Looking back at 2013, Part 2

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Thu., Dec. 26, 2013
Mason Pawelek is a veteran of the Intra-district Chess Tournament. File photos.
Mason Pawelek is a veteran of the Intra-district Chess Tournament. File photos.

Spring was celebrated with Glastonbury traditions, including the Glastonbury Parks and Recreation Department's Easter Egg Hunt for Dogs on March 23, which was attended by 150 dogs and their masters. Braving cooler-than-seasonable temperatures, they found thousands of eggs.

Recreation Supervisor Anna Park said the popularity of the dog park has apparently spread to other towns – especially those that don’t have the canine recreation areas. “Most of the out-of-towners said they don’t have dog parks in their town, and they just wanted to bring their dogs to socialize,” she said.

The annual Empowering Families event, aimed at helping strengthen the lines of communication between teens and parents, took place Marck 26. Attendees took part in workshops and learned about peer pressure's role in teens taking part in risky behavior. “It's not really the people you don't know who are going to pressure you to do drugs,” explained Youth Advisory Council member Emil Atz. “It's going to be when you're hanging out at a friend's house – a whole bunch of you having a good time – and someone brings a little beer.”

YAC member Paige Cantwell said the teens who attended will hopefully give the right kinds of pressure to their peers. "The 50 who I might see tonight are 50 kids who can help 50 different groups of friends," she said, "and hopefully help a large majority of the incoming freshman class.”

Another tradition is Guest Reader Day at Eastbury School. In April, 18 guest readers came and read books to classrooms of students, after being interviewed and introduced by student council members. One of the readers, Board of Education member Rosemary Coggshall, read “Rocket Writes a Story” to teacher Mary Andrea's first-grade class. “They loved it. It was perfect for them,” Coggshall said. “There are also a lot of big words – like 'inspiration' and 'captivated.' It's nice to have a story that has a lot of depth to it.”

The world was shocked by the Boston Marathon bombing, and the explosions took place just after Glastonbury runner Kate Rich completed the race and received her medal. “It was very loud,” she said. “I was about a block away, and nobody knew what was happening. I could see the smoke billowing up. It was very surreal and weird.”

Fortunately, Rich was able to find her family and get out of the area, but not without being forced to take some detours, and seeing quite a scene. “It was a round-about route,” Rich said. “The whole time, emergency vehicles were rushing in. The whole city was very chaotic.”

Back home, some young athletes got to meet some of their idols, as the UConn men's soccer team played at Addison Park, in front of many fans from the Hartwell Soccer Club. “I'm impressed with the players every year, and with how great they work with the kids,” said Hartwell President Mary Kay Brophy, adding that she was pleasantly surprised by the large attendance at the game. “It's great to see the community come out the way that they did, especially on a vacation week. I'm very proud, and it's a fun event.”

The Hartwell Spring Warm-up Tournament again brought thousands of players and their families from all over the northeast to Glastonbury, as 210 teams competed in several different age groups. “It's a great way to show off our community,” Brophy said, adding that Glastonbury teams did very well overall, earning several first and second place finishes.

In May, a record turnout of 140 players came out for another spring tournament – the Glastonbury Schools District-wide Chess Tournament. Mason Pawelek, 11, said he loves the tourney. “I like it a lot. I usually win. There are a lot of kids I know,” he said.

Glastonbury High School sports teams were also big winners. The baseball team had an impressive 16-4 regular season before going all the way to the Class L quarterfinals. Similarly, the softball team went 15-5, and also went to the Class L quarters. Boys' lacrosse posted an 11-5 record before reaching their quarterfinals, and the girls' lacrosse team entered the Class L tournament as the #1 seed, after posting a one-loss regular season, but fell to rival Greenwich, 11-8, in the Class L semi-finals. Coach Kris Cofiell said her young team accomplished a fantastic season. “In some ways, we overacheived,” Cofiell said. “When you looked at this team at the beginning of this year, this is not where I thought we would be."

The boys' volleyball team made it all the way to the Class L finals, but couldn't get past rival Staples, dropping the match 3 sets to 1. Coach Pat Ryan said he was proud of what his team accomplished. “They did great all season long,” he said. “I had a great group of guys. I couldn’t be happier with the way they played.”

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