By SHERIDAN CYR
Southington Alta at the Pyne Center celebrated 15 graduating seniors and handed out many awards and scholarships at their annual banquet on May 24, hosted by Bread for Life. All students who were named students of the month throughout the year, along with honor roll and perfect attendance students, were recognized for their successes.
“This is a tradition for Alta to recognize our graduating seniors during this small, end of the year formal,” said Alta director Jess Levin. “It’s a true testament of how students can use Alta’s many advantages to achieve in their education.”
Levin thanked Alta staff and administration and expressed gratitude to Superintendent Tim Connellan and Southington High School principal Brian Stranieri, to Bread for Life and volunteers in the community, and to students and their families for all of the support.
He also thanked Smokin’ with Chris, Outback Steakhouse and Sassy Mama Sweets for donating all of the food for the banquet.
“Because of our wonderful community coming together, this banquet is completely free to Alta and to students,” said School Counselor Mark Hill. “Tonight, students can feel a sense of pride and accomplishment for all their hard work.”
Stranieri said Alta is a “tremendously successful program” and reminded soon-to-be graduates to always stand tall to challenges.
“Don’t let anybody tell you you can’t achieve your dreams,” he said. “Good things happen to people who work hard. Keep going.”
Connellan commended the Alta program and all of the support it offers to its students. The school offers smaller, more focused classes that give students the opportunity to form stronger relationships with their education.
Amy Cayer and Amy Gates, both receivers of the highest academic award, took advantage of the more personalized education.
“Being at Alta just keeps me focused and helped me do a lot better than I would at SHS,” said Cayer. “Alta made it simple and moved at a good pace.”
Cayer hopes to continue her education and become a music teacher. Gates looks forward to a career in forensic science.
“Alta’s small environment helped keep me from distractions and not get involved in the drama,” Gates said.
BFL Executive Director Donna Ayer was happy to offer to host the banquet for the second year in a row.
“The community gave us this facility, so we want to use it for the community. It’s a double-win,” Ayer said.
Alta at the Pyne Center is Southington’s Alternative Program serving students in grades 9-12 from SHS and surrounding districts on a tuition basis who have not been successful in a traditional high school setting.
Alta operates as part of the Southington Public Schools System. Its curriculum is aligned with SHS and stresses differentiated instruction and cooperative learning across all content areas.
Alta students will graduate alongside SHS students on June 21 at the high school.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Cyr, email her at SCyr@SouthingtonObserver.com.