Car parades celebrate students

Region 12’s elementary schools celebrated the end of school with car parades held June 18.

Families and staff attended parades for Burnham School and Booth Free School. Families met at town parks located near the schools and drove to the schools and through the front circle drives where staff lined up to greet them.

Danbury

Driver assists snapping turtle

Bruce Pelaccio, who works for Lowe’s in Danbury, was on his way to work at 5 a.m. when he spotted a snapping turtle in the middle of the road.

Pelaccio stopped his truck, put on his emergency flashers and moved the turtle to safety using a piece of lumber from the bed of his truck. Another driver named Edward stopped out of curiosity and snapped a few photos of Pelaccio helping the turtle.

Pelaccio is involved with the Lowe’s Heroes program.

Danbury

Wooster senior receives scholarship

The P.E.O STAR Scholarship for the 2019-2020 academic year, was awarded to Riley Damiano, a senior from Wooster School.

She is the daughter of Stacey and Anthony Damiano, of Patterson, N.Y., and was recommended for this scholarship by P.E.O. Chapter G of Ridgefield. She will attend Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn. where she plans to study neuroscience and would like to pursue research on the psychological impacts of chronic illness on children and their families.

The $2,500 scholarship is awarded based on excellence in leadership, academics, community service, extracurricular activities and potential for future success.

In 2014, at age 12, Riley founded the Blue Lollipop Project for Pediatric Cancer through which she has raised $20,000 for pediatric cancer research and brightened the lives of over 20,000 children hospitalized with cancer across the country by sending them blue lollipops. See her in action at bit.ly/TBLPhustle.

Danbury

Mobile food bank pantry serves community

A Connecticut Food Bank Mobile Pantry drive-thru food distribution in Danbury served 227 households on June 18.

The monthly distribution held the third Thursday of each month is a partnership with Danbury Public Schools and the Danbury Family Learning Center, Inc., which provides the site and volunteer support. Visitors to the site received fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as nonperishable food items.

Combined, Connecticut Food Bank member agencies and mobile pantries represent 500 food access points for people in need. The Mobile Pantry schedule is updated weekly at www.ctfoodbank.org/mobilepantry.

Danbury

WCSU professors receive awards

Western Connecticut State University professors Neeta Connally and Howell Williams recently received awards for research and teaching.

Connally, associate professor of biological and environmental sciences, was recognized with the system-wide research award by the Board of Regents of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities. The board also cited Connally with a WCSU campus research award.

Williams, assistant professor of social sciences, was recognized by the board with the campus Teaching Award for WCSU.

Connally, a medical entomologist who teaches and oversees the Tickborne Disease Prevention Laboratory at WCSU, is known for her work studying blacklegged ticks, which can carry multiple disease-causing agents including the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.

Williams is a political scientist who teaches on a range of topics, including American government, political institutions, political theory, and gender and sexuality politics.

Redding

Barlow teacher honored

Williams College has awarded the annual George Olmsted Jr. Class of 1924 Prize for Excellence in Secondary School Teaching to Katherine D. Nuzzo, a chemistry teacher at Joel Barlow High School.

Each year, Williams seniors nominate high school teachers who played influential roles in their lives and education. A committee of faculty, staff, and students choose winners from among the nominees. Recipients of the award receive $3,000, and an additional $5,000 is given to each recipient’s school. The Olmsted Prize was established in 1976 with an endowment from the estates of George Olmsted Jr. and his wife, Frances.

Since 1996, Nuzzo has taught chemistry at Joel Barlow High School. Beyond the classroom she has brought several programs to the school, including Unified Wellness, a program that brings together general education students, local gardeners, and students with special needs; the Connecticut Science Fair; and the Sikorsky STEM Challenge, in which students apply their STEM knowledge to solve a real-world problem. She also mentors new teachers. Trained in social and emotional learning (SEL), she has spearheaded school-wide efforts to spread the SEL message among all members of the community.

Region

Relief fund helps artists

The regional Artist Emergency Relief Fund is open for its second round of applications. The relief fund was originally started in March as a fundraising collaboration between the Northwest Connecticut Arts Council and Torrington Collective, a local artist collective based in Torrington. The groups raised and distributed over $1,200 to five artists in dire need of financial support following the COVID-19 outbreak.

Recently, the Arts Council received $5,000 in total funding to distribute a second round of micro-grants to artists in need, thanks to the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation, the COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund, the Neighbor to Neighbor Fund of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and the Torrington Savings Foundation. The funds will be used to provide small grants of $250 to 20 local artists and small arts organizations facing hardship due to COVID-19.

Applications are for individual artists and arts organizations. Deadline to apply is July 1. For more information or to apply, visit https://www.artsnwct.org/covid-19-resources.

Region

Students awarded scholarships

State Treasurer Shawn T. Wooden, also a trustee of the Connecticut Higher Education Trust, has announced the winners of this year’s CHET Dream Big! Competition and Advance Scholarship.

The competition asks kindergartners through third-graders to share artwork depicting what they want to do after college. Fourth through eighth grade students wrote essays explaining how they will make a difference in their community or the world after college through their job, idea or community service.

The following students will receive a $529 contribution: Khloe Hudak, Sandy Hook; Nicholas Gonzales, Bethel; Miranda King, New Milford; Calvin Shuhart, Southbury; and Hailey Platt, Southbury.

For the CHET Advance Scholarship program, first-year high school students had the option to enter a civic engagement category or non-merit category. For the first time in the program’s history, there was a category specifically tailored for students attending Connecticut Technical Education and Career System schools.

As civic engagement winners, these students will receive a $2,023 contribution. Students that participated in the non-merit category will receive a $1,750 contribution. Both categories are eligible for a $500 match if the students save $500 before December of their senior year.

This year’s merit winners are: Jack Chapa, Danbury; Claire Enerson, New Fairfield; Wilson Garcia, New Fairfield; Raphaella Dorneles, Bethel; Alyssa Hartnett, Ridgefield; Lilly Barone, Ridgefield; Abigail Luis, Southbury; Evelyn O’Kane, Sandy Hook; Skylar Lewis, Sandy Hook.

A gallery of Dream Big! winners and their entries can be found at http://www.chetdreambig.comand a full list of CHET Advance Scholarship winners can be found at www.chetadvance.com.

Region

Litchfield Jazz Camp goes virtual

Litchfield Jazz Camp, Virtually Yours! runs July 13-17 and July 20-24. Litchfield Jazz Camp faculty members will teach from their home studios offering more than 20 hours of interactive, engaging instruction each week.

Virtual campers, will learn jazz theory, the building blocks of all jazz improvisation, at their own level. Participants will determine their level with an online, pre-session assessment. Master classes will put students together with pros to work out issues unique to their own instrument.

Virtually Yours! culminates in the free, live streamed Litchfield Jazz Festival July 25.

To learn more or register for Litchfield Jazz Camp, Virtually Yours! visit ljc2020.eventbrite.com. For more information and updates, visit http://www.litchfieldjazzfest.com or email info@litchfieldjazzfest.com.

The camp is supported in part by the Northwest CT Community Foundation, the Les Paul Foundation, Billy Strayhorn Foundation, and New England Foundation for the Arts.

Sherman

Deer Pond Farm hosting small group tours

Connecticut Audubon Society’s Deer Pond Farm Sanctuary, 57 Wakeman Hill Rd., Sherman is offering private small group tours led by expert staff in July. To register for programs or more information, visit https://www.ctaudubon.org/deer-pond-farm-home/.

Bird Walk with Stefan Martin: 8-10 a.m., July 8, 25.

Birds & More: Ecology Walk with Jim Arrigoni, 6-8 p.m., July 14; 10 a.m.-noon, July 31.

Butterfly Walk with Stefan Martin, 1-3 p.m., July 29.

Walks will include one staff and 10 pre-registered and pre-paid attendees. Member fee is $10. Nonmembers pay $15. To schedule your own private expert-led walk, contact Deirdra Wallin, program manager, dwallin@ctaudubon.org for pricing and to schedule.

Additionally, Connecticut Audubon Adventures - the “Not So Bummer Summer” is being offered for children ages 6-10. For more information on this 10-week program of online and outdoor adventures, visit https://www.ctaudubon.org/summer2020/.

Southbury

COVID-19 webinar series continues

The Office of Economic Development continues its weekly Wednesday webinar series focused on COVID-19 and business reopening with interviews featuring thought leaders and subject matter experts on topics of today.

Upcoming episodes include: Economic Disparities of COVID-19 on the Black Community at noon Wednesday; and The Emotional Side of Reopening at noon July 8.

Both webinars include opportunities for Q&A and are hosted by Southbury Economic Development Director Kevin Bielmeier. To submit questions, email ecodevdirector@southbury-ct.gov. Register, and see recordings of the previous webinars, at www.southbury-ct.org/EDCwebinars.