Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Southington Teacher of the Year: Christina McKirryher

Teacher of the Year: Christina McKirryher
 Can you believe it! Southington schools opens this Thursday, September 1st and it’s a full day session!  
Just a few days ago the Southington School District presented its annual Staff Convocation of teachers, staff and administrators from all our schools. Always exciting, often surprisingly delightful, the program has become a major event for our community’s educators. A high point of the Convocation was the introduction and recognition of this year’s Southington Teacher of the Year 2016-2017, Christina McKirryher, an extraordinary first grade teacher at the Plantsville Elementary School.  
Christina McKirryher
Southington Teacher of the Year
Christina and her husband of seven years, Jeff, reside in Naugatuck with their three children, Jack, Declan, and Griffin.  McKirryher, a teacher in Southington for the past six years, was originally hired in November 2009 as a literacy tutor at Strong Elementary School. In August 2010, she was transferred to PES as a Kindergarten teacher. A year later, Christina was assigned to teach first grade. Superintendent Timothy Connellan stated that (McKirryher) believes “every child deserves to learn in an environment that focuses on student achievement while meeting the needs of every child.”

Christina earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration in 2007 at the University of Connecticut. In 2008, she earned a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education with a cross endorsement of Business Education at the University of Bridgeport. Currently, she’s working on a Sixth Year Degree and Certification in Educational Leadership at Central Connecticut State University. Christina is a passionate advocate for teaching and learning and an inspiration to others. Apart from her first grade instruction, she serves on the School Safety and Security Committee and the Responsive Classroom Committee.  Having worked with McKirryher for two years, PES Principal, Steve Bergin, said: “She’s an excellent example of our great teaching in Southington. Her practice of instruction is at a rigorously high level. She goes out of her way for the school and in the community and absolutely deserves the award.”
McKirryher has proactively served as the STEPS coalition representative at PES. In that role, she organized a Taste of Plantsville night allowing families to showcase their cultures. At PES she also created the S.T.A.R.S. program recognizing students for character traits and has organized field trips, literacy nights for students in kindergarten through second grade, and a ‘Read Across America’ day.
Observing much of her work at PES during the past year, Assistant Superintendent of Schools, Steve Madancy, said: “Her leadership and commitment to the STEPS Asset Building Classrooms and Celebrations of Excellence, bringing the school community together to celebrate the achievements of students have been remarkably effective. Christina’s compassion is for the whole child.”

This year’s TOTY Coordinator, Chris Palmieri, (Vice Principal at DePaolo M.S.), explained the selection process for each year’s nominee. “A committee of teachers representing all Southington schools, elementary, middle and high school, reviews the names of those proposed in an open nominating system. Nominees are asked to complete the application form used by the State of Connecticut for uniformity of data from all districts. The local teachers’ committee reviews all candidates and makes the final selection. The application forms of each District’s TOTY are forwarded to the State for its selection of Connecticut TOTY. 

“While we select only one, the process and the recognition is a great tribute to all of our Southington teachers who do such a phenomenal job.”, Palmieri said. 

Congratulations, Christina McKirryher and thank you for your outstanding service to our Southington children! 

Tag: Southington Citizen columnist and freelance writer Dick Fortunato welcomes comments at dick617@gmail.com

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Southington Knights of Columbus Annual Youth Soccer Challenge

The K of C Isabella Council #15 & Rev. Walter F. Geraghty Council #25 - will jointly sponsor their 
Annual Youth Soccer Challenge on Sunday, September 11, 2016 at Field 3 of Recreation Park, off 
So. End Rd. in Plantsville, CT. 

All boys and girls, ages 9 to 14 living in Southington, Plantsville, Milldale and
Marion are eligible to register, participate in and enjoy this healthy athletic
activity.  A rolling registration which will begin at 1:30 and end at 2:30 pm. 

The competition will start promptly at 2 pm. Each player will participate in his or her
gender and age group, based on attained age as of Sep. 1, 2016. 
Players will receive fifteen opportunities to score penalty shots receiving
points based on various point levels of successful penalty shots made.   

High scorer in each division advances to district competition. There is no rain
date scheduled in the event of inclement weather. However, we will hold the
event in light rain.  

Registration is free. For more info, contact Phil Mazzatti at 
mazzophi@att.net or at 203-395-4381.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Southington: where exciting events go on and on

Just a few of our important upcoming Activities and Events 

                   at the new 
   St. Dominic  Child Care Cente
             from 9 to 11:30 am 
            Sunday, August 28th

Also . . . . .
Eileen Sampiere, Principal
Sunday, August 28th at 11:00 am, meet and Greet Eileen Sampiere, Southington Catholic School’s new administrator who will support the mission of further developing an excellent, faith filled education available to all the families of our community.

Bring the family along for an informal reception in the School Cafeteria at 133 Bristol Street. The school’s soft opening will be held on August 31st from 9 am to 1 pm. The first full day of school will be Thursday, September 1st.  Would you like to volunteer to help serve lunch to the students from 10:50 to 12:30 daily? Choose the day most convenient for you. For more information, call 860-628-2485.

   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   

Sunday, August 28th from 1 to 5 pm. Support the Polish Falcons’ 1st annual BBQ fundraiser at 33 Knowles Ave in Plantsville to benefit the High Hopes Home in Meriden for its developmentally challenged residents.  BBQ with the trimmings, plus keg beer and DJ Music. Donation required. The Renegade Pigs Club of Meriden will use all proceeds to fill the Christmas wish lists and daily needs of the residents of the High Hopes Home, a private, permanent facility in Meriden for children with multiple disabilities located at 44 Woodlawn Terrace. High Hopes takes in children referred by the Department of Children and Families and is partially supported by charitable donations.
~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~  ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~  
9/11 Memorial - Plantsville, CT.
Sunday, September 11, 2016 at precisely 8:46 am the people of Southington will gather with members of the Fire and Police Departments as well as public officials, the Knights of Columbus Color Guard, the American Legion, other veterans’ groups and leaders of civic and community service groups for a brief service honoring those who lost their lives on that most tragic day of September 11, 2001 fifteen years ago. Music and sound to be provided by local DJ Jerry Limmer. Flowers will be placed at the site The public is invited. The memorial monument, designed to represent the World Trade Center, is a pair of twin granite tablets installed by Mathieu Monuments of Southington. Remember this never to be forgotten moment in our history at the Rails to Trails crossing on W. Main Stree to honor the memory of almost 3,000 innocent citizens, including Fire, Police and other first responders who lost their lives in NYC, at the Pentagon and in a field in Pennsylvania through the evil actions of terrorists. Arrival suggested by 8:30am to ensure parking space.
~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~  ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   
Sunday, October 2nd – YMCA’s 37th annual Apple Harvest Festival Road Races - Register asap for the 5 Mile, 5K, 2 Mile Walk, and Little Fritter Run by stopping at the Y front desk or online at www.sccymca.org/apple. The “Y” is offering a courtesy discount to active military members. Race Schedule: 5 Mile Start- 8:30 am; 5K Start-8:45 am; both start at top of Columbus Blvd. The Y also has a t-shirt design competition this year. Design a road race t-shirt, 12” by 16”, maximum 4 colors. Any color background. Winner to receive a gift certificate and free publicity.  Enter now through August 26. Send design to jmyers@sccymca.org. The Y invites musicians to add to the community fun and spirit along the race course. Contact John Myers for more info.
~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~  ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   

And, the biggest event 
             in Southington
                        year after year . . .

Writer and columnist, Dick Fortunato, welcomes comments at dick617@gmail.com.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Southington Catholic To Start New School Year with New Principal

An open invitation to stop by at Southington Catholic School on Sunday, August 28th, a perfect opportunity to meet Principal Eileen Sampiere and enjoy light refreshments and engaging conversation with this distinguished Catholic school administrator as she shares her vision for SC. Coffee, donuts and hospitality in the school cafeteria at 11 am, Sunday, August 28th.  Coffee, donuts and hospitality will be served in the school cafeteria at 11:00 am on Sunday, August 28th. We hope to see all our parents, friends and supporters at this welcoming event.

This summer the new town-wide Catholic School has been working hard to prepare for its second scholastic year with the the vision of moving forward in the development of a “new transitional model for the future of Catholic education”, The Most Rev. Leonard P. Blair, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Hartford described it. There is an opportunity now to turn the page from the traditional parochial school to a 21st century regional school.

In the late spring of 2016, Co-Pastors Fr. Ron May, (St. Dominic), and Fr. Nick Melo, (St. Thomas), announced the appointment of Eileen Sampiere as the school’s new principal effective July 1, 2016.  

Sampiere will assume the helm at Southington Catholic in continuing the transition from the traditional ‘parochial’ (parish) school model to a pilot ‘area-wide’ Catholic school serving the needs of multiple parishes.

The announcement in the spring by MaryPat Wirkus of her retirement after a remarkable career of 37 years in education opened the position for a new principal. Wirkus spearheaded the successful formational year of the merger of the St. Dominic and St. Thomas Schools into the area-wide school that is Southington Catholic.  Having served in several schools as principal for most of her career, Wirkus said, “The merger was the most challenging of many challenging tasks and I am deeply grateful to the determination of so many on our team who made it happen through the Grace of God.”

Principal Eileen Sampiere
A resident of Meriden, (native of Waterbury), Sampiere comes to Southington as an accomplished professional in Catholic Education, having served with distinction for the past 24 years as Principal of Corpus Christi in Wethersfield, where she is credited with the implementation of major renovations and additions to the school, increased enrollment and leading the way at Corpus Christi to its National Blue Ribbon School status.  Twice the recipient of the National Catholic Education Association’s award of Distinguished Principal of the Year, Sampiere is a highly respected mentor and leader among principals in the Archdiocese of Hartford.  Sampiere earned her B.S. in Education, minor in Social Studies at St. John’s Univ. in Jamaica, NY, her M.A. in Education at Fairfield University and her Professional Diploma (sixth year) in Educational Administration and Supervision at Long Island University. She received recognition early in her career for her important achievements as principal of Our Holy Redeemer School in Freeport, NY and at St. Anne’s School in Garden  City, NY before returning to her native state.  

Asked for her insights as she approaches another challenge to innovative development in education, Sampiere said: “Though I have not been at Southington Catholic during its first year, I recognize the many challenges of change and that the past year’s accomplishments required a great deal of experience and talent of Mrs. Wirkus and the dedicated support of a great team working together. Looking forward, I know that truly welcoming and connecting with parents is paramount. They have to leave a meeting knowing their questions and concerned were listened to and heard. Equally important in what teachers do in their classrooms each day and that children go home happy in the welcoming environment of a loving and nurturing environment. The school must, of course, provide a sound foundation in academics consistent with the highest standards of Catholic education within the needs of a quality 21st century classroom.”

Many conversations during the past year with co-pastors, principals, parents, students, school board members and teachers have evidenced a prevailing sense of excited enthusiasm for the future. The vision is considered to afford many advantages, including: (1) adjusting to trending shifts in demographics, culture and technology of 21st century education, (2) opportunities for viable innovative strides in advancing curriculum, programs and activities, (3) greater efficiency in operational and fiscal management of the school while delivering the highest standards of Catholic education and (4) the re-awakening of a wider parental interest and desire in considering the advantages of a fine Catholic education for their children in a Christ-driven environment.

For more information about enrollment in Southington Catholic School or an appointment to speak with Mrs. Eileen Sampiere and have a tour of the classrooms, parents and guardians may call 860-628-2485. You will learn much more right now by visitingSouthington Catholic's website.

MaryPat Wirkus

Appleseed joins many former students and parents in the community, the faculty and staff and the co-pastors of Southington Catholic  in congratulating MaryPat Wirkus on her retirement as we extend our warmest wishes to her in the next fulfilling chapter in her journey in life.    A Tribute to the Gift of Faith to Our Children

       A Testimonial 

A letter from Southington Catholic School Board Co-chairman,John Leary

Saturday, August 6, 2016

SoCCA soft opening excites first lookers

My presence at a special preview of the new cultural arts center thwarted, SoCCA Board President, Dawn Miceli, graciously agreed to write today’s Appleseed column published in the Friday, August 5, 2016 of The Southington Citizen.                                                                                         Dick Fortunato 

After more than a year and a half of renovations – which more or less involved gutting the entire building – the new community arts center housed in the former Gura Building is ready for occupancy.
A donor appreciation event July 28 was the first public showing of the Southington Community Cultural Arts (SoCCA) facility.  Attendees included residents, civic organization representatives, state and town officials and local businesses – all of whom contributed in either funding or goods and services to the capital campaign.  As guests toured the building they were entertained by performing and visual artists in the studios and rooms to highlight the various offerings that will take place at SoCCA.  Refreshments and appetizers were provided by Geno’s Grille.

“We owe a huge shout-out to our town’s residents and business owners who, through their generosity and donations of funds, labor and goods and services, made the impossible possible and gave our community one of the most highly recognized arts centers in the area before our doors were even open,” said SoCCA Executive Director Mary DeCroce.  “We can’t thank you enough, Southington, especially Florian Properties.”

Grand Opening events and a ribbon-cutting ceremony are planned for the two weekends of the 2016 Apple Harvest Festival.

In the meantime, classes and programming are now being formed for the first eight-week session, which begins October 12 and concludes December 12.  A wide range of options and creativity levels for the beginner to the seasoned artist – and everyone in between – are being offered.
The center’s 3,000-square-foot pottery studio will also be open by October and will feature six wheels, a glazing station, hand-building tables and three kilns.  The size and capacity of the studio make it one of only six in the state of this scale and a variety of adult and teen courses will be available for pottery enthusiasts. 

All six second-floor studios have been leased and artists were able to move in July 15.  The studios will thrive with creativity and activity thanks to occupants who include music teachers, a caricaturist cartoonist, a calligraphy and lettering artist and an oil artist.  Also upstairs is the Bradley Henry Barnes & Leila Upson Barnes Memorial Trust Room, which serves as the All Access Studio.  This unique arts program provides creative and vocational artisan training for those with disabilities. 

The goals of the program are to connect this population with their community, provide extra income and, perhaps most importantly, enhance quality of life through the creative process.  Products produced via the All Access program and by other artisans affiliated with SoCCA will be sold in the retail store.

The arts center also features The Hopko Performance Hall, which is more than 1,100 square feet and can seat up to 80 people. The space will be used for exhibits, workshops, performances and is available to rent for parties and special events.  A catering kitchen completes the performance hall.

The 2016 SoCCA Board of Directors:from left, Lori Holm, Vice President Susan Urillo Larson, Diana Sheard, Susan Skarvinko, Secretary Paula Knight, President Dawn Miceli, All Access coordinator Margaret Bodell, Honorary Board member Jane Herzig and Executive Director Mary DeCroce.  Missing from the photo are board members Linda Deluca, Melinda Otlowski, Robert Riggs Lombardi and Diann Thomson.

Visit the must view SouthingtonArts.com to become a member of Southington Community Cultural Arts and receive programming discounts, notification of special events, exhibition openings and exclusive publications.  Joining SoCCA ensures the cultivation, appreciation and education of the arts in our community and supports Connecticut's premier All Access Studio. For more, visit SoCCA’s Facebook page or contact Director Mary DeCroce at 860.276.1581.

Today's guest columnist, Dawn Miceli, is a resident of Southington, a former journalist and adjunct professor at Quinnipiac University and a valued public servant of the Southington community who serves on the Town Council and is Communications Director at Hamden Hall Country Day School. 

Falcons BBQ Aug. 28th to Benefit Developmentally Challenged of High Hopes Home

Polish Falcons Nest 307
First Annual BBQ Fundraiser To Benefit the HIGH HOPES Home in Meriden for the Developmentally Challenged Date: Sunday, August 28, 2016   Time: 1 to 5 pm Place: Falcon’s Nest 307 at 33 Knowles Ave. Plantsville, CT
Renegade Pigs Motorcycle Club of Meriden to distribute proceeds to fulfill the Christmas Wish Lists of the children and the daily necessities of the residents of the High Hopes Home BBQ includes Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Coleslaw, Grilled BBQ and Teriyaki Glazed Chicken, Corn on the Cob, Corn on the Cob, Baked Beans, Cornbread, Potato Salad and Pasta Salad + Keg Beer and DJ MUSIC - DONATION $20.00
Note: High Hopes is a private, permanent home for children with multiple disabilities located at 44 Woodlawn Terrace, Meriden, CT. Founded in 1971, High Hopes takes in children referred by the Department of Children and Families. It is partially supported by charitable donations. The children range in age from 6 to 32 years old.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Race4Chase YMCA Camp Sloper - Aug. 6, 2016 and more town news

Race4Chase Finale
The Race4Chase Kids’ Triathlon Program Finale will take place at our very own YMCA Camp Sloper on Saturday, August 6th, 2016.  This will be the culminating event for the Race4Chase Kids’ Triathlon Program in Connecticut where 500+ youth ages 6-12 will attempt to complete their first triathlon.  The participants will have taken part in a rigorous six week training program at one of the eight Race4Chase Kids’ Triathlon Program sitesWe are looking for volunteers to help with this amazing event, if you're interested, please click here!
On their mark ... ready for the Splash In . . . . . . . . . . More Big News for the "Y" and Southington
New this year- Road Race T-shirt Contest
The Southington Community YMCA will be conducting its 37th annual Apple Harvest Festival Road Races on Sunday, October 2nd, 2016. Registration for the 5 Mile, 5K, 2 Mile Walk, and Little Fritter Run is now open and can be done by either stopping into the Southington Community YMCA or by Registering online at www.sccymca.org/apple
This year, the Southington Community YMCA is excited to announce they will now offer a military discount to any active military member.
5 Mile Start- 8:30 AM
5K Start- 8:45 AM
5k and 5 Mile both start at top of Columbus Blvd.
Also new this year, the Southington Community YMCA is opening up the t-shirt designing to the community. Think you have the talent to design the road race t-shirt? Design a 12” by 16” design with a maximum of four colors on any color background. The winner will receive a gift certificate and free publicity.  Entries accepted now through Friday, August 26. Please send design to jmyers@sccymca.org

As in years past, the Y is looking for musicians to have along the course to add to the community fun spirit of the race. Please contact Race Director John Myers if you would like info on this exciting opportunity to enhance your Apple Harvest Festival Road Race experience. jmyers@sccymca.org

Appleseed Online is an extension of the writer's weekly Appleseed column in the Southington Citizen.