Monthly Archives: July 2012

Dozens Meet the East Hartford “Bike to Work” Challenge

EAST HARTFORD—A steady stream of cyclists marked a successful effort of encouraging workers to commute to work by bike on Thursday, July 19.

The town of East Hartford joined with Goodwin College, Pratt & Whitney, and a host of vendors and other volunteers to promote the “Bike-to-Work” event. The College’s Community Garden on Main Street played host to the festivities, allowing cyclists to stop by for a bagel and coffee before completing their trip to work.

“We are really happy that East Hartford is hosting it this year,” said Mayor Marcia Leclerc, who stopped by during the morning to thank the participants.

Cyclists began arriving at the Garden, located across the street from Pratt & Whitney’s East Hartford headquarters, at 6:30 a.m. by the end of the morning commute, about 50 riders had taken up the challenge.

The participants in the 2012 Bike to Work Breakfast, held at Goodwin College’s Community Garden on Thursday, July 19.

Tony Sherolis, a Pratt & Whitney engineer and a Bike Walk Connecticut volunteer, encouraged the participants to spread the word about the benefits of biking to work.

“The more voices we have, the more we can do,” Sherolis said.

Goodwin College’s Community Garden was a fitting site for the breakfast. The Garden is located at the site of a former adult bookstore, which was closed upon Goodwin’s acquisition of the property. The site was revitalized as a place for local residents and employees to gather in the spirit of healthy living as now dozens of garden plots are blooming with flowers and vegetables.

“Goodwin is taking steps to create a healthier community,” said Sandy Pearce, the College’s webmaster and the organizer of the Community Garden. “The idea of biking to work really ties into that philosophy.”

The event came on the heels of news that the State Department of Transportation was working with East Hartford on a major project to benefit cyclists. About 2.75 miles of Burnside Avenue, stretching from its intersection with Main Street to well past the former Goodwin College campus (now Stone Academy), is set to go on a “road diet.”

The DOT is planning to reduce the road to two lanes as opposed to four. On each side, bike lanes will be added and painted to allow riders to travel safely along Burnside Avenue. There have been three recent fatal accidents on Burnside where cyclists have been killed in collisions with motor vehicles.

At the Bike-to-Work breakfast, Mayor Leclerc said the town was very excited about the project and planned to work with the DOT to expand it down through Main Street and Pitkin Street, ultimately providing bike lanes for safe travel over the Connecticut River into Hartford.

Connecticut River Academy Inducts First Members into National Honors Society; Social Studies Teacher Brings Home Award

EAST HARTFORD—Nine students make up the first class of the new National Honors Society chapter at Connecticut River Academy. Additionally, the magnet high school named its 2011-2012 Teacher of the Year.

The students were inducted during a ceremony held on Thursday, June 7. They represent the charter class for the high school, which opened on the Goodwin College River Campus in East Hartford in 2010 and features a curriculum based on environmental science.

The inducted members are all 11th graders and will be members of the first senior class for the Academy at the start of the next academic year, beginning in late August.

“Inducting our first group of students into Connecticut River Academy’s National Honor Society Chapter is an important first for our school,” Principal Linda Dadona said. “We are so proud of these students and what they have accomplished since CTRA opened two years ago.  We appreciate how hard these students work and all they contribute to our school on a daily basis.  We are looking forward to them doing great things, as a group, as well as individuals.”

The members are Nathaniel Austin and Tyesha Page, both of East Hartford; Teara Aris and Kenya Percy, both of Windsor; Kristen Alvarez and Tanika Griffin-Heaven, both of Hartford; Claudio Mejia Cano of Manchester; Elizabeth Edinger of East Hampton; and Adam Vargas of New Britain.

Chapter advisor Kelly Falvey said that students needed to maintain an overall “B” average to be considered for induction into the prestigious National Honors Society. The students also had to demonstrate excellence in the Society’s tenants of leadership, service, scholarship, and character.

Falvey Named Teacher of the Year

The National Honors Society students weren’t the only members of the school community to be recognized for achievement. Falvey, a social studies teacher at the Academy, was named the Teacher of the Year during a small reception held Wednesday, June 20.

Kelly Falvey, center with flowers, is the 2012 Connecticut River Academy Teacher of the Year. Pictured are Assistant Principal Tim Kessler, Principal Linda Dadona, Falvey, Goodwin College President Mark Scheinberg, Vice President for Community Relations and Advancement Todd Andrews, and Dean of Magnet Schools Alan Kramer.

Falvey was one of the first teachers hired at the Academy. Several of her teaching colleagues nominated her for the award, citing her leadership, student centered focus, optimism, and temperament among her many virtues.

As she accepted the award, Falvey thanked the Academy faculty and marveled at the positive growth that has taken place at the school within the first two years of its existence.

Goodwin College’s Connecticut River Academy will expand to four grades at the start of the 2012-13 academic year. The school accepts students from throughout the Greater Hartford area and beyond.

Officials Herald New Goodwin Magnet School as a Boon to Early Childhood Education

Once it opens, the Goodwin College Early Childhood Magnet School will provide 240 children with the chance to learn in a comprehensive program, supported by the college and a nurturing group of educators.

On Tuesday, July 10, however, the site of the future school was a place for officials to gather and praise the initiative, both in terms of new educational opportunities for children as well as creating jobs for state workers.

This is something that has been very important to all of us,” said Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman.  “Generations of kids will live on and have a better life because of you.”

Wyman was among many speakers who heralded the groundbreaking, which took place on the grounds of Willowbrook School in East Hartford. Last year, Goodwin College acquired the property from the town for the purposes of developing the Early Childhood Magnet School.

State and local officials, including Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, toss some dirt to mark the official groundbreaking of the Goodwin College Early Childhood Magnet School.

Once completed, the $16 million, 34,000 square foot facility will house programs for up t0 240 students, drawing from throughout the region. Half the slots will be reserved for students in prekindergarten and the other 120 spots for kindergarten-age children.

The learning opportunities will not be limited to children. Students from the College’s Early Childhood and Child Study program will help staff the school, mastering their own crafts and applying their knowledge directly to the youngsters.

“Goodwin does not build buildings just for the sake of building buildings,” said Alan Kramer, Dean of Magnet Schools for the College. “We build it because of a vision that we have of what education means.”

The school is the second of three magnet schools that Goodwin intends to complete and open by the beginning of the 2013-14 academic year. Construction is already underway on the permanent home of the Connecticut River Academy, an interdistrict magnet high school already in operation on Goodwin College’s campus. Work on the third school – the Pathway Academy for Technology and Design, a magnet high school to be run by the Hartford Board of Education – is expected to begin soon.

The three huge projects, as well as smaller construction projects all over Goodwin’s River Campus and in other areas of East Hartford, is creating a positive transformation. State Senator Gary LeBeau, D-East Hartford, lauded the College as transformative for the neighborhood, and State Representative Jason Rojas, D-East Hartford, credited the positive economic impact.

“Welcome to the Goodwin College Economic Stimulus and Job Creation area,” Rojas said. “As much as we laugh about that, it is critically important that all of this work is taking place because it putting people to work and making sure that people can stay in their homes and put food on the table.”

Peter “Ed” Reilly, president of the Greater Hartford-New Britain Building and Construction Trades Council, praised Goodwin President Mark Scheinberg for entering Project Labor Agreements to help generate construction jobs for Connecticut laborers.