June 16, 2016

Dear Parents,

We were blessed this month by a great conclusion to a very positive and productive school year. Stanwich's third graduation was characteristically both charming and down-to-earth. Congratulations to our most recent alumni and as well to the recipients of Closing Ceremony awards. Helen Wang (Grade 11) received the Jefferson Book Award from the University of Virginia. Retiring teacher Maggie Seligman awarded the first annual Ellen Seligman Scholarship for Young Writers to aspiring playwright Yona Dervishi (Grade 11). Arthur Wang (Grade 11 ) received the Fairfield County Math League Award for highest individual points earned on a team. Stanwich 7 Awards for achievement, effort, and commitment in athletics were presented to Ben Weinstein (Grade 8), Kirsty Winn (Grade 8), Cullen Murphy (Grade 9), and Ethan Thomas (Grade 9). 

Before you begin summer vacation, please complete the annual Stanwich parent survey sent previously by Edwards & Co, and which will be sent shortly as a follow-up. If you have not received the survey, please email Maria Kadison at Edwards & Co at mkadison@edwardsco.com. The value of this survey is not only to encourage fresh feedback on the past school year, but also to assess trends over time. We cannot do this without your help. 

This Wednesday nine of our students, three alumni, and two chaperones departed for east central Africa to support Project Blessing, begun eight years ago by Shaun Fletcher. Shaun's passion for this unique Stanwich educational, humanitarian opportunity has only increased, as has our community enthusiasm and commitment to the program. Over the course of a month, a total of fifteen students and twelve alumni in two groups will be involved. This summer - in addition to finishing out the new early elementary classrooms constructed last year through our parents' generous financial support - a group of our students will be involved in local eye examinations in coordination with the World Vision initiative. We appreciate the newly founded Project Blessing Board of Trustees - Pat Young, Chair; Amy Dates Carbone; Executive Director Shaun Fletcher; Elizabeth Boolbol; Jordan Alper; Jay Behan; as well as Stanwich student Isabel Vigale; and alumnus Lukens Boolbol

Following Closing Ceremonies, the faculty and staff celebrated a happy and successful year with a gathering at the Head's home at which time we expressed our appreciation to departing faculty. In addition to those announced previously, we thanked Craig Bolotin for his work in the last three years as Academic Technology Coordinator, and Gary Bingham, as part time athletic director. Gary Dunn will assume those athletic responsibilities with his other duties next year as Assistant Upper School Director. 

The last week of school is always a very busy, bitter-sweet time of signing yearbooks, wrapping up projects, exams and year-end comments. In looking through this year's excellent yearbook, I was reminded of the depth and breadth of the learning opportunities available for our students. In addition to the active, experiential daily learning in the classroom, our students benefited from the STEAM Expo and curricular projects, the Visual Arts Expo, Rosemary Wells' presentations at the Book Fair, our Robotics Team's achievements, service learning activities, fields trips to Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, and international travel to Italy and Costa Rica. Our JH and SH athletic teams had successful seasons as well. 

I was particularly heartened to see how many of our JH and SH students were so actively involved in our broad array of Stanwich's performing arts and athletic opportunities: particularly the 91% of our JH students who represented Stanwich so well on teams during all three seasons. We appreciate all the parent support for our students who extend their commitment beyond the academic school day. I would be remiss without extending a special thank you to Janine Kennedy for her dynamic service this year as PA Chair and to the other fully engaged PA members. 

Also, on Wednesday, the Fairchild Challenge sponsored by the Garden Education Center in Cos Cob awarded Stanwich $500 for the best lettuce in all categories to our Grade 2 students led by Ms. DiMinno and Mr. Miller. This spring's gardening project was kicked off on Earth Day with the announcement of CT Greenleaf Consortium recognition of Stanwich and the planting of twelve apple trees. We appreciate not only the physical efforts of our students in helping to make our world a better place, but also the guidance and efforts of the faculty/parent Greenleaf Committee led by Caroline Paradiso and supported by Saskia Reilly and Melissa Raezer, without whom this unique dimension of Stanwich's holistic educational experience would not be possible. We hope in the future we can offer Stanwich prize-winning produce to parents in carline to support our environmental initiatives. 

Before faculty depart for well-deserved summer breaks, many must pack up their materials for summer classroom moves and renovations. Planning meetings continue for the coming year and additional news concerning expanded programming, additional appointments, and faculty developments will be forthcoming from me and others. 

With all best wishes for an energetic and fulfilling summer.

Charles Sachs
Head of School