By JEN CARDINES
The Southington Board of Education (BOE) started their Dec. 8 meeting with a celebration of excellence to honor the achievements of a retiring police captain and two high school students.
Captain Lowell DePalma was recognized for his 26 year partnership with Southington Public Schools from December 1990 to December 2016.
“The relationship with the police department means a great deal to us,” said BOE chair Brian Goralski, “and you were always the face of that connection.”
In his early years on the force, DePalma served as a D.A.R.E officer, educating students about the risks of drugs, and encouraging prevention.
“I’ve certainly enjoyed working with Captain DePalma,” said Superintendent Tim Connellan. “He’s been a wonderful partner and a wonderful friend to not only Southington Public Schools, but to everyone in the community.”
Next, the Board honored two outstanding students from this year’s graduating class, who received the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) recognition award. The program was designed by school administrators to recognize students who have served their schools and communities while maintaining exceptional academic progress. Southington High School (SHS) principal Brian Stranieri introduced the two award recipients to the BOE.
“Academic achievement is always something that is looked at through schools, but I think a couple of things that have really stood out are their character, their citizenship, and the work that they do for the school beyond the classroom,” Stranieri said. “What you have in front of you are two students in the top 10 of their 451-member class.”
Michael Loose is third in his class at SHS and is actively involved in the concert, marching, and jazz bands, Project Lead the Way, the Student Ambassadors program, tennis, and outdoor track. He has been involved in numerous community service and volunteer opportunities as well.
Loose was awarded the Rochester Institute of Technology scholarship, and plans to pursue a career in engineering.
Laura Calandra is in the top ten ranking in the class and is president of the National Honor Society, co-president of the student council think tank, and secretary of the drama club. She also serves on the Southington Town-wide Effort to Promote Success (STEPS) and is actively involved in theatre and musical performances, where she is accomplished in five different styles of dance.
She plans to pursue her passion for musical theatre in college.
The two seniors will be honored at the Farmington Valley Superintendents’ Association luncheon on Friday, Dec. 16.