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June 2016

Positive Happenings in the Plymouth Public Schools

Superintendent Dr. Marty Semmel

Can you hear that? It’s the students counting down the number of days before summer vacation. The students may be counting the days but in all fairness the students and staff in our schools have had a phenomenal year. I want to acknowledge that we have so many wonderful groups and stories that I could not possibly highlight them all in this column. Therefore, this month, I am highlighting some of the most recent accomplishments from our “school” family. First, I want to give a tremendous shout out to our Terryville High School Marching Band. Being involved with the marching band is literally a full-time gig. There are hours of individual practice time so you can play your instrument at a high level. Then, there is the significant number of hours of group practice time, so the band looks and sounds topnotch. At that point, you can send them on the road to participate in competitions and parades where they not only represent themselves and their school but the entire community at a high level. Our marching band has excelled this year as they have participated in many local and national events. Their repeat win in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New Haven was a terrific exclamation point on a great year. I look forward to many more years being entertained by our band and feeling pride as they march down our streets. Go Band!

I also want to highlight some terrific staff members in our district. This year we decided that it was important to recognize staff members who go above and beyond, who go the extra mile, who consistently give the extra degree of effort. We created an award called Plymouth 212°. We chose the name because of a quote we came across. The quote from Givemore.com says “At 211 degrees, water is hot. At 212 degrees, it boils. And with boiling water, comes steam. And with steam, you can power a train. Just one extra degree makes all the difference.” Do you know a person who gives that extra degree that just makes everything better? Someone who is always busy but can still drop everything to help a friend, or a parent, or a child? Well we identified four such individuals from our staff. They are Lisa Aiudi (THS – School-to-Career), Jan Basoli (Administrative Assistant to the Director of Special Services), Melissa Morelli (PCS – Teacher) and Chris Perkins (Local Prevention Council). These four staff members represent all of the teachers, nurses, custodians, secretaries, paraeducators, librarians, and administrators who go out of their way to make a real difference in the life of a child.

Additionally, Terryville High School had two classes participate in the Expo at the Oakdale in Wallingford. One of the classes that competed was our Ecommerce/Entrepreneurship class. This group of students placed 3rd in the Business Challenge with their “Kazoku Tree” product. The second class that competed was our DM3 (video) class. This program has grown over the past couple of years, which led us to bring two teams to the Expo this year. Our two teams placed 2nd and 3rd for the Documentary Challenge. Additionally we are very proud that David Betters (a DM3 student) earned 1st place for his documentary on Preserving Our History.

As you can see, we have a lot to be proud of in our schools. As I said before, what I am offering in this month’s column is just a small portion of all the great things going on. Last but not least, we are excited for our seniors who are eager to graduate from Terryville High School on Wednesday, June 8. They are the crown jewel of our work in the district and we hope that we have challenged, inspired and prepared every one of our students towards a lifetime of success and happiness.

By Dr. Martin Semmel,

Superintendent of Schools

Plymouth, CT

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