Students Fold Over 2,000 Paper Cranes to Benefit Japan

Colchester High School students pitched in to make more than two thousand origami paper cranes to benefit survivors of the March 11 earthquake in Japan that triggered the subsequent tsunami.

According to Japanese legend, anyone who folds a thousand paper cranes will be granted a wish by a crane, which is a sacred creature in Japanese culture. CHS sophomore Chiara Evans made over six hundred paper cranes, and fellow CHS students also joined the effort to amass their collection totaling more than two thousand.

Chiara Evans with her origami paper cranes

The Bezos Family Foundation, in collaboration with Students Rebuild and Do Something, will donate two dollars for each paper crane to Architecture for Humanity—a nonprofit sustainable design services firm—to assist with the reconstruction of Japan’s devastated communities. The goal was to collect 100,000 cranes, but by the official April 15 close of the project, more than 700,000 cranes had been collected—cranes from all fifty states and from more than thirty countries around the world.

The donated paper cranes will be woven into an art installation in a symbolic gesture to Japanese youth from their global peers.

Interested in learning how to fold paper cranes? Here is a video tutorial on how to do it.

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CHS Celebrates Academic Excellence With Senior Honors Banquet

Continuing a nearly twenty-year tradition, Colchester High School applauded its top honors students at a banquet in South Burlington on May 25.

Over thirty students, celebrated for earning magna and summa cum laude honors, were distinguished guests for the special evening at the Doubletree Hotel & Conference Center.  CHS assistant principal Tim Emery offered words of praise, and students celebrated with a sit-down dinner. Keynote speaker and math teacher Wayne Younghans, who was chosen by the students for the 2011 CHS Yearbook dedication, also offered high praise.

Each honored student was recognized for his or her accomplishments. All received honor cords to wear during the upcoming graduation ceremony, and each was also given a flower.

The following students were invited to attend this special event in recognition of their outstanding academic achievements:

Kaitlyn Boudah
Nicole Davis
Peter Elgert
Richard El-Hajj
Tanner Faucett
Victoria Greenough
Dylan Hadden
Mackenzie Hyman
Nicole Isabelle
Elizabeth Lamphere
Cassandra Lance
Chelsea LeBlanc
Alexandra Libstag
Jacob Mann
Chelsea Morel
Rachel Pahnke
Alicia Palmer
Timothy Palmer
Carly Schmidt
Emily Sleeper
Hogan Smith
Zachery Snelling
Jordan Soutiere
Jacob Stalnaker
Michael Tabet
Kaeng Takahashi
Brandon Thibault
Anthony Tognelli
Rose Trudeau
Katherine Vanderkraats
Thomas Vaux
Taylor Whitcomb
Thomas Yasewicz

The Honors Banquet Committee responsible for coordinating the event was comprised of CHS teachers Jim Price, Aimee deLaricheliere, and Pat Schiller. Members of the Colchester School District—faculty, staff, administrators, central office personnel, and school board members—were also invited to attend, and many of them contributed financially in order to make the event possible. Additionally, many generous members of the community also sponsored students in honor of academic excellence.

Congratulations, honors scholars!

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Malletts Bay Fifth Graders Walk for the Cure

Inspired by a classmate, fifth graders in Mrs. Buswell’s and Mr. Winchester’s classes at the Malletts Bay School raised over $1,000 to join the fight against juvenile diabetes.

The students learned more about the disease and the ways in which it affects their peers before reaching out to the community for support for the annual Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JRDF) Walk-a-Thon.

Malletts Bay fifth graders

Diabetes is a chronic, debilitating disease affecting every organ system. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, about 215,000 young people under twenty years of age have diabetes, most of whom have type 1 diabetes, which is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin. As obesity rates in children continue to soar, type 2 diabetes, a metabolic disorder in which a person’s body still produces insulin but is unable to use it effectively—and that used to be seen primarily in adults over age 45—is becoming more common in young people.

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UMS Teacher and Student to Participate in Special Olympics Torch Run on June 3

A student and teacher from Union Memorial School will take part in this year’s Vermont Law Enforcement Torch Run for the Special Olympics on Friday, June 3.

The Vermont Law Enforcement Torch Run actually consists of four separate, relay-style legs beginning in all four corners of Vermont, and the runners relay the torch to the 2011 Special Olympics Vermont Summer Games over a three-day period. The torch run in which second-grade teacher Sherry Thibault and second grader Joey Caruso will participate begins in Highgate at 8:00 a.m. on June 3. It will pass by UMS at approximately 1:00 p.m. on Friday in front of everyone gathered to cheer them on.

All torches are carried to the Windjammer in South Burlington, where police officers run the “Flame of Hope” to the opening ceremonies at the University of Vermont, where the games will run June 3–5. This year marks Special Olympics Vermont’s fortieth anniversary.

Thibault, a Colchester resident, enjoys running and has also helped out with Girls on the Run in the past (see this previous post about Girls on the Run).

For more information about Special Olympics Vermont, please visit www.vtso.org/index.php.

CMS to Showcase Musical Talents on June 1 and June 2

Come one, come all to the musical performances at Colchester Middle School June 1 and 2!

On Wednesday, June 1 at 7:00 p.m. in the CMS gymnasium, the sixth-grade band will perform a total of four pieces—highlights of which are “Baywood Overture” by James Swearingen and a Jerry Nowak arrangement of “Edelweiss.” The sixth graders performed this Nowak arrangement with the seventh- and eighth-grade band at the District Band Concert in March. (For more information about the District Music Festival and the Vermont Music Educators’ Association, visit www.vmea.org/index.php.)

The sixth grade band is comprised of approximately thirty-five students. They meet twice a week to rehearse, and students have been preparing for this concert since January.

The sixth-grade chorus, approximately sixty singers strong, will perform songs from the Broadway hit musical Wicked, as well as some pop songs, tribal African songs, and jazz songs.

On Thursday, June 2 at 7:00 p.m., the seventh- and eighth-grade band, which is about thirty students strong, will perform together publicly for the first time since December. On their program are three pieces that they have been rehearsing since January, including the aptly named “Instant Concert” by Harold L. Walters, which consists of thirty distinct melodies.

The jazz band, which meets weekly after school to rehearse and which is comprised of fourteen seventh- and eighth-grade students, will also perform three pieces on Thursday night. On the program are “In The Mood” by Joe Garland, “Free Ride” (originally recorded by the Edgar Winter Group), and Roger Holmes’s version of “Crazy Train,” all as arranged by Michael Sweeney.

The seventh- and eighth-grade choruses, both also approximately sixty singers strong, will also perform songs from the Broadway hit musical Wicked, as well as some pop songs, tribal African songs, and jazz songs. Several soloists will also perform, some of whom will showcase their own original compositions.

The show choir, which is an auditioned group of eighteen singers, will perform both evenings. These performers spend approximately two hours every Monday after school rehearsing and designing their own dances to songs that they choose. Audiences on June 1 and 2 will enjoy their vocal and dance interpretations of “Disturbia” by Rihanna, “Paparazzi” by Lady Gaga, and “Bleeding Love” by Leona Lewis. Seventh grader Katelyn Schnabel, a talented dancer, singer, and pianist, choreographed the numbers.

Admission is free to both events.

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CMS Celebrates the Middle Ages

Students at Colchester Middle School traveled back in time with the help of a medieval fair on May 6.

Superintendent Larry Waters with Katie White and Sadie Anderson of Mansfield House

Wrapping up a study of the Middle Ages (a historical period spanning from the fifth to the fifteenth century) that lasted most of the third quarter, all seventh and eighth graders at CMS—approximately 335 students—celebrated with a themed gala. Students donned costumes and enjoyed dishes from that era, including bread, rolls, stews, tarts, pie, and homemade mustard, among other offerings.

Katie Hinman, Erik Bemis, Evan Chagnon, Dakota Navari, Peri-Kate Navarro, and Curtis Chagnon at the fair

The students read Avi’s Crispin: The Cross of Lead in order to better connect with the time period, and other students in all three houses also read Crispin: At the Edge of the World and Crispin: The End of Time as part of a differentiated instruction. Some other titles used as part of differentiated instruction for this unit were Sonia Levitin’s The Cure, Karen Cushman’s Catherine, Called Birdy, and Avi’s The Book Without Words. The students also had an opportunity to research, write about, sketch, and design a costume for a particular role or job related to the time period, including learning about the feudal system and what life was like as a peasant, merchant, member of the clergy, or nobility.

Seventh grader Lauren Brooks in her costume

Students showcased their many projects at the event, including models of castles, song writing, jester acts, illuminations and calligraphy, coin exchanges, baskets, trebuchets, catapults, shields, barrels, stained glass, book and paper making, and a castle gatehouse creation. Students on the Infinity Team created a medieval wall mural. The event was attended by the entire CMS community as well as by many parents and some members of Malletts Bay School.

Harbor House eighth graders Sophie Joyce, Ashely O'Kane, Roz Calderon, and Jennifer McNall in front of the Infinity Team’s mural

Many thanks to all of the family members who provided support for the projects and who participated in the celebration!

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CHS Students Win Best Screenplay Award for Film

Three Colchester High School media and film students have received the Best Screenplay award for their film’s entry in the Vermont Spring Fifty Hour Film Contest.

Pictured from left to right are senior Jack Leclerc, junior Nate Hodge, and junior Alec Kozlowski.

The film A Stolen Heart was written, filmed, acted, and directed by senior Jack Leclerc and juniors Alec Kozlowski and Nate Hodge. (See the A Stolen Heart at http://vimeo.com/21013582?ab.) These same talented students won Best Edited Video for Between the Lines last fall. (See Between the Lines at http://vimeo.com/16886407.)

The Fifty Hour Film Contest, held twice a year, attracts entries produced by some of the top media students and programs from around Vermont, and it is an intense experience. Students receive information about the film requirements, such as the genre, a character, props, and five lines of dialogue that must be included, on a Friday afternoon. The entire film must be written, filmed, and edited for submission by the following Monday morning. The finished film must not exceed nine minutes (excluding titles and credits), and all entries are judged by professionals in the film industry. (For more information, visit http://fiftyhourfilm.com/wp/.)

The top films are screened at the Essex Cinemas (www.essexcinemas.com/), and five awards—Best Screenplay, Best Edited, Best Sound, Best Cinematography, and Best Overall Film—are given.

CHS students have won nine Fifty Hour Film awards since 2006.

Congratulations, Jack, Alec, and Nate!

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CHS Students Step Up to the Plate for Their Community

CHS student volunteers stand atop sandbags filled during efforts to stem flood damage in their community.

Colchester High School’s students pitched in to help their flooded neighbors on May 5 in a great example of community spirit.

When the school’s ball fields were too wet for practice, Principal Amy Minor suggested to the coaches that team members assist flooded Colchester residents in their struggles with the flood waters. Minor and Sue Fielden coordinated with the Town of Colchester to organize the effort.

CHS’s baseball and softball teams filled three hundred sandbags and delivered them to the houses in need to guard against further flood damage from still-rising Lake Champlain.

And the efforts didn’t stop there.

The CHS track team and other students from CHS volunteered their time the next day to assist in this endeavor, lending a hand to others in their community. Collectively, more than fifty students filled and helped deliver more than four hundred sandbags over a two-day period.

Way to go!

CHS students work to fill sandbags as record-high floods impact their community.

CMS Student Creates Weekly Storytelling Event

Eighth grader Chelsea Wimble has spiced up Friday mornings with her own variation of impromptu storytelling.

The Champlain House student began entertaining her fellow classmates a few weeks ago during Student Support Time from 7:45–8:00 on Friday mornings by randomly selecting words from a dictionary and spontaneously spinning a story from them. Word of Chelsea’s improvisations has spread, and her first audience of eight has already grown to nearly sixty.

Chelsea’s performances are not an assignment. She voluntarily presents her anecdotes, inventing her stories as she goes and choosing members from her audience on the fly to participate as characters.

Chelsea Wimble (far right) presents a tale to a group of CMS students

Students Recognized at CMS Breakfast Announced

As previously mentioned, Colchester Middle School hosted a Student Recognition Breakfast on Friday, April 8.

The breakfast, sponsored by the CMS administration, recognized students for various accomplishments, such as leadership, effort, improvement, and contribution to Colchester Middle School. The students received their nominations from teachers and were presented with certificates of recognition at the breakfast.

The following students received recognition for their achievements:

Sevda Beridze
Jordan DeMatteis
Jared LeDuc
Chris Barrows
Shannon French
Clayton Isham
Maranda LaRose
Katie Hinman
Jordain Williams
Karen Savage
Abigail Burgess
Kevin LaValley
Joshua Wallis
Benjamin Seaman
Jenna Blondin
Myah Gagnon
Gabriella Coccetti
Alex Corrigan
Brandon Arel
Kirsten Atkins
Connor Zwonik
Erin Horton
Justin Ricker
Tre Nichols
Brittany Isabelle
Victoria Mier
Garrett St. Pierre
Danielle Whitham
Cory Senesac
Trisha Delibac
Sonya Tuttle
Sierra Gorkun

CMS students recognized at the breakfast

Congratulations!

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