Category Archives: Staples HS

Staples Announces Valedictorian, Salutatorian

Konur Nordberg and Hannah Even call themselves “STEM students.” They’re intrigued by math and science courses like physics and calculus. But both also loved some of their humanities courses.

They did well in whatever they took – and they took some of Staples High School’s most rigorous courses. They earned the 2 highest grade point averages at the academically demanding school. Konur is valedictorian, and Hannah salutatorian. Both will deliver speeches during graduation ceremonies in June.

The pair are also products of the Westport Public Schools. Konur attended Saugatuck Elementary and Bedford Middle Schools. He was an avid soccer and basketball player while younger. At Staples he played soccer and ran track for three years, and raced on the ski team for two.

He was also a member of the school’s Service League of Boys. He participated in a variety of community projects, including clean-up efforts, soup kitchens and fundraising. “I met a lot of grateful people,” Konur says. “And doing it with friends made it special.”

Konur Nordberg

STEM-oriented classes like Advanced Placement Chemistry taught by Dominick Messina, and Advanced Computer Science with Dr. Nick Morgan, were particularly enjoyable and challenging. “I’m a very logical person. Those are fields I may want to go into. It was fascinating to see how many applications there are for them.”

But United States History with Nell-Ayn Lynch also piqued his interest. In fact, he says, the entire Staples environment – which “shows you how to be academically rigorous, with so many amazing courses, but offers so many clubs and sports too” – played a role in his success.

COVID disrupted that environment, beginning last spring. Sports had always provided a balance to Konur’s school day, and helped him manage his time. Instead he ran on his own, and adjusted to distance learning. “I adapted,” he says simply. “Teachers were pretty helpful.”

Konur did not set out to become valedictorian. In fact, “as a freshman I didn’t even know what that was.” But from a young age his parents had instilled in him a desire to try hard in whatever he did.

“You can’t obsess about every grade and test,” he notes. “That can drive you crazy.” It’s much better to “live a balanced life, in and out of school. I was lucky to be able to figure out that balance.”

He recognizes that being Staples High School’s valedictorian is an enormous honor, and credits his teachers for their support and positive influence.

He is not sure what he’ll talk about when he delivers his address. However, Konur says, he remembers writing letters “to our future selves” on the last day of fifth and seventh grades. They are returned to seniors before graduation. As he and the Class of 2021 look forward, he may well use those letters as a way to reflect on how far he’s come.

This fall, Konur heads to Duke University. 

Hannah, the salutatorian, applied her STEM skills in two types of competitions. At Long Lots Elementary School she participated in Math Olympiad; at Bedford Middle School she captained her Science Olympiad team to the national competition.

“That introduced me to engineering,” she recalls. “I saw how physics overlapped between science and math.” She also realized that math relates to “real life” – particularly when her team built a hovercraft (and won first place at the state meet).

Hannah Even

Hannah continued Science Olympiad at Staples, and was again captain. She is vice president of the Science National Honor Society, and a member of its math counterpart. She is also on the math team (captain), works on the STEM Journal, and tutors with Top Hat. 

“It all makes sense to me,” she says of science and math. “There are so many creative paths to get to a fundamental conclusion.”

Hannah’s favorite courses include Advanced Placement Chemistry with Mr. Messina, (Konur is a classmate), Advanced Placement Physics with David Scrofani, Pre-Calculus with Rasha Tarek, Advanced Placement Language with Mary Fulco – and Advanced Placement Government with Suzanne Kammerman 

“That was not in my wheelhouse,” she admits. “But it became one my favorite classes. It was cool to take it in a year when there was so much going on politically.”

Distance learning during the pandemic took some of the stress off – with fewer extracurricular opportunities, she could spend more time on schoolwork and college applications – but Hannah missed debating ideas face-to-face with teachers and students.

Earning salutatorian honors “just happened,” Hannah says. “It was important to me that I took classes I liked. But of course I wanted to do well in them. This is really a great honor. There are so many good students at Staples. It’s nice to know I’ve made it through, and my work paid off.”

Her advice to younger students: “There’s a lot of pressure to take AP classes, just for the credit. But if you don’t like the subject, you won’t do well. Take classes you have a passion for. You’ll enjoy them more. You’ll even enjoy studying for the tests.”

Hannah plans to study engineering at Princeton University.

Roundup: Art Show, Laddie Lawrence Track, Nature …

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The Westport Woman’s Club Art Show makes a triumphant return on Saturday and Sunday, May 22-23 (2 to 6 p.m., 44 Imperial Avenue).

The 6th annual open house features some of the area’s best known and most loved artists and photographers; Nina Bentley, Amy Bock, Trace Burroughs, Susan Fehlinger, Judith Orseck Katz, Tom Kretsch, Susan Leggitt, Kerry Long, Michael Lender, Carole McClintock, Bernard Perry, Jon Puzzuoli, Katherine Ross and Jo Titsworth.

There’s wine and snacks too — just like old times!

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The Woman’s Club Art Show is not the only event scheduled for May 22. At 11 a.m., the Staples High School track will be officially named for Laddie Lawrence. The 1964 graduate has served as a Staples coach — and Westport’s unofficial but beloved running guru — for 50 over years. (Hat tip:Andrew Colabella)

Laddie Lawrence: forever young, and forever admired.

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Seen this morning at Baron’s South. Roberta Delano says, “He just kept looking at me, with the morning sky behind him.”

(Photo/Roberta Delano)

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Springtime beauty, on River Lane:

(Photo/Larry Untermeyer)

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And finally … today is National Lineman Appreciation. Utility workers, not football players.

Mann Oh Mann!

Jamie Mann is drawing praise — and viewers — for his role in “Country Comfort,” the Netflix series about a singing family and their nanny.

But he’s not the only Staples High School student in a TV show this spring.

In fact, he’s not the only one in the same family.

Jamie’s freshman brother Cameron’s show “Mare of Easttown” debuts tonight (Sunday, April 18, 10 p.m.) on HBO. It will stream on HBO Max.

The 7-episode series stars Kate Winslet as Mare Sheehan, a detective trying to keep her life from unraveling as she investigates a murder in her small Pennsylvania town.

Cameron Mann

Cameron plays Ryan Ross, the son of Mare’s best friend. More than a whodunit, the show digs into the complex relationships of a close-knit community, with themes of suffering and redemption.

USA Today says, “Its characters are deeply real and expertly drawn, its sense of place firmly established and specific, and its clues genuinely shocking. It’s intense and satisfying to watch, going to places your average murder mystery wouldn’t aspire.’

Cameron auditioned for the role in September 2019. After sending a tape, he earned a callback with the director and writer in Philadelphia. A final callback followed in New York.

Filming began outside Philadelphia in November 2019 — when Cameron was still at Bedford Middle School — but was shut down by COVID 4 months later. It picked up again in October, and was completed in December.

“Mare” was “cross-boarded” — shot out of order — which complicated things, as the children aged during the long pandemic pause.

One of Cameron’s big scenes in episode 1 — not shot before the shutdown — was cut, probably because it would be too hard to match to the preceding, already-filmed scene when he was a year younger.

His filming took 22 days. But they were spread out, allowing him to continue at both Bedford and Staples. On the days he did work, he was required to spend 3 hours with an on-set teacher.

Cameron Mann took time off from filming to check out the Liberty Bell,

Cameron says that working with Winslet was “amazing. She is very focused and thoughtful about her work. She took the time to meet me, and talk to me about being part of such an intense project. She is super-passionate about acting, and so good.”

This is not the young actor’s first TV show. Cameron has a recurring role on ABC’s “For Life.” He’s been a guest star on “Daredevil” (Netflix) and “New Amsterdam” (NBC), and played former Westporter Melissa Joan Hart’s son in the Lifetime movie “A Very Merry Toy Store.”

And with all that, he found time this winter to play on Staples’ freshman basketball team. Just call the “Mare of Easttown” actor “Cameron of Westport.”

(Meanwhile, Netflix is calculating views, to determine if there will be a 2nd season for Jamie Mann’s “Country Comfort.” All 10 episodes are available now.)

 

Roundup: Outdoor Dining, GG & Joe, “In Death” …

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Starting today, outdoor dining returns to Church Lane.

Now through late fall, restaurants like Spotted Horse, Manna Toast, Pink Sumo and Amis are serving underneath the stars.

The Westport Downtown Association plans live mellow dinner music on weekends, starting soon.

Dining al fresco, last year.

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Around the corner, GG & Joe is closed — but only temporarily.

A sign on the door notes that due to a COVID exposure, they’ve shut their doors for a few days. They reopen Thursday, April 22.

Better safe than sorry. And kudos to the acai bowl-and-coffee-and-more spot in Parker Harding Plaza — which opened last spring, as the pandemic raged — for their concern for all customers.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)

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In Death, The Gift of Life — the powerful anthology of 10 Westporters who embraced death on their own terms — has won two 1st place awards in the Connecticut Press Club’s annual communications contest.

The honors were for editing (Dan Levinson and Alison McBain) and design (McBain and Miggs Burroughs). The book now moves on to national competition.

A community-wide book launch will be held at the Westport Library this fall.

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In the early days of the pandemic, Stan Witkow started an online bingo game. Winners — Westporters, former residents and friends across the country — donate their pots to a non-profit of their choice.

The most recent recipient is Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service. Jennifer Pressman donated her $250 to the organization. Her son is a former WVEMS volunteer. Bingo!

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Abilis is hiring. The non-profit, which serves more than 800 people with special needs and their families — holds a job fair on Saturday, May 1 (9 a.m. to 5 .m., 50 Glenville Street, Greenwich).

Full- and part-time positions include management and assistant management roles, day program and residential roles. Click here to see open positions. Prospective employees should bring resumes. For more information,  call 203-531-1880.

May 1 is also the date of Abilis’ 70th anniversary gala (6:30 p.m., virtual). There’s family entertainment, with comedians, actors, musicians and dancers.

To learn more, register for the show link, see “Giving Garden” needs, check out the online auction or by art by Abilis clients, click here.

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An “06880” reader sits for a 4-hour infusion once a month at Norwalk Hospital. It is often cool in the room, so patients are given a hospital blanket.

The other day, she received a real blanket,  made by a group at Staples High school called Lovee’s Charity. They’re usually given to pediatric patients, but sometimes they’re handed out in the infusion room.

“It was so nice, soft and comforting,” the reader says. She emailed faculty advisor Natalie Odierna, letting her know how much joy the blanket brought.

Now thousands of other “06880” readers know about the joy Lovee’s Charity brings too.

A Lovee’s Charity blanket.

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Major League Soccer has kicked off its 26th season. And for the 5th straight year, Elliot Gerard was commissioned to create the opening day graphic.

The Westport resident Gerard is a founder and creative director with Heartlent Group, a social strategy and creative content agency.

This year’s concept is “Where’s Waldo?” Gerard worked with eMLS to hide Easter eggs in the artwork (below). The campaign is interactive, giving fans the chance to make their own versions on Instagram stories. A customizable background is available. Click for Twitter and Instagram links.

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And finally … I got my 2nd COVID vaccine today. Just sayin’ …

Staples Books A Winner

Sure, Baylor beat up on Gonzaga in this year’s NCAA men’s basketball championship game.

But the real winner is A Tale of Two Cities.

And I don’t mean Waco and Spokane.

Charles Dickens’ 1859 novel took first place in a tournament as hotly contested as that other March Madness: Staples High School’s annual Book Bracket.

Every year there’s a theme. Past ones have included Favorite Book Ever (To Kill a Miockingbird) and Best Book to Movie Adaptation (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone).

Mary Katherine Hocking

Students and staff vote for each round, then watch the winners advance on large posters and via email updates from the organizer, teacher Katherine Hocking and the Staples English Department.

This year’s theme was Best Opening Lines. Seedings for the 32 contestants were done by American Book Review.

Dickens’ “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times …” was ranked high, of course. But George Orwell’s “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen” — from 1984 — was right up there too.

Tournament of Books opening lines also included the terse “Call me Ishmael” (Moby-Dick), “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” (Anna Karenina), and the classic “It was a dark and stormy night” (from Edward George Bulwer-Lytton’s Paul Clifford, though few people know that).

Other contenders ranged from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Catcher in the Rye to Beloved and Don Quixote.

The full Tournament of Books bracket.

A big bulletin board outside the library — courtesy of librarians Jenn Cirino and Nicole Moeller — drew plenty of attention (and, thanks to QR codes, allowed people to vote).

Each book was available for checkout, too. (No one had to read the books to vote, though: The first lines were helpfully added to the board.)

The library display.

David Copperfield (“Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show…”) was the Oral Roberts of the Staples tournament. It was the lowest seeded book to make it into the Final Four, but its loss there prevented what would have been an epic Dickens vs. Dickens title match.

Balloting went down to the wire. Ten late votes for A Tale of Two Cities helped Dickens emerge victorious over his fellow English novelist.

The finalists!

For basketball fans and book lovers, springtime at Staples is the best of times indeed.

Staples High School’s 2021 March Madness winnter!

Unsung Heroes #186

“06880” has already saluted the COVID vaccinators as Unsung Heroes.

But a recent email got my attention. Susan Maya writes:

The hard working pharmacists at Walgreens are unsung heroes.

Rose Stillo and the pharmacists at Walgreens are busy vaccinating Westport, while still filling our prescriptions and answering our questions.

Staples High School Key Club members, wanted to say “thanks.” They put together goodie bags to thank them for all they have done over the past year.

Staples Key Club at Walgreens.

Which got me thinking. Why not give a shout-out to all the vaccinators again? And everyone else who has made it happen: the Westport Weston Health District, officials who have turned places like Walgreens, CVS, hospitals, college campuses — and the Staples High School fieldhouse (for educators) — into vaccination sites.

But let’s also thank the people like the Staples Key Club, who go out of their way to make people smile in these still-too-difficult days.

Unsung Heroes is not a finite category. There are more than enough people doing more than enough good things these days. So if you’ve given a vaccine, helped someone get one — in a group or individually — or simply made someone at a vaccine site smile: You are our Unsung Hero!

(Do you know an Unsung Hero? Email dwoog@optonline.net)

Roundup: Real Estate, Rabbis’ Honors, Raptors …

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Westport’s real estate market roars along.

Roe Colletti reports there were 115 house closings in the first quarter of 2021, a 47% increase from 2020 — and the highest number of houses sold in that quarter since at least 2000.

The average closing price rose 33% to $1.84 million, the quarter’s highest since 2000. Homes sold on average for 99.7% of the list price.

There were 87 houses pending (signed contracts) on March 31, up 81% from last year. The average list price of those homes was $2.2 million.

Housing inventory on March 31 was 135  — down 47.3% from the previous March 31, when there were 256 houses on the market. (Hat tip: Chuck Greenlee)

This 12-bedroom, 15 1/2-bathroom estate, set on 7 1/2 acres, is listed for $20 million. (Photo courtesy of KMS Partners @ Compass)

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This year’s New York Board of Rabbis’ Humanitarian Awards will honor first responders and essential workers.

Dr. Anthony Fauci will be feted. So will the Greater New York Hospital Association.

And … Westport’s own Avi Kaner.

The co-owner of Morton Williams Supermarkets (and former Board of Finance chair and 2nd selectman) will be cited for the work his family-owned business did during the pandemic.

Morton Williams stores never closed. Employees kept working; senior executives ensured that the supply chain continued.

The company became a lifeline to New York. They worked with the CDC to adjust trucking regulations so that truckers would be comfortable making deliveries. They were among the first in the nation to set aside special hours for seniors and immunocompromised customers; they lobbied aggressively for mask use, and ensured that supermarket workers were included in phase 1B of the state’s vaccinations.

There’s one more Westport connection to the May 10 event: Rabbi Jeremy Wiederhorn of The Conservative Synagogue is president of the New York Board of Rabbis.

Avi Kaner in a Bronx Morton Williams store. (Photo/Danny Ghitis for the New York Times)

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Business Networking International does exactly what its name says.

But there’s a twist: Only one person per profession is allowed to join a chapter. For example, there is one CPA, one architect, one insurance agent.

BNI’s Westport chapter is strong and active. They’ve got 48 members. Last year, they conducted nearly $2 million in business.

There are openings now in a few categories: interior designer, home inspector, developer, heating and air conditioning contractor, fitness club or personal trainer, chef, and attorneys who practice estate and elder law.

Weekly BNI meetings are now held over Zoom. They’ll transition to a hybrid or in-person format this summer or fall. Click here for information, or email info@salonpaulmichael.com.

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Today’s osprey update:

Carolyn Doan reports that the Fresh Market ospreys had a busy week rebuilding and freshening up their nest.

Sometimes when they’re not at home, Carolyn and her son head over to Gray’s Creek. Those birds are usually eating. “The male’s chest is more white, while the female has tan markings,” she says. She took this photo of one finishing a fish.

(Photo/Carolyn Doan)

Meanwhile, a group of Y’s Men strolled past this osprey at Longshore:

(Photo/Molly Alger)

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Five Wreckers are Staples High School’s Students of the Month.

Senior Henrik Hovstadius, junior Bruno Guiduli, sophomores Leo Fielding and Ari Lerner, and freshman Domenic Petrosinelli were nominated by their teachers.

Principal Stafford Thomas called the honorees “the glue of the Staples community: the type of kind, cheerful, hard-working, trustworthy students who keep the high school together, making it the special place that is.

Staples High School students of the month (from left): Henrik Hovstadius, Domenic Petrosinelli and Ari Lerner. Missing: Bruno Guiduli and Leo Fielding.

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The 2021 Music at MoCA Concert Series features a diverse range of jazz, pop and classical outdoor concerts, from April through October. Highlights include performers from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Spotlight series.

Multi-instrumentalist and soulful pop artist Matt Nakoa opens the series on Friday, April 30 (7 p.m). Click here for the full schedule, and tickets.

Season passes are available for all 13 concerts, along with jazz, pop or classical packages and individual concert tickets. MoCA members receive discounts. Food and drinks are available at each event.

Matt Nakoa

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And finally … so who is Matt Nakoa (the first MoCA concert performer this year — see above). Watch below:

 

Roundup: Earth Day, Animals, Toilets …

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Earth Day crops up soon. And Sustainable Westport has partnered with Earthplace for a month of activities. Here are 2.

Today (Sunday, April 11, 1 to 1:45 p.m., Zoom, free) or next Sunday (April 18, 1 to 2:30 p.m., in person, $10 per person), join naturalist Veronica Swain for sessions on invasive plant identification and non-chemical removal. Click here to register for today; click here for next Sunday.

This Tuesday, (April 13, 12 noon, Zoom) the topic is toilets.

In “Pipe Dreams: The Urgent Global Quest to Transform the Toilet,” award-winning science journalist Chelsea Wald dives into the future of thrones with Peter Boyd, Sustainable Westport chair. They’ll profile scientists, engineers, philanthropists, entrepreneurs and activists focusing on making toilets accessible and healthier for humans and the planet. No s*it!

Click here to register. Click here to buy copies of the signed “Pipe Dreams” book.

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Weston celebrates Earth Day too.

A “Trash to Treasure Hunt” is set for Lachat Town Farm (April 25, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.). Local artist Andy Reiss will show how to create sculptures from items that would otherwise be thrown away.

For the first time, visitors can walk the farm’s new mile-long nature trail, and enjoy Lachat’s animals, woods and pond.

Experts will offer advice about recycling and seed planting. They’ll also launch a new environmental initiative in Weston: a bottle bank at the transfer station to recycle glass.

Every family that attends will get a free native tree sapling to plant at home.

Other Weston Earth Day events include Green Up Day (April 24, Norfield Church with Weston Kiwanis), and an online information session about recycling trends (April 29, transfer station).

Throughout April, Weston Library offers recycled children’s crafts both online and as packs to pick up. There’s also a book display in the children’s room about the environment and gardening.

For more information and how to register for all the events, click here. http://facebook.com/sustainableweston.

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Speaking of nature: Gil Ghitelman spotted this visitor near the Westport Library yesterday. He (or she) was waddling out of the Saugatuck River, and appreciated the steps.

(Photo/Gus Ghitelman)

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Staples’ spring sports teams are back in action, after missing the entire 2020 due to COVID.

Two squads made impressive debuts. Carter Kelsey (6 innings, 12 strikeouts) and Matt Spada (1 inning, 3 strikeouts) combined for a 6-0 no-hit win over Darien. It was the Wreckers’ first game since winning the 2019 state “LL” championships.

Boys lacrosse delivered a 7-3 victory over New Canaan, traditionally one of the top teams in the FCIAC league.

And looking back at winter sports: The boys ice hockey team reached finished 8th in the state Division 3 hockey rankings. Four players earned Connecticut High School Coaches Association All-State Division 3 honors: seniors Owen Sherman and Victor Sarrazin (1st team), and senior Zachary Schwartz and sophomore Aaron Kail earned (2nd team). Schwartz also received the state’s Hobey Baker Character Award, for outstanding performance on and off the ice.

Clockwise, from upper left: Owen Sherman, Victor Sarrazin, Aaron Kail, Zachary Schwartz.

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MoCA Westport has announced a Summer Open Calls. The juried exhibition  is open to all emerging, mid-career and established visual artists over 18.

It will be on view from June 25 to August 21, 2021. Submission deadline is May 21.

All mediums will be considered. There are no size limitations. Artists must submit digital samples of 5 to 10 works of art, a resumé and brief artist statement. Click here for applications. For more information email liz@mocawestport.org or call 203-222-7070.

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And finally … happy 89th birthday to Joel Grey!

Now Batting: Ron Berler

Staples High School 1967 graduate Ron Berler calls his baseball history “checkered.”

Playing in Westport’s Little League, he threw an on-field tantrum when Max Shulman — the author of “Rally Round the Flag, Boys!” but, more importantly for this story, the umpire — “blew a call” (Ron’s words) on a tag play he made at third.

In later years he was cut during tryouts at both Long Lots Junior High and Staples. He joined the only team that would have him: Staples Players theater.

Ron Berler

After Northwestern University, he became a writer. The Chicago Tribune Magazine sent him to Arizona to do a “Paper Lion”-type spring training story. He suited up for the Chicago Cubs. Leo Durocher was the manager. Ernie Banks drove Ron from the team hotel to the ballpark each morning.

One day Ron lined a shot to right field, causing a rookie pitcher to be returned to the minors. But after one at-bat in the team’s first intra-squad game, Ron was handed an unconditional release from baseball.

He was, however, offered a position with the Wrigley Field grounds crew. He declined.

That was not the end of his baseball career, fortunately. For 18 years, Ron managed suburban Chicago Little League teams.

His day job included writing a weekly, youth-issues column for the Chicago Tribune. He recently reprised one of those pieces — about the unwanted pressures facing star youth athletes — for Medium. Click here to read “The Cost of Being a Little League Hero.”

As Westport youngsters return to the diamond — and all kinds of other athletic fields — it’s a tale worth heeding.

 

Roundup: Vaccines, Teacher Of The Year, Mattress Recycling, Jeff Immelt …

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Yesterday’s 4th Westport Public Schools’ vaccine clinic was another success.

Hundreds of educators — along with their colleagues in Weston and Easton — have now received their 2nd COVID dose.

Yesterday’s event in the Staples High School fieldhouse was an “all in the family” affair. In the photo below, Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice receives his injection from Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Technician Ben Frimmer.

Frimmer’s name may sound familiar. That’s because his day job is theater teacher and drama director at Coleytown Middle School.

(Photo/John Bayers)

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Speaking of education: Eric Lawrence is the Connecticut PTA Outstanding Elementary School Teacher of the Year. The 18-year veteran is a technology instructor. Right now he also teaches 4th grade distance learning.

Yesterday, his Saugatuck Elementary School community came together to celebrate.

A parent said: “Mr. Lawrence, you have always been a truly outstanding teacher here at Saugatuck. But as we all know when we face really difficult times, the absolute best can come out in people.

“Many of us thought we could never express how much SSN (Saugatuck Seal News) meant to us from the early days of the shutdown through this year, but we hope we can express it now. The response to your nomination for this honor was overwhelming.”

She then presented him with a binder filled with letters from colleagues, parents, and leaders in the Cub Scout community, where his leadership also made a great impact.

Mr. Lawrence will be honored at a virtual celebration May 5.

Celebrating Eric Lawrence.

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You know that old mattress or box spring you’ve always meant to get rid of?

Now — well, on Saturday, May 8 (8:30 to 11 a.m.) — you can.

Earthplace hosts a free mattress recycling drop-off event. It’s sponsored by the Mattress Recycling Council, and they know what they’re doing. Each year they recycle more than 190,000 mattresses  — and that’s in Connecticut.

They’re not only diverted from the waste stream. They’re used to make other products, from carpet padding and insulation to filters and mulch.

Can’t transport your mattress to Earthplace on May 8? Boy Scout Troop 36 offers free same-day pickup. Spots are limited; click here to sign up.

If you miss this event, you can bring your mattress or box spring to Park City Green in Bridgeport, a non-profit that recycles mattresses. Call for hours of operation and drop-off instructions: 203-212-3860 or 203-209-6915.

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Want to chat with Jeff Immelt?

GE’s former CEO talks virtually on Thursday, April 22 (7 p.m.) about his 16 years at the helm. The Westport Library program is hosted by Westporter Steve Parrish.

Immelt’s first day on the job was September 10, 2001 — 24 hours before 9/11. His new book Hot Seat: What I Learned Leading a Great American Company details his proudest moments — and missteps — at the helm of the global giant.

Click here to register.

Jeff Immelt

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The Westport Country Playhouse internship program began in 1946. Four years later, 19-year-old Stephen Sondheim spent the summer at the already-famous stage.

The program — now named for longtime Playhouse benefactor Joanne Woodward — continues this summer.

Interns will join the development, education and marketing teams, from June 7 to August 13. They’ll work directly with Playhouse staff, gain practical skills, and hear guest speakers including visiting designers and artists, commercial producers and more.

With a virtual season, the internships are also virtual this year. There are limited in-person requirements, based on department needs.

Application deadline is April 21. Click here for more information.

Stephen Sondheim (crouching, top of photo), during his 1950 apprenticeship. Also in the photo: future film director Frank Perry (front row, left) and Richard Rodgers’ daughter Mary (2nd row, 4th from left).

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The Westport Weston Family YMCA has added over 150 live classes a week, and hundreds more on demand. They include cardio, endurance, strength, bodywork, dance, mind/body, seniors, adaptive, kids and family.

They’re all virtual of course — but available through a collaboration with 29 Y’s across Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts.

You must be a YMCA member, of course. For details on the “Y Wellness 24/7” program, click here.

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Congratulations to Staples High School basketball co-captain Nicole Holmes. The senior was one of only 4 FCIAC players — and 10 overall — named to the Connecticut High School Coaches Association All-State team, in the “LL” (extra large schools division).

Holmes helped lead the Wreckers to a sparkling 13-3 record this winter.

Nicole Holmes (Photo courtesy of The Ruden Report)

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Today’s gorgeous nature shot: a cardinal, courtesy of Karen Weingarten:

(Photo/Karen Weingarten)

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And finally … on this day in 1865, Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia. That was the effective end of the Civil War, though skirmishes continued for several weeks.