November 27, 2015

Birdie takes flight on stage

    Observer photo by Karen Pike
Conrad Birdie, played by Joe Castano (center), sings to a swarm of teenage fans while visiting Sweet Apple. Williston Central School’s Drama Club performed ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ May 7-8 at the school’s Al Myers Theater. 

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Schools enter second year of Corrective Action (5/13/10)

District doesn’t make Adequate Yearly Progress

May 13, 2010

By Greg Duggan

Observer staff

Despite making what District Principal Walter Nardelli called “great leaps,” two groups of Williston students again failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress on standardized test scores.

Students identified as low income and disabled did not score high enough as groups on standardized tests, as required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Williston and Vermont use the New England Common Assessment Program, commonly known as NECAP, for testing.

Nardelli and Lisa Lovelette, who works as Williston’s school support coordinator for the Vermont Department of Education, said students — particularly those in the disability subgroup — are improving their scores.

“They are making steady progress,” Nardelli said. “That’s good news. But the problem is they’re not making the plateau that says they made adequate yearly progress.”

No Child Left Behind requires a certain percentage of students in every school district to score at least proficient on standardized tests. By 2014, the target is 100 percent of students scoring proficient or higher.

Williston’s scores on the 2009 NECAP tests resulted in the district’s failure to make adequate yearly progress in the student subgroups for the fifth straight year.

“They are seeing gains, which is great, said Jill Remick, communications director for the Department of Education. “But in a lot of cases, it’s not enough to make (adequate yearly progress) two years in a row, which is what they need to do to come off the school improvement list.”

The district was one of 16 in the state to be placed on a list for Year 2 of Corrective Action. Ninety-four schools in Vermont were identified by the Department of Education as not making adequate yearly progress on some level.

Because it is in Corrective Action, the Williston school district works with the Department of Education to address its areas of need and implement an action plan.

Nardelli said Williston has three full time reading recovery teachers working with students in first and second grade who need the extra help. A math recovery teacher focuses on first and second grade students. Another reading specialist works with students in grades five through eight who need extra teaching.

Nardelli also said that kindergarten students, who now attend school all day, have higher scores than their predecessors in half-day programs.

Third grade is the first level at which students take the NECAP tests, and Nardelli expects to see improvements when the younger students reach that point.

Furthermore, the district is spending more time on data analysis to make instructional decisions, Nardelli and Lovelette said.

Lovelette mentioned other steps taken by the school district, including training all math teachers in a course called “Best Practices in Teaching Mathematics” and offering students a three-week summer support program in literacy and math.

“We have more in place now for supports than we’ve ever had before,” Nardelli said.

Remick also noted that No Child Left Behind was passed by the administration of former President George W. Bush. With President Barack Obama now in office, the federal government may change education requirements and standards, Remick said.

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Football honors for CVU

May 6, 2010

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

The Vermont Chapter of the National Football Foundation Sunday night bestowed prestigious annual awards on two Champlain Valley Union High football figures.

Head Coach Jim Provost was named Vermont Coach of the Year after leading the Redhawks to the Division 2 title game, and senior end Matt Long was named PRIDE Player of the Year.

The awards were announced April 25 at a dinner at Castleton State College.

Provost, in his second season at CVU, led the Redhawks to the Division 2 championship game in the team’s fifth varsity campaign. It was also its first season in Division 2 after four years in Division 3.

“It was a great night for the whole program,” Provost said of the awards.

Long was a key player for the Redhawks, creating big plays from his defensive end position including making life miserable for opposing quarterbacks seeking time to throw, blocking punts and stopping runners cold.

“Matt was one of the most dominant players I have ever coached,” said Provost, who led Rice Memorial High to a state crown a few years ago. “He made big plays for us.”

Long has been named to the Vermont team in the annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl game in August between graduated seniors from Vermont and New Hampshire. He is the first CVU player to be named to the team.

In winning the PRIDE award, which stands for Personal Responsibility for Individual Daily Effort, Long edged out two other finalists: Essex High quarterback Max Librizzi and Windsor High’s Gavin Callahan.

There was another moment of joy for a Williston resident during the evening’s proceedings.

Provost’s mother, 84-year-old Beatrice, won two tickets to a New England Patriots home game this fall.

“She will definitely be going,” her son said.


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Redhawks basketball coach stepping down (5/6/10)

May 6, 2010

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

In 1993, Stan Williams picked up a clipboard, put a lanyard with a whistle around his neck and started drills for Champlain Valley Union High girls basketball players.

For the 2010-2011 season, Williams will be looking on from the sidelines. He has given up the post of head coach for the Redhawks varsity team, a post he ascended to eight seasons ago.

In those eight varsity campaigns, Williams teams posted more than 100 victories. Three seasons ago, the team rolled into the Division 1 championship, where the Redhawks bowed to Mount Anthony Union High of Bennington.

This past season, CVU made it to the Division 1 quarterfinals, where it got nipped by eventual champion St. Johnsbury Academy.

“Stan has been an outstanding role model for students, and even more importantly, one for other teacher-coaches to emulate,” CVU Athletic Director Kevin Riell said.

As for the process of naming a replacement, Riell said the position “will be posted in-house initially in hopes of getting a qualified candidate.”



Champlain Valley Union High boys hockey coach Doug Hopper has been granted a one-year leave, Athletic Director Kevin Riell announced.

Hopper will be replaced this winter by assistant coach Mike Murray.

Hopper had guided the Redhawks to the Division 1 championship game the last three seasons. In 2009, CVU won the state crown for the second time in school history.

— Mal Boright, Observer correspondent


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Weekend test for CVU track and field team (5/6/10)

May 6, 2010

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

With less than a month left before the season-ending regional and state events, the Champlain Valley Union High track and field team will get a mid-campaign measurement of how it fares against major competitors this weekend at Burlington High school.

The two-day Burlington Invitational opens Friday, and according to CVU co-coach Eli Enman, “Most of the strong teams will be there.”

The Redhawks got a warm-up Monday in a dual meet at South Burlington High, which Enman said, “Went well.”

The boys bowed 81-62 in team results while the girls got nipped 76-74.

Girls winners included Kendall Berry (800 meters), Rachel Cross (1,500), Summer Spillane (3,000), Lily Whitaker (100 hurdles) and Shannon Jensen (shot put).

Abby Eddy and Marion Albers tied for the victory in the 200 dash while Haleigh Smith took seconds in the long jump, high jump and triple jump.

CVU also scored a win in the 4-by-800 relay.

The boys captured the 400 and 8,000 relays and got a pair of victories from Dale Conger in the shot put and javelin.

CVU also had the hottest feet in the dashes, with Edward Hasen winning the 100 and Travis Lafrance taking the 200, as the Redhawks swept the first three places in both events.

Last Friday during vacation week, Enman had fewer than half his team available for an event at Essex High. Still, there were some highlights for the Redhawks as the boys took third among six teams and the girls finished fourth.

The three CVU boys victories were posted by Alex Bonfigli in the 110 and 300 hurdles, with Ethan Hildebrand taking second in both events. CVU’s A and B teams took the two top positions in the 400 relay.

Maya Grevatt posted the lone girls win by taking the pole vault.


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Softball team out to end losing streak (5/6/10)

May 6, 2010

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

Their bats shut down for two straight games, the Champlain Valley Union High softball Redhawks hope to snap a three-game losing streak Thursday afternoon when 1-6 Burlington High rolls into Hinesburg.

Some sharp pitching silenced CVU’s offense early this week, with Essex High’s Bethany Falls slinging a one-hitter and fanning eight as the Hornets posted a thunder and rain-shortened 12-0 triumph at CVU on Tuesday.

Leah Leister’s second inning single was the lone hit for the Hawks, who fell to 2-5. Essex is 4-1.

On Monday, in a make-up contest at Vergennes Union High, CVU managed just four hits off the Commodores’ Devon Lane, who went the seven-inning route in a 12-1 victory.

There was plenty of sock in the CVU metal last Friday. The Redhawks took a lead in the top of the eighth inning, only to give up a pair of tallies in the bottom of the extra frame in a 20-19 loss to the 4-1 Eagles of Mount Abraham Union High.

CVU got serious thump from the bats of Cassidy Maglaris, who had four hits including a triple and three runs driven in. Freshman Alannah Roy unloaded three hits and scored four times while Heather McLaughlin bashed a triple and single while sending three runners across the plate.

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Thunder halts CVU baseball team (5/6/10)

May 6, 2010

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

When thunder from on high Tuesday at a little after 6 p.m. caused umpires to suspend the baseball contest between Champlain Valley Union High and Essex High at the CVU baseball foundry, nature’s boomers only took over for the Essex bats.

The veteran 4-1 Hornets had through five innings smashed 18 hits in rolling up a 12-3 advantage over the Redhawks. Then the thunder, followed by lightning and a hard rain, halted proceedings.

The contest was to be resumed Wednesday afternoon, after press deadline, with two on and two out in the bottom of the fifth inning with Lawrence Halvorson batting for CVU.

It was the first game in a busy week in which the 3-4 CVU aggregation will be home to Burlington High on Thursday (4:30 p.m.), at Middlebury Union High on Saturday (11 a.m.) and then back home Tuesday to Mount Mansfield Union (4:30 p.m.).

Essex, considered one of the Metro powerhouses, took charge in the top of the first inning when its first four batters — Dylan Begin, Adam Picard, Dave Valley and Ted Andrews — all rocked solid hits, Begin a double to right center. The foursome started an eight run, 10-hit inning that pretty much decided the contest then and there.

Valley, a senior right-hander, hurled the first four innings and held CVU to three hits and two runs. Lefty Beau Brooks moved from first to the mound in the fifth and gave up two walks and a run while striking out two before the big boom out of the darkening skies shut things down.

Halvorson, a sophomore, led CVU with two singles and an RBI.

Junior lefty Calvin Benevento started for the Redhawks. He gave way in the third to junior righty Ryan Machavern, who pitched two-and-two-thirds strong innings, touched up only by an Andrews two-run homer.

There was more boom in the CVU bats Monday, when the pings and bongs produced 17 hits and a 12-1 win at 3-3 Vergennes Union High in the makeup of a previously postponed contest.

Theron Fuller pitched six innings to collect the win. He surrendered just six hits and whiffed three batters.

The lusty attack was led by Drew Nick, who socked a homer, double and single to chase five runs over the platter. Alec Zullo lashed a double and two singles while Tucker Kohlasch unloaded a pair of doubles for two ribbies. Halvorson cracked a two-bagger and drove home two runs.

The offensive outburst was a welcome sight for coach Tim Albertson after the Redhawks got shut down Friday in Bristol by 5-0 Mount Abraham Union’s Shawn Marcelle. Pickings off Marcelle were slight: just five hits while he fanned 12.

The top rapper for CVU was Nick with a double and single.


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Unbeaten Redhawks fend off Cougars (5/6/10)

May 6, 2010

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

With a success in their initial nocturnal contest of the season Tuesday night at Burlington High, the 8-0 Champlain Valley Union High boys lacrosse team will try the night side once again Friday at 7 p.m. at South Burlington High.


    Observer photo by Greg Duggan
Champlain Valley Union High’s Justin Beaudry tries to work around two defenders from Mount Mansfield Union during Friday’s game. The Redhawks held off Mount Mansfield for a 10-8 win.

On Monday, the Redhawks will travel to Middlebury Union High for a rescheduled contest, set to begin at 4 p.m.

Top goal finders Tuesday were Nick Hart (four) and Jake Marston (three) as CVU used an efficient second half to roll past the winless Seahorses (0-8) by a 14-7 margin. Marston also notched two assists and boosted his season goal total to 14.

Lawrence Dee and Taylor Gingras each tallied twice, with Dee helping out with assists three times and Gingras twice. The twosome has 21 goals apiece for the campaign.

Robbie Dobrowski, Justin Beaudry and Cody Litchfield had singletons for the winners. Eric Palmer and Sean Keenan combined for five saves in the CVU cage.

Last Friday, Griffin Brady and Beaudry were the clutch guys for the Redhawks in a hair-raising, 10-8 home victory over a motivated Mount Mansfield Union High squad.

Brady snapped an 8-8 deadlock with 2:15 remaining in regulation and Beaudry added another score with 51 seconds left to insure the victory.

Dee had four goals and three assists in the contest while Gingras added three goals and two helpers.

Palmer kicked out 14 Cougar shots on a busy day in the net.

Ian Shaw fired three goals for upset-minded Mount Mansfield.

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Recipe Corner (5/6/10)

More tips on healthy eating

May 6, 2010

By Ginger Isham

Jean Carper’s “EatSmart Cookbook,” which I mentioned in my last column, is one of my favorite cookbooks. The recipes are simple and not time consuming. With summer soon to arrive, bringing celebrations for college and high school graduations, weddings and showers, here are a few tips and recipes on how to reduce the amount of carcinogens by 50 percent to 65 percent when grilling meats in the backyard.

I’ve also included a couple of Jean’s dessert recipes.


Teriyaki Sauce

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 piece fresh ginger, chopped

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1/2 cup soy sauce (use low-sodium)

1/2 cup water

Combine all ingredients and pour over your ribs, steaks or chicken. Cover and marinate 12 to 16 hours.


Tea & Rosemary Marinade

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon rosemary, crushed

2 teaspoons soy sauce (use low-sodium)

2 teaspoons honey (I use maple syrup)

1/2 cup strong tea (brew 2 black tea bags in 1/2 cup of hot water for 5 minutes)

Add rosemary, garlic, soy sauce and honey to the hot tea. Cool. Pour over chicken, ribs, steaks or fish and marinate for at least 10 minutes. If grilling burgers, I would baste the burgers while they are cooking rather than marinating, as they might fall apart.


Garlic and Turmeric Marinade

Combine 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1 teaspoon turmeric with 1/2 cup orange juice or water. Pour over steaks, chicken, or other meats and cover and marinate in fridge for several hours.


Chocolate Angel Bites

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (an antioxidant)

1 cup walnuts, finely ground (good fat and antioxidant)

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons canola or olive oil (good fat)

8 egg whites, beat until stiff with dash of salt (low cholesterol)

1/4 cup powdered sugar

Combine cocoa, nuts, sugar and oil. Fold in 1/4 of the beaten egg whites. Add rest of egg whites and spoon batter into nonstick or oiled mini-muffin pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Remove from pan and sprinkle with powdered sugar. 31 calories each.


Lemon Blueberry Parfait

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (high antioxidant)

2 8-ounce containers of fat-free lemon yogurt (low fat)

10 gingersnaps (ginger is mild anti-blood-clotting agent)

Put 1/2 cup blueberries in each parfait glass or wine glass. Add 1/2 cup yogurt and crumble gingersnaps over this. 147 calories per serving.


Ginger Isham lives with her husband on a fifth generation family farm on Oak Hill Road.


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