Home-schooled kids can take an educational “dive” into the marine world through discounted admission and grade-appropriate programs Friday, Oct. 1 at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk. — an announcement from The Maritime Aquarium
“Homeschool Day” makes available to homeschool students many of the educational classroom programs regularly presented to traditional school groups by Aquarium educators. Options on Oct. 1 include story times for preschoolers and a selection of classroom programs for kids in all grades, from K-12.
The Board of Education, at its meeting Tuesday night, will discuss a proposed plan for COVID-19 regulations in Darien schools when they reopen for the upcoming school year, and members of the public can tell the board what they think about the plan. In a message to parents on Friday, Schools Superintendent Alan Addley described highlights of the district’s plan, called the “Safe Return Plan” or “SRP.” The plan follows mandates and guidelines already sent out by the state government, along with recommendations from the federal government, Addley said. Those mandates and guidelines often change, he said, especially now in response to the Delta variant. “Preparations are well underway to welcome all of our students back to school in the fall,” the superintendent said. Remote learning will only take place with students in quarantine, he said.
Darien High School’s 2021 graduation ceremony combined congratulations on getting through high school during the COVID-19 pandemic with the regular high school graduation themes — life advice, thankful appreciation and assurance that the graduates have what it takes to succeed in the future. The 321 graduating seniors had a sunny late spring day and blue sky to accompany speeches filled with hope and optimism. In a speech that focused on gratitude, Valedictorian Eleanor Chase offered the audience a cookbook-like “list of ingredients you’ll need to make a high school graduate,” including “one awkward fourteen year old,” 30 teachers, two bus drivers and a supportive family. “Put the 14-year-old in a brick building for four years at approximately 70 degrees: decorate with cap and gown.” She added: “But, between all the congratulations and cords and handshakes of today, I hope we all remember everything else on that ingredient list.”
Here are the full texts of the speeches boy Valedictorian Eleanor Chase and Salutatorian James Strong speeches, as prepared, at Darien High School’s Wednesday graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2021:
The speeches were provided by Darien High School. At the bottom of this article, you can watch the full graduation ceremony video from DAF Media.)
Valedictorian Elanor Chase
The recipe for a high school graduate isn’t easy to pull off, but with a lot of time, a lot of love, and an ungodly amount of patience, it can be done. I’ve assembled a list of ingredients you’ll need to make a high school graduate:
● 1 awkward fourteen year old
● 30 teachers
● 10 administrators
● A dedicated maintenance staff
● 2 bus drivers
● a dozen friends, and
● 1 supportive family
Put the 14-year-old in a brick building for four years at approximately 70 degrees: decorate with cap and gown. Making a high school graduate is often seen as a singular feat of achievement for the graduate. I mean, going from that awkward 14-year-old who can’t even tell the difference between the B wing and the F wing, and is too embarrassed to even ask directions until they’re completely lost and on the brink of tears, to an almost fully-functional adult?
The Darien Police Department advises that the following traffic regulations are being put into effect for the area surrounding Darien High School on Wednesday June 16, starting at 4 p.m.
— an announcement from Darien police
—As in previous years, all traffic will enter the high school grounds via Noroton Avenue. Vehicular traffic will not be permitted to enter the area via High School Lane or Nutmeg Lane. Officers will be present to direct all vehicles to appropriate and designated parking areas. —All vehicles will be properly parked so as to facilitate and expedite the safe flow of vehicles at the conclusion of the graduation ceremony. —If needed, vehicles will be parked on both sides of Nutmeg Lane and High School Lane facing away from Darien High School. —Motorists are asked to pay particular attention to posted “No Parking” areas. Previous experiences have resulted in illegally parked vehicles blocking driveways or restricting access to emergency vehicles.
Students must wear masks in school buildings for the rest of the school year, as state and federal guidelines state, Darien Superintendent of Schools Alan Addley told parents and staff in an email late Friday afternoon. But students and staff are allowed to go maskless outside on school grounds, he said. Addley wrote (boldface in original): “[E]ffective immediately, masks are no longer required for staff and students while outdoors or on school grounds. Masks will still be required to be worn on buses. For all other events taking place outdoors and on school property, masks are no longer required, regardless of vaccination status.” Addley made clear that the school district is following “updated guidance” from the CDC, state Department of Public Health and state Department of Education on the in-door rule.
Darien’s school district has been recognized as one of the “Best Communities for Music Education” by a national foundation. The district shares the honor with 23 other school districts in Connecticut. — an announcement from Darien Public Schools’ Music Department
The recognition comes from the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation. Now in its 22nd year, the Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in providing access to music education for all students. “We are incredibly proud to receive this recognition,” said Colleen Thompson, Darien’s Director of Music.
No new COVID-19 cases have been found in tests of any students, teachers or other staff in the Darien school district, Superintendent Alan Addley reported to parents on Friday — but masks will still need to be worn in schools, he said. State education and public health officials continue to mandate masks in schools, and Darien must follow their directives, Addley said in his regular email to parents and staff. First Selectman Jayme Stevenson, in her regular COVID-19 Code Red message to the town, also noted the continued state mandate on masks for schools and also for municipal offices. She also said that on May 19 the state was dropping any requirements for masking outdoors and mandates that businesses must require masks indoors. “Masks must still be worn on public transportation, in doctor’s offices hospitals and nursing homes,” she said.
Theatre 308 is proud to present the hit Broadway musical Something Rotten! Memorial Day weekend at Darien High School. For the first time in school history, the DHS’s spring musical will take place outdoors in the courtyard. — an announcement from Theatre 308
The show goes up for live, in-person performances on May 27 to 30, 2021, with all shows starting at 7 p.m.
Set in the 1590s, Something Rotten tells the tale of brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom, who are desperate to write a hit play but are stuck in the shadow of that Renaissance rock star known as “The Bard.” When a local soothsayer foretells that the future of theatre involves singing, dancing, and acting at the same time, Nick and Nigel set out to write the world’s very first musical. But amidst the scandalous excitement of opening night, the Bottom Brothers realize that reaching the top means being true to thine own self, and all that jazz.
Lindsay Smith, a Darien High School student and EMT with Darien Emergency Medical Services, has been awarded the Claes Nobel Future Female Leader Scholarship. Of nearly 600 applications, Lindsay was one of 10 students who were selected to each be awarded a $1,000 scholarship, which was by the National Society of High School Scholars (a nonprofit organization founded in 2002 and not related to the National Honor Society). — This article is based on an announcement from the National Society of High School Scholars. The scholarship was established to encourage and empower young women to assume future leadership roles in their higher education, careers, and communities and to become mentors for the young women following in their footsteps. Lindsay is a nationally registered EMT and volunteer in Darien’s Emergency Medical Services group, Darien EMS Post 53, the only high school student-run EMS program in the U.S.
She spends countless hours there each month, including multiple 24-hour first response shifts and 48-hour second response shifts.
Several parents of students, backed up by support from school parent-teacher organizations, have told the Board of Education that the school district needs more extensive efforts to teach kids about making schools more welcoming to minorities and teachers need to know how to handle cases of bigotry. “Look back at all of the awful, hurtful and despicable instances of racism that have occurred in our schools and act forward in ensuring that our teachers are equipped and have the resources and training in knowing how to have these difficult conversations with our children in the classroom,” Belinda Fang of Beach Drive said. Some of the parents indicated the recent vandalism at Holmes School, where a swastika was found, alarmed them. Others brought up recent violence against Asian Americans around the country. “Not enough of us know what to say or even what to do, but we know that silence cannot be the solution,” Fang said.
Darien High School came out tops in Connecticut in the latest U.S. News & World Report high school rankings, and the school tied for No. 1 nationwide in “math and reading proficiency.” The magazine ranked the school 201st out of 17,857 U.S. News looked at across the nation, including 205 in Connecticut.. The magazine has six factors in ranking high schools besides math and reading proficiency (which accounted for 20% of the overall ranking scores). The biggest factor is “college readiness,” which accounts for 30% (Darien ranked 6th in the state; 539th nationwide).
All Darien High School students aged 16 and up can now register for the outdoor vaccination clinic in the parking lot of the former Lord & Taylor store, Darien Health officials announced Tuesday. Registration was offered last week to Darien High seniors for the same clinic dates: May 1 and May 22 (both Saturdays) from 1 to 4 p.m. The appointment time selected for the first vaccination will be the time the student will be scheduled for the second, on May 22. The announcement came from Alicia Cassuci, the school district’s director of nursing services and town Health Director David Knauf. When Darien teachers were given vaccines at Saturday clinics, enough of them suffered so many side effects that three schools had to be cancelled for the following Monday. Full Text of the Announcement
This announcement was emailed to Darienite.com at 10:01 a.m., Tuesday:
Dear Darien High School Families,
We are thrilled to announce, in collaboration with the Community Health Center (CHC), a Pfizer COVID vaccine clinic has been scheduled for Darien High School students.
Darien High School seniors can now register to get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on May 1, and the second dose on May 22 at the parking lot of the former Lord & Taylor store in Stamford, Darien officials announced. “We anticipate opening the registration link to all students over 16 years of age or older by next week,” the announcement from schools Nursing Director Alicia Casucci and town Health Director David Knauf said. In a separate announcement, First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said Darien has had 58 new cases during the two-week period since April 2. “We are tracking information about folks who are fully vaccinated who then contract COVID,” Stevenson said in her regular, weekly COVID-19 update. “Only one such case has occurred in Darien so far.”
Five more individuals in Darien Public Schools have COVID-19, the school district announced Friday night, resulting in a total of 15 quarantines at Darien High School. Also, Darien Health Department released its COVID-19 update showing 28 new positive cases in town from April 2 to 8, but no new hospitalizations or deaths (the complete 10-slide report is at the bottom of this article). The one person at Tokeneke School who tested positive for COVID-19 was last in the building on April 1, and that resulted in no quarantines. Four of the five new COVID-19 cases at the high school, resulting in 10 other quarantines of people deemed to be in close-enough contact with them. Two of the people who tested positive for the coronavirus were last in the school on April 2, and the two others were last there on Tuesday, April 6.
Julie Droller, principal of Hindley School since the summer of 2019, has been appointed by the Board of Education to the new position of director of elementary education for Darien Public Schools, the district announced Friday. Droller was appointed in a unanimous vote by the board when it met Thursday night. She will continue as principal of Hindley through the school year, then take to the new new job on July 1. She was director of elementary education in Westport Public Schools from 2014 to 2018. Droller was interim principal at Hindley for a year, starting in August 2018, before she was named principal.