August 27, 2016

PHOTOS: Me & My Guy dance

Observer photos by Kayla Walters (www.kaylaphoto.weebly.com)

Williston Girl Scouts hosted the 8th annual Me & My Guy Dance, held at Williston Central School on Feb. 4. All proceeds benefitted CY Youth Mentoring.

PHOTOS: Penguin Plunge

Observer photos by Dave Schmidt (www.daveschmidtphoto.com)

Twenty-two members of the Williston Central School’s Penguin Plunge team entered the icy waters of Lake Champlain in Burlington on Feb. 4 and raised more than $6,500 for the Vermont Special Olympics.

CVU Sports Schedule

Feb. 9, 2012

 

 

BOYS BASKETBALL

Thursday: ST. JOHNSBURY, 6:45 p.m.

Monday: at Mount Mansfield, 7:15 p.m.

 

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Friday: at BFA-St. Albans, 7:45 p.m.

Tuesday: ST. JOHNSBURY, 6:45 p.m.

 

GYMNASTICS

Thursday: at U-32 (East Montpelier), 7 p.m.

Wednesday: ESSEX, 7 p.m.

 

BOYS HOCKEY

Saturday: SPAULDING, 5:15 P.M.

Wednesday: at Middlebury, 7 p.m.

 

GIRLS HOCKEY

Saturday: SPAULDING, 5:45 p.m.

Wednesday: at BFA-St. Albans, 7 p.m.

 

WRESTLING

No scheduled events

 

ALPINE SKIING

No scheduled events

 

NORDIC SKIING

No scheduled events

 

HOME CONTESTS IN CAPS

Schedules subject to change

 

Sports Shorts

Feb. 9, 2012

 

CVU BOYS HOOP FIVE SEEKING MORE BUCKETS

Mired in a two-game losing streak in which it has put up only 67 points, the Champlain Valley Union boys basketball team hopes to heat up the cords at Bremner Gymnasium Thursday night when 4-10 St. Johnsbury Academy comes calling.

The Redhawks are coming off a final moments loss Monday night in Barre when Spaulding’s Evan Grubb hit a shot with 10 seconds left to give the 6-7 Tide a 39-37 win. CVU (8-7) got 12 points each from Lucas Aube and Tucker Kohlasch.

Last Wednesday (Feb. 1), the CVU defense was also tough — forcing once-beaten Rice Memorial to rally from a 20-19 halftime deficit to score a 41-30 triumph on the Green Knights’ home court. John Keen led the Redhawks with 11 tallies.

In their last four games, CVU has allowed foes an average of just 33 points.

 

REDHAWKS BOYS HOCKEY HOSTING SPAULDING SATURDAY

With a six-game losing string now behind them, the Champlain Valley Union boys hockey team took a 5-9 record on the road to Harwood Wednesday night (after Observer press deadline).

Coach Mike Murray’s Redhawks return to their Cairns Arena home ice Saturday for a 5:15 p.m. faceoff with Spaulding (Barre), a team they beat 4-2 on the road in early January.

When his team shook off two straight scoreless matches in rallying from a first-period 6-1 deficit to get within 6-4 of South Burlington Jan.28 in the annual CSB Cup contest, Murray said his team might have “gotten over the hump.”

Apparently he was right. In their lone outing since that game, the ‘Hawks bashed Burlington 11-3 last Wednesday (Feb. 1), giving them 15 goals in their last two games — two more scores than in their previous nine contests.

Max Hopper led the charge with four net finders. Teammates Pat Keelan, Kirk Fontana and Chris Bulla each bagged a pair of pointers while Brendan Gannon notched a singleton.

Zach Weimer had 15 saves in the CVU cage while the Hawks unloaded a total of 35 shots on the Burlington net.

 

END OF REGULAR SEASON LOOMS FOR CVU GYMNASTICS

Just two regular season competitions remain for the unbeaten Champlain Valley Union gymnastics team: at East Montpelier and U-32 Thursday evening and home (Green Mountain Gymnastics in Williston) against defending state champion Essex on Feb. 15.

Last year, coach Carly O’Brien Rivard’s Redhawks nipped the Hornets during the regular season but bowed to the champs in the state meet. This year’s title meet is scheduled for Feb. 25 at Essex High School.

Last Wednesday (Feb. 1), CVU rolled over Middlebury 135-110.95 with sophomore Megan Nick capturing first place on the vault, balance beam and floor exercise. Sarah Kinsely earned a victory on the bars. Ashley Bachand was runner-up on the bars and beam, and Kinsely was second in floor exercise. Madison Tieso tied for second on the vault while Grace Carey took thirds on the beam and floor exercise. Emma Sienkiewycz was third on the bars.

 

STATE CHAMPIONSHIP MEET NEXT UP FOR REDHAWK WRESTLERS

After putting the wraps on its regular season Wednesday night (after Observer press deadline) with a home meet against Middlebury and Colchester, the Champlain Valley Union wrestling team is looking ahead to the Vermont State Championships on Feb. 24 and 25 at St. Johnsbury Academy.

Last Saturday (Feb. 4), CVU’s Clark Poston and Ryan Fleming were winners in the 17-team Jason Lowell Memorial Tournament at Mount Mansfield Union. Coach Rahn Fleming’s ‘Hawks took fifth overall in the event, won by Northern Adirondack (Ellenburg, N.Y.). Poston, as per usual, posted a win in the 182-pound class while Ryan Fleming was victorious in the 220-pound class.

On Feb. 1, the Redhawks beat Milton 30-18 but lost to St. Johnsbury 40-15 in a tri-meet. Alex Lagg (106 pounds) and Ryan Fleming (220 pounds) won against Milton while Patrick Shea (145) and Sam Fortin (170) out-grappled their St. Johnsbury foes.

 

REDHAWK NORDIC SKIERS FLY HIGH

Skiing at the Mount Mansfield Touring center in Stowe last Thursday (Feb. 2) instead of snow-challenged St. Albans, Champlain Valley Nordic skiers swooshed past their foes in both boys and girls divisions.

Next up was a scheduled event Wednesday afternoon (after Observer press deadline) at Colchester.

At Stowe, the girls, led by event winner Taylor Spillane, earned a solid victory over runner-up Colchester in the team results, 17-81. Spillane paced seven Redhawks in the top 10: Cally Braun (fourth), Emma Hamilton (fifth), Kathryn Maitland (seventh), Autumn Eastman (eighth), Emily Berry (ninth) and Ellie Stone (10th).

In team totals, CVU boys topped second place Colchester, 17-35. Sam Logenbach skiied into second place, Ian Meier was third and Parker Francis came in fourth. Also in the front 11 were Thomas Clayton (eighth), Colin Snyder (ninth) and Cooper Willsey (11th).

CVU ALPINERS SHINE IN RECENT RACES

In the recent Essex Invitational Alpine ski races at Smuggler’s Notch, Champlain Valley Union High skiers found some successes on the downhill slopes.

Emma Putre came in second behind winner Dakotah Patnode of Mount Mansfield Union High in the girls two-run giant slalom. In the girls two-run slalom, won by Mount Mansfield’s Ali Chivers, Putre came in fourth. CVU’s Abby Owens placed fifth.

Among the boys, Mount Mansfield’s David Polson won both events. CVU’s Mark Deslauriers took third in slalom and seventh in the GS. Redhawks’ Bennett Hadley and Skye Golann were fourth and seventh in slalom.

 

LOCAL BOARDERS PLACE AT BOLTON VALLEY

Williston resident Taggart Francis, 17, won the rail jam event in his age group as part of the ski and snowboard night rider series at Bolton Valley on Feb. 1. Willistonian Asa Mease finished second and fellow resident Max Erickson placed third.

 

Winless CVU girls hockey hit the road

0-13 ‘Hawks traveling to MVU, BFA

Feb. 9, 2012

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

 

Its late rally and bid for the season’s first victory nipped Saturday (Feb. 4) by Colchester at Cairns Arena, the 0-13 Champlain Valley Union girls hockey team has tough tests coming up against the top rung of the division. It began at home Wednesday (after Observer press deadline) against 9-4-1 Missisquoi Valley Union.

A strong Spaulding team visits Cairns Saturday. The Redhawks then head for St. Albans and 9-3-2 BFA on Feb. 15.

Coach Ben Psaros’ crew was down 5-0 to Colchester before mounting a furious third-period rally to get back within two goals with more than eight minutes remaining.

But despite outshooting the Lakers 18-7 in the reel and getting a power play opportunity in the closing five minutes, the Redhawks were unable to get closer.

Colchester goalie Erica Hoffman made two late stops off Molly Dunphy shots in the final minutes, one time falling on the puck to keep it out of the cage.

The bust out rally began with 12:58 left when sophomore Abby Smith scored with an assist from Dunphy, also a sophomore.

A little more than three minutes later, Dunphy fired a goal with an assist from hard-skating senior Rowan Hayes.

Less than a minute later, Hayes found the range with assists from Eva Dunphy and Hannah Carpenter.

Defeated twice previously this season by the Lakers, CVU came out strong in the first period but got taken off stride when Colchester’s Kellie Lockerby knocked the puck past Hawks goalie Nicole Sisk (20 saves) at 11:21 and then added a power play score a little more than a minute later.

The Lakers then took the better of territorial play as Haley Forkey added two second-period goals and Erin Turner got one. All three Colchester scorers were sophomores.

CVU came back to control play for most of the final stanza.

CVU frosh squad is perfect

‘Hawks boys hoopsters finish 15-0

Feb. 9, 2012

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

 

With a perfect 15-0 campaign on the line last Thursday (Feb. 2), the Champlain Valley Union freshmen boys basketball team ran past its Rice Memorial counterparts by a 65-52 score to complete the rare feat.

“It’s pretty amazing,” first year coach Chris Wirkmaa told the Observer this week.

He said the team’s keys to victory were balance throughout the 13-player roster, a pressure, full-court defense and effective transition play.

“It starts with defense,” Wirkmaa said.

The Rice contest was the season finale for the youthful Redhawks.

 

CVU Freshmen Boys Basketball Roster

No.        Player

0            Michael French

1            Sam Lewis

2            Will Potter

3            Jack Zullo

4            Nik Delphia

5            Drew Fisher

10            Rayne Supple

12            Kyle White

13            Caleb Geffken

14            Deagan Poland

15            Antonio Ferrentino

20            Nick Lynn

21            Patrick McCue

Coach: Chris Wirkmaa

Trainer:  Tony Lora

CVU girls basketball continues surge

Spaulding, North Country, Rice latest victims

Feb. 9, 2012

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

 

As Bremner Gymnasium emptied Tuesday night in the wake of the Champlain Valley Union girls basketball team’s 13th straight win to start the season, a 48-34 popping of visiting 5-9 Spaulding, coach Ute Otley was asked about the next test for her undefeated charges: Friday’s trip to BFA-St. Albans.

“They (BFA) always play well at home. It’s a tough place to go,” said the coach.

The Comets, 9-5, will be coming off consecutive losses at St. Johnsbury and Burlington.

The Redhawks return home Tuesday to face St. Johnsbury.

In the Spaulding win, CVU trailed briefly (18-16) early in the third quarter and then zoomed to a game dominating 19-4 run, with sophomores Kaelyn Kohlasch (six points) and Emily Kinneston (five points) doing the heavy lifting.

Kohlasch, seemingly everywhere the ball was, led game scorers with 14 points, including eight cord cutters in 10 free throw attempts.

Kinneston had five points, but contributed other valuable assets including six rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals.

Lazrin Schenck helped rule the boards (CVU 39-17 edge) with eight rebounds to go with eight points and three steals.

A big plus for the Hawks was the season debut of senior 5-8 inside operator Caroline Limanek, coming off a pre-season shoulder injury. Limanek scored nine points (seven in the second half) and hauled in five rebounds in limited minutes.

“It felt good,” the veteran said of her physical play.

“Caroline played very well tonight,” Otley said.

Tuesday’s triumph followed a victorious mix of high tension and emotion in last Friday’s (Feb. 3) 42-40 win at Rice Memorial and the following day’s comeback 44-38 home nipping of 4-8 North Country.

It was finger nail-chewing, hair-pulling drama at a nearly filled Rice gym, where a raucous crowd created a tournament atmosphere.

Kohlasch (four points) provided the garnishment with a 16-foot soft, arching twine twitcher from the baseline with six seconds left to crack a 40-all tie. It was just her fourth shot.

Elana Bayer-Pacht (seven points, six rebounds, two assists) got the ball to Kohlasch on an out-of-bounds play at the CVU end.

“I saw she was open and had a screen,” Bayer-Pacht later said.

The screen was provided by Schenck (four points, 10 rebounds), who was a vital presence during the contest.

Bayer-Pacht had two other key plays in the closing minutes. The CVU senior drew an offensive foul (and thus the ball) on a Rice player while the Green Knights were trying to stall out the closing minutes with a 41-40 lead.

Later, with just 17.8 seconds on the clock, she drew an intentional foul that gave her two free throws and CVU the ball. Bayer-Pacht missed the free throws — one when the scoreboard buzzer inexplicably sounded — but later set up the game-winning play.

Kinneston came up big in the win with 17 points, including four hoops in the third period when the Redhawks recovered from a 26-17 halftime deficit. She also had four assists, three rebounds and three steals.

Rice (8-4) was led by 6-2 center Cassidy Derda with 17 points and seven rebounds. Williston’s Emma Chicoine had three points, three rebounds and a pair of assists for the Knights.

The following afternoon, with emotions drained from the previous night’s white-knuckle adventure, the Redhawks held on to knock off the young, upset-minded Falcons from North Country — thanks to Bayer-Pacht’s big second half of 14 points.

Led by Remi Donnelly (10 bounds), Bayer-Pacht (nine) and Schenck (seven), the Redhawks controlled the boards and rallied in the third quarter (after trailing 26-23). Donnelly and Bayer-Pacht each scored four points during the run.

Kinneston added 11 points for CVU, along with four rebounds.

 


 

CVU 48, Spaulding 34 (Tuesday)

 

Spaulding (5-9)

Lafrance, 4 0-0 10; Dessureau. 1 1-2 3; Bellavance, 0 4-6 4; N. Fowler, 2 0-2 5; M. Fowler, 1 4-4 6; Thygesen, 0 0-0 0; Lawson, 0 0-0 0; Bello, 2 0-0 4; Metevier, 0 0-0 0; Hardy, 0 0-0 0; LeCours, 0 2-2 2.

Totals: 10 11-16 34

 

CVU (13-0)

Schenck, 3 2-2 8; Bayer-Pacht, 1 1-6 3; Donnelly, 0 0-0 0; Kohlasch, 3 8-10 14; Kinneston, 2 1-2 5; Krupp, 1 1-2 3; Grasso, 1 0-0 2; Limanek, 4 1-3 9; Whiteside, 1 0-4 2; Beatty, 1 0-0 2; Leach, 0 0-0 0.

Totals: 17 14-29 48

 

Spaulding     4   9   9  12  – 34

CVU            8   8  19  13  – 48

 

 

CVU 44, North Country 38 (Feb. 4)

 

North Country (4-8)

Bingham, 3 0-0 8; Pinard, 2 0-1 4; Coffin, 1 0-0 3; Joslin, 3 2-5 9; Morin, 0 0-0 0; O’Donnell, 3 0-1 6; Stanley, 0 0-0 0. Keefe, 1 0-0 2; Jewer, 3 0-0 6.

Totals: 16 2-7 38

 

CVU (12-0)

Lozon, 1 0-0 2; Bayer-Pacht, 3 7-8 14; Donnelly, 2 2-4 6; Kohlasch, 1 3-4 5; Kinneston, 4 3-4 11; Whiteside, 0 0-0 0; Schenck, 1 0-0 2; Krupp 0 0-0 0; Beatty, 0 1-2 1; Leach, 1 0-0 3.

Totals: 13 16-22 44

 

NCUHS    6  16   6  10  – 38

CVU       12   7  10  15  – 44

 

 

CVU 42, Rice 40 (Feb. 3)

 

CVU (11-0)

Lozon, 0 1-2 1; Bayer-Pacht, 3 1-6 7; Donnelly, 4 1-2 9; Kohlasch, 2 0-0 4; Kinneston, 7 3-3 17; Schenck, 0 4-7 4; Krupp, 0 0-0 0; Beatty, 0 0-0 0; Whiteside, 0 0-0 0; Leach, 0 0-0 0.

Totals: 16 10-20 42

 

Rice (8-4)

Akinpetide, 1 0-0 2; Chicoine, 1 1-2 3; Derda, 5 6-8 17; Barron, 5 0-2 10; Boucher, 0 2-4 2; Kowalski, 0 1-2 1; Bunch, 0 0-0 0; Snell, 2 0-0 5.

Totals: 14 10-18 40

 

CVU           7  10  14  11  – 42

Rice           9  17    7    7  – 40

 

 

Around Town

Feb. 9, 2012

 

COMMUNITY FOOD SHELF Annual MEETING

The Williston Community Food Shelf will hold its annual meeting and election of officers on Thursday, Feb. 16, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., in the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library community room. The public is invited and encouraged to attend. Anyone wishing to run for a position as an officer or board member should attend. For more information, contact Johanna Masse at 355-3312 or johannamasse@comcast.net.

 

WILLISTON SOCCER CLUB REGISTRATION

The Williston Soccer Club, a non–profit parent volunteer club that sponsors boys and girls teams for indoor winter and outdoor spring competitive play, is registering players for its outdoor spring season. To register, visit www.willistonsoccerclub.com, select “LINKS” on the homepage and complete registration form. The registration deadline is Feb. 12.

Outdoor practice and games will begin at the end of April.

 

WILLISTON LITTLE LEAGUE REGISTRATION

Williston Little League T-ball, baseball, softball and Babe Ruth registration is available online at www.eteamz.active.com/wllbaseball. Registration deadline for a lower rate is March 1. A registration event will be also take place on Wednesday, Feb. 16, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., in the Williston Central School library. Coaches, umpires, board members and volunteers are required to attend the registration night to complete mandatory background checks. Call Mark Gagne with any questions at 879-3281.

 

TOWN MEETING FORUM BROADCASTS

Channel 17/Town Meeting TV will broadcast Williston Town Meeting election forums live on Tuesday, Feb. 14. Here is the schedule:

  • Town budget presentation by Town Manager Rick McGuire, Selectboard member Terry Macaig and Finance Director Susan Lamb, 5:25 p.m.
  • Williston School District Budget presentation, 6 p.m.
  • Selectboard uncontested two- and three-year seats, Chris Roy and Terry Macaig, at 6:35 p.m.
  • School Board uncontested two- and three-year seats, Giovanna Boggero and Deb Baker-Moody, 7:10 p.m.
  • CVU High School Board uncontested seat, Jonathan Milne, 7:45 p.m.

Viewers will be able to call in at 862-3966. Broadcasts will also be available online at www.cctv.org/live_events.

 

STORM REMINDER

When winter finally arrives, the snow will pile up along roadsides. As a result, the Williston Fire Department is asking neighborhood residents and businesses to remove the snow surrounding fire hydrants on their property.

The preferred clearance is a minimum of 18 inches. This service will enable firefighters to quickly locate and use the hydrant in the event of a fire — saving time that could lead to less property loss and possibly help save a life.

If you have any questions, call the Williston Fire Department at 878-5622.

 

WINTER PARKING BAN

The parking ban in Williston began Dec. 1 and remains in effect until April 1, between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. During those hours, vehicles cannot be parked on any town street or highway. The penalty for a violation is a $25 fine. The penalty for committing another parking violation within 30 days is $50.

 

PUBLICLY FUNDED PREKINDERGARTEN

The Chittenden South Supervisory Union has publicly funded prekindergarten for children between the ages of 3 and 5 who reside in the towns of Williston, St. George, Charlotte, Hinesburg and Shelburne.

Publicly funded prekindergarten is defined as six to 10 hours per week of developmentally appropriate early learning experiences that are based on Vermont’s Early Learning Standards.

Prekindergarten education is limited to the academic year. (September 2012-June 2013). Applications for the 2012-13 school year are due March 12, 2012. For more information, contact Wendy Clark at 383-1235, wclark@cssu.org, or visit the Chittenden South Supervisory Union Website (www.cssu.org).

 

 

Community center, housing proposed

Catamount pitches expansion project

Feb. 9, 2012

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

 

In May of 2008, Jim and Lucy McCullough unveiled their “master plan” to expand the Catamount Outdoor Family Center.

On Tuesday, the McCulloughs took the first step toward making that plan a reality.

Accompanied by David Raphael of the Middlebury-based landscape architecture firm LandWorks, the McCulloughs met with the Williston Planning Commission to outline their growth vision for Catamount, a nonprofit recreational facility located on the 473-acre Williston property on Governor Chittenden Road that has been owned by the McCullough family since 1873.

Terming the venture “a Williston/Catamount collaborative process,” Jim McCullough said his proposal includes plans for a community center, a community swimming pool and public housing.

“It simultaneously preserves our intrinsic and unique value, as it identifies a path to continue and preserve our mission,” he said.

McCullough added that the undertaking would promote renewable energy and bring jobs to the area.

“One of the goals would be to have a symbiotic light industry located there – for jobs, and because we believe in it,” McCullough said.

Raphael elaborated on McCullough’s statement, suggesting that Catamount and the town share a symbiotic relationship.

“We really like the use of the word ‘symbiotic,’ because I think it was the intent … to try and look at ways the property could be developed in a manner that reflected the mission and the goals of Catamount and the open space that was there,” Raphael said. “Ideally, the kinds of things that could happen here build on the setting and build on the history of the operation and reinforce the outdoor environment and mission of Catamount.”

The Catamount proposal – like previous proposals the Planning Commission heard this year from Target Corp. and Maple Leaf Farm – would require a specific plan to change the area’s zoning. The McCullough property is located in the Agricultural/Rural Residential Zoning District.

In order for a specific plan process to move forward once an application has been submitted, an applicant must first convince the Planning Commission that a substantial public benefit to the town could result.

In the case of the McCullough’s plan, Commission member Kevin Batson suggested that Catamount already serves a public benefit in its present state.

“As long as the mission is being continued … you guys are opening up your land for the community, and we’re very grateful that you’ve been doing that,” Batson said. “To the extent that it can be improved upon and made better for what it does, it’s to the community’s benefit to support that.”

Commission Chairman Jake Mathon said he needs to see more specifics and isn’t convinced that an improvement of Catamount’s current facilities is in itself a substantial public benefit under the terms of the town’s unified development bylaws.

“Is it a substantial benefit to get open space? Yes, but we’ve already got it, so why should we change our zoning to get something that we already have?” asked Mathon. “I can’t see this going forward without some concrete, very, very substantial, measurable things that we wouldn’t get in another way.”

Jim McCullough, who called Catamount “the palette for Lucy and my life purpose,” said they will welcome the opportunity to provide the Commission with greater detail about their plans for the property they love like a child.

“We have three adult children and one Catamount, and it’s the stated purpose to our board of directors that Catamount is our other child,” he said.

Born on the bayou

Louisiana native Terrance Simien brings ‘Zydeco Experience’ to WCS

Feb. 9, 2012

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

 

Grammy Award-winning performer Terrance Simien (above) appeared before a capacity crowd at Williston Central School on Feb. 2. (Observer photos by Luke Baynes)

For a guy who always performs barefoot, Terrance Simien never gets cold feet.

The supremely self-assured Simien, sans shoes, assumed the stage at Williston Central School on Feb. 2 and set the house afire.

“It’s getting kind of hot up here,” Simien said between scorching zydeco numbers, “and it’s hard for a guy from Louisiana to sweat in the wintertime in Vermont.”

Simien is a native of St. Landry Parish, La., a region considered to be the “capital of zydeco” — a form of music indigenous to French-speaking Creoles. Blending traditional Cajun music with African-American blues and jazz, zydeco was updated for the rock ‘n’ roll era in the 1950s by Clifton Chenier, known as “the king of zydeco.”

Simien and his long-standing band, The Zydeco Experience, are the modern-day heirs to Chenier’s throne, winning the Grammy Award for Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album in 2008 — the first year of the category’s existence at the Grammys.

“Most people when they win Grammys, they put them on the shelf to collect dust,” Simien told the packed WCS auditorium, as he pulled the Grammy from a trunk and lofted it high above his head. “We take ours on the road to collect fingerprints.”

The two shows Simien and company performed at WCS on Feb. 2 were as much history lesson as entertainment. Using his “Creole for Kidz” concert program as a framework, Simien treated young Willistonians to a concise history of Creole culture, explaining that Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday” in French and that kids from the Louisiana countryside participate in a Halloween-like “Mardi Gras run,” in which they go door-to-door in costumes and are given ducks or chickens to be used in gumbo and jambalaya.

Mardi Gras beads were flying early this year at Williston Central School, courtesy of zydeco master Terrance Simien.

WCS Planning Room Director Eric Arnzen said the students earned the concert as the capstone of their successful participation in Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBiS), a program that focuses on reducing student behavioral problems through proactive and preventative tactics.

“It’s a reward, celebrating the students’ achievement in reaching this school goal defined by a certain benchmark where they received positive acknowledgments for positive behavior, working within our PBiS framework,” Arnzen said.

WCS Principal Jackie Parks said that the concert — performed at no cost to the school by Simien and his bandmates — was a rare chance for students to be exposed to a unique culture.

“For our kids that don’t see a lot of diversity in Vermont, this was such a great opportunity for them to see people from different backgrounds and ethnic groups up onstage performing,” said Parks.

Fifth-grader Morgan Blaine was in accord with her principal.

“It was very interesting because you got to learn about different cultures,” she said.

Blaine’s classmates, Keenan LaClair and Noah Martin, had more succinct assessments of the show.

“It was awesome,” said LaClair.

Martin said, ““It was amazing.”

Simien, speaking to the Observer backstage between shows, said that misconceptions about zydeco are widespread.

“A lot of kids, even in Louisiana, don’t know the true history of (zydeco) music, so we made it our mission to pass on some information,” Simien said.

Sweating profusely, but looking forward to his second set at WCS — despite having to be in Lake Placid, N.Y. that evening and back to Stowe the following night — Simien was impressed by the Williston crowd.

“This was such a great group of kids,” he said. “They were listening; they were reacting to the music. It was really special, man.”