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Friday, July 03, 2015



Friday, June 26, 2015

Staples Interim Principal Picked, More Searches Needed

By James Lomuscio Image
Mark Karagus: Trinity Catholic principal takes interim job. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

An educator with 37 years experience has agreed to serve as interim principal of Staples High School for one year while the administration continues its search to replace John Dodig, Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon announced today.

Mark W. Karagus, 64, of Trumbull most recently served as principal of Trinity Catholic High School in Stamford, and has many years experience as a guidance counselor, assistant principal and housemaster, Landon said.

“He has the background and experience that I believe should serve Staples High School well during this transitional interim period,” Landon said.

The transitional period, however, is not limited to finding a Dodig replacement.

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Posted 11:26 AM
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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Orphenians on Yankee Stadium Big Screen Image
The big screen scoreboard at Yankee Stadium tonight showed the Staples High School Orphenians singing the national anthem behind home plate. An adjacent big screen identified them as being from Staples High School (without identifying the school’s location—but Westport was mentioned by the public address announcer.)  Anxiously awaited for months by the Staples singers, the appearance was delayed one hour and 21 minutes by rain before the game against the Philadelphia Phillies began. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Heather Hychko for

Posted 08:32 PM
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Stadium Closeup Image
The Yankee Stadium crowd tonight got a closeup view of the Orphenians performing the national anthem. This was among the images projected on the scoreboard screen in center field. See the complete Yankees scoreboard video here as well as a video shot by Staples media teacher Jim Honeycutt here, including some of the Orpheneians greeting Jimmy Fallon and Lorne Michaels in seats behind home plate after their performance. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) New York Yankees photo

Posted 08:30 PM
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Another View Image
Another view of Luke Rosenberg leading the Staples High School Orphenians tonight at Yankee Stadium. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) New York Yankees photo

Posted 08:28 PM
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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Capturing a Graduation Moment Image
Posing for a post-graduation picture at Staples High School today were l-r) Megan Weintraub (going to Elon), Katherine Sommers (Marist), Sydney Robison (Union), Sammy Phillips (Chapman) and Sydney Sussman (George Washington University). (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 04:40 PM
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Headed Off to Colorado, a Family Tradition Image
Staples High School 2015 graduate Tessa Mall, 17, poses with parents Joan and Lou who said Tessa is the fourth generation of the Mall family to attend the University of Colorado.  Lou’s sister graduated from Colorado in 1976, Lou in 1971, Lou’s mother in 1931, and a cousin of Lou’s grandfather in 1905 (undergraduate degree) and in 1907 (law degree.) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 04:35 PM
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A Day They Will Remember Forever

Scenes from today’s 2015 Staples High School graduation. Dave Matlow for

Posted 04:30 PM
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Landon: ‘Go Out and Change the World’ Image
Westport Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon, who has announced his retirement at the end of the next school year after 17 years, today wished the graduating Class of 2015 well and told them to “go out and change the world.” He added, “My advice to each of you ... is that throughout the years ahead make it your determination to be courageous and with that courage to support and defend and advocate for the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, not just for yourselves, but for every person residing within the shores of our great nation.” Dave Matlow for

Posted 02:57 PM
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‘I Am So Excited to See What We Accomplish’ Image
Staples High School valedictorian Everett Sussman today addresses the Class of 2015 graduation ceremony. “It seems to me the class of 2015 can be best described as a river originating from very differnent places,” he said. “We are the drops of water and our futures are uncertain, but wherever we wind up, we all share the collective spirit of Staples High School….I am so excited to see what we accomplish in the years to come.” Everett will be attending Harvard University in the fall. Dave Matlow for

Posted 02:26 PM
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Packed House Image
The Staples High School field house was packed for today’s Class of 2015 graduation ceremony. This year’s graduates numbered 462. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 02:18 PM
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Leading the Procession Image
The procession into the Staples Field House today marked the beginning of the Class of 2015 graduation ceremony. At the head was Denise Honeycutt, faculty marshal, followed by Superintendent of Schools Elliott Landon and Principal John Dodig. Honeycutt earned the honor as the faculty member with the longest, continuous service. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 02:12 PM
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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Staples Baccalaureate, Celebrating the Past and Looking Ahead

By James Lomuscio

Festive, appreciative, a little bittersweet and seamlessly executed professionally, tonight’s Staples High School’s Baccalaureate Ceremony for the 463 seniors who will graduate Thursday had an energy that kept audience riveted from the start in the school’s packed auditorium. Image
Salutatorian Megan Root tonight advised fellow seniors to be themselves. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

From the moment Nick Massoud, who will attend Yale University in the fall, stepped on stage as emcee to seniors Zoe Brown’s and Taylor Harrington’s final film of the school community tipping their Staples hats to Principal John Dodig, who is leaving, the students’ production brought laughter, cheers, tears and excitement about new beginnings.

“So let’s hear it for the class of 2015,” said Massoud, who maintained the persona of a variety show host throughout. “This is a celebration of the last four years and how fortunate we are to have gone to Staples.”

Massoud, hyperbole or not, even went on to say that his class was “the best to ever walk the halls of Staples.” He cited its athletic prowess, including the Girls Soccer team’s FCIAC championship, the Orphenians performing on the West Coast, and myriad extracurricular laurels, such as the student newspaper Inklings’s nod from Columbia University, as well as myriad academic achievements.

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Posted 10:50 PM
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Farewell to Class of 2015

Scenes from tonight’s Staples High School Class of 2015 baccalaureate celebration. See Dodig tribute video here. Dave Matlow for

Posted 10:45 PM
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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Westport Schools: Looking Back and Ahead

To the Editor:

The Year That’s Ending

The Westport schools are finishing an outstanding year on multiple fronts.  Our students have earned achievements in math, science, language arts and writing, and their success outside of the classroom has been equally impressive.  Three of our top administrators, including the superintendent, won awards for their leadership.  And due to a budget surplus, we were able to invest an additional $500,000 in the continued maintenance of our schools.

Staples and Superintendent Searches

Westport is a very attractive district for education professionals, and we continue to hire the best people to work in and run our school system.  The superintendent, who runs the process for and selects all principals, is seeking an interim principal for Staples for the next school year.  The school administration can then take the time it needs to find the right permanent principal to lead our high school for many years.

The Board of Education hires one person:  the superintendent.  We have already begun speaking with firms to assist in the superintendent search.  Early in the new school year, we will conduct outreach to the community to hear your ideas on the qualities you seek in the next superintendent.  Your input will be important as we both recruit for and hire the next superintendent.  We will continue to update you on our process and our progress.

The Year Ahead

The Board of Ed budget for next year passed without any cuts from our funders, allowing us to continue improving on our already-great school district.  This means that we’ll have several new initiatives beginning in August, including an increase in the music program in Kindergarten, expansion of the professional development of our teachers and additional security personnel throughout the District.  We also will have four exciting new courses at Staples, three of which are in science and computer science.

With change comes opportunity, and we are excited about all that lies ahead for the Westport schools.  We wish everyone in the Westport community the best for a relaxing, rewarding summer.

Westport Board of Education
Michael Gordon, Chair
Jeannie Smith, Vice Chair
Elaine Whitney, Secretary
Brett Aronow
Paul Block
Karen Kleine
Mark Mathias

Posted 01:46 PM
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Thursday, June 11, 2015

A Warm Sendoff From the Boss Image
Colleagues, parents, and friends tonight honored retiring Staples High School Principal John Dodig (l) at a reception at the Westport Inn. Superintendent of Schools Elliott Landon (r) presented him with an appreciation certificate, a gift, and serenaded him with a song to the tune of “Anything Goes.” Landon lauded Dodig as the “best principal I’ve ever had in my 38 years in education” and “the most compassionate person I’ve ever met.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 07:41 PM
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