CAS Celebrates School Volunteers

TOP ROW (left to right): Keynote Speaker Kathleen Kennedy, President, Connecticut Parent Teacher Association;  Jennifer Buckley, CAS Assistant Director of Student Activities; Donna Schilke, CAS Assistant Executive Director; and Rich Adinolfi, Assistant Regional Vice President for event sponsor Horace Mann Insurance

MIDDLE ROW: Left photo – DFE winner Glastonbury Rotary Club’s Donna Finocchiaro and William Dufford with nominators Azra Redzic and Dave Anderson; Right photo – banquet guests enjoying an evening at the Aqua Turf

BOTTOM ROW: Left photo – DFE winner Chris Brint with Yalesville School Principal Mary Poisson; Right photo – DFE winner Dr. Daniel Doyle with Wamogo Animal Science Teacher Lori Bennett

One hundred eighty volunteers from fifty schools were honored at the CAS Volunteer Recognition Banquet on Monday, March 27th. Nearly 400 guests were in attendance at the Aqua Turf to celebrate the work of parents and other volunteers who invest their time, energy and talents in making their local schools better places to work and learn. Honorees were presented with plaques and corsages to commemorate their service; and, photos of the honorees were taken by Grynn & Barrett Studios.

Click here to read about the extraordinary volunteers honored at this year’s banquet.

Also recognized at this year’s event were the recipients of the 2017 CAS Distinguished Friend of Education Awards. Established in 1983, the awards honor an individual and a business or organization for outstanding service to education in Connecticut. This year’s recipients were Chris Brint of Wallingford and Dr. Daniel Doyle of Bantam, co-recipients of the individual award; and, the Glastonbury Rotary Club recipient of the business/corporate award.

Chris Brint was nominated for the Distinguished Friend of Education Award by Mary Poisson, principal of Yalesville Elementary School. Chris Brint, a contractor from Wallingford, Connecticut, has been an industrious and selfless volunteer at Yalesville Elementary School for more than ten years. A quintessential jack-of-all-trades, Chris has a hand in every school event, from the back-to-school picnic and Rock N’ Roll Relay to the annual craft fair and father-daughter dance. He spends countless hours preparing the building and grounds for the school’s opening each year and helps with bulletin boards, PTO fundraisers, literacy nights, and field days. His presence at the school is so ubiquitous and his contributions are so prodigious that new principal Mary Poisson assumed him to be an employee when she first started at Yalesville. But, it’s not just what Chris DOES that makes him special; it’s who he IS. His passion and boundless energy are invigorating and he consistently promotes good character, values, community participation, and social responsibility through the activities that he plans, organizes, and facilitates. A man who is never looking for credit for his contributions, Chris continues to donate his time and talents to Yalesville despite not having any children at the school – or at any of the schools in the Wallingford district!

Dr. Daniel Doyle was nominated for the Distinguished Friend of Education Award by Jaime Rivera, principal of Wamogo Regional High School in Litchfield. For more than 15 years, Dr. Daniel Doyle, local veterinarian and volunteer extraordinaire, has been providing veterinary services to Wamogo Regional High School’s agriculture program at no cost. He makes himself available for animal emergencies of all natures, coming to the school on a moment’s notice or even seeing patients from the school in his parking lot when he is inundated with patients at his practice. Dr. Doyle spends significant time in WRHS classrooms, sharing his real world experiences with students, helping them understand the process of euthanizing an animal, and working with animal science classes on vaccinations and vaccination protocols. Dr. Doyle also provides work placements for WRHS students and takes a genuine interest in preparing them for their future careers. Through his volunteer efforts and positive influence, Dr. Doyle has had a significant impact on the WRHS agriculture program. With the cost of veterinary care, his free services have made an enormous financial impact on the entire WHRS community.

The Glastonbury Rotary Club was nominated for the Distinguished Friend of Education Award by Azra Redzic, principal Hartford’s Sanchez Elementary School, and Dr. David Anderson, dean of students at Sanchez. Under the leadership of Donna Finocchiaro, the Glastonbury Rotary Club (GRC) has worked tirelessly to provide Sanchez students with meaningful educational, social and recreational opportunities that would otherwise be out of their reach. For the last three years, the GRC has been sponsoring a Sanchez School family-wide picnic for all students and family members. It is a unique way to unite the community early in the school year and build bonds between students, teachers, administrators, and families. The club covers 100% of the costs of the picnic. It also supports an annual field trip to a local farm where third graders discover the intricacies of running a farm, interact with animals, go on a hay ride, learn about cider production, and enjoy a host of other farm-related educational experiences. The expenses for this trip, including the cost of the bus, pumpkins for each child, apple cider, and other treats, are fully funded by the GRC. Through donations such as a baby grand piano for the auditorium and musical instruments for a fifth grade marching band, the club has helped to revitalize the music program at Sanchez and spark student interest in music and arts. The GRC has also made many significant monetary contributions which have subsidized critical purchases such as classroom supplies and school uniforms. Through GRC’s donations, the school has been able to give out free uniforms to any family in need.