Norwich Public School Superintendent Abby Dolliver, left, presents the annual Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents Award to Huntington School fifth-grader Elijah Ramsey, 10, with his mother, Melissa Cheslog, at his side in the Kelly Middle School auditorium in Norwich on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. (Tim Martin/The Day)
10 Norwich students receive superintendent's awards
Published November 18. 2017 6:13PM
Norwich — The 10 students who made their way to the Kelly Middle School Auditorium earlier this week are the type of kids who pick up spilled crayons so no one will slip on them, take out the garbage at home, make sure timid kindergarteners feel comfortable and, invariably, they greet their teachers and principals with "a great big smile."
Superintendent Abby Dolliver and Board of Education members call the November board meeting their favorite of the year. That's because it starts with the presentation of the annual Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents awards to one student from each of the city's schools. It is considered the top student recognition.
When Teachers' Memorial Sixth Grade Academy student Vidal Rivadeneyra Serna walked up the steps to the stage with his family, the crowd in the auditorium weren't the only ones to cheer. Vidal was recognized for his "infectious smile," his tireless activities in the Peruvian dance troupe and in his church's drama club and his "daily routine" of helping classmates and other students.
His father, Vidal Rivadeneyra Sr., recorded the award presentation on video and told the audience he wanted to include his older sister who couldn't make it. Fabiola Hernandez, 19, is a U.S. Marine stationed in Japan.
"I want to make Fabiola part of this ceremony," the father said. "We miss you so much. We can't wait for you to come back."
The audience stood and cheered.
The award ceremony also was recorded by school officials, and all winners were presented a DVD recording. The next day, the students were treated to a luncheon and gifts by Norwich Rotary.
Fifth-grader Elijah Ramsey, Samuel Huntington School's award recipient, had just been told of his selection for the award by Principal Heidi Davis and fifth-grade teacher Fern Cipriani. Walking out of the office, the boy noticed that some crayons had been knocked off a desk. He stopped to pick them up.
"Eli, this is a perfect example of why you've received this award," Cipriani relayed to the audience her conversation with him that day.
"Someone could get hurt if they didn't see the crayons," Eli responded.
Amy Zhang, fifth-grade award recipient at the Moriarty Environmental Sciences Magnet School had a similar response to her selection, telling her teacher, Chris Mylly, "I help everywhere." Amy helps at her family's restaurant by taking phone orders, sweeping, cooking food and packing people's food orders. At home, she sweeps, washes clothes, vacuums, takes out the garbage and cleans the basement.
"I also help Phoebe, my sister, with homework," she told her teacher. "And by the way, I don't give her the answers."
Other award recipients were:
- Thomas Mahan School: Vanessa Demonte.
- John B. Stanton School: Ailyn Gonzalez Nila.
- Uncas School: Matthew Louie.
- Veterans' Memorial School: Emmanuella Prempeh.
- Wequonnoc Arts and Technology Magnet School: Lauren Deane.
- Kelly Middle School: Jackson Bell.
- Norwich Transition Academy: Tyler Palmer.