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Friday, June 20, 2014

Staples Grads Urged to Live in Present With Eye to Future

By James Lomuscio

The banner suspended from the ceiling of the field house, where 5,000 family and friends had gathered for the 127th commencement exercises at Westport’s Staples High School, spoke of the future. Image
Frank Corbo, who is retiring after almost 50 years as a Westport educator, led the academic procession. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

“The future belongs to those who believe in the power of their dreams,” read the quote from Eleanor Roosevelt.

Valedictorian Eliza Clare Llewellyn, however, asked her 462 fellow graduates to focus on the present, especially today.

“We live more in the future than in the present,” she said. “Today there is so much to celebrate, not in the future, but in this moment.”

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Posted 04:23 PM
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A Day to Remember for Class of 2014

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

Posted 04:15 PM
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End of a 49-Year Heller Family Run in Westport Schools Image
UPDATE Grant Heller, Staples class of 2014, poses with grandparents Garson and Velma today following the graduation ceremony. Garson said that Grant’s graduation ends a 49-year period during which a member of the Heller family either attended Westport schools or was employed there. Grant’s father, Grant, Sr. who attended Westport schools from kindergarten through high school, graduated from Staples in 1978 as did his three children, Bonnie, 23, Katie, 20 and now Grant, 18. The youngest sibling of Grant Sr. graduated from Staples in 1984 while Velma was working in the Westport Public Schools. She retired in 2001 and now serves on the Representative Town Meeting as deputy moderator. Garson has served on the Board of Assessment Appeals for more than three decades. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 04:10 PM
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‘Important to Have a Vision of Ourselves’ Image
Eliza Clare Llewellyn, valedictorian, addresses the Staples High School class of 2014 at the graduation ceremony today. “It is Important for us to have a vision of ourselves,” she said. “I feel as along as long as we move forward with a perception of what we want to be….we will have less trouble navigating what is to become.” More than 5,000 persons attended the event in the Staples field house that saw 463 students graduate. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 02:25 PM
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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Smiles and Entertainment at Staples Baccalaureate

By Dave Matlow Image
Salutatorian Melissa Beretta addresses fellow classmates tonight. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

There were plenty of smiles and entertainment at the baccalaureate ceremony tonight at Staples High School on the eve of Friday’s 2014 class graduation.

Salutatorian Melissa Beretta, who will attend Duke University in the fall, told classmates: “No matter where you go or what you become, you will always know where you’ve come from. It will always be with you.” 

“Westport breeds innocence and worldliness,” she added.

Beretta differentiated high school life in Westport with a TV show she saw where the valedictorian went into labor during the graduation ceremony.

Looking into the audience, Beretta said, “I can guarantee that it’s not so, mom and dad. You’re welcome.”

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Posted 10:34 PM
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‘Simply Choose Happiness’ Image
Staples High School senor Kelsey Shockey, who presented the “Happy Tip of the Week” on the Staples channel 78 TV show “Good Morning Staples,” presented her final tip to the class of 2014 at tonight’s baccalaureate ceremony. “Happiness is a choice,” she said. “You can deal with anything that comes your way. Simply choose happiness.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 10:29 PM
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Entertainer Elliott Image
Schools Superintendent Elliot Landon was among those featured in a video of Pharrell Williams “Happy Song” made by senior Kelsey Shockey, aided by Arin Meyers and Jim Honeycutt, shown at the end of tonight’s Staples High School baccalaureate ceremony. See the video here. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 10:20 PM
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Graduation Eve

Scenes from tonight’s Staples High School baccalaureate ceremony. Dave Matlow for

Posted 10:15 PM
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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

No Salary Increase for Landon

Westport Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon gets no raise next year, as the Board of Education voted unanimously Monday night to maintain his total compensation—$292,937—at the current level.

Even so, Landon still remains the highest paid superintendent in Connecticut.

Last year Landon got a 1.75 percent bump up, though there was no raise the previous year, according to Elaine Whitney, school board chairwoman.

“As is our practice every year, the board conducted a careful review over the course of several executive sessions of the superintendent’s performance across a range of key dimensions,” Whitney said “We also benchmarked the superintendent’s compensation relative to our peer districts.”

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Posted 10:19 AM
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Monday, June 16, 2014

Studying for Finals Image
Almost every space to study was taken at the Westport Library today as Staples High School students prepared for final exams. Finals began Friday and continue through Wednesday. Graduation is on Friday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 04:55 PM
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Studying Scene Image
With finals underway at Staples High School, students jammed the Westport Library to study and prepare together. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 04:50 PM
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Thursday, June 05, 2014

Joy and Tears at Greens Farms Academy Graduation Image
At Greens Farms Academy today in the morning rain, 84 seniors graduated in what was the first indoor commencement ceremony in recent memory. School Head Janet Hartwell told the class of 2014 that “the heavens were weeping” because they were departing the school. A cohesive group with great school spirit, the class applauded each other, laughed, and teared up at the speeches and presentations. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Posted 02:20 PM
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Westport GFA Salutatorian: Stringing Words Together Image
Eric Dexheimer (c) of Westport before going on stage today as Greens Farms Academy class salutatorian. Known for his quiet intelligence, he spoke about balance and quipped that his speech was probably the most words his classmates had ever heard him utter consecutively. His science research was honored this year at the Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair, and he will be attending Northwestern University in the fall. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Posted 02:17 PM
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All Smiles Image
Sophie Tepler of Westport was all smiles today as she took part in the Greens Farms Academy commencement exercises, which were moved indoors because of the weather. Sophie will be attending Columbia University in the fall. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Posted 02:13 PM
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Wednesday, June 04, 2014

BOF Approves $500,000 for School Window, Door Security

By James Lomuscio

With the Board of Finance’s unanimous approval of a school board $500,000 request tonight, educators are hopeful that all first floor windows and doors at Westport’s eight public schools will be covered this summer with a 3M film to slow down access for those who would do harm to children and teachers. Image
Elio Longo, school business administrator, discusses school security at the Board of Finance meeting. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

The matter now has to go to the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) for final approval.

In late April, the RTM approved a $200,000 Board of Education request for the installation of 1,425 high security, classroom locks recommended by Kroll Security, Inc. in response to concerns generated by the Newtown school shootings almost a year-and-a-half ago.

“The fact is this cost will cover fully all windows and doors on the first floor,” Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon said about the appropriation from the town’s general fund balance.

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Posted 11:15 PM
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