Looking back at 2012, part 1

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Wed., Dec. 19, 2012
Buttonball Lane first-graders Lydia and Katie, both 6, show off their family heirloom Scottish attire at their school's international event in February. Photos by Steve Smith.
Buttonball Lane first-graders Lydia and Katie, both 6, show off their family heirloom Scottish attire at their school's international event in February. Photos by Steve Smith.

For Glastonbury, 2012 began with a relatively mild winter, which was especially welcome after the October snowstorm of 2011.
As has become a tradition of sorts, the Board of Education began its budget workshops, and the proposal of full-day kindergarten was among the larger of the discussions.

“We're jamming everything into a half a day, and we're cutting out time that is so important to the social development of our kindergarten students,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Alan Bookman.

Some opposed the idea, citing mostly financial reasons. Resident Chip Geer called it a “nice to have” feature that could wait until the economic climate is better. “Cannot an expanded kindergarten program wait until we're all feeling a bit more bullish about our collective future?” he asked.

Glastonbury residents gathered for the annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration at Smith Middle School, which was led by Connecticut Center For Non-Violence founder Victoria Christgau, and featured several interactive workshops for people of all ages. Glastonbury resident Laura Zeppieri, who attended the event with her two sons, Will, 10, and Joey, 7, said she really enjoyed the emotion Christgau brought to the event. “I think it's important to teach my boys about Martin Luther King,” Zeppieri said, “and just learning to get along with all types of the people in the community and interacting.”

The Glastonbury Chamber of Commerce named Steve Weir of American Integrity Restoration, LLC as Business Person of the Year at its dinner on Jan. 25. “It's a great honor to be recognized for this award,” Weir said. “The Chamber of Commerce has been a great resource for me.”

February began with a celebration of diversity at Buttonball Lane School. On Feb. 1, visitors were treated to an evening including a smorgasbord of international cuisine and entertainment. “It celebrates that we have dozens of languages spoken by Buttonball families,” said Principal Kent Hurlburt. “The benefit, educationally, is for them to appreciate each other and diversity as a whole. If we don't work to get the kids to appreciate differences, we can't get the education done.”

The international theme continued with the school system's International Night, which included a talent competition as well as workshops from around the world, featuring many different languages and cultures. “We had a lot of community participation – Latvian, Iranian, Hindi lessons – all from families within the community that want to share their talents,” said Director of Foreign Languages Rita Oleksak.

The Glastonbury Police Department got new leadership, as Chief Tom Sweeney retired and David Caron took the reins as the department's top cop, moving up from the rank of captain. “It's been a very smooth transition,” Caron said, two days into his new position. “It's easy because I've worked here 35 years.”

He said he hoped to meet as many residents and community leaders as possible, to keep with the department's tradition of community relations. “I think it's important that they know who the chief is,” he said, “and let them know that it's business as usual – we're here, and we want to be responsive to the community.”

After a showing of support for the education budget, including full-day kindergarten, which was ultimately implemented at all elementary schools, at least as a parental option, the Glastonbury Town Council approved a $140.9 million spending plan on March 27, at a meeting that also saw several proposed amendments, caucuses and deadlocked votes.

Glastonbury High School's winter sports teams had much success. The boys' basketball team had a 12-8 season and finished in the first round of the CIAC Class LL tourney. The girls' basketball team went 14-6 and took an overtime loss in the quarterfinals at the hands of rival Manchester. In indoor track, the GHS girls took the Class LL meet, and third in the state open meet, while the boys placed third in Class LL.

The Tomahawks' hockey team had an impressive season, knocking off #1-seed Fairfield Prep in the Division I semi-finals, but was outmatched in the finals by Notre Dame-West Haven.

The GHS gymnastics team fared the best of all, taking home the state Class L championship and second in the open meet.

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