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    Students gather for photo at end of event
    Nicola Davies

    Student organized fundraiser enjoys 11th successful year.

    Four pictures representing the St Baldricks Event

     The Wilton High School Cafeteria was all a buzz with the sound of hair clippers last night as 50 students and members of the faculty became 2019 shavees in support of the St Baldrick’s Foundation for research into pediatric cancer.

    This is the 11th year that WHS has been holding the fundraiser and it was announced on the night that the group meet their $20,000 fundraising goal. Three individual students raised over $1000 each, an amazing achievement.

    The Fundraiser is organized each year by a student committee supported by Mr. Pompa as their advisor. Senior August Theoharides spoke passionately about his support for the cause ‘When I was in middle school, my little sister was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma and has now been cancer free for five years’

    Edward, a freshman spoke of why he is taking part “I always wanted to participate in St. Baldrick’s. It feels good to do what you can to help others, but it’s really strange to have a head that feels like velcro”

    This year three girls took part which is the largest female participation in the history of the Wilton event. Mr Liptack was also participating in the event for the 8th time.

    National Merit Scholarship Program Logo
    Nicola Davies

    Congratulations to seniors Alex Li and Sylvia Zhao.

    Students with Dr O'Donnell

    Congratulations Sylvia and Alex for being recognized as finalists in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship program.

    The mission of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) is to recognize and honor the academically talented students of the United States. NMSC accomplishes its mission by conducting nationwide academic scholarship programs. The enduring goals of NMSC's scholarship programs are:

    • To promote a wider and deeper respect for learning in general and for exceptionally talented individuals in particular
    • To shine a spotlight on brilliant students and encourage the pursuit of academic excellence at all levels of education
    • To stimulate increased support from organizations that wish to sponsor scholarships for outstanding scholastic talent

     

     

    Stage full of seniors performing
    Nicola Davies

    WHS seniors took to the stage this weekend in the annual senior show.

    Stage full of seniors performing

    The annual Wilton tradition of the senior show hit the boards of the Clune Center this weekend for a three show run.

    Written by WHS seniors Andrew Kelso, Nicholas Furst and George Murphy, the show 'Getcha Prom On' is an 80's Prom inspired show complete with historically accurate 80's Prom dresses. It features over 40 actors from the senior class. The show provides a creative, authentic way for students to learn how to arrange and write their ideas into a stage musical.

    All the student performers were supported in their work by adult professionals with impressive Broadway credentials - Mary Jo Duffy provided direction and musical direction; Andrea Metchick choreographed the performance and the show was produced by WHS's very own Marty Kozlowski.

    Congratulations to all involved.
     

    The nine finalists for Poetry out Loud
    Nicola Davies

    Wilton High School Little Theater hosted the 10th Annual Competition.

     

    Sarah, Julia and Nicholas

     

    Poetry Out Loud encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. The Wilton High School Final is emceed by retired English teacher Sandy Sosom.

    Poetry in motion began with three hundred students across 35 classrooms. In November student's recited a poem they had learned to their classmates and each class voted for the poem they would like to crown their classroom winner.

    In mid December a semi-final was held with each classroom winner being judged to determine who would progress to the final showdown where nine finalists performed in front of an audience of their peers in the Little Theater.

    Each finalist had to memorize two poems for the final. One of them had to be a pre-twentieth century poem, a challenge because of the difference in language that was used in older poetry.

    Three Judges Barbara Cline, Linda Gregory and Bill McCarty critiqued each performance in terms of 
    physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding of the poem and overall performance.

    "Students, in memorizing and reciting a poem, come to experience, understand and enjoy poetry in a profound way.  They become attuned to the power of language, and their own power as people literally giving voice to a poem" Said Sosom about the benefits of the program 

    Wilton has been participating for 10 years, and our school champs have often landed in the top 5 at the State competition, and even won the State championship one year. 

    To learn more about the competition, visit the Poetry Out Loud website.

    Congratulations this this year's finalists - Melissa Arenas, Sinead Roche, Haley Sayewitz, Lily Mikita,
    Sarah Sneidman, Solomon Wozniak, Julia Rothstein, Nicholas Furst and Ben Grass.

    The judges decisions awarded 2nd runner up Sarah Sneidman, 1st Runner up is Nicholas Furst and the winner was senior Julia Rothstein. 

    We wish Julia well as she progresses to the Connecticut state final on March 9th.
     

    WHS receive banner in recognition of being a National Unified Champion School
    Nicola Davies

    WHS received national recognition from Special Olympics for being a leader in creating a inclusive environment for kids with disabilities.

     

    WHS receive banner in recognition of being a National Unified Champion School

    During last nights basketball match against Greenwich, Wilton High School were presented with a banner which recognizes the school as a Special Olympics Unified Champion School. The program brings students of all abilities together to play sports in the Special Olympics.

    A Special Olympics Unified Champion School has an inclusive school climate and exudes a sense of collaboration, engagement and respect for all members of the student body and staff. A Unified Champion School receiving national banner recognition is one that has demonstrated commitment to inclusion by meeting 10 national standards of excellence. These standards were developed by a national panel of leaders from Special Olympics and the education community. To find out more more visit their website

    MB News

    Students with medals at state competition
    Nicola Davies

    Middlebrook Team compete at State Final and wins prestigious award.

    students pose with their medals

    A combined Middlebrook and Cider Mill Team has brought home the Renatra Fusco Creativity Award at the Odyssey of the Mind State Championship held on March 16 at the Southern CT State University. The Renatra Fusco award is given to the team that demonstrates outstanding creativity in the competition. This is the first time a Wilton team has ever won this most coveted prize.

    Odyssey of the Mind is an international creative problem-solving program that engages students in their learning by allowing their knowledge and ideas to come to life in an exciting, productive environment. Participants build self-confidence, develop life skills, create new friendships, and are able to recognize and explore their true potential

    This award means that the team has qualified for the Odyssey of the Mind World Championships to be held in May at the Michigan State University.

    We are very excited for and proud of these kids who’ve worked so very hard these last 5 months

    The Wilton team includesTrisha Prabhu and Preeti Vijay, 5th graders from Cider Mill and Afroz Ali, Kaamil Badami, Nandan Raman, Nathan Raman and Samar Rokkam, all of who are 6th Graders at MB.

     

    Student poses in front of science fair board with her trophies
    Nicola Davies

    Middlebrook students receive recognition at state competition.

     

    Student holding trophies

    Congratulations to the Middlebrook students who participated in the 2019 Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair over the weekend. Several took home prizes and recognition.

    Keerthi Vijay (pictured above), whose project, “Alternative Household Method to Extinguish Fires,” won two first place awards as well as an invitation to move on and compete in the 2019 Broadcom MASTERS competition this summer. Her recognition included:

    • First Place, Lockheed Martin Physical Sciences: Grade 8, $300, Invitation to compete in Broadcom MASTERS
    • First Place, Alexion Biotechnology: Grade 8, $500, Invitation to compete in Broadcom MASTERS
    • Connecticut Science Teachers Association’s Marty Tafel Award, $500 and Invitation to CSTA Award Banquet
    • Special Award: American Society of Safety Professionals, CT Valley Chapter, $100
    • Special Award: Connecticut Science Supervisors Association, $125
    • Special Award: Jon Stone Memorial Award – Innovative Engineering, $100
    Also recognized :

    Gayathri Kaimal, Fighting Wildfires with Data from Satellite Remote Sensors

    • Finalist, Lockheed Martin Physical Sciences: Grade 8
    • Special Award: American Meteorological Society, $25 gift card
    • Connecticut Science Supervisors Association – $125 for a middle school project

    Varun Vadhera, Medibox

    • Third Place, Collins Aerospace Awards – Middle School, $100
    • Finalist: Computer Science Awards – Middle School
    Varun and his team in FTC with their robot
    Nicola Davies

    Eighth grader Varun is part of the team heading to Detroit next month.

    Team of students with their robot and the champion banner

     

     

    Middlebrook eighth grader Varun (pictured second to the right of the banner) is part of a robotics team that is heading to Detroit in April to participate in the National Championships of the First Tech Challenge. His team “The League of Extraordinary Roboticists” has students 8th to 12th grade from schools in the greater Danbury area. Varun is one of only three middle schoolers on the team of ten.

    The team has been meeting since September to envision their robot and how it will operate. This year’s competition called ‘Rover Ruckus’, is inspired by the Lunar Rover and the Mars Rover space programs. Each team had to build a robot that would ‘land’ on a far off planet, detach from a larger space vehicle, collect specimens and place them in a collecting vessel.  

    The team participated at the state competition, held in Greenwich on February 24th. Varun’s team did exceptionally well and won their division. They also won the inspire award, the award that was given once across all divisions to the team that demonstrates the values of the competition - teamwork, enthusiasm, knowledge and professionalism.

    The team was guided by adult coaches and mentors, students develop STEM skills and practice engineering principles, while realizing the value of hard work, innovation, and working as a team.

    Varun discovered robotics when he received an ev3 kit for his 9th birthday and he has never looked back. After participating in the First Lego League in previous years, he wanted to take it up a notch and join a First Technical Challenge Team. His first challenge was to find a team. The Wilton Library Team did not have a spot for him, but he did not give up. He looked further afield and found a team in Danbury with space for him to join.

    ‘The design process was the hardest part’ said Varun ‘It took the longest time we used CAD software to figure it out’ After design it took a further 20 hours to build the robot ‘The next problem we faced was how to detach from the landing vehicle, we discovered there were flaws in our idea and we had to go back to the design process’. Varun and his team mates also had to figure out the programming language Java in order to control the movement of the robot. No small task as, by Varun’s own admission ‘Java is a big program to learn’

    As well as all the technical aspects, there is also a business side to the program as the students have to learn to present their ideas to companies to solicit sponsorship dollars to support the team and their upcoming trip to Detroit.

    Varun and the team will be exhibiting at the New England Space Expo on April 7th. Details of that event can be found here.

     

    Math Counts Team
    Nicola Davies

    The Connecticut state final was held on Saturday March 9th. 

     

    Math Counts Team

    Four members of the Middlebrook Math Counts Club competed in the 2019 State Competition at the University of Hartford on March 9.  The following students participated in the competition: Connie Gao (8G), Gayathri Kaimal (8Y), Lukas Koutsoukos (8Y), and Sean Ming (8G).  We had a good day of competition and were enlightened about some of the mathematical theories that currently explain our universe by a professor of physics from Wesleyan University.   

    In the team competition, Middlebrook earned the tenth spot for our second year in a row. In the individual competition, Sean earned the top spot from Middlebrook and placed eleventh in the state. 

    The top sixteen competitors faced off in a single-elimination tournament in front of a crowd of several hundred people. Sean was victorious in the first round, but fell short in the “elite eight” round.  The coaches (Mrs. Julianne Walsh and Mr. Stephen Doré) would like to thank all the members of the Math Counts Club for their efforts over the course of the school year. We will continue to hold meetings up until April 10th.

    The competition is organized by the Connecticut Society of Professional Engineers, hosted by the University of Hartford and sponsored by businesses, organizations and individuals throughout Connecticut. In our increasingly technological society, those students who do not begin developing strong problem-solving, logical thinking and analytical abilities in middle school will face an uphill battle later in life if they wish to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. As the only nationwide math enrichment, club and competition program designed to improve math skills for U.S. middle school students, MATHCOUNTS prepares students for future career opportunities and success. More than 6 million students across the U.S. have participated in MATHCOUNTS programs. Further information can be found on the MATHCOUNTS website.

     

    Science Fair students pose with their certificates
    Nicola Davies

    Over 140 students entered this year's Science Fair at Middlebrook School

    Seven photographs depicting students at the science fair

     The Middlebrook gym was a hive of activity on Tuesday evening as over 140 students presented their science fair projects to a roving audience of students, parents, teachers and judges. Divided between 6th grade and 7th & 8th Grade, students projects covered life sciences, physical sciences and engineering. Climate change and the environment featured very prominently in many projects as our socially minded students were clearly working on solutions to real life problems. From solar powered cars, heaters and ovens, the effects of acid rain and how to dispose of styrofoam in an environmentally friendlier way. There were projects based on the greenhouse effect, how to melt snow without affecting the environment and how to fight wildfires using satellite data.  There were old favorites - mentos & soda and new additions - does playing Fortnite raise your blood pressure?

    The enthusiasm of the students was clear to see as they clearly articulated the purpose of their projects even when discussed pitfalls, setbacks and dealing with the rigors of the scientific method.

    6th Grader Lauren  was very excited to present her egg drop experiment. ‘I’ve been waiting since Miller-Driscoll to take part in another science fair’ she said ‘I have always found it fun to figure out how things work, I had to do this experiment a bunch of times and needed a lot of patience’

    Also in 6th grade Anna demonstrated her Freezer Free Feeder, her inspiration sprang from a wish to help her Grandpa who loves to feed the birds in his backyard, but is no longer able to go out in the snow to refill his bird feeder. Her ingenious engineering design ensures that the feeder can be topped up from a second floor window with no need to brave the outdoors.

    Many of the projects were a team effort. MacKenzie & Kendra worked together on a project and enjoyed the opportunity to do practical science ‘6th Grade science can be a lot of textbook and memorization’ they lamented.

    First, second and third places were awarded in each of the three science categories - engineering, life science and physical science full results are posted below. An overall best fair prize was also awarded to 8th Grader Gayathri Kaimal for her work on the early detection of wildfires based on remote sensor data from satellites measuring the amount of moisture in the soil.

    The Middlebrook science fair is a collaboration between the Middlebrook PTA and the  Wilton Education Foundation. It is made possible by the dedication of the co-chairs, the judges and the teachers and students of Middlebrook school.

    7 & 8th Grade Winning Entries

    1st place Engineering - Varun Vadhera
    1st place Life Sciences -  Jeanette Rosenthal
    1st place Physical Sciences - Gayathri Kaimal *

    2nd Place Engineering - Sebastian Shaw
    2nd place Life sciences - Alexandra Cole
    2nd place physical sciences - Keerthi Vijay

    3rd place engineering - Dillon Bhutani
    3rd place life sciences - Akhil Vallabhajosula
    3rd place Physical sciences - Harish Subramanian

    6th Grade Winning Entries

    1st place Engineering - Varish Duriseti
    1st place Life Sciences -  Austin Etzbach
    1st place Physical Sciences - Sahana Bhagavatula

    2nd Place Engineering - Abby Phelan & Sarah Morris
    2nd place Life sciences - Nathan & Nandan Raman
    2nd place physical sciences - Matthew Barymow

    3rd place engineering - Olivia Feldman
    3rd place life sciences - Shyla Bathla
    3rd place Physical sciences - Julia Nanos & Sophia Viggiano

    *Gayathri was also awarded best in fair.

    CM News

    Logo for WEF smarter than a 5th Grader
    Nicola Davies

    The Competition Returns on March 22nd. Here's how to get tickets.

    When: Friday, March 22, 2019
    Time: Doors open at 6:30 pm, show will start at 7 pm
    Where: Middlebrook Auditorium

    Mr Hossler and Students
    Nicola Davies
     

    Mr Hossler's Souper Bowl Challenge returned ahead of Sunday's Super Bowl showdown.

    Mr Hossler and Students

     Fifth Grade teacher Mr Hossler ran his Souper Bowl Challenge again this week. Returning for a fourth year, Cider Mill students were encouraged to bring to school a non-perishable item for the Wilton Food Pantry. The unique twist is that students use their item to vote for the team they want to see win the Super Bowl by placing it on one of two tables - one for the Patriots, and one for the Rams. In a surprising outcome, the Los Angeles Rams won the popular vote. Patriot fans disappointment was short lived, as the Pats. still managed to win the actual Superbowl. Wilton Food Pantry collected over 500 items from Cider Mill students.

    Mrs Lewis's Class on Dress Like a Rockstar day
    Nicola Davies

    Cider Mill students participated in another successful year of the Reading Rocks Fundraiser. 

    Mrs Lewis's Class on Dress Like a Rockstar day

    Reading Rocks rocked out for the 8th year in Wilton raising over $36,000 for the Wilton Educational Foundation. This annual fundraiser takes place at Cider Mill and Miller-Driscoll schools. It began with 'Dress Like A Rock Star' on January 18th,  when participating students make a personal reading pledge and supporters pledge money. The reading period concluded on February 2nd. Congratulations to Kent House who had the highest percentage of students participating in the challenge. Mr Gallo, 5th Grade Kent teacher achieved an astonishing 100% participation from his class.
     

    Jason Greasley

    We are pleased to announce that our some of our third grade students will be presenting their transdisciplinary learning on Native Americans to the Board of Education this Thursday night at 6:30p.m.   

    MD News

    Three Students pose as three states of matter
    Nicola Davies

    The 4th Annual Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math Fair.

    four pictures highlights from the STEAM fair

    Over 80 students showcased their work at the 4th annual steam fair held at Miller-Driscoll

    Students were invited to display their work in one of two categories – Counting Collections or Inventions and Models. As well as the traditional science fair board model, students were encouraged to express their thinking through art or to use technology to showcase their ideas.

    Along with the exploding volcanos, there were modern ideas about how to help giant pandas survive when their bamboo food source is endangered.  There were traditional ideas about the states of matter and how flowers grow, to more futuristic ideas about how to jet pack around the world and how to transport things to a parallel dimension.  Many things were counted, from shells and rocks to birthday candles and leprechauns.

    ‘It is fun to see the imagination and inventiveness of the children, and to hear how much they know about their projects’ said Mrs. Connell, Curriculum coach at Miller-Driscoll and passionate science educator.

    Principal Coon and Superintendent Smith also attended the fair and had a great time learning from the scientists and engineers of the future.

     

     

     

    Amerlia Earhart visits classroom
    Nicola Davies

    Famous women visit Miller-Driscoll for International Women's Day.

    Picture of women dressed up as famous figures for Women In History

    International Women’s Day was celebrated in style at Miller-Driscoll school with around 40 women dressing up as famous figures from past and present. Participation came not only from parents, but also from the Wilton Library Children’s librarian Lesley Keough reprising her role once more as the 'Unsinkable’ Molly Brown in what she calculates is her seventeenth year on the job.

    The program runs during National Women’s History Month in March of each year and is organized and supported by the Miller-Driscoll PTA.

    Some figures are famous household names – Sally Ride, Marie Curie, Jane Goodall, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Some figures do not enjoy the recognition that their accomplishments deserve.

    Amanda Mitchell, co-chair says that after several years of being Eleanor Roosevelt, she wanted to be someone the kids didn’t know.  Speaking passionately about her part in the day she said ‘The suffrage era has always intrigued me, so I dug a little deeper and found Alice Paul.  I was amazed that I had never heard of her.  She was college educated and came from a very progressive Quaker family, she was part of the "night of terror." In 1917. An event when a group of women were arrested for campaigning in front the White House.  While spending many months in jail they were treated very badly, went on hunger strike, were force fed and then sent to an insane asylum. When she was released, she did it all over again.

    Another volunteer was Artie Rokkham, who spent the morning as Noor Inayat Khan. A Special Operations agent/spy who fought for the British Army in WW2. She was the first female wireless operator sent into occupied France in 1943.  Rokkham said of her experience “It’s so fun to learn of these women whose stories of bravery and sacrifice are lost in the annals of time,  Noor Inayat Khan voluntarily signed up to be deployed to a war zone and died at the young age of 30, having been a POW and not giving up any military secrets, despite tough interrogations.”

    The Children thoroughly enjoy and get caught up in their living museum experience One second grader today called out ‘Be safe out there!"  to Florence Nightingale when she bid her farewell and announced she was heading back to the battlefield to care for wounded soldiers. Another first grader offered sympathy to Alice Paul - "I'm sorry you went to jail so that we could vote for President!" 

    The event was made possible by the dedication and hard work of the co-chairs – Amanda Mitchell, Nicole Walberg, Mandy Dugan, and Marie Demasi. And the 40 volunteers who gave their morning to bring history to life for the students at Miller-Driscoll.

    MTDV Morning Show Splash Screen
    Nicola Davies

    The Miller-Driscoll Morning Show aired it's 500th episode on February 14th. 

     

    Students of MDTV in action

    The Miller-Driscoll Morning Show aired it’s 500th episode on Valentine's Day. It’s first show ran on Monday March 7, 2016 and it has come a long way since then. “In the beginning there were two go-pro cameras and two tripods donated from the High School, we bought our own lights at the hardware store and volunteers painted the green screen onto a wall’ said Mr Skip, one of the two advisors for the MDTV club.

    From humble beginnings a truly amazing, award winning, school phenomenon has been created. MDTV has its own dedicated studio space with space for the two teams to work to create each daily show. The birthday squad announces birthdays every day. The anchor desk crew cover lots of ground, from the weather, to what’s for lunch to motivational quotes and noteworthy things that have happened on this day in history.

    During their first full year of operation, the team showed determination and patience as they worked around the school renovation. ‘We had to put stuff up and take it down every day’ reminisces Mr. Skip ‘We were sharing our space with the staff lounge!’ During school year 2016-17 the team upgraded their green screen to a hand-made green felt screen and managed to secure a grant from the Wilton Education Foundation to buy their first professional camera. Wilton Continuing Education provided more lights for the group.

    Now in its fourth "Season" of operation MD-TV has 20 students in each before school club that runs 4 eight week sessions a year. Kindergarten and 1st grade alumni are even invited to come back and help get the first few weeks of programming done before school starts. Whether you are in kindergarten on 2nd grade, you are welcome to submit an application to the lottery. The crew does everything on set from directing, sound, anchors, prompter, lighting, sound, marker and camera director.

    Examples of the morning show can be found here

    Watching the first show and the 500th show highlights the amazing transformation that has been achieved in three short years. There are no more rustling scripts, the sound is perfectly recorded and the video is professional quality.

    MDTV was the vision of Skip Ploss and Bryan Ennis who came up with the idea of the Morning Show that would be in charge of announcements that were previously delivered over the school’s PA system.

    The show changes organically over time and has grown to incorporate inspirational quotes and commercials for events happening in and around the school. The show has even borrowed the idea of a Cold Opening and sometimes starts with visits to classrooms and enthusiastic greetings from 20 students.

    ‘The eight weeks the kids are involved in the show really boosts their confidence’ Said Mr Ennis ‘They leave here feeling that they really can do anything and that it’s OK to make mistakes’  

    The grown-ups are in charge of the scripts and editing the show but the kids do everything else. ‘The kids sometimes edit on-air if they don’t like the way something sounds’ said Mr Skip ‘We encourage ad-libbing’

    The show is driven by life in the building, the adults hope one day that the kids will edit more of the script. During their 8 weeks on the show, each student undertakes a range of roles. Everyone gets a chance to be a news anchor. Parents love to watch the shows and send the videos to proud relatives.

    There is also an after school club run through Wilton Continuing Ed called On Air.

     

     

     

     

    colored trash creates a mural of two fish, a sea turtle and strands of seaweed.
    Richard Ploss
    colored trash creates a mural of two fish, a sea turtle and strands of seaweed.

    By Tammy Thornton.
    Photo by MD Staff.

    Inspired by a similar mural in a NC Children’s Museum, MD Green Team Co-Chairs Tammy Thornton and Vivian Lee-Shiue, teamed up with MD Art teachers Jen Eyikan and Megan Putnick to create an art mural made out of unwanted items for our school. 

    Parents were asked to send in any small items such as old game pieces, lids, markers, crayons, Legos, etc  that may have just gone in the garbage throughout the month of October.  The MD Green Team then sorted and colored coded while the art teachers painted the mural onto the foam board.  Select second grade students had the opportunity during an early release day and art workshop to help glue the items onto the board with the art teachers. 

    The finished mural, now a permanent fixture, hangs in the hallway outside the school library.