Category Archives: Staples HS

Collateral COVID Damage: Staples Basketball Team Devastated As State Tournament Is Canceled

Marisa Shorrock is a senior at Staples High School, and a captain of the basketball team. On Monday night, the Wreckers — ranked #1 in the state, and nearing the end of their best season in decades — defeated Glastonbury to advance to the state tournament semifinals.

Just hours later, they received devastating news: The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference canceled the state tourney. Just like that, the season — with its dream of a title, a capstone to years of goal-setting, hard work, and playing together — was over.

Marisa — who was also a goalie on the soccer team, and will play lacrosse this spring (if there are high school sports) — wrote powerfully about the intense emotions she and her teammates felt after the cancellation. (The Staples boys team was also affected: After their best season in many years, they were eager to begin their own state tournament quest. It ended 6 hours before the opening tip-off.)

Her piece was published yesterday in The Ruden Report — the go-to platform for local high school sports, run by Staples grad Dave Ruden. It appeared yesterday morning, just hours before the Westport Public Schools announced they were closing for the foreseeable future. Marisa wrote:

As a kid, I had always dreamed of that one “great moment.”

I dreamed that I was scoring the World Cup winning goal when I practiced my penalty kicks on the “big girl” nets outside of school. I dreamed of making the buzzer-beater basket in the WNBA Finals when I counted down “3..2..1..” while trying to sink the craziest shot I could make up on the spot.

The “crowd” would go crazy. I would be running around, hands reached out to the sky, cheering at the top of my lungs.

Marisa Shorrock in action against Norwalk High earlier this year. (Photo/Mark Conrad for The Ruden Report)

One day. That’s what I would tell myself. One day I would have my own great moment.

As I got older, I realized that great moments don’t just happen, you have to work for them. Hard. You work through school breaks and race to practice right after the final bell rings. Your muscles always ache and bruises seem to pop up in a new place on your body every day. Injuries will come and go, but you will always work your way back.

You never give up, because you know that no matter the blood, sweat, and tears that you have shed for this sport, the reward at the end will always be worth it.

But what if that reward was just stripped away? Without warning.

Marisa Shorrock battles Greenwich, in the FCIAC tournament last month. (Photo/Mark Conrad for The Ruden Report)

I woke up yesterday [Tuesday] morning, coming off the high of a win that marked my team’s advancement into the state semifinal round, to find out that my season was over. My whole entire basketball career was done. Finished. While the CIAC will be back next year, I, and all of my fellow seniors, will not.

It took a while for the reality of the situation to fully sink in. It was like my brain couldn’t physically processes the information. How could I go from playing in front of a hundred fans to not being allowed to step foot on the court with my thirteen teammates, all in the span of less than twenty-four hours?

There would be no state tournament. No title. No celebration. No great moment. There wouldn’t even be the opportunity to lose.

When my team lost the FCIAC finals in double overtime, the core-shattering devastation felt like an out-of-body experience. I thought that I would never feel anything worse than the emotions I felt after that game. I was wrong.

Marisa Shorrock’s teammates included (from left) Nicole Holmes, Kat Cozzi and Abby Carter. They pressured Glastonbury High’s Charlotte Bassett Monday night, in what turned out to be the Wreckers’ last game of the season. (Photo/Mark Conrad for The Ruden Report)

Although I absolutely hate losing, nothing is worse than not even being able to compete. There’s no closure. It’s unsettling.

The title was right there. Two more games. Just over an hour of play time. That’s all we needed. I know that we were not guaranteed to make it to the finals and we might not have pulled off the magical finish I had always dreamed about; however, after all of the hard work and fighting through adversity, not even having the opportunity to compete was heartbreaking.

I understand that with a global health pandemic decisions need to be made. However, how is it that I am still attending a 1,900 person school every day? How is it that the same day the tournament was cancelled, my 10th grade brother was allowed to play rec basketball at Staples with hundreds of other boys and referees? When the rules don’t make any sense, that’s when I begin to question the decisions being made.

Tomorrow marks my 18th birthday, the day before what would have been Staples’ first semifinal basketball game in 25 years. Instead of spending the night as the kid that would always dream about the endless possibilities, I am left contemplating the harsh reality as I enter the adult world. There will always be a new decision to be made. There will always be controversy. The world’s not fair, but soon I, and hopefully all of my fellow seniors, will learn to accept the outcome and continue to dream for those great moments.

(Click here for the Ruden Report.)

Emma Charles’ “Connecticut”: A Musical And Video Homage

Texas has its “yellow rose.” Georgia was on Ray Charles’ mind; Gladys Knight took a midnight train there, and Brook Benton sang about a rainy night.

There are too many California songs to count: “Girls,” “Dreamin’,” “Hotel” — you name it.

But Connecticut?

A quick Google search shows one from 1945, by Judy Garland and Bing Crosby. There’s “Kylie from Connecticut” by Ben Folds, and a couple of others — including (I’m not kidding) “Connecticut’s For F*cking,” by Jesus H Christ and the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

I haven’t heard of any of them.

Hopefully, all of us — in 06880, 90210 and everywhere in between — will soon hear “Connecticut,” by Emma Charles.

It may be the tune that puts us on the musical map.

Emma is certainly on the fast track. The 2015 Staples High School graduate — known then as Emma Ruchefsky — went on to the prestigious Berklee College of Music. She concentrated on performance and songwriting, and studied with Livingston Taylor.

Her first professional gig, as a sophomore, was at Rockwood Music Hall.

After graduating, Emma (whose professional last name, Charles, comes from her mother, Rondi Charleston — she’s a professional singer too) relocated to Los Angeles. She’s recorded and toured nationally. Billboard named her a Best Emerging Artist of 2020.

That initial trip to LA was the impetus for “Connecticut” — the song, the EP of the same name, and the video.

Emma wrote the title tune after a 2-week road trip from Westport west. She took the southern route, and called it “amazing.”

Along the way — and then in California — Emma reflected on her lifetime in the Nutmeg State, and the people she grew up with here. “Connecticut” flowed easily.

The video, meanwhile, began this past Christmas. Home for the holidays, Emma and her parents watched old home videos.

She also toured the town with former Staples classmate Sarah Quagliariello. They videotaped favorite sites.

Emma and her creative director, Msrina Piche, spliced together those old and new tapes, plus footage from Emma’s road trip to create the video.

It’s an allegory for transitioning from the familiar to the unfamiliar, the comfortable to the unknown. She grew up quite happily here, but is eager now for whatever comes next.

Viewers love the video, with its “old-timey” format.

“They say it’s organic — not curated or perfect,” Emma explains. “They like that it’s raw. They see a lot of me in it.”

Four more songs from the “Connecticut” EP rolls out soon. In May and June Emma heads off on a 12-city tour, opening for a band called Shell. The last date is at Joe’s Pub, in New York City.

Many of her Connecticut friends and fans will be there.

No doubt singing along with “Connecticut.”

(For more on Emma Charles — including songs from the “Connecticut” EP — click here.)

COVID-19 Update: Lamont Declares Emergency; Library Cancels Programming; “Seussical” Postponed; State Basketball Tournaments, WIN Canceled

The coronavirus continues to play havoc with Connecticut life.

Gov. Ned Lamont has declared both a public health emergency and a civil preparedness emergency.

The first edict gives the state power over quarantine. The second allows the governor to restrict travel, and close public schools and buildings, among other powers..

Right now, however, Lamont says that decisions about school closings and large gatherings are being made by local government and public health officials.


The Westport Library will postpone or cancel all “in-person programming” through the end of March. Some events may be live-streamed — as was Sunday’s public meeting on the COVID-19 virus.

The Spring Book Sale scheduled for this weekend has also been canceled. The summer book sale will be held July 18 through 21, at a new location: Staples High School.

Right now, the library plans to remain open for patrons, and is “extra vigilant” about cleanliness.

Executive director Bill Harmer encourages users to take advantage of the library’s “extensive downloadable and streaming digital resource, eAudiobooks, eBooks, eMagazines, music, movies, and many other entertaining and educational resources are available to all cardholders.” Click here for links to the digital collection.


Staples Players’ production of “Seussical” — scheduled for a 2-week run, beginning this weekend — has been postponed until April 24 and 25 (matinee and evening shows) and April 26.

Ticket holders will be contacted by the box office within the next few days regarding transitions or exchanges.

“We will work as quickly as we can to respond to patrons, but we ask the public to be patient,” say directors David Roth and Kerry Long.


The actors and tech crew — who have dedicated themselves to the show since December — are not the only Staples students disappointed by the effects of the rapidly spreading virus.

Wrecker basketball players were stunned today to learn that the Connecticut State Interscholastic Athletic Conference canceled the boys and girls state tournaments. (Click here for a video of the announcement.)

Both Staples teams were having their best seasons in decades. Last night, the girls beat Glastonbury to advance to the semifinals. The boys were set to begin their tournament this evening, home against Enfield.

It’s an abrupt ending for both squads.


Meanwhile, the Westport Soccer Association’s WIN tournament — for over 30 years, the kickoff to the spring season — has been canceled too.

The event — which draws over 160 boys and girls teams to indoor and outdoor fields at Staples High and Bedford Middle Schools — is a fundraiser for the Coleman Brother Foundation.

Over the years, it has collected and donated more than $100,000 in scholarships.


The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce — which looks out for the interests of local businesses — has forwarded a CDC document: “Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers/Plan, Prepare and Respond to Coronavirus.” Click here for the link.

“Seussical” Sequel: It’s A Clean Show!

Coronavirus scare got you down? Never fear, there’s a doctor in the house.

Dr. Seuss!

To ease the minds of audiences for the upcoming show — “Seussical: The Musical” — Staples Players directors David Roth and Kerry Long have ensured that all hard surfaces in the high school auditorium will be disinfected between each performance.

Echoing  (and adding to) signs that have already appeared throughout the school, they say: “Keep calm, wash your hands — and come see the show!”

(“Seussical: The Musical” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 13 and 20, and  Saturday, March 14 and 21, with matinees at 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 14 and 21, and Sunday, March 15. Characters are available for autographs following each matinee; a small fee will be collected, to help the Curiale School library. For tickets, cast lists and more information, click here.)

“Seussical”: Book It!

Books feed the imagination. That’s true whether you’re reading William Shakespeare or Dr. Seuss.

Staples Players has staged Shakespeare’s works. Next week, they debut “Seussical: The Musical.”

And because Players is far more than just an award-winning high school-but-really-professional drama troupe, they’re giving the gift of books to kids who need them — with help from the generosity of audiences who flock to this show.

At every performance, volunteers will collect new and used children’s books. They’ll be donated to the library at the K-8 Curiale School in Bridgeport. Cash donations for book purchases are welcome too.

Seussical” will be fun …

Players directors David Roth and Kerry Long are excited about the project — and “Seussical.”

They’ve wanted to produce the show for years. “I love the music, the themes — and I’ve always loved Dr. Seuss,” says Roth, in his third decade leading the legendary program.

“Because it’s appropriate for all audiences, middle schools have done it before. Now the time is right for us.”

Roth notes that although Dr. Seuss wrote children’s books, “Seussical” — which debuted on Broadway in 2000 — is “more than a kids’ show. Adults love the music, lyrics and dancing.

“People ask me if ‘Seussical’ is appropriate for kids, and I say ‘absolutely. They will love it!’ Other people ask me if it is a kids’ show and I say ‘absolutely not!’ It’s really a show for all ages. Adults love it as much, if not more, than kids.”

… for all ages. (Photos/Kerry Long)

The musical also offers “lots of very relevant messages, especially in today’s climate,” Roth says. They include “taking care of each other, being true to your convictions, being happy with who you are, and having positive body image.”

Some current Players performed “Seussical” when they were younger. But, Roth says, “those were junior versions. This is very different.”

The current cast looks forward to the show. “It’s very creative. They’re experiencing being different animals and creatures. Along with the movement and voices, it’s all very cool.”

Almost as cool as collecting children’s books, for a school a few miles away that desperately needs them.

(“Seussical: The Musical” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 13 and 20, and  Saturday, March 14 and 21, with matinees at 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 14 and 21, and Sunday, March 15. Characters are available for autographs following each matinee; a small fee will be collected, to help the Curiale School library. For tickets, cast lists and more information, click here.)

“Where It Begins”: With Leigha Grushkin

Leigha Grushkin has been writing stories ever since she learned how to write letters.

Her active imagination was honed in the Westport schools. At Coleytown Elementary and Middle School, then Staples High, many language arts and English teachers inspired her.

“I loved them all,” Leigha says. “Each of them rounded out a different part of my education.” All were impactful, but she singles out Barbara Robbins and Dan Geraghty for particular praise.

Leigha Grushkin Jaclynn

She majored n English and minored in writing at Eastern Connecticut State University. After college she worked for Barnes & Noble’s College — the campus bookstore division — while waitressing and bartending on the side.

All along, she kept writing.

But it wasn’t until she found a long-lost flash drive — containing thousands of pages of unedited, single-spaced stories — that she thought of publishing her work.

“Where It Begins” follows a pair of teenagers. Both struggling with family troubles, personal faults and flaws and buried secrets, they find solace in each other. Are they the loves of their lives — or will they be one another’s demise?

Leigha found a publisher in Pittsburgh that focuses on new authors. Her debut novel is now on the shelves (and available online).

Though her target audience is 13- to 21-year-olds — and she hopes to reach people who are not regular readers — the author (who uses the pen name Leigha Jaclynn) says her book transcends young adult fiction. Readers of any age can relate to the challenges, relationships and internal struggles her characters face.

How much of Westport is in “Where It Begins”?

“I pull a bit from Staples, and people I grew up with,” Leigha says. “My subconscious definitely seeps through.”

The book is the first in a series. She hopes her follow-up novel is ready for the holidays.

Like any author, Leigha enjoys talking about her book. Robbins — her inspirational Staples teacher –has invited her to speak to her classes.

She may also do an event at her former employer: Barnes & Noble.

(For more information, and to order “Where It Begins,” click here.)

Roe Halper Lands In The Principal’s Office

Every year on Martin Luther King Day, I tell the story of the civil rights icon’s 1964 visit to Westport. I note that local artist Roe Halper presented King with 3 woodcarvings, representing the civil rights struggle. He hung them proudly in the front hallway of his Atlanta home.

The artwork — once believed lost — has been preserved. When King’s house opens as a National Park Service site, Halper’s carvings will be back in their prominent spot.

Roe Halper, with her “Birmingham Series.”

Another civil rights-era work by Halper already hangs in Westport. All you need to see it is to be sent to the principal’s office.

Shortly after being named Staples High School principal last year, Stafford Thomas learned that the piece was part of the Westport Public Art Collections.

The 5-foot tall wood carving was another work in Harper’s 1963 “Birmingham Series.”

Burt Chernow had selected it for the collection, when he began it decades ago. For many years it was displayed at Coleytown Middle School (Halper’s 2 children went there, when it was a junior high).

When CMS was closed due to mold, the carving was removed and refurbished. Thomas heard about it, and asked town arts curator Kathie Motes Bennewitz for more information.

She asked if he wanted it, to display in his office.

He calls it his favorite piece.

Stafford Thomas and Roe Halper, with the artist’s wood carving in his office.

The other day, Halper visited Thomas. She described the background of her work, and elaborated on the other carvings in the series.

When King visited Westport in 1964, Halper said, she was invited to Shabbat dinner with him at the home of Rabbi Byron T. Rubenstein. She brought some of her work, inspired by the March on Washington several months earlier. She told King to choose whatever he wanted.

After the artist sent him the 3 wood carvings, Halper and her husband Chuck visited King and his wife Coretta at their Atlanta home. Coretta explained that the works could not hang separately, as was planned, in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference offices of King, Ralph Abernathy and Andrew Young. She brought them together again, in her house.

Roe Halper presents woodcuts to Coretta Scott King. The civil rights leader’s wife autographed this photo “To the Halpers, with deep appreciation and warm personal regards.” The artwork was displayed in the Kings’ Atlanta home for many years.

Art has been Halper’s life work. She majored in art education at Skidmore College, and after moving to Westport in 1960 began drawing and working with wood. She worked in her basement studio while raising children, and was heavily influenced by events like the civil rights movement.

Halper did wood carvings until 1990, when the physical toll on her back became too great. Now 83, she teaches gifted high school students 3 hours a day, twice a week.

Chances are they won’t get sent to the principal. But if they’re in his office for a meeting — or any other reason — they’ll see their teacher’s work on his wall. Like all good art, it impresses and inspires him every day.

Unsung Heroes #137

Food Rescue US is one of those no-brainer, easy-to-do, why-didn’t-I-think-of-that ideas that dramatically impacts thousands of lives.

Begun in 2011 in Norwalk, and now operating in 13 states, it addresses an enormous problem: More than 50 million Americans are hungry. Yet we waste more than 40 billion meals each year.

The solution is staggeringly simple. Volunteer drivers bring fresh food that would have been thrown away by restaurants, grocers and other food industry sources in place like Westport, to shelters, kitchens and pantries in cities like Norwalk, Bridgeport and Stamford.

An app enables restaurants and retailers with extra food to request a pick up. Volunteers in the area are immediately pinged.

Almost 1,000 food rescuers in Fairfield County pick up food from 85 donors, and deliver to 80 social service agencies.

Westport ardently supports Food Rescue US. We have dozens of drivers. Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods participate.

Now the Westport Public Schools are involved too.

Elementary teachers Stacey Fowle (Greens Farms) and Ashley Moran (Saugatuck), along with Ben Lahey, assistant director of dining for district food service provider Chartwells, worked with the Staples High, Bedford Middle and Greens Farms and Saugatuck Elementary school cafeterias. All now save unused food.

Beh Lahey of Chartwells and Amber Egervari of Staples High School help load a Food Rescue US volunteer’s car.

Every Thursday, volunteers pick up the food, and bring it to the Gillespie Center downtown. They — and Stacey, Ashley, Ben and everyone else involved in this project — are this week’s Unsung Heroes.

Food Rescue US does great work. But the need is also great.

For more information — including how to volunteer — click here.

ONE MORE COURSE: Joining this week’s Unsung Heroes is Ellen Bowen.

The longtime Westporter has a condo in Miami. A year and a half ago — recognizing the enormous number of large venues like hotels and stadiums in the area — she helped start Food Rescue US there.

South Florida embraced the concept in a big way. They’ve already rescued over 300,000 pounds of food, from places like the Fontainebleau Hotel and after events like the South Beach Wine & Food Festival.

And — oh yeah — Super Bowl LIV.

Immediately following this winter’s big game, Food Rescue US picked up 35,000 pounds of food from hotels, restaurants, markets — even the Super Bowl Experience.

Well done, Ellen!

Rob Slosberg Was Lucky Back Then

It’s easy to complain about life. Usually, it’s something minor.

Then something truly awful happens. We realize how good we had it, just a few days before.

Fifteen years ago Rob Slosberg lost his sister Sydney to drug abuse. He thinks back now to how wonderful it was to hang out with her — having dinner, listening to music, doing simple things together.

It was, the 1982 Staples High School graduate says, “a simpler time, maybe not appreciated as much as it should have been.”

Rob’s day job is creative director at a New York advertising firm. But he started playing guitar when his 2 sons were born. It’s become his passion — and he’s become a recording artist. (His son Justin inherited his dad’s love. After Staples, he headed off to Berklee School of Music.)

Rob Morton

Rob records as Rob Morton. That’s his middle name. He’s not hiding anything — he just wants his artist and ad lives to be separate.

One of his newest songs is “Lucky Back Then.” The idea came as Rob thought about a particular life situation, and thought to himself “I wish I knew I was lucky back then.” It became the first line of the song.

It was not intended as a sad song (though his girlfriend says it makes her cry). The message, Rob says, was to “appreciate what we have while we have it, and live with daily gratitude when possible.”

The ending reinforces that idea beautifully. Before that, Rob sings about all the stages of his life: childhood, adolescence, young parenthood.

His music video reinforces that idea too. Shot entirely in Westport — on Oak Street and Maplewood Avenue; at the Riverwalk by Levitt Pavilion, Compo Beach and Rob’s own house — it includes 4 “Robs.”

The young boy on the bike, the 12-year-old and young dad are professional actors. The 19-year-old is his son Derek.

Rob’s sister Sydney is on the cover. The photo comes from their childhood, on High Point Road.

The full album comes out tomorrow (Saturday, February 29). It includes 8 original tracks, and 2 covers (Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness” and the Allman Brothers’ “One Way Out.”)

Rob Slosberg’s many fans will be lucky then.

(“Lucky Back Then” will be available on iTunes, Spotify and all major platforms. For more information, click here.)

A Better Chance Selection Process: Not As Easy As A-B-C

“Westport parents freak out when our kids go to college. These are boys 4 years younger, coming to a completely different environment. Homesickness is natural. But the kids — and their parents — handle it well.”

I don’t know if Daphne Lewis freaked out when her own 3 kids graduated from Staples High School. But now — as head of A Better Chance of Westport‘s scholar selection committee — she has an up-front, personal view of the amazing process by which academically gifted and highly motivated young men of color leave their homes and hometowns, live in Westport, and enter a new and very different high school as freshmen.

Then she watches with pride as — despite many obstacles and challenges — they thrive, graduate, and head confidently to college.

Lewis has spent 25 years in Westport. ABC has been an integral part of our town since 2002. But she did not know much about the organization until a few years ago when her youngest son James — now a senior at Yale — became good friends with a Staples track teammate, ABC scholar Luis Cruz. (He’s about to graduate from Boston College.)

Luis Cruz as a Staples High School senior, flanked by his track teammate and great friend Oliver Hickson, and his coach Laddie Lawrence.

As an empty nester, Lewis became ABC’s coordinator of volunteer drivers — men and women who take the scholars to various activities, doctors’ appointments, friends’ houses, or wherever they need to go.

In her new role she’s in the midst of finding the next 2 young men who will join ABC’s long list of smart, talented, creative scholars.

Getting chosen for the national ABC program is an arduous task for 8th graders. Yet it’s not easy for ABC of Westport to get the cream of the crop either.

There are 300 ABC programs in the US. But the vast majority are in boarding or private day schools.

Only 20 or so are in public high schools, like Staples.

That makes us attractive to ABC candidates and their families. With no tuition, they don’t have to worry about financial aid.

The living arrangements — 8 young men share Glendarcy House just down the road from Staples, with resident directors — and the opportunity to spend weekends with host families may be more personal than dormitory living.

A community of volunteers helps Glendarcy Hosue function like a true family. (Photo/Susan Woog Wagner)

But the names and cachets of private schools can be powerful drawing cards. In addition, the idea of “public school” may be anathema to boys and their parents whose own experiences with them may be less than positive.

Which is why the selection process — bringing the strongest candidates, and their families — to see our school and town for themselves is so crucial.

Some youngsters first find out about the national ABC program from guidance counselors. Sometimes their parents are searching for a better educational opportunity for their kids. Either way, the process begins more than a year before 9th grade.

The national staff reviews applications. This year, they sent 31 to Westport.

Lewis and her committee examined each closely. Which of these boys, they wondered, had the potential to survive the rigors of our academically challenging high school? Which were involved in activities that Staples also offered? Which seemed to be the types who could meet strangers easily, advocate for themselves, and adapt to the new, very suburban and white environment of Westport?

In his 4 years as an ABC scholar, Manny Ogutu became part of the Propp and Sherman extended family.

Of course, Westport was not the only ABC program that received those applications. Our top candidates are also being courted by private schools.

Lewis’ committee narrowed the list. Then they invited 12 applicants — and their families — to Westport. Ten accepted.

ABC of Westport pays for the visits: transportation, meals, and an overnight stay at the Westport Inn.

In January, the first group arrived. They began with lunch at the Senior Center. There was an introduction to Westport’s ABC program, and informal meetings with board members and host parents.

A tour of the town followed (students and parents were taken separately). Then everyone gathered at Glendarcy House, to meet the current scholars and resident directors. The boys stayed for dinner; parents were taken to a restaurant.

The current scholars’ impressions are an important part of the selection process, Lewis notes.

The 2019-20 A Better Chances scholars.

On Monday, the students went to Staples. They spent the day visiting classes with the school’s Ambassadors (fellow teenagers).

“They feel very welcomed at Staples,” Lewis says. “They talk to a lot of people. They are very positive about that experience.”

Afterward, there were interviews in private homes with committee members. Meanwhile, their parents were given a tour of the school. (Full disclosure: I led the tour last month, and will give the next 2. If the applicants are half as amazing as their parents, in terms of motivation, insightful questions and energy, we’ve got a great group to choose from.)

It’s a whirlwind 28 hours. Then the ABC board really gets to work.

They need to make sure their offers are to boys who will fit in well — with the house, the school and the town. But they also need to make them soon enough, so they’re competitive with the private schools.

The process is sometimes completed by early April. Sometimes it’s not finalized until late May.

“It’s a lot of work,” Lewis says. “A lot of thought goes into it. We don’t take these decisions lightly.

“But it’s so much fun meeting the boys and their families. And it’s so difficult to choose.”

For nearly 2 decades, A Better Chance of Westport has chosen well. And the young men they’ve chosen, who then choose to come here, have gotten a great deal out of their decision.

But even more, they enrich our school and community beyond measure.

(Funds to bring potential scholars and their families here — and to run Glendarcy House, and the rest of the A Better Chance of Westport program — come almost entirely through donations. This year’s Dream Event annual major fundraiser is set for Saturday, March 14, 6:30 pm at Rolling Hills Country Club in Wilton. Click here for tickets. Among the highlights of the dinner: speeches by graduates and alumni. Click below to hear then-senior Emerson Lovell’s talk.)