To the Editor:
On Tuesday, June 17, 2014, my oldest daughter graduated from Newtown High School. She has attended the Newtown public schools since our move to Sandy Hook in 2004. She started in 3rd grade at Sandy Hook School and moved through Reed Intermediate and Newtown Middle until the high school commencement last week. In looking back over the decision to move to Newtown I am confident I made the right decision because of the fabulous, caring teachers in this system that impacted Ryanne in such encouraging ways.
Over the past 10 years, each teacher Ryanne came across influenced her. It would be very difficult to call out each teacher in under 500 words but there were a few standouts that I would like to mention. Mary Rose Kristopik whose cartwheels and rainbow recorder strings make every child believe that they are musically talented. Peter Bernson who used “stripey” paper clips to inspire good amongst his students. Karen King who taught Ryanne about the global world and looking beyond her small community. Judy Catanese whose high expectations and wry sense of humor made students enjoy science. Phil Cruz and Jenn Sinal, whose unique style of teaching History and English motivated all students to do their best. Eugene Hall whose “flipped” classroom taught Ryanne to believe that she could succeed in advanced Math. Kristin English and Jacquelyn Kaplan whose English classes inspired Ryanne to pursue a career as a high school English teacher. And I would be remiss if I did not mention Rodd Blessey and all the adults involved in the St. Rose Youth Group. Though not formal teachers, the SYG, Msgr. Bob, Fr. Luke, Fr. Ignatio, Fr. Krzys and Rodd certainly teach us all each week the importance of a strong faith.
My heartfelt and very sincere thanks to each teacher who in some way, large or small, left a positive impression on Ryanne and all the students left in their care. Being a teacher myself, I know the challenges we face each day and I thank you for putting your students first and caring so deeply about them. 10 years ago, we moved to Sandy Hook because of the school system, its small town feel, and because Father Bob was leading the local church and we know we made the right decision. Thank you all, we chose Newtown then and have no regrets!
With appreciation and gratitude,
4 Chestnut Knoll, Sandy Hook June 25, 2014