform.” We might also hear the word “Dushin” used in art history classes to refer to eye-catching, avant-garde photos, or some not-yet-invented culinary masterpiece termed “the D’Arena.” “Hamou” will surely catch our ear someday on the news, we will see “Craven” in bold font on a magazine cover, and “Rachael Larson, epidemiologist” will appear at the bottom of the frame during a documentary. These are my predictions, but no matter whether the world remembers your names, I know we will remember each other’s. As we meet new people through the years, we will certainly rate their kindness on a scale from zero to Audrey Berry, and we will hope their energy and spirit compare with those of a Cann or a Caulkins. It’s not what you have done that we will remember, but what you have meant. It is that unexpected conversation, that much needed smile, that interesting manner of speaking, that joke you told at the perfect time. Someday we might even pass each other’s names down to the next generation, as our children beg to hear about our childhoods, and we will be the archetypes that initiate a second race of minds into storytelling. 

As we come upon the last paragraphs of the novel that has been high school, as we prepare to write our next fantasy into being, and even when our anthology of legends and tales winds to an end, you will be the classic archetypes I think back upon, the ones who first sculpted my storytelling mind. It has been a privilege to discover myself alongside you, and I couldn’t have asked for a better set of characters and parables on which to found my identity and my perspective. After today, our pages are used up, and our book is written; and I’d argue that the story we created together is among the farthest fetched tales ever told.

LYME-OLD LYME HIGH SCHOOL CLASS OF 2020

CLASS OFFICERS

Trevor Wells, President

Nicholas Fava, Vice President

Clair Wholean, Secretary

Jeffy Joshy, Treasurer

Chandler Munson, Class Historian

CANDIDATES FOR DIPLOMAS

Alexandra Mary Alpha πω* Ϯ

Charles Burr Ames

Britney Andrade *

Anabella Nicola Arias πω*

Callum Glyn Astley

Emily Eileen Balocca λω*

William Cooper Ekeblad Bartlett

Emma Elizabeth Bass λπω*

Audrey Campbell Berry λϰω* Ϯ

Jean-Luc Bolduc

Faith Victoria Brackley

Chloe Constance Cahill ω

Madison Jane Cann ω

Lisbet Yosery Carcamo Martinez

Jack William Carney

Ethan Gonzalo Carrion ω*

Corbin John Caulkins

Faith Laurel Caulkins ω

Rory Nelligan Cavicke λω*

Emilia Annmarie Cheesman πω*

Philip Alan Cone

Sarah Belle Conley ω*

Andrew Jordan Craven

Elizabeth Anne Cravinho λπω*

Salvatore Biaggio D’Arena

Kevin William Davidson

Ty Kenton Dean

Isabel Priscilla Dean-Frazier ω

Arianna Teresa DelMastro λπω*

Maria Ashley Denya ω

Raymond Michael Doll ω

Samuel Arthur Dushin ω*

Theodore Edward Enoch ω

Emily Grace Evers ϰω*

Araselys Rose Farrell πω*

Nicholas Bernardo Fava λπω*

Liam Kenneth Flanagan

Leah Nicole Fouquette ω

Jada Anaelsa Fuentes λω*

Katherine Mary Funaro

Brian Christopher Funk

Cameron Diana Gagnon

Lucy Marie Gilbert

Aidan Thomas Greene

Avery Beach Grethel

Tanner James Griffin ω* 

Sophia Rose Griswold λω*

Samuel Wyatt Guenther

Jonathan Sage Hamilton

Darin Hani Hamou *

Kamber Hani Hamou ω*

Grace Delphine Hanrahan ω

Quinn Michael Hickie *

Connor David Hogan *

Parker Phillip Hubbard

Lauren Elizabeth Huck ω

Nathaniel Rhys Jackson

Kaitlyn Marie Jacobson

Jeffy Mathew Joshy λω*

Benjamin Connor Kelly

Daniel Abraham Kendall ω*

Caroline Eve King ω

Renate Jane Kuhn λω

Rachael Anne Larson λπω* Ϯ

Brenna Paige Lewis λπω*

Connor Patrick Maguire

Jacqueline Rose Malizia λω*

Biuma Kazadi Mariame *

Angelina Grace Marinelli

Melissa Nicole Mauro πω

Thomas Peter McCarthy λω* Ϯ

Ryan Patrick McTigue λπω* Ϯ

Gabriel Ethan Metcalf

Natalie Grace Meyers λω

Ryan Christopher Mitchell

Jeremy Norwood Montazella

Mason Derek Morrissey

Maxwell Derek Morrissey

Dylan Thomas Mulligan

Chandler Mary Munson λω

Kyle Colman Myers ωs

Samantha Heather Olson λπω* Ϯ

Samantha Elizabeth Owen πω*

Bryce Edward Paul

Sofia Kamila Pecher-Kohout πω*

Jenny Gabriela Pelaez Cajamarca *

Carter Ellis Popkin ω Ϯ

Jenna Tracy Porter ω*

Nathan Kelly Ramella

Chase Wood Reneson

Aidan Scott Riley

Jared Scott Ritchie λω

Samuel Patrick Roth

Alec Peyton Russell

Andre Jeffrey Salkin π*

Jane Stacey Scheiber λπω*

Brady Alan Sheffield ω

Colby Patrick Sides λω

Summer Abigail Siefken ω*

Garrett Michael Smith λω

Zachary Thomas Snyder

Emily Marie Speckhals λπω*

Alec Drennan Speirs

Evan Thomas St. Louis λω*

Olivia Mae Stack ω

Haley Ryan Stevens λω*

Finn Grady Sullivan

Philip Aaron Sweeney ω

Ryan Jules Tetreault

Olivia Lucy Tetreault ω*

Taylor Ann Thompson ω

Lydia Grace Tinnerello λω*

Sydney Kathleen Trowbridge ω

Kiera McKeon Ulmer λω

Aedan Sean Using

Megan Lynn VanSteenbergen λω Ϯ

Jackson Calvert Warren ω*

Theodore Wilson Wayland λπω* Ϯ

Katelyn Julia Wells

Trevor Dennis Wells λπω* Ϯ

Nicholas James White

Clair Margaret Wholean λπλω*ω*

Anna Elliott Williams πϰω 

Maggie Vaughan Wisner λπω*

Conner David Wyman λπω* Ϯ

Katherine Ruby Zelmanow λω*

 

λ Member National Honor Society, Silver Cord
π Member Spanish Honor Society, Silver Cord
ϰ Member French Honor Society, Silver Cord
ω Academic Letter Recipient, Gold Academic Distinction Cord
* Seal of Biliteracy, Gold Academic Distinction Cord
Ϯ AP Scholar, Gold Academic Distinction Cord

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It’s Graduation Day! Lyme-Old Lyme HS Seniors to Have ‘Drive-In,’ Live-Streamed Ceremony, Followed by Celebratory Car Parade

Old Lyme Memorial Town Hall celebrates the LOLHS Class of 2020. Photo by M. Hayes.


OLD LYME —
The Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) Class of 2020 will be the first class in recent memory – and perhaps ever – not able to enjoy the pomp and ceremony of a full commencement event in the company of their peers on their graduation day, which is today, June 12. The ceremony will be live-streamed at this link.

Faced with the twin challenges of schools being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing rules still in effect, not only have Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools found a unique way to give the senior class a memorable graduation while still adhering to social distancing protocols, but also a group of parents of LOLHS  seniors have come up with an inspired opportunity for the community as a whole to celebrate the graduates.

Although the Governor decided late last week that outdoor graduation ceremonies could take place from July 6 and henceforward, Lyme-Old Lyme Schools retained their planned date of June 12 since another of the governor’s stipulations was that ceremonies could only be for up to  150 people including the graduates. Since LOLHS will be graduating 127 students, a single ceremony was not an option.

The Graduation Ceremony

Follow a live-stream of the ceremony at this link.

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools will host a meticulously planned “Drive-in Graduation” event from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m. for students and their families only during which each graduating student will be able to drive up to the school at a specified time, hear their name read over the Public Announcement system, walk up onto the stage, and receive their High School Diploma from LOLHS Principal James Wygonik.

Caps and gowns — and masks — will be worn throughout and there will even be a moment allowed after the student receives his/her diploma for each family to take some photos. At that point, students — standing alone — may briefly remove their masks. Strict rules will be in place governing who can attend, the number of cars permitted per family and numerous other details.

A list of the graduating seniors will be added here later this morning.

Here is a link to the LOLHS Class of 2020 Senior Slide Show, which was produced by Class Historian Chandler Munson.

Here is a link to a video, which features every single LOLHS Class of 2020 graduate with their names. The video was made by Vicki Griffin and her son Tanner, who is a senior at LOLHS.

A video is being produced after the event that will include all the speeches — these have been pre-recorded — as well as the graduating “moment” for each senior. We will provide a link to it as soon as it is released.

The Celebratory Parade

On the evening of June 12, starting at 6:30 p.m., the students will form a parade of their personally-decorated cars in Town Woods Park. The parade will proceed from there to Boston Post Rd. and then follow that to Lyme Street continuing to the foot of the McCurdy.  The Old Lyme Resident State Trooper will supervise the parade and the Old Lyme Fire Department will also be participating.

The hope is that the townspeople will line the route to celebrate the graduates with cheering, waving signs, honking horns and generally making a supportive noise.  All those celebrating along the route are urged to follow social distancing guidelines at all times.

The parade is anticipated to last until 7 p.m.

The parade organizers, Teri Lewis, Katie Balocca,  Dottie Wells, Teri Arias and Linda Hamilton, are all parents of graduating seniors. Lewis explained in a text how the idea of a parade came about  saying, “We really wanted to give them [the graduating seniors] something to look forward to… [after] everything these kids have had to deal with.”

She commented that the First Selectman’s Office, the Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce, the Old Lyme Resident Trooper and Police Department, and the Old Lyme Fire Department “have all been amazing” in helping to formulate the plans for the parade. Lewis summed up the process of turning the original idea of the parade into reality in the words, “Everyone has been extremely supportive.”  Plans are still in the works for precise details of the parade and more information will be forthcoming in due course.

Lewis added enthusiastically “I think this will not only be wonderful for our seniors, but the whole town needs this.”

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Lyme-Old Lyme BOE Meeting Honors Six Long-Serving Retirees; Hears Reports on Staff Hiring, Plans for Fall Schooling

LYME/OLD LYME — At its final meeting of the academic year, which was held virtually June 3, the Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Board of Education (BOE) said farewell to six long-serving teachers with a combined service of over 150 years. Each of the teachers was leaving to start their retirement. 

Nancy Sparaco

Mile Creek Principal Kelly Enoch said Nancy Sparaco’s 35-year teaching career had been “a calm and soothing presence” in both of the schools — Mile Creek and Center — in which she’d worked, adding, “The students adore Nancy.” In reply, Sparaco commented that she was grateful to have spent “all 35 years ” in Lyme-old Lyme Schools, noting she was going to miss, “each fantastic, elastic brain ” of her students.

Introducing Connie Price, Lyme School Principal Jim Cavalieri said she was consistently “a worker bee” throughout her 34-year-career and noted she had deservedly been named Teacher of the Year back in 2001. Noting that “she didn’t raise the bar … she set the bar,” he wished price well in her new life in

Connie Price

Ohio. Price responded that she felt “honored and privileged to teach at Lyme Consolidated,” and that she had “learned so much”

Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School (LOLMS) Principal Mark Ambruso commented that World Language teacher Pam Russell “has not looked back in her 30 years” at LOLMS while “she has taught literally thousands of students French and Spanish.” Mentioning the numerous foreign trips on which she has taken students, Ambruso noted Russell is a, “warm demander … and her legacy will live on.” Russell responded saying it was “bitter-sweet to leave’ and noting that, “since March has been the biggest learning experience in my career.”

Myra Gipsteinl

Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School Assistant Principal Noah Ventola spoke about School Psychologist Myra Gipstein, who has been with LOL Schools for 20 years. He said, “a thread of kindness, compassion and sensitivity” followed her everywhere and that her “dedication was exceptional.” Gipstein said effusively, “I have never worked with such amazing people … this place was just what I was looking for. I will miss you all.”

 

 

Wendy Zito

Enoch spoke again, this time about Wendy Zito, who she described as having given her students over her 24 years teaching in Mile Creek, “a sense of wonder in the world around them,” and that, “she treats them with such respect.” On a personal note, Enoch added, “I have really appreciated how often she has made me laugh.” Zito replied, “They [the students] teach me. I just give them the tools to be the best that they can be.” She added, “It has been a privilege working with such dear, supportive colleagues … and now the next adventure begins!”

Finally, LOLHS Principal James Wygonik introduced John McGannon noting he had taught at the high school for 17 years and was chair of the World Language Department. He mentioned that

John McGannon

Mcgannon had taken students on “multiple trips to faraway locations” and had also brought the Amnesty International Club to the school with a personal passion that had successfully, “provided students with a voice.” Sporting a broad smile, Wygonik said, “The Lyme-Old Lyme family is losing its favorite crazy uncle!”

McGannon responded, “It’s been a great 17 years. No two days have been the same. It’s been a real honor,” adding, “There’s a buzz about this place.”  Describing the LOL Schools system as a whole, he said, “It’s a family … I’ll miss you.”

“I want to thank all of you [the retirees] for what you have brought to our school,” said board chair Diane Linderman. “You have truly made Lyme-Old Lyme what it is. We appreciate and applaud the dedication you all have to our schools; we will miss you and wish you the best.” 

Alongside congratulating the retirees, the BOE also took a moment to honor this year’s Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) Student Leadership Awards presented to two students from the high school. These awards are given every year to high school students throughout the state, who are recognized as having excellent leadership skills, inside and outside of the classroom. Principal Wygonik congratulated Ray Doll and Emily Balocca as the students selected to receive these awards and listed their respective numerous achievements. 

In the wake of the recent retirees, Superintendent Ian Neviaser reported there has been significant progress in hiring. The BOE has recently hired a new kindergarten teacher and first grade teacher at Mile Creek School, third and fourth grade teachers for Lyme Consolidated, a world language teacher at the middle school, and new math and world language teachers at the high school. 

In terms of getting back to school in the fall, Neviaser also mentioned that he is currently creating a Distant Learning Committee: a mixture of both staff, students and teachers to help create a plan for when school is back in session this fall. The committee will work on creating a plan for both distant online learning as well as in-person schooling. 

Neviaser noted that the BOE was recently denied a reimbursement for funding for the high school gymnasium’s refinishing project but that things will still move smoothly with a projection to finish by late September of this year. 

Lastly, the BOE unanimously approved a proposed resolution to help phase out the use of fossil fuels within the schools. 

This resolution, although not a mandatory ruling, is in line with the school’s plan to become a greener school by 2030. The district has already started making strides by installing solar panels and promoting recycling initiatives as well as using LED lighting.

“Climate change unites all of us,” said Rebecca Waldo, a member of the Sustainability Committee. “The 2030 100 percent Clean Energy Resolution is achievable: a guiding principle for being the kind of change we want to see in the world, for thinking globally and locally, and for protecting the planet for next generations.”

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See the Lyme-Old Lyme High School Class of 2020 Senior Slide Show!

The Class of 2019 celebrates its graduation with the traditional hat toss. File photo.

LYME/OLD LYME — We continue our celebration of the Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) Class of 2020 today with a link to their Senior Slide Show, which was produced by Class Historian Chandler Munson.

The Class will celebrate their graduation this coming Friday, June 12, with a meticulously organized drive-up ceremony lasting from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This will be followed by a parade through the town.

Although the graduation ceremony is strictly for the graduates and their families only, it is hoped that as many community members as possible will come out onto Town Woods Rd., Boston Post Rd., Lyme St. and McCurdy Rd. with signs and noise-makers to cheer the graduates as they drive by in their appropriately-decorated vehicles.

It is obviously requested that parade-goers observe social distancing.

Although the Governor decided late last week that outdoor graduation ceremonies could take place from July 6 and henceforward, Lyme-Old Lyme Schools retained their planned date of June 12 since another of the governor’s stipulations was that ceremonies could only be for up to  150 people including the graduates. Since LOLHS will be graduating 127 students, a single ceremony was not an option.

It has been a very strange year for these students since they have not been in school since March 13, so — as we said on Monday —  rather than wait until Friday, which would be our normal policy, we decided we would celebrate them in a variety of different ways throughout this week.

On Monday, we gave a link to a video, which features every single Class of 2020 graduate with their names. The video was made by Vicki Griffin and her son Tanner, who is a senior at LOLHS.

 

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Old Lyme’s Moriarty Wins Patriot League’s 2019-20 Outstanding Leadership & Character Award.

Maegan Moriarty of Old Lyme has been named the Patriot League’s female recipient of the 2019-20 Outstanding Leadership and Character Award.

OLD LYME — Holy Cross senior women’s rower and Old Lyme resident Maegan Moriarty is the Patriot League’s female recipient of the 2019-20 Outstanding Leadership and Character Award. Moriarty was selected along with Loyola Maryland sophomore men’s swimmer Jimmy Hayburn in a vote by the Senior Woman Administrators (SWA) from each of the League’s member institutions.

The Patriot League established the Outstanding Leadership and Character Award to recognize and honor individuals who demonstrate excellence in leadership and service while participating in Patriot League athletics. One male and one female student-athlete have been recognized since the award’s inception in 2011-12.

Maegan Moriarty has rowed for all four of her years at Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., serving twice as captain.

Moriarty is a two-time team captain of the Holy Cross women’s rowing program. As a freshman, she helped the Crusaders’ second varsity eight boat to a bronze medal at the 2017 Patriot League Championship. She has rowed with the program’s first varsity eight-boat since her sophomore season in Worcester.

But the two-time Patriot League Academic Honor Roll selection’s impact has not been limited to her time on the water.

“Moriarty was the lone senior on a team that suffered a horrendous tragedy right on the cusp of the women’s rowing season,” said Aaron Dashiell, Holy Cross’s Assistant Director of Athletics for Student-Athlete Development. “During the program’s annual preseason training trip to Florida this year, a beloved member of the Holy Cross community and rowing team was killed in a van collision. This accident occurred with half the team, including Maegan in the van.

Dashiell continued, “Upon returning to campus and attending a number of wakes, funerals and memorial for their fallen teammate, everyone looked for Maegan to be their rock and she was. Maegan, missing teeth due to the accident, was the first one to coordinate a team meeting with the counseling centers. She organized a weekly meeting for her and her teammates to meet with counseling. Recognizing the trauma her team had been through, she could be viewed as the team mom.

Moriarty told LymeLine by email, “I feel incredibly flattered to be selected as the female winner of this yearly award.  It is an honor to represent Holy Cross!  I am confident that support from my family, teammates, friends, professors and administrators at the college, especially after the accident, made this award possible.”
Asked about her plans after graduation, Moriarty responded, “This coming August I will start as a National Sales Analyst at PepsiCo headquarters in Westchester, NY.  I am thrilled to return to the company after my internship in eCommerce there this past summer.”
Moriarty received a bachelor of arts degree Cum Laude from College of the Holy Cross on May 22, 2020.

Because of the ongoing pandemic, Holy Cross hosted a virtual celebration for its Class of 2020, featuring a special message from Holy Cross alumnus Dr. Anthony Fauci ’62, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Moriarty was among 707 students who received electronic diplomas as part of the event.

The virtual celebrations will be followed by an in-person commencement ceremony for the class of 2020 to be held in spring 2021.

Moriarty is the second Crusaders’ student-athlete to be recognized, joining 2018-19 honoree Declan Cronin (baseball), while Hayburn is the first Loyola Maryland student-athlete to collect the Patriot League’s Outstanding Leadership and Character Award.

Provided the minimum conduct standards are met, any Patriot League student-athlete and/or team is eligible for the award.

The definition of leadership and character for the purposes of this award includes but is not limited to any of the following ideals: demonstrated Leadership on the “field” of competition and within the campus community; promotes a leadership vision for the betterment of one’s team or teammates; mentorship of teammates; role model on campus; active participation in on-campus and/or community service projects; perseverance in overcoming hardships; demonstration of trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.

Maegan is the daughter of John and Brenda Moriarty of Old Lyme.

 

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