203 Volunteers Honored at Recognition Banquet

TOP ROW: Laurie Boske, Principal of Brownstone Intermediate in Portland and member of the banquet planning committee; Donna Schilke, Principal of Smith Middle School in Glastonbury and CAS President; Rich Adinolfi, Assistant Regional Vice President for event sponsor Horace Mann Insurance; Rick Watson, Principal of Griswold Middle School in Rocky Hill and chair of the banquet planning committee;

MIDDLE ROW: Honorees Lauren Gallagher and Katrina Scelza from West Hill Elementary School, Rocky Hill; Steven LePage, Principal of Plainville High School and member of the banquet planning committee; CT Commissioner of Education Dr. Dianna Wentzell;

BOTTOM ROW: Distinguished Friend of Education Award Recipient Robert Williams (center) with Ellington High School Principal Neil Rinaldi (right) and English Teacher William Prenetta; Alpha Q, Inc. Vice President and CFO Richard Hurley (center) with Windham Technical High School Principal Mark Ambruso (right).

Two hundred three volunteers from sixty schools were honored at the CAS Volunteer Recognition Banquet on Monday, March 7th. More than 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 2016 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 Robert C. Williams of Ellington (individual award) and Alpha Q., Inc., of Colchester (business/corporate award).

Robert Williams was nominated for the Distinguished Friend of Education Award by Neil Rinaldi, Ellington High School principal, and William Prenetta, EHS English teacher. For the past eight years, Mr. Williams has been serving as the volunteer technical director for the Opening Knight Players, Ellington High School’s Drama Club. During that time, he has also served as the club’s director, master electrician, executive board member and set designer. His expertise and energy, so eagerly and selflessly shared, have helped elevate the quality of theatrical productions at EHS and strengthen the cultural community in the greater Ellington area. Under his tutelage, the Opening Knight Players have earned five “Best Play” honors and dozens of technical awards at the annual Connecticut Drama Festival. A model of integrity, patience and goodwill, Mr. Williams has become the second father to hundreds of EHS drama students over the years, many of whom have gone on to successful careers in theater.

Alpha Q, Inc., a Colchester-based manufacturing company, was nominated for the Distinguished friend of education award by Mark Ambruso, principal of Windham Technical High School, and, James Cardin, WTHS department head of manufacturing technology. The company has maintained a long-standing and vital school-business partnership with Windham Technical High School, providing a wealth of talent, resources and opportunities to the WTHS students and school community. For more than fifteen years, Alpha Q, Inc., has donated equipment, manpower and expertise that have enriched the learning experiences of WTHS students and staff and brought many rewards to the larger community. WTHS students have benefitted from field trips, presentations, work-based learning and long-term employment opportunities; and, staff have received critical professional development on current industry trends and needs. An altruistic and influential corporate citizen, Alpha Q also works closely with other high schools and area colleges to prepare the next generation of skilled workers for careers in the manufacturing industry. It has been hailed as an international leader and trailblazer in developing a globally competitive, 21st century workforce.