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Year In Review: An Eventful Year For Newtown’s Private Schools

Published: December 31, 2017

Newtown’s three private schools — Fraser Woods Montessori School, Housatonic Valley Waldorf School, and St Rose of Lima School — each had an eventful year in 2017.

Fraser Woods Montessori School

From the many lessons students learned at Fraser Woods Montessori School in 2017 to remodeling some sections of the school, it was a busy year.

The school hosted an open panel discussion on how to raise a powerful girl, every day, at any age. The event featured Maria Fuller, a Newtown photographer, educator, and speaker whose mission is to help build confidence and empower girls to conquer the world.

When the Visiting Nurse Association and Newtown Lions Club offered the annual free eye screenings for 3- and 4-year-old children at several local nursery schools and schools, Fraser Woods Montessori School was one of the stops.

Standing in a newly configured “After School Room” in October, Mr Robertson explained the bright space was one of three recently completed projects that are part of the school’s Dream for a Future Fund efforts.

“We wanted this to be a space where children… can come and use it as a space for activities,” said Mr Robertson.

The building projects began in June, and in the last few weeks of October, the school completed projects for three new rooms. Along with the After School Room, the school also designed a new library and a new makerspace room. A culminating ribbon cutting ceremony was held on October 26.

Students jumped in bounce houses as family members snacked on goodies at the Fraser Wood Montessori School Fall Family Festival on November 4. This was the fifth year the school hosted the Fall Family Festival on its campus. Face painting, various demonstrations, and baked goods were all available during the event. The school’s book fair was also open during the festival.

Near the end of December, the school celebrated the holidays with a full-school celebration that invited family and friends to hear students sing and perform songs with musical instruments.

Housatonic Valley Waldorf School

Housatonic Valley Waldorf School offered open events for the community along with a range of academic projects for its students in 2017.

The school offered a free puppet show for the community on January 21 that asked attendees to bring donations for the Women for Women International, an organization helping women survivors of war rebuild their lives.

Then in April, eighth grade students presented projects they had worked on throughout the 2016-17 school year. The 2017 class, under the guidance of teacher Marleen De Grande, completed its projects and shared culminating presentations with their fellow school students April 6. Students in the class chose to study a range of topics — from studying the history of magic to building a tree house.

Spring was officially welcomed at the school on May 9, when the school held its annual May Fair. Students, school faculty, and family members gathered to celebrate the arrival of spring through dancing around a maypole and performing Morris and Sword dances. Students also sang and wore flowered garlands in their hair for the celebration.

Housatonic Valley Waldorf School’s (HVWS) Class of 2017 Graduation took place on June 10.

Near the end of the first month of the 2016-17 school year students, faculty, and family members gathered on the grounds of Housatonic Valley Waldorf School on September 29 to celebrate the school’s annual Michaelmas festival. The festival honors St Michael, a mythical dragon-slayer who bears a mighty iron sword, according to the school. St Michael’s legend symbolizes the autumnal resurgence of human strength, willpower, and striving to overcome the inner dragons of laziness, greed, doubt, fear of the future, and forgetfulness.

Housatonic Valley Waldorf School hosted a Fall Fair & Craft Market on October 21 on the school’s grounds. Vendors sold goods, and activities were offered for youngsters.

The school hosted its annual Thanksgiving Assembly on November 22. Friends and family of students in first through eighth grade were invited to view the students’ work in the atrium before gathering in the Eurythmy Room for the official assembly. Each grade went on stage and performed a variety of songs, poems, and dances that showcased what they are currently learning in their classes.

St Rose of Lima School

There was much to celebrate at St Rose of Lima School throughout 2017.

St Rose of Lima School began its celebration of Catholic Schools Week, recognized nationally January 29 to February 3, with a pep rally, near the end of the school day on January 30. For the day, students dressed in the school’s red and white colors.

Nonperishable food items were also collected for the FAITH Food Pantry.

It hosted a Passport Day on March 16 as part of the school’s International Week, recognized March 13 to 17. For the Passport Day, organized by St Rose teacher Katelyn Doane, seven classrooms were turned into countries. Classes toured the “countries” by spending time in each room completing activities.

The school celebrated then-First Selectman Pat Llodra throughout the day on May 5, first in school with students, then in the evening at the second annual Hands & Hearts in the Community event, held at The Amber Room Colonnade in Danbury. The school announced in February that Mrs Llodra is this year’s recipient of the Monsignor Robert E. Weiss Hands & Hearts in the Community award. The award was created to honor a community member for their service in the community each year. The first award was given to and named after Monsignor Robert Weiss, senior pastor of St Rose of Lima Church, the year before.

St Rose of Lima School eighth grade students graduated during commencement ceremonies at St Rose of Lima Church on June 3. This year’s eighth grade graduating class had 29 students.

A new logo for St Rose of Lima School was unveiled at the first Home and School Association meeting of the school year on September 14. The new logo has a depiction of a rose at the center of a cross. Beneath the image reads, “St Rose of Lima School. Rooted in Faith. Thriving in Academics.”

Near the end of November, fourth graders at the school worked on something that will last into the new year. St Rose of Lima School fourth graders visited the Knights of Columbus Museum, located at 1 State Street in New Haven, November 29, to decorate a tree with their handmade ornaments and visit the Creches Around The World exhibit. The class tree joined a forest of other trees decorated by Connecticut school children in an exhibit themed “Peace on Earth” that will run through February 19. The Knights of Columbus Museum is open daily, 10 am 5 pm, and parking and admission are free.

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