Raider creativity is spreading throughout the school. Mr. Leger recently renovated a room in the THS library, creating an exhibit that showcases the talents of our students.
This THS teacher of 22 years came up with the idea in early October. With the encouragement of THS staff members, Leger quickly started on his mini-museum.
Leger’s two painting classes worked diligently to renovate this space that was formerly used to store AV equipment. First clearing out the shelving, THS students learned how to patch holes and paint with rolling brushes.
These painting classes are now displaying their artwork in the very space they created. Leger wants to emphasize that “this is not strictly a visual arts space, but a space meant to show off creation by any student, any teacher, any content area of the building.” He is hoping to see projects from different classes across THS, including from the math, technological education, woodworking, robotics, and graphic arts departments.
This project is almost finished. Mr. Leger plans to reveal the secret name of the gallery by putting it above the room. Staff and students can stop by the library at any time to see this creative space.
The JROTC program is making THS proud. For the third year in a row, 6 THS cadets will be moving on to the second level of the nationwide competition, the Leadership and Academic Bowl (JLAB).
For Level I, teams from around the country had to complete a 1-hour test, which assessed students on JROTC, SAT/ACT-type, and current event knowledge. The cadets on the THS team included Rachel Brewer-Karimi, Mohammed Kabir, Jillian Gombos, Hollisa Liburd, Kaleb Kesl, and Olivia White. They finished the first level on November 12th, 2021.
Brewer-Karimi, third-year JROTC member and captain of the team, explained how they diligently practiced for 3-4 weeks before the competition. The team met on a weekly basis leading up to their test date. Brewer-Karimi added that, “Both the Naviance practice tests and current events trivia were instrumental in helping us to successfully complete Level I.”
Colonel Coulouras, who organized the team, explained that students met after school to practice, also using Khan Academy SAT Test Prep and NY Times News Quizzes. In this process, he wants his students to work on teamwork and standardized test preparation, but also just have fun.
The THS team plan to take the Level II test on February 11, 2022. The top 32 teams in the nation will then be moving on to the third and final round of JLAB, which will take place in Washington DC. Don’t forget to congratulate and cheer on these outstanding cadets as they prepare!
Go Raiders! THS recently cheered on students Ivana Takeman and Kara Banche in their performance during the Pearl Harbor Parade. The two cheerleaders took the long trip to Honolulu, Hawaii to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Banche and Takemen learned a special routine along with 600 fellow cheerleaders from across the United States. Takeman thoroughly enjoyed the experience: “The opportunity to go to Hawaii and perform for people who served our country was an amazing opportunity.”
Over the summer, the THS cheerleading team attended a training camp, in which Takeman and Banche were selected for the parade team and won All American.
Banche’s favorite part of the trip “was walking in the Pearl Harbor parade and seeing how excited people get, especially the little kids smiling, waving and cheering along with us. It was such a honor to be a part of such a once in a lifetime experience.”
Takeman has been cheerleading for 10 years. Although she loves this sport, she does not plan to continue to cheer in college.
In her 9 years of cheerleading, Banche has performed in all star and school cheer. She has previously won All American in a separate year. Similar to Takeman, Banche does not plan to cheer in the future.
The THS Football team just made history. With their recent victory over Granby, the team clinched their first ever win in a playoff game.
It was a tight game, but the Raiders eventually pulled ahead, winning 39-27. Offensive lineman on the team, Mikey Iszczak states, “Being the first team to win the playoffs is an honor.” Iszczak along with running back, Sean Clinkscales, won All NVL Offense. Tyler Semonich also secured All NVL Defense as defensive back.
Come support the team in the state semifinals on December 5th at 12:30 against Rockville.
There is magic at THS. Come see the THS Theater’s performance of Puffs: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic. The play will take place on December 2, 3, and 4 at 7pm in the THS Little Theatre.
Tickets cost $5 for students and $10 for adults and will be available at the door. The play is rated PG 13, and masks are required.
Watch the magical trailer below:
Who let the dogs out? THS sophomore, Hailey Gillotti was recently awarded Best Junior Handler in the Northeast by the American Kennel Club.
With her dog Winnie, Hailey has also qualified for the Westminster Kennel Club Jr. Showmanship in NYC.
Congratulations to Hailey and Winnie on this amazing achievement.
TORRINGTON — History teacher Robert Lesser wanted to find a way to help Friendly Hands Food Bank and, at the same time, involve his ESL students in something fun.
“We decided to have a contest, picking the kids’ favorite teacher or staff member,” Lesser said. “So they asked other students to vote for their favorites, and got donations for each vote. They called me the ‘Mayor of Turkington.’”
Once the votes were tallied, the winners were security officer Robin Covelli in first place and guidance counselor Ryan Dickens in second.
When school let out on Tuesday, the group met Friendly Hands Food Bank Executive Director Karen Thomas in front of the high school and presented her with bags of bills and change totaling more than $500, proceeds from the contest.
Lesser was joined by a large group of students, library media specialist Sara Natrillo and teacher Vicki Mancini to make the presentation.
“This started out as something fun, but once it caught on, the students got into it and it just got bigger and bigger,” Lesser said. “I didn’t realize we’d raise that much.”
Covelli, wearing an orange turkey costume with a matching hat and tail feathers, and Dickens in a brown-and-green getup, were supposed to perform a “chicken dance” outdoors, but the cold weather Tuesday morning shortened the presentation a bit.
In spite of that, Covelli said she was excited to be part of it, since Thanksgiving Day — Nov. 25 — also is her birthday. “This is the best way to celebrate it,” she said.
“Their prize as the winners is to keep those costumes on all day,” Lesser said. “They don’t really seem to mind at all.”
Thomas, who with her staff and volunteers spent the early part of the week handing out turkeys and all the fixings for dinner to needy families in and around Torrington, thanked the kids for the donation.
“This is just fantastic, and to see the teachers in their costumes was hysterical,” she said. “You are helping a lot of people with the money you raised. Thank you so very much.”
Emily M. Olson - The Register Citizen, November 24, 2021
Check it out online:
"The world is beautiful, it is just some of the people in it that create such, such terror." Marion Blumenthal Lazan knows this lesson well. On November 1st, she virtually visited THS to share her story as a survivor of the Holocaust. Drawing from her experiences in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, Mrs. Lazan spread her messages of kindness and tolerance throughout the THS community.
Mrs. Lazan was born in 1934, living in Hoya, Germany until she was 5 years old. At that time, her family decided to move to Holland with the intention of emigrating to the United States. The family was placed in Westerbork, a Dutch-controlled transit camp, for almost four and a half years. Mrs. Lazan describes this camp as “fine, until the Nazis took over Holland in May of 1940.” That is when her situation got much worse.
When Mrs. Lazan was 9 years old, the Nazis transported her family to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, the same place where Anne Frank died. The conditions were horrific: Mrs. Lazan explains, “There was never any privacy. There was no toilet paper. There was no soap and hardly any water with which to wash. In the almost year and a half that we were in Bergen-Belsen, never once were we able to brush our teeth.”
She depicts this place as an awful nightmare and has distinct memories of seeing wagons full of dead, naked bodies. The camp was finally liberated in 1945. Three years later, Marion, her mother, and her brother arrived in the United States.
One may expect this experience to destroy a person, but Mrs. Lazan has an unbreakable spirit of courage and hope. Despite not knowing any English at the age of 13, Mrs. Lazan graduated eighth in her high school class. She now travels internationally as a Holocaust speaker, using her past to teach the current generation.
During her THS presentation, Mrs. Lazan emphasized the importance of kindness: “That is the basis for peace, to be compassionate and understanding towards one another.” She also taught students not to judge anyone based on their religious beliefs or their racial or ethnic background. She has turned something so ugly into a source of inspiration and strength. Along with her presentations, Mrs. Lazan has written a book entitled Four Perfect Pebbles about her experiences.
Both students and staff were inspired listening to Mrs. Lazan’s speech. Mrs. Natrillo, who arranged this visit, explains, “I wanted students to see that optimism.” Mrs. Lazan encouraged the current generation at THS to never stop speaking of this event and to ensure that this hatred never happens again.
This photograph was taken in April of 1995 on Mrs. Lazan's very first visit back to Germany. On this trip, she went back to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, which is now a museum. Mrs. Lazan described it vividly, "It did not look the way I remembered it...There is green grass and shrubs, not bad looking at all, except for the mounds everywhere. Mounds with plaques that read, 'Here lie a thousand.' These are the mass graves of our people."
Rushing into her room, Mrs. Chamberlin sits down behind her desk. She pushes papers aside and gets her coffee ready. Being a math teacher, leading the Interact and Drama Club, and raising two children has made Mrs. Chamberlin very busy, but she still keeps everything organized - tidy stacks of paper, motivational posters hung on the walls. Like an audience waiting for the performance, the students’ desks circle around the front of the room, where Mrs. Chamberlin stands proudly every school day.
The view once looked very different for Mrs. Chamberlin. She spent 8 years aboard a cruise ship, traveling to Thailand, South America, Greece, Japan, the Caribbean, and Europe. She worked as a singer and social hostess on board, directing ping-pong tournaments, Bingo nights, and karaoke performances. Mrs. Chamberlin’s gift to perform has never left her side in any of these situations. She takes center stage with confidence and pride, knowing that this was where she was always meant to be.
Mrs. Chamberlin was not always set on one career path. In school, she loved math and physics, and planned to become an engineer. Once in college, she double majored in mathematics and music. After graduating from Connecticut College, Mrs. Chamberlin followed her dreams and became a professional actress for 15 years in New York. The Warner Theatre never left her mind: “I always knew that I would come back because I loved it so much.”
Most people at THS know Mrs. Chamberlin as an Algebra I, Pre-Calculus, and Drama teacher. But did you know that she continues to perform at the Warner Theatre? Did you know that she enjoys jazz music and has been in a couple of jazz bands? She is truly, as she herself says, “interesting and interested.”
These dual ideas, like her dual love of math and music, sum up her attitude towards teaching. She wants to express to her students that you do not have to choose between your interests in life; engaging with her student audience, she urges, “find out what your passions are and pursue them.”
Her two passions were brought together through the art of teaching. Mrs. Chamberlin can now be center stage and discuss her favorite subject in school in the very same class period. “I like that math is structured, so that makes drama challenging but fun...You never know what is going to happen in drama environments.” She has now been teaching for 13 years.
In the Warner Theatre productions, she still loves to perform and explore characters that are different from herself. Once in her classroom, however, she has the freedom to be the friendly, enthusiastic, and happy person that she is. As she sits back in her desk chair, smiling around the room, Mrs. Chamberlin answers assuredly, “I just think [teaching] was what I was born to do.”
Justin McManus, THS graduate of the class of 2006, will be conducting the 2022 Connecticut Music Educators Association Northern Region High School Concert Band. He formerly played both clarinet and bassoon in the THS band and was Drum Major of the “Pride of Torrington” Marching Band.
A proud Connecticut native, Mr. McManus graduated from Torrington High School and attended the University of Connecticut for his undergraduate and graduate degrees in music education and performance. He is currently completing a doctoral degree in music education through the Boston University School of Music.
Mr. McManus also serves as Assistant Director of University Bands and faculty in the Department of Music at the University of Notre Dame. Assisting with all facets of the band program, his responsibilities include conducting the Symphonic Winds, Symphonic Band, University Band, and Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble.
Mr. McManus assists with the direction and administration of the 380+ member “Band of the Fighting Irish” Marching Band and directs the Men’s and Women’s Basketball Bands. He has also directed the French Horn Ensemble, varsity Hockey Band, and numerous special ensembles, including at military commissioning ceremonies and Olympic sports contests.
Traveling around the world, Mr. McManus has conducted the Notre Dame concert bands over several international tours, including trips to Australia, Croatia, Spain, Portugal, Peru, Italy, and Slovenia. In 2014, Mr. McManus served as an adjudicator for the 3-day New Zealand National Concert Band Festival held in the capital city of Auckland. He continues to work with numerous middle and high school ensembles as an adjudicator and clinician. In 2021, he returned to Connecticut as conductor of the Laurel Music Camp concert band.
In addition to his conducting responsibilities, Mr. McManus teaches a course in instrumental methods, oversees program recruitment, co-teaches a class in behavioral and community psychology, and facilitates the university’s first-year seminar program. He has also served on numerous university committees and advisory groups, including a Diversity Education initiative for new hires in the Division of Human Resources.