Tag Archives: Colleen Rondon

Bedford Backs Leah’s Birthday Bash

Pirate costumes, swords, crowns and scepters; a life-size Glinda the Good Witch cutout; Alice in Wonderland costumes for this spring’s production — all that and more is moving from Bedford Middle School to Kolbe Cathedral High.

Bedford is happy to give it up. The props and costumes are headed to a photo booth at “Leah’s Birthday Bash.” The annual carnival — raising thousands of scholarship dollars — is one of the most important dates on the Bedford calendar.

Leah Rondon

The event honors the memory of the 6-year-old daughter of longtime science teacher Colleen Rondon. When Leah died in a tragic accident 2 1/2 years ago, Bedford teachers rallied to hold the first carnival. The middle school staff will be in full force this Saturday (February 3, noon to 4 p.m.).

Current and former BMS students, including Jamie Mann and Jasper Burke, perform too.

Visual arts teacher Lynne Karmen, library media specialist Kelly Zatorsky and costumers Paula Lacey and Elisa Smith Pasqua are all helping with the elaborate production — complete with tripods and LED lights.

Science teacher Jason Frangenes and math teacher Laurie Gray again runs the ping pong toss. Last year, Frangenes provided hundreds of goldfish as prizes.

Theater teacher and stage director Karen McCormick — who helps supervise the moving of all those props and costumes to Kolbe — says the Bedford faculty dives in to help because they believe so strongly in the event.

“We all want to support Colleen,” McCormick adds. “It’s a great way to keep her daughter alive.”

Rondon’s husband Henry is Kolbe’s principal. The carnival’s proceeds benefit the Leah Rondon Memorial Scholarship Fund.

(Kolbe Cathedral High School is at 33 Calhoun Place, Bridgeport. For more information on the carnival, click here.)

 

Leah Rondon’s Birthday Bash

In August 2015, Westport mourned the loss of Leah Rondon. She was struck by a car, while playing at a friend’s house.

The daughter of Bedford Middle School teacher Colleen Rondon played soccer, basketball and softball, and was the Ansonia Boys & Girls Club “Girl of the Year.” She loved reading, and proudly listed all her summer titles on the refrigerator.

She was just 6 years old.

Despite this unimaginable tragedy, Colleen’s energy and enthusiasm has not wavered. She teaches children with passion and pride.

Leah Rondon

Leah Rondon

On February 4, Leah would have been 8 years old. Her mother has created a Birthday Bash. She’s determined to make it a day of joy, not mourning.

She’s also determined to make Leah’s birthday mean something. So she and her husband — an administrator at Bridgeport’s Kolbe Cathedral High School — are growing a scholarship in Leah’s name.

The Birthday Bash this coming Saturday (February 4, 12-4 pm) features a carnival with games, crafts, face painting, raffles and entertainment. The event takes place at Kolbe Cathedral.

Performers — many of whom are from Westport and Weston — include Jamie Mann (who has performed as Billy Elliot in 60 shows from New Hampshire to Florida), Stephanie Greene, Zoe Lieberman, Claire Vocke, Brody Braunstein, Chloe Manna, Lola Lamensdorf, Cate Steinberg, Leif Edoff (8-year-old pianist), Jasper Burke, Isabelle Katz, Lucas Lieberman, the award-winning Westport Dance Center company and more.

All proceeds benefit the Leah Rondon Memorial Scholarship Fund. It’s awarded to a graduating female Kolbe Cathedral student. For more information, click here.

And if you can’t make it to Leah’s Birthday Bash but want to donate to her fund, click here — then scroll down just below “Events” in the center of the page.

Special Carnival Honors A Very Special Girl

Last year, all Leah Rondon wanted for her 6th birthday was dinner with her parents and brothers, and Peachwave for dessert.

This year is different. Leah was killed in August, just a few days before starting 1st grade. Her death devastated her hometown of Ansonia — and Bedford Middle School, where her mother Colleen is a much-loved science teacher.

Leah Rondon's 6th birthday treat.

Leah Rondon’s 6th birthday treat.

Leah’s birthday is soon. To honor her memory — and give something back to others — her family will celebrate with a carnival for elementary school children.

It will be held next Saturday (February 6), from 12-3 p.m. The site is Kolbe Cathedral — the Bridgeport High School where Leah’s dad, Henry, is principal.

The carnival includes games, food, raffles and entertainment. Kids everywhere (and their parents) are invited. Admission is free — but money spent on tickets for individual events will go to a scholarship fund, for a senior girl at Kolbe hoping to attend college.

Colleen says: “We hope this will be a great time for kids and their families, during an otherwise dreary and cold time of year. We are ready to memorialize our daughter in a happy and positive way.”

The Rondons’ world was rocked when Leah — riding in a wagon at a friend’s house — was struck by a car. They knew that joyous occasions like Thanksgiving, Christmas and Leah’s birthday would be tough.

“Leah was always having fun,” Colleen says. “We have so many memories of her enjoying the regular routine of a child’s life: going to school, playing in the yard, attending camp, competing in soccer, basketball and softball.”

Leah Rondon

Leah Rondon

In just 6 1/2 years of life, Colleen says, Leah made her mark. “She was fun-loving and joyful. She made other people laugh and be happy too.

“Having a carnival to provide some fun for other kids continues to bring those joyful memories to us. Raising money to help high school students continue their education is a bonus.”

Most students at Kolbe Cathedral need help for college.

Colleen hopes that the girl who receives scholarship help from the carnival will be like Leah: someone who loves school, is involved in it, and is genuinely kind to others.

And like Leah, she will be a winner.

(If you can’t be at the carnival on Saturday but would like to help, there is a “Donate” button on the upper left side of the Kolbe main home page: http://www.kolbecaths.org. Hat tip: Julia McNamee)

 

 

Remembering Leah Rondon

Colleen Rondon is a much-admired Bedford Middle School teacher. Former students remember how often — and lovingly — she spoke of her own 3 children.

The entire Westport community was stunned and saddened to learn of a tragic accident that took the life of her youngest child and only daughter. Leah Marie Rondon died last Thursday, at just 6 years old.

Leah was about to enter 1st grade, and looked forward to taking the school bus.

She played soccer, basketball and softball, and was the Ansonia Boys & Girls Club “2015 Girl of the Year.” She loved reading, and proudly listed all her summer titles on the refrigerator.

Leah Rondon

Leah Rondon

The family’s many friends have organized a GoFundMe campaign. The webpage says:

As the Rondons begin the heartbreaking task of putting Leah to rest, we are asking for donations to assist them with funeral and other miscellaneous costs they may incur during this difficult time, so they can focus on family, healing, and honoring their daughter’s memory. Colleen and Henry Rondon are amazing parents, educators, and caring members of every community in which they are involved. We know they would do the same for us and ask you to give whatever you can in their time of need.

A mass of Christian burial is set for tomorrow (Tuesday, August 25, 10 a.m.) in the Church of the Assumption, 61 N. Cliff Street, Ansonia. Family and friends may call at the church tonight, from 3-7 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made John C. Mead School Library, 75 Ford St., Ansonia, CT 06401; Ansonia Boys & Girls Club, 28 Howard Ave., Ansonia, CT 06401; or Ansonia Recreation Department, 253 Main St., Ansonia, CT 06401.