Posted in Colchester High School, Community, General, Student Spotlight

What Are Our 2013 CHS Graduates Up To These Days?

Have you wondered what our 2013 graduates are up to these days and what some of them have planned?

The subject of life after high school is one about which many articles and books have been written by a wide variety of individuals and organizations. It is a vast and often complex topic covering everything from financial literacy and career preparedness to procuring insurance and starting a family.

Mapping out a future can be a daunting task for many … and even having a good sense of where to begin can feel overwhelming. Get a job? Go to college? Take time off? Volunteer?

The Colchester High School 2013 graduates—all 184 of them—have diverse interests and plans for their futures. From surveys they completed, we know that their plans currently include military service (a significantly higher percentage than usual, in fact), technical school, direct entry into the work force, and pursuing college degrees. Among those graduates pursuing college degrees, their focus of study will include such disciplines as athletic training and physical therapy, business, information technology, education, science and engineering, liberal arts, musical theater, and nursing to name a few. This year’s graduates are attending fifty-seven different local and distant schools—the University of Vermont, Champlain College, Castleton State College, Vermont Technical College, St. Michael’s College, SUNY Plattsburgh, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Shenandoah University, Clarkson University, Cornell University, Drexel University, George Washington University, Hofstra University, Northeastern University, Pomona College, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of Rhode Island, University of Connecticut, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Tufts University, Villanova University, and more.

Two graduates even embarked on a cross-country humanitarian project this summer! Graduates DJ Tuttle and Sean Casey launched their initiative, Helping Hand Adventure 2013, earlier this year (to view their interview with WCAX, please click here). Their objective was to volunteer all across the country and to create a documentary about the experience upon their return home. (Click here to follow them on Facebook.)

Congratulations again, class of 2013, and good luck out there!

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Posted in Colchester Middle School, Community, General

CMS to Offer Community Book Group Opportunity

Colchester Middle School will soon host a community book group for mothers, fathers, grandparents, or anyone else who is parenting boys between the ages of 8 and 18.

CMS counselor Kara Pawlusiak and Library Media Specialist Lisa Buckton will facilitate the group, which will read Masterminds and Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World by the New York Times bestselling author Rosalind Wiseman.

The group will meet on Tuesday, October 22 at 6:30 p.m. in the CMS library to get books and to conduct a pre-read discussion. The follow-up meeting will take place on Tuesday, December 3 at 6:30 p.m., also in the CMS library.

Those interested in participating in this group are asked to e-mail Kara Pawlusiak at or to call her at (802) 264-5817.

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Posted in Accountability, Colchester High School, Colchester Middle School, Community, District Office, General, Malletts Bay School, Other Important Information, Porters Point School, Union Memorial School, Videos

Schools Equipped with Enhanced Safety and Security Features—Part III

As a friendly reminder to the community, to help ensure the health, welfare, and safety of your schools, your school district has implemented cameras and keyless entry systems in all schools, and school doors will be locked during the day. Guests to the buildings will be asked to identify themselves before receiving access. While we warmly welcome guests when it is appropriate, in order to minimize disruptions to students’ learning environments and to more smoothly facilitate our safety procedures, we ask that visitors, to greatest extent possible, arrange an appointment in advance. In this way, building security may be enhanced, and visitors’ wait times to access the buildings can be minimized.

Visitors without an appointment may not be admitted and may be asked to schedule an appointment for a later time.

Please partner with us to help protect your schools. Your patience, understanding, and support with these efforts is very much appreciated.

Please click here to view a video of Colchester Police Department’s Corporal Fontaine explaining the process.

Our August 21 article, “Schools Equipped with Enhanced Safety and Security Features—Part I” and our September 11 article, “Schools Equipped with Enhanced Safety and Security Features—Part II”—which includes a video with CPD’s Corporal Hull—also explain this important change to your schools’ access protocols.

To view the September 2 WCAX segment about the changes, including a video and interview with Superintendent Waters, please click here.

To read the WPTZ article about the changes, please click here.

Again, we greatly appreciate your patience, understanding, and cooperation in our efforts to protect your community’s schools.
For questions or concerns, we encourage you to contact your schools’ principals by phone or e-mail (please click here to access their contact information), or contact our administrative offices at (802) 264-5999. You may also e-mail Superintendent Larry Waters at

Your schools and your town are working hard to engage our community. Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to The Spotlight. When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community!

Posted in Community, District Office, General, Other Important Information

Important Colchester School Board Announcement—Notification of Vacancy

Chair Richard N. Pecor recently resigned his position on the Colchester School Board.

Per Vermont Statutes, a vacancy on a school board must be filled within thirty (30) days. Specifically, Title 16, Chapter 9 deals with school districts. (For more information on these statutes and their language, please see below.)

Accordingly, the Colchester School Board must fill this new vacancy by no later than October 17, 2013.

To read a letter from Superintendent Waters discussing the vacancy and how interested applicants may apply, please click here.

Per 16 V.S.A. § 424 regarding vacancies:

(a) Except as otherwise provided for a school district operating under a charter, within 30 days of the creation of the vacancy, the school board shall, by majority vote of those present and voting, appoint a qualified person to fill a vacancy in the town school board or a vacancy in the position of town school district treasurer in towns in which the town school district treasurer is elected separately from the town treasurer until an election at a special or annual meeting is held. A record thereof shall be made in the office of the town clerk.

Per 16 V.S.A. § 558 regarding eligibility for election to a school board and employment of school board members:

(a) A legal voter in a school district shall be eligible for election to a school board; however, a member of a school board may not be regularly employed by the school district or by a school district within the same supervisory union or by the same supervisory union during the board member’s term of office. This section shall not apply to a school board member in office on the date of passage, but shall apply to any subsequent terms of office held by such persons.

Per 16 V.S.A. § 561 regarding election of school board members, oath, chair, and clerk:

School directors shall be sworn before entering upon the duties of their office. At the meeting next following the election of a school board member, the school board shall elect one of their number chair and one other of their number clerk. The clerk may be paid upon order of the school board. The clerk shall keep a permanent record of the proceedings of the school board. In the clerk’s absence another member of the school board shall assume the clerk’s duties.

An election will occur at Town Meeting Day on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.

For information about the Colchester School Board, current members’ terms of service, and more, please click here.

For questions or comments, please contact Superintendent Larry Waters by e-mail at or by phone at (802) 264-5999.

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Posted in General, Malletts Bay School, Programs

Is Your Young Student Interested in Participating in Band?

Malletts Bay School and music educator Sheila Clark will host Instrument Take-Home Night on September 26 from 4:00 to 8:30 p.m. for fifth graders to pick up the instruments that they will use in the MBS band.


The band, which is open to any fifth-grade student, officially starts during the first week of October, running weekly lessons, divided up by instrument, from 7:45 to 8:30 a.m. Prior to its commencement, Ms. Clark introduces students to the instruments that are available—flute, clarinet, trumpet, alto saxophone, and trombone—so that they may gauge their interest in them. In addition, fourth-grade music students participate in the Recorder Karate program, which introduces students to reading and playing music.


Those interested in participating can rent instruments from Ellis Music Company (MBS also has a small collection of instruments that can be loaned to students, and Friends of Colchester Music can also offer financial support), and students can pick the instruments up at the September 26 Instrument Take-Home Night.


The MBS performs three concerts per year, including a concert in February and one in May as well as the district-wide band concert in March.


Parents of Union Memorial School, Porters Point School, and younger Malletts Bay School students, please take note! This program is an opportunity for your children when they reach fifth grade!

As we have discussed before, because of the vast and growing number of documented benefits associated with it, music education’s well-deserved support in schools continues to increase. Seemingly countless studies have credited music education programs with contributing to enhanced standardized testing scores across an array of subject areas. It has also been credited with decreasing disruptive behaviors; increasing focus, abstract reasoning, and spatial-temporal skills; improving self-discipline, cognitive development, and communication skills, and enhancing students’ creativity and intellectual curiosity. Music participants have also been found to receive more academic honors and awards than non-music students. And that just scratches the surface of what current research indicates are some of the benefits of music education. It truly is a worthy pursuit, and we are proud of the exceptional talent found right here at CSD.

For more information about MBS band, visit the band’s blog, or call MBS at (802) 264-5900. You may also e-mail Sheila Clark at


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Posted in Colchester High School, General

Announcing An Opportunity to Take a Practice SAT!

Sophomores and juniors will have an opportunity to take a practice SAT (PSAT) on Saturday, October 19 at Colchester High School. The test starts promptly at 8:00 a.m., and students should arrive by 7:45 a.m.

This is different from the recently announced opportunity to take an authentically scored SAT at Burnham Memorial Library (please click here to see our article about those details).

Per its website, the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) is “a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT®. It also gives you a chance to enter NMSC scholarship programs and gain access to college and career planning tools.” The PSAT/NMSQT measures critical reading skills, math problem-solving skills, and writing skills. (To learn more about preparing for the PSAT, please click here.)

Taking the PSAT can help students:

  • open the door for college
  • practice for the SAT
  • earn scholarships and academic recognition
  • begin the college search
  • compare academic skills
  • get feedback on how to improve academically
  • explore college majors and careers

Students can sign up for the PSAT in the CHS cafeteria during all lunches Monday, September 23 through Friday, September 27. The cost is $22.00; payment can be made in cash or a check (made payable to Colchester School District), and students will receive a PSAT guide bulletin containing tips on how to do well on the test, a practice test to help prepare, and more helpful information. Students must pay the test fee at the time of registration; funding is available for students qualifying for free or reduced-price meals (please see the guidance office for additional information).

Please bring two sharpened No. 2 pencils and a calculator on the test day.

For more information about the PSAT, please contact CHS’s guidance office at (802) 264-5712.

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Posted in Colchester High School, Community, General, Programs

CHS Hosting Senior College Night on September 26

Colchester High School will host Senior College Night on Thursday, September 26 beginning at 6:30 p.m. Senior College Night is CHS’s ramp-up event to help students kick off their college application process.

CHS’s guidance department will share important information about a wide variety of topics, including the college application timeline, application options, standardized tests, campus visits, application essays … a soup-to-nuts approach about what one needs to know about applying to college.

CHS will follow this up with a Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) Financial Aid Night on November 7, which will cover how to pay for it all. Stay tuned for more information about that as we get closer to that date!

For more information, please call CHS’s guidance office at (802) 264-5713.

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Posted in Community, General, Other Important Information, Programs, Town of Colchester, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan, Wellness

“Pink Out the Park” Event on October 12 to Support Cancer Research

On Saturday, October 12, 2013, groups from the Town of Colchester and Colchester School District will join forces for a great cause.


The groups will support Colchester CANsur-vive! in kicking off a 5K walk/run fundraiser called “Pink Out the Park” at 9:00 a.m. at Bayside Park. The event will raise breast cancer awareness, and all proceeds will benefit Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. It is yet another demonstration of the organizations’ increasing collaboration, an aspiration which is affirmed in the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017, the Town of Colchester’s Heritage Project, and the Town of Colchester’s Economic Development Action Plan.

This is not simply a 5K race; there will be live music, a raffle, a bake sale, a pink race car, and more. All participants are encouraged to wear pink—costumes are encouraged (there will be prizes!)—and families are encouraged to attend. A photograph of everyone wearing pink will be taken at 10:30 a.m.

The “Pink Out the Park” registration fee is $15.00. To access the registration form, please click here, or click here to register online.

To view a flyer about the event, please click here.

Please click here to read CSD’s wellness blog about the event.

For more information, please contact Town of Colchester Public Works Coordinator Robin Parry at or CSD Wellness Coordinator Jaycie Puttlitz at

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Posted in Colchester High School, General, Student Spotlight


Colchester High School science teacher Dustin “Dusty” Scheuch first visited China in 2002 to teach English. As a result of that experience, for the past six years—during the summer months when he’s not teaching science at CHS—he works with the Governor’s Institute on Asian Cultures (GIAC), which is cosponsored by the Asian Studies Outreach Program (ASOP) at the University of Vermont and the Governor’s Institutes of Vermont (GIV).

In this role, he takes students from all over Vermont to explore and experience all aspects of China—more than sixty students in six years!—and this summer, CHS junior Julia Bessy participated in this extraordinary opportunity.

Mr. Scheuch and Julia Bessy at the Temple of Heaven
CHS’s Mr. Scheuch and CHS junior Julia Bessy at the Temple of Heaven

This particular GIAC program, which has been in existence since 1996, is largely funded by the Freeman Foundation for the primary purpose of increasing Chinese-American relationships and understanding among high school students. Upon acceptance into this two-part program, students spend a week in a cultural immersion camp on the UVM campus. Throughout the school year, the students then earn an invitation to China by completing a major research project and presentation. Upon their return, students are expected to share their learning and experiences with the community—and they can earn college credits through their participation in the program.

During the two-week visit and under Mr. Scheuch’s tutelage, Julia traveled all over China. In Beijing, she visited many historical sites, such as Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, and the Great Wall of China, and she learned lessons in bartering at the world-renowned Pearl Market.

Julia at the Great Wall of China
Julia at a section of the Great Wall of China known as Mutianyu

“The Great Wall of China was one of my most memorable experiences from the trip; it is so iconic, and it has so much history behind it. It was incredible to get up there and walk around on something that is so ancient,” she said.

Portrait of Mao Zedong in Tiananmen Square
Portrait of Mao Zedong in Tiananmen Square
A market in Beijing
A market in Beijing

Julia and her group also visited southwestern China’s Yunnan Province to visit two cities that are known for their minority cultures. The first was Kunming, where students were able to spend time with Chinese students, learn about minority culture, and were invited to Chinese households for home-cooked dinners.

Julia and her friend and their host family
Julia and her friend and their host family
Traditional food served by Julia's host family
Traditional food served by Julia’s host family

The second was Lijiang, a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) world heritage city (meaning that it is considered a place of particular cultural or physical significance) in the foothills of the Himalayas, an area rich in beauty and culture. This was a great experience for Julia and her fellow students because they spent time in Chinese classrooms and also at a Naxi minority day care.

CHS junior Julia Bessy and a Chinese student
CHS junior Julia in Lijiang at a Naxi day care with a new little friend
Julia at XXXX
Julia and some of her travel companions dressed in traditional Naxi dress in the Stone Forest in Yunnan Province

“In Lijiang, we went to a typical Chinese public high school, and it was completely different,” Julia said. “There was more poverty. It was a little shocking for me to see how those students learn; it is very intense. They go to school from seven in the morning until five or six at night, and they have a lot of pressure on them to pass each school year.”

A Chinese high school that Julia visited
A Chinese high school that Julia visited
A Chinese classroom
A Chinese classroom

“The fact that we were almost celebrities when we got there came as a complete surprise to me; people were always asking to take pictures of us. It was unusual to find out that we were extremely popular,” Julia said.

This opportunity through GIAC is open to any high school freshman or sophomore in the state of Vermont! A significant portion of the program’s cost is covered by a generous grant from the aforementioned Freeman Foundation, and in addition, there are also scholarships available. “I would recommend to any student that they should travel to such foreign countries in order to get them out of their comfort zone, experience the universals of culture, and gain an appreciation for what we have in our country,” Mr. Scheuch said. “The most gratifying part of my job is seeing how much kids change in the two weeks that they are in China. They come back with new friends, a much larger global perspective, and memories that last them a lifetime.”

And would Julia return to China given the opportunity? “I would go back in a heartbeat!” she declared. “And I definitely would recommend it to others; it was one of the best experiences of my life. It is a good way to get out of your comfort zone and to experience something completely new and different. And I appreciate what we have here in America so much more now.”

For more information, please contact Mr. Scheuch at

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Posted in Community, General, Other Important Information, Town of Colchester

CORRECTION: Please Read for Details About the Practice SAT

Our September 13 article about the authentically scored practice SAT contained some incorrect information; we sincerely apologize. This is the corrected information:

On Saturday, September 21, the practice SAT will run from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Our Lady of Grace Church at 784 Main Street.

On Saturday, September 28 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (also at Our Lady of Grace Church at 784 Main Street), after students receive their SAT scores back, they will review each section of the exam with a Princeton Review instructor, identify problem areas, and discuss strategies to improve their scores in the future.

As a reminder, this is a fabulous opportunity for students interested in taking a free practice SAT sponsored by the Princeton Review. The practice exam is a genuine SAT, and it will be authentically scored. Scores are released only to the students; they are not released to colleges. (Please bring two #2 pencils, a calculator, water, and a snack. As in the official exam, no cell phones, smartphones, or computers will be allowed in the testing area.)

If you are interested in this two-part series, please click here to register for both sessions.

For more information, please call (802) 878-0313, or e-mail Burnham Memorial Library at

Your schools and your town are working hard to engage our community. Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to The Spotlight. When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community!