The Board of Education meeting was light and festive on Nov. 16 with a purple table cloth adorning a table bedecked with flowers, cookies, snacks, coffee and sprakling water, the North Branford High School (NBHS) chorus graced the Board with a beautiful rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and the school system as a whole was honored by the recognition of some of its finest members.
NBHS freshman Emerald Douglas was presented with a National Merit Scholarship Program certificate. Douglas is one of only 34,000 high school students in the country recognized as a "Commended Student" out of the 1.5 million students who participated in the program. Commended Students are singled out for their academic promise demonstrated by oustanding qualify test scores.
Junior Jenna Simmons, president of the NBHS Best Buddies Program for the past to years, was honored with a certificate of appreciation from the BOE.
Best Buddies, a student driven, internationally recognized, non-profit organization, forms one-to-one friendships between students with and without intellectual disabilities. It introduces socialization opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities to become more independentand more included in the community.
"This program would not be possible without strong student leadership in the form of the officers," said Superintendent Scott Schoonmaker. "Jenna is so dedicated to this program that she has attended the conference [in Indiana] to represent us for the past two years. Not only has she developed a network of community leaders involved with best buddies, but brought fresh new ideas to our high school program as well."
And where would the students be without their dedicated and attentive instructors? Schoonmaker announced NBHS's Teacher of the Year, health teacher, Nicole Lacroix. She was honored at the Teacher ofthe Year Program on Nov. 17 at The Bushnell.
Schoonmaker informed the board that the entire disrict was honored with a certificate from the college board for being a part of the Advanced Placement Program’s 2nd Annual AP District Honor Roll.
The BOE also recognized the students for their dedication to and involvment in the North Branford community outside of the classroom. The on Oct. 22 saw a callection of 10,000 items and $1,200 in cash donations. Thirty-eight teams organized by 31 staff members, parents and volunteers collected, organized and boxed the items for the North Branford Food Bank.
And what better way to reward the students than with an educational and thrilling field trip to Yellowstone National Park. North Branford Intermediate School science teacher Nathan Bowers submitted the request, which was approved unanimously by the Board. The field trip, which will be from June 23 to June 28, is "to get kids involved in the largest volcanic region in North America," says Bowers. The cost per student will be $1,997.
The Board also honored three of its members who will not be returning for another term including Deborah Prunier (four years), Chris Manna (four years) and Marie Diamond (one year). Schoonmaker presented each with sincerest thanks from the Board as well bouquets of flowers.