Roundup: We The People, Roe Halper, Joe Biden …


“We the People” — Staples High School’s AP Government class, and the national competition of the same name — teaches students to research, analyze, synthesize and present important constitutional issues.

And it teaches them to think on their feet, and improvise.

A last-minute switch to a virtual format on Saturday did not faze Suzanne Kammerman’s 23 students. She commandeered the school library; a giant TV was set up; parents brought food, and team members set up in individual rooms with their laptops

The Westport teens’ knowledge of constitutional law was impressive (click here to see the depth and breadth of the questions). They finished second overall to traditional rival Trumbull, ahead of always-strong Greenwich.

Congratulations to all our constitutional scholars; to Kammerman, and the volunteers who helped prepare them for the event (and kept them fed)! (Hat tip: Lyn Hogan)

Like members of a (more academic) “Breakfast Club,” these 4 students did not know each other before the competition. But they finished with the top score of all 6 Staples “units,” and celebrated as friends afterward. Clockwise from lower left: Lilly Weisz, Sebatian Malino, Nikos Ninos, James Dobin-Smith.

Back row (left to right): Sebastian Malino, Nikos Ninos, James Dobin-Smith, Michael Brody, William Wang, Ishan Prasad, Zach Brody, Jackson Benner. Middle row:
Matthew Shackelford, Jet Tober, Scarlett Siegel, Clara Smith, Alex Laskin. Front row: Lilly Weisz, Spencer Yim, Rebecca Schussheim, Anna Diorio, Lucia Wang, Meredith Mulhern, Katharine Shackelford, Eva Simonte, Ryan Salik, Allison Gillman, teacher Suzanne Kammerman.


Good things come to good organizations.

Westport Book Sale Ventures — the nonprofit that operates the Westport Book Shop and Westport Library book sales — has just been awarded $10,000.

The money, from Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, supports the group’s employment program for people with disabilities.

Both of Westport Book Sale Ventures’ ventures employ residents with physical and emotional disabilities, in a variety of roles.


For more than 60 years, Roe Halper has been a noted Westport artist. She’s still active.

Of course, her work has evolved greatly over the years. This Thursday (February 10, 7 p.m., Westport Library Trefz Forum) she’ll discuss exactly how. Her talk is part of her current exhibit “Orange,” on view in the Sheffer Gallery through March 6.

Her presentation should be fascinating — and “illustrative.” To learn more about Halper, click here.

Roe Halper, at her exhibit.


Drivers coming off Merritt Parkway Exit 42 from the west see signs pointing them to Westport or Weston.

That’s it — no “Welcome to Westport!” or other warm, fuzzy greetings.

Except for this new sign, hung recently a few yards away on the Weston Road curve near Main Street:

(Photo/Debbie Silver)


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” image is classic mid-winter Westport. If you haven’t been to Sherwood Island recently, you’re missing out on beauty — and solitude.

(Photo/Claudia Sherwood Servidio)


And finally … drummer Sam Lay died recently in Chicago. He was 86.

The New York Times cited his “exuberant, idiosyncratic drumming … known for its double-shuffle groove.”

Lay played with Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters. He backed Bob Dylan, when the folk singer went electric at Newport in 1965.

And — most importantly for “06880” — he was a founding member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. The keyboardist was current Westport resident Mark Naftalin.

The Times says they were “racially integrated, a rarity at the time, and bought the blues to a white audience during an intense period in the civil rights movement.”

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. Lay is also in the Blues Hall of Fame. (Click here for the full Times obituary.)



10 responses to “Roundup: We The People, Roe Halper, Joe Biden …

  1. Clark Thiemann

    I was at the library this weekend and passed by the gallery with Roe Halper’s paintings and was drawn into the room. They are vibrant, beautiful and a much-needed pick-me-up on a cold, gloomy day!

  2. Christine Meiers Schatz

    Congratulations to the “We the People” team! I read the questions with interest and would love to hear some of your answers too if a video is available (or on paper if the answers were written.)

  3. I am so proud of all of the students who participated in the We The People competition this past Saturday. The experience of preparing and presenting was invaluable. I only wish more students had access to similar experiences earlier in their education. I would like to thank Suzanne Kammerman and the many dedicated parent volunteers for supporting the students this year.

  4. Snowflakes.

  5. Cristina Negrin

    Well the Biden sign pisses me off!

  6. Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

    Team Westport needs to get crackin’ on that Brandon sign. An essay contest should straighten things out.

    • Yes, I agree it’s time for an essay topic on freedom of speech – notably political speech. Seems we have lost touch with that fundamental right – you’re either for all of it, or none of it.

      • John D McCarthy

        Yes, I’m afraid that with one of our major parties declaring rioting and insurrection “legitimate political discourse” we have a ways to go.

  7. Ellen and Mark Naftalin

    Thank you Dan for honoring Sam Lay. He was a wonderful man.