Some 127 Beecher Road School sixth graders crossed the stage to receive their diploma on Friday, June 17. The ceremony took place outside, on the lawn in the back of the school. First Selectman Beth Heller wished them all well, quoting from Winnie the Pooh, “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think,” she said.
Outgoing School Supt Dr. Jonathan Budd called upon the winners of the Superintendent’s CAPSS (Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents) award and the award winners of the Connecticut Association of School Administrators (SCASA). The award recipients are chosen for their community service and service to others; for academic “prowess”; and leadership service to the school community.
The CAPSS winners included Carmella Brown, Marina Serapiglia, Victoria Shafir, Anna Maloney, Noah Hutchinson and Sean Choi; SCASA winners included Ethan Vatner, Ben Smith, Abigail Sussman and Claire Prud’homme.
Of the Class of 2022, five students had been enrolled at the school since their pre-school days. Dr. Budd took the occasion to publicly announce Pre-school teacher Maria DePalma as the 2022-23 Teacher of the Year. The superintendent also highlighted two staff retirements, which were met with warm applause – namely that of special education teacher Doreen Merrill who is retiring after 21 years at Beecher; and of long-time school psychologist Dr. Christine Rose.
PTO President Joi Prud’homme also said an emotional farewell to Beecher Road School, since her daughter is moving up to the Amity system. She brought up the resilience that students and their families had to muster to get through the Covid years. “Spread the happiness, spread the energy,” she encouraged them. “And spread the joy you found at Beecher Road School.”
Board of Education Chairwoman Lynn Piascyk, a retired first-grade teacher, sent them off with a list of tips for a successful life.
- Take care of your body and mind;
- Avoid negativity;
- Be you;
- Set goals and prioritize them;
- Work hard and never give up;
- Have patience;
- Be grateful;
- Be kind;
- Smile; and
- Expand your horizon.
- David Babic and Darrell Brooks lead the line to receive their sixth-grade diploma
- Board of Education chairwoman Lynn Piascyk addresses Beecher graduates and their families
- Beecher Road School Band plays the National Anthem for the graduation ceremony
By Bettina Thiel, Woodbridge Town News Correspondent