Glastonbury High School presents fall Essence Awards

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Fri., Dec. 6, 2013
Glastonbury High School sophomore Alexia Petros looks on as senior Briannon Chester accepts her Essence Award at the ceremony on Dec. 4. Photos by Steve Smith.
Glastonbury High School sophomore Alexia Petros looks on as senior Briannon Chester accepts her Essence Award at the ceremony on Dec. 4. Photos by Steve Smith.

Glastonbury High School honored several of its own during the fall Essence Awards on Dec. 4. The Essence Awards, in its eighth year, has honored 95 members of the student body, faculty, staff, alumni and others in the school community since its inception.

“I always love this day,” said GHS Principal Dr. Nancy Bean. “It's about the best of Glastonbury and what we represent. These people today – our honorees – have dedicated quiet time and tireless hours in making a difference in Glastonbury.”

Dr. Thomas Neagle, advisor of the Essence Awards Committee, said that there is a story behind each award. He thanked the teachers on the committee, as well as the students. “You can't believe the amount of wisdom they bring to the decision-making process,” Neagle said. “It's great to know that our students, past and present, support what this is all about.”

Honorees included Linda Sisti – a foreign language/ELL teacher at GHS – who was nominated by fellow teachers Meghan Zingle and Jocelyn Tamborello-Noble. “She truly inspires learning in her students,” Tamborello-Noble said. “She helps students to connect her subjects to the outside world. She truly is a teacher who cultivates learning.”

Zingle added that Sisti helps families and advocates for her students who need other resources. “She encourages her students to make connections, think about the world, and connect with others,” Zingle said. “She encourages her students to be good citizens, take responsibility, and make contributions to the GHS community.”

Sisti said that she, like others, feels fortunate to be part of the GHS community. “GHS is a place where everyone works hard to honor the true spirit of our mission statement, and they do it with grace and grit,” she said.

Library and media center staffers Heather Boyne and Deborah Pierce were honored by co-workers Tess McCool and Mary Metheny for their work with the displays in the school's library and outside of the mailroom, including the library's annual Veterans' Day museum.

“An incredible amount of time goes into researching, creating and executing each display,” Metheny said. “All displays coming from the library inspire curiosity, cultivate learning, and empower students.”

“The back of the library is transformed into a moving and meaningful month-long celebration of our veterans and their service,” McCool said.

Custodian James Nass was nominated by Assistant Principal Bobby Skarvelas. “If it were not for Mr. Jim Nass, the feel and the ability for GHS to be the place that it is may not be possible,” Skarvelas said, adding that Nass has worked at the school for 17 years, and prides himself on providing a “safe and clean” setting for the community. “It shows itself from every walkway and every hallway in and around this building,” Skarvelas said.

Nass said that he was shocked to be nominated and to receive the award, and that he is one member of a team. “I really feel I've just been doing what I should be doing,” he said. “I do take pride in the school, as anyone else does. It really takes a team, and that's exactly what we have in this school, and that's why I have pride in this school.”

Sophomore Caitlyn Abrahamson was presented by nominator Kaylee Stebbins. “Caitlyn is an extremely compssionate and courteous person who is an example to others,” Stebbins said. “With her positive attitude, she can brighten anyone's day. She is always participating in commuity service, such as helping the disabled children in her aunt's kindergarten class. She always brings back stories about working with the children, which shows how kind-hearted she really is.”

Senior Briannon Chester was presented by her friend, sophomore Alexia Petros. “I know her as a person who puts others before herself,” Petros said. “She cares about all the students and staff in the school. She helps in so many clubs and in so many ways to make the school a better place.”

“I didn't get here on my own,” Chester said. “I have wonderful friends, family, principals and teachers who are just as much a recipient of this award as I am. It's truly an honor.”

Neagle said he is already working on a celebration for the spring Essence Awards, which will, in all likelihood, present its 100th award.

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