Roundup: Class Of ’72, ABC Dream Event, Garden Club Poetry …

Fifty years after graduation, the Staples High School Class of 1972 has not forgotten their alma mater.

For last summer’s half-century (!) reunion, classmates contributed extra funds to help anyone who wanted to attend but could not afford the expense.

When money remained, reunion committee member Mike Elliot had an idea: purchase a Class of ’72 bench for the Staples courtyard. It could be placed it next to a sculpture of dancers by Steffi Freidman — mother of classmate Margie Friedman.

Mike elicited the help of several Staples grads, including ’72 alums Buck Iannacone and Jim Deegan, plus John Rizzi of Rizzi Design Studio (Class of ’74),

Westport Public Schools director of facilities Ted Hunyadi did a great job installing the finished product in the courtyard.

It’s there now, ready for use. And it bears a plaque: “Sit, relax and enjoy! A gift from the Staples Class of 1972.”

Enjoying the bench, clockwise from upper left: Mike Elliot, Joan Wright, Prill Plantinga Boyle and Ann Becker Moore. Missing: John Friedson,


Tickets are going fast for A Better Chance of Westport’s 20th anniversary Dream Event.

The April 1 gala — one of Westport’s best fundraisers of the year, for the program that offers a Staples education, housing and support to 8 boys from underserved communities — brings together current and alumni scholars.

In addition to strong, insightful speeches from the scholars, the evening includes  cocktails, dinner, entertainment, bowling — the event is at Pinstripes, in the SoNo Collection — and a silent auction.

Among the featured items: 2 nights at Gurney’s in Montauk; VIP tickets to a Yankees game; a Wakeman Town Farm dinner for 2, and a “Broadway your way” experience (with transportation, dinner for 2 and a New York hotel stay).

Tickets are available for cocktail/dinner only, or cocktails/dinner and bowling. Click here to purchase.


Three young poets have won the Westport Garden Club’s youth contest — and placed first in their grade at the state level. They move on to the New England competition.

Congratulations to Owen Cloherty (1st grade), Maya Cloherty (4th grade) and Kassia Stedman (5th grade).

This year’s theme — “Seeds, Trees, and Bees…Oh My – Celebrating the Diversity of Nature” — drew entries from every grade level, kindergarten through 9th.

The winners will receive their awards — and read from their works — at the Westport Library on April 2 (2 p.m).

It’s part of National Poetry Month. The event also includes a poetry workshop with town poet laureate Jessica Noyes McEntee. Attendees can write their own poems, inspired by natural materials provided by the Westport Garden Club.  For more information, click here.


Westporter John Richers put the pandemic to good use: He learned 80 acoustic rock songs on his guitar.

On Friday night, he played at Fairfield’ Social, the Post Road bar. He had plenty of support from Westport friends.

John was invited back for a May gig.

After cutting his teeth there, and in Black Rock and Bethel, he hopes to find a Westport venue soon.

John Richers (Photo/Valerie Ann Leff)


Staples High School celebrated Civic Learning Week with 3 events, featuring local government leaders in celebration of Civics Learning Week.  these events provided opportunities for students to meet and learn from local officials.

Last Monday, selectwomen Jen TookerAndrea Moore and Candice Savin  answered questions about the budget, affordable housing, environmental sustainability and more.

On Thursday, Board of Education chair Lee Goldstein and vice chair Liz Heyer discussed education policy, and the BOE’s role in the community. Students asked questions about curriculum, funding, testing and school schedules.

The final event on Friday featured registrars of voters Deborah Greenberg and Maria Signore. They answered questions about election integrity and access, the voter registration process, and the new early voting proposals.

The 3 sessions were organized by Spencer Yim, a member of Rho Kappa National Social Studies Honor Society and leader of Your Vote Matters, a civic engagement club at Staples,

This week: a “town hall” with Congressman Jim Himes for next week

Civic Learning Week organizer Spencer Yim (center) with (from left) registrars of voters Deborah Greenberg and Maria Signore.


Eileen Diana Blau died Thursday in her longtime Westport home. She was 92.

She was born Eileen Lefkowitz in Brooklyn, to Ukrainian parents who had immigrated less than a decade earlier.

Eileen graduated from Brooklyn College with a BS in mathematics. She met fellow student Barry Blau at a Socialist Youth League gathering. They married in 1948, and enjoyed 69 years together until Barry’s death in 2017.

A passionate reader, artist and collector, Eileen filled her mid-century modern home with thousands of books and an eclectic art collection ranging from Flemish tapestries to Indonesian Buddhas, ancient Chinese mirrors and sculptures of her own creation.

In the basement she helped her husband launch his business, Barry Blau & Partners. It grew over 20 years into a global advertising agency.

Once her children were grown, Eileen pursued a life of many interests. She was an avid golfer and tennis player at Birchwood Country Club. Her Manhattan apartment, also art-filled, was a launching pad for attending classes at the China Institute and Asia Society, and frequent visits to museums, galleries and auction houses.

For many years Eileen and Barry also maintained a vacation home on the Big Island of Hawaii. It was a winter gathering spot for their extended family.

In addition to her husband, Eileen was predeceased by her elder sister Rita Kannel. She is survived by her younger sister, Anita Metz; her children Shawn Blau and Emily Blau (Robert Cohen) both of Westport, Peter Blau (Barbara) of Belmont, North Carolina and Juliet Jenkins (Bruce) of Belmont, Massachusetts; grandchildren Lucy Thomas (Kyle), James Blau, Michael Blau (Julie), Lucas Jenkins, Maddie Jenkins, Tess Jenkins, Benjamin Cohen and Veronica Blau, and great-grandchildren Claire and Charles Thomas.

Funeral services will be held tomorrow (Monday March 13, 11 a.m., Abraham L. Green & Son Funeral Home, Fairfield). Shiva will be observed at the Blau home in Westport the same day from 1 to 6 p.m. For more information and to share a condolence message, click here.

Eileen Blau


They haven’t all come up yet, and they’re not in full bloom.

But trust us on today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo: These crocuses, planted by Janet Wolgast in front of her Sturges Commons home, spell “JOY.”

(Photo/Molly Alger)


And finally … speaking of joy:

(If “06880” brings joy to your world, please consider supporting us with a donation. Click here — and thank you!)

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