Chase Kid Community Service Chronicles
With the new year in full swing and the Spring semester underway, we finally have a moment to reflect on all of the ways Chase Kids spread kindness during the holidays through service in the Greater Waterbury area.
Lower Schoolers traveled to Ben’s Bells, a non-profit organization in Bethel, and created “Kindness Coins” that are spread throughout the country in an effort to promote acts of kindness. The Lower School Student Council also coordinated a toy drive for Toys for Tots, donating over 100 gifts to those in need.
Our Middle School Chase Kids were also busy finding ways to brighten the season for those less fortunate, leading a supply drive to stock local shelters and crafting sock snowmen to cheer up patrons of Carolyn’s Place, St. Vincent de Paul Mission, and Brass City Rescue Alliance in Waterbury.
It seemed as though the Upper School was branching out into the community on a daily basis. Student-led clubs and groups as well as sport teams and even academic classes all worked to create and coordinate meaningful outreach projects. A group of ten Chase seniors donated their time to serve food at the Breakfast with Santa at the Giamatti Regional Little League Training Complex in Bristol, raising funds for the Secret Santa Society of Bristol, a group started by alumnus Josh Kampf ’97 during his time in the Upper School. Additionally, Upper Schoolers traveled to a local grocery store to ring bells and raise funds for The Salvation Army and coordinated drives of their own to benefit local shelters and groups.
While the Chase Community is incredibly proud of the acts of service our students completed over the holiday season, we are even more proud of the work they continue to do throughout the year. Student and Faculty-led clubs across all divisions run fundraisers and drives throughout the semester that help connect Chase Kids to the Greater Waterbury Area and the myriad foundations and charities in the area. Below, you will find photos of our Life Is Delicious club, which meets after school to prepare fresh, nutritious meals that are then delivered to local shelters.
Follow the community-service-chronicles of our Chase Kids online at:
"... Culture is inevitable. It makes us who we are as people, but also who we are as a town, state, country, or continent. Culture is what brings us together, and it is important that we celebrate the similarities that we share as well as the differences."
-Natalie Nejaime ’22
On January 19, Chase 8th graders gathered in the McTernan Centennial Library to present their Declamations to family, friends and classmates. Declamations, a long-held tradition for Middle School Chase Kids, serves as an opportunity for students to hone their research, public speaking and presentation skills- helping to launch them into the rigorous Upper School public speaking program. As you read this, we are sure many of you are flooded with memories of your own time at the podium!
This winter’s 18 presentations centered around the theme of “Culture” and how it impacts every facet of life in a specific nation, country or area. Upper and Middle School English Teacher and Declamations Coordinator, Doreen Kopecky outlines the work that students put into researching and crafting their topics prior to their eventual presentation:
As part of a semester long journey that centered around inquiry-based learning, combined with traditional genre-based practice of interpreting a writing style and replicating it, students began the year uncovering the theme of "place" in literature. Students explored memoirs of eclectic people and places, such as the Pakistani memoir Tasting the Sky by Ibtisam Barakat. Upon reading and discussing this book, they discovered the similarities and differences in childhoods worlds apart. Using round-table discussions, journal writing, brainstorming, questioning, and researching, students made there way to other world venues to connect place and experience to understand why people "write about what they write about.
After countless hours of research and numerous drafts, students donned their “Formal Friday” best and presented what they had learned in front of their family and peers. These Chase Kids exemplified poise and grace under pressure, and provided listeners with a unique overview of the culture of their choice.
Click here to check out pictures from the day!
How Hitting the Ground (and Leaving the Ground) Helped this Chase Kid 'Stick' his Athletic Passion
When most athletes get the wind knocked out of them, they tend to stay down or falter, but that wasn't the case for gymnast Hee Mang C. '23. Significantly injured while competing about 18-months ago, Hee Mang could have easily been discouraged, but instead, this Chase kid powered through his frustrations, learned patience, and eventually surprised even himself, finishing first-place in three events during the 2018 New Year's Gymnastic Invitational at the Suffield Gymnastics Academy.
"In gymnastics, there's a word called 'pung,' which means you slipped off of the bar," explained Hee Mang, about the incident that led to his recent long-term injury. "It usually happens on, like, rings and high bar and basically it is when you slip off and you kind of, like, fly and hit the ground. So what happened was I pung off and I hit my chin on my sternum really hard so it injured [my ribs and chest] and from that impact it hurt to breathe."
Frustrating right? Of course, and Hee Mang admits that it took a while for him to realize he'd need to embrace patience and give his body the time it needed to properly heal.
"At the beginning, I thought I was fine," he explained. "And then, early in sixth grade I reinjured [the same area] and that one really hurt to breathe and that one was the one that made me stay out for a longer time."
No stranger to the sport, Hee Mang started practicing gymnastics as part of a 'mommy and me' class while still a toddler. But learning from his failure and how to cope with impatience - those are skills that he was still navigating in the gym. Hee Mang eventually discovered techniques to remain positive and involved with the sport, while also accepting support from his teammates, family, and friends.
"I was kind of angry," admitted Hee Mang. "I hated just sitting down and being lazy instead of being in a gym working out and working on new skills." So what was this Chase kid's solution? "I helped out at gymnastics competitions... and I did come in [to the gym] every once in a while just to hang out."
It also helped that his teammates and family formed a close-knit community of support around him, especially as he approached his first competition in over a year. Hee Mang explained, "probably the hardest part [of getting back to competition] was, like, me getting nervous because it was my first meet in a long time, but everything else was pretty easy because I just had to remember that I've done all of these routines before. I just had to keep doing what I had to do. And with the support of my other teammates, it was also easier because they were, like, cheering me on and, like, making me feel more comfortable."
Remembering past advice also proved helpful to Hee Mang. He recalled one time in the fourth grade when he felt frustrated with the sport and wanted to quit. "My parents always told me to just keep going. You might overcome it," stated Hee Mang. "And I eventually did and I was really glad that I didn't [quit]."
Channeling all of the positive energy around him, Hee Mang went into the New Year's competition facing his fears of continued injury and treating the event as just another practice, which turned out to take a significant amount of pressure off of him. He explained that competing is "just a more meaningful practice," and once you've practiced your skills, you perform them during a meet. You get to show off; and show off he did during the mid-January invitational.
"I was very shocked because I thought I wasn't going to place," laughed Hee Mang, who ended up placing first on pommel horse, vault, and parallel bars. "I was very surprised when I placed first on events because I thought if I did [place] I was only going to get second or third."
By the end of the meet, Hee Mang earned second place on rings, and third on high bar in addition to his first-place successes and he ended up in fifth place standing overall out of over 50 competitors. So what exactly did Hee Mang take away from the whole experience? The ability to overcome his frustrations and knowing that doing so leads to a more positive headspace.
"Yeah, every once in a while I get super frustrated but I overcome that frustration and start to love [the sport] again... I'm feeling a lot stronger [now]."
- Mrs. Oleksiw
Digital and Social Media Specialist
Throughout the semester, Chase kids in the Lower School have been learning about kindness and how to integrate it into their daily lives, both on and off campus. With programs like the Kindness Club and the Chase Cares campaign, our youngest learners have learned how to be true warriors of kindness!
On Wednesday, December 13, over 40 young learners in grades K-5 and Chase faculty members traveled to the Ben’s Bells studio in Bethel where they listened attentively, participated in interactive kindness activities and created beautiful kindness coins that spread and share the message to “Be Kind”.
Ben’s Bells, a non-profit based out of Arizona holds a core mission to inspire, motivate, and educate people about the power of sharing and spreading kindness in their community. School counselor Molly Emmer partnered with the group through their “Kindness Campus” initiative which provides schools with activities, discussion topics and other resources to help foster a culture of kindness.
At the studio, Chase kids witnessed how a single act of kindness can affect the person spreading,receiving or observing the kind act. Students learned how each and every person is connected through their capability to be kind.
After an eye-opening and heartwarming discussion, Chase kids had the chance to share kind thoughts. Everyone got a piece of paper printed with “Say something kind about [name]” and the room instantly filled with joy! Students gave each other a “pat on the back” by writing something kind on the piece of paper, and the results were shared with each student upon their return to school. Compliments such as "I love your smile!" and "You are a great friend" showed the full depth of appreciation and regard Chase kids have for one another.
At the end of the visit, students and teachers had the chance to create “Kindness Coins” -- painted clay tokens that are passed out when the holder of the token observes an act of kindness. The goal is for the tokens to continue to be passed from person to person, creating a ripple effect of kindness.
As a school, we are proud of the hard work and dedication our students put in to the practice of kindness. As part of our commitment to kindness and the program on campus, Chase will be receiving, creating and installing a “Ben’s Bells Kindness Mural”, a beautiful mosaic crafted from coins and tokens made by volunteers within the Chase community and assembled as a group on campus. Stay tuned for more information on how to assist with this incredible addition to Chase!
For more information on Ben’s Bells Visit their website or drop by the Bethel location (one of two in the country) Tuesday-Thursday, 12:00-8:00 PM & Saturday, 10:00-2:00 PM to help spread kindness!
During the first weekend in December, the Highlander Theater Company put on their rendition of Shakespeare’s classic comedy, The Taming of the Shrew. The show, which was directed and adapted by Emily Mattina, through a special partnership with Shakesperience Productions Inc., was a smash hit with the local community. Audiences were blown away by the intricate, professionally done costumes and vibrant sets. Below, you can find links to the review featured in the Naugatuck Patch and to the SmugMug photo journal filled with snaps from the show.
As Alumni of the school, you can be proud of the strong ARTS programming this year, which seeks to enhance and strengthen the rich history of the arts on Campus. We invite you to check out this Spring’s performance of Gypsy which will be presented by arrangement with Tams-Witmark Music Company Inc. on the weekend of April 20th. Come reminisce about your own experiences with the arts at Chase while supporting current students in their creative endeavors! Reminders and ticket information will be sent out as the date approaches. Click here for more events on campus!
Did you enjoy this year’s unique holiday greeting? In last month’s newsletter, our SoMA (Social Media Ambassador) students Ryan Aghamohammadi ’18 and Sean Kurutan ’18 were featured as they dug through the Judith Kellogg Rowley '53 Archives Center for a “secret” project. Now that the holidays are over, and members of our community have received this year’s festive winter wishes card, we can explain a bit more about this unique assignment!
The card, a “chapbook” ( a small, cheaply bound collection of works, historically used to spread literature) was assembled from numerous pieces of student work spanning the various schools that historically comprise Chase Collegiate. The idea was dreamed up after SoMA advisor and Chase's Digital Media Specialist, Kelly Gore-Oleksiw, visited a Trinity College display of holiday chapbooks by Robert Frost. After discussing the unique style of printing and interesting size and shape of the book, it was decided that the SoMA students would help dive deeper into the archives to find meaningful content that would excite all members of our community- from current students to attendees of “The Little School”.
Aghamohammadi and Kurutan spent a few hours down in archives working with librarian and archivist Emma Paine '04 searching through numerous collections of treasured student work. Once pieces were selected, they were scanned into Chase’s digital archive system and laid out for print.
The final product was assembled by a local vendor who adhered to the original way chapbooks were created, by hand folding and stapling each booklet. We felt it was essential that the book be as authentic as possible.
We hope you enjoyed thumbing through the pages and reminiscing on your time celebrating the season here at Chase.
Below, Ryan Aghamohammadi details his experience working on the project and the value of the Chase Archives on campus:
The prospect of helping to craft the School's holiday card this year was a very exciting one. Not only is working with aesthetics and written work to create something visually and intellectually appealing, something I find interesting and enjoyable, but it also allowed me to finally explore the archives at Chase in-depth for the first time. As a Co-editor In-Chief of the Literary Magazine, Whatsoever, I was able to briefly look through some of the older copies of the magazine in an effort to create an exhibit last year. However, this project awarded me the opportunity to fully commit to exploring the area. Looking through past Chase publications and documents, one gets a much better sense of both the wealth of the history of Chase as well as a glimpse into how former students, now alumni, and faculty thought and lived. Whether revealing a common thought process or former tradition (class prophecies!), as with any study of history, I found that reading the work from Chase's past helped me better understand the present. On a more buoyant side, it was fairly amusing to pick out common themes or decipher jokes. I think with the study of history many people distance themselves, unconsciously, from what has happened and that these names in a book are actual people. Being able to peer into the mind's of people from Chase's history really reinforces that, yes, these are people with thoughts and dreams and desires. Working within the archives is definitely something I look forward to doing again in the near future.
On the first week of the new year, members of Chase’s External Relations were delighted to receive a photo from Saint Margaret’s alumna Anne Griggs Denzberger ’51. The image, shown below, depicts students at “The Little School” bundled up in a line holding flags! While the photo is not dated, based on context clues and information available in our archives, it would seem the photo was taken in the late 1930’s. Photos such as this are essential to our archive and provide future generations of Chase students and community members with valuable information about the history of the school and in many cases, the region. Mrs. Denzberger’s contribution is especially pertinent as the history of “The Little School” is not as well represented in our archives as Saint Margaret’s or McTernan. We want to take this opportunity to thank Mrs. Denzberger for her incredible contribution and to invite all Alumni to submit their own unique findings to the school. Perhaps you found an old primer from your days at McTernan or a picture of your basketball team at Saint Margaret’s, we would love to see and share it! Documents and Photos can be sent to The Office of External Relations at 565 Chase Parkway Waterbury, CT 06708 or scanned and emailed to email@example.com. Help us preserve the history and heritage of Chase!
Chase Collegiate School's response to the article published by the Waterbury Republican American today, December 10, 2017
The October 2017 acquisition of Chase Collegiate School by York Education Group has enabled our School to remain open, to retain its name, its mission and its teachers and staff.
Mr. Batchelor's publicist has spoken for him, as was quoted by Mr. Gagne. Chase will speak for itself.
After extensive legal research and due diligence, Chase Collegiate School chose York Educational Group as its financial partner. A national consulting firm conducted a fairness opinion study and determined that the terms of the agreement were fair. Third party fairness opinions are a critical component in business mergers and acquisitions because they assure that a board's actions are prudent.
Chase Collegiate School is not a charter school. It is, and has always been, a private institution supported by private dollars.
The transaction has resulted in:
- the School paying off all of its debt (over $9 million).
- York funding the School's budget deficit in 2018 and beyond.
- the retention of all the faculty and staff – some 75 jobs.
- a decision to hold tuition flat – no increase – for the 2018-19 school year.
- no change in existing financial aid for currently-enrolled families.
- York's commitment to investing several million dollars to strengthen the School's infrastructure. Planning has already begun.
The approximately $9 million in restricted endowment dollars are now held by the Chase Collegiate School Foundation, Inc. The transition to this structure is being overseen by the Office of the State's Attorney General.
Chase will continue to evolve as an educational leader, as we anticipate positive change and growth with this new partnership.
We look forward to the future with optimism as the School builds on its strong foundation. We are proud to provide continuity and an excellent college preparatory education to our 230 PreK through Grade 12 students.