Saturday, June 15, 2024

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Westporter Named Paraeducator of the Year

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Westporter James “Jaime” Bairaktaris today addresses students and educators at Redding Elementary School where he was honored as the 2020 Anne Marie Murphy Paraeducator of the Year. Bairaktaris, 21, a 2016 Staples graduate who works at the school five days a week, was selected from among 14,000 nominees, said Commissioner of Education Miguel A. Cardona, one of a number of state and local officials on hand to honor him. When he is not teaching at the school, where he was a student, Bairaktaris is a Westport EMS crew chief, dishes out ice cream at Westport’s Saugatuck Sweets, and is a WestportNow contributing photographer. Pictured with him is Redding Principal Natalie Hammond, a survivor of the Sandy Hook shootings and a friend of Ann Marie Murphy, a special education paraprofessional who lost her life during the Sandy Hook tragedy. There will be a state ceremony for Bairaktaris in December. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

Staples Grad Named MacArthur Fellow

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 Andrea Dutton, a 1991 Staples High School graduate, has been named a 2019 MacArthur Fellow—the so-called “genius” awards. Recipient of a $625,000 no-strings attached award distributed over five years, Dutton is a geochemist and paleoclimatologist investigating changes in sea levels and ice sheet mass. She is the second Staples 1991 graduate to receive the prestigious award. Photographer Lynsey Addario received the award in 2009. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) MacArthur Foundation photo

Opening Day Viewing

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Opening day visitors to MoCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) Westport today view “Narcissus Garden’ by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. The museum, formerly known as the Westport Arts Center, is a 19 Newtown Turnpike, straddling the Norwalk-Westport line. Norwalk and Westport officials took part in a ribbon cutting. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo by Jenna Bascom

A Return to a Bridge Protest After 51 Years

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Westport psychologist Bob Selverstone was among those taking part in a global climate protest today on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge in Westport’s center. “The last time I was here was in 1968 for the demonstration on the Vietnam moratorium,” he said. “Sen. Frank Church was here too. I was a counselor at Staples High School at the time. I came here to join many students.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

‘I’m Going to Cry’

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Lindley Maglio elicits smiles from the crowd at the Board of Education meeting tonight as she warns she is going to cry talking about her kindergarten-age daughter possibly being redistricted next year. “I’m going to cry because I do it all the time (when speaking about my children),” she said. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jarret Liotta for WestportNow.com