Monthly Archives: February 2015

Students in Mr. Clarke’s AP U.S. History class debated the following topic about the Progressive Era (1898-1920). It was a strong and healthy exchange of ideas about the U.S. government, then and today.   It was resolved however that although many historians have argued Progressivism was a healthy evolution from the founder’s principles of the country, it was, on balance, a dangerous contradiction to those principles.

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The members of the  DECA Business Club competed at the DECA Connecticut State Competition held on February 25, and had a great first year of competition. A total of eleven students placed in the top six of their event, with eight of these students placing in the top three which qualified them to participate at the DECA national competition in Orlando, Florida in April of 2015. Involvement in the DECA’s first official year as a club at DHS has been outstanding with over 50 club members and 29 students participating at the CT State Competition.

DECA is a national business club organization that sponsors business industry-validated competitive events that are aligned with the National Curriculum Standards in the career clusters of marketing, business management and administration, finance, and hospitality and tourism, according to the organization. DECA’s flagship evaluation process involves students in both a written component such as an exam or report and an interactive (role play) component with an industry professional serving as a judge.

DECA CT State 2015

The following students receiving awards in the specific categories are as follows:

First Place: Cooper Drippe and Luke Sheridan – Financial Services Team Decision Making

Second Place:  Casey Martin – Principles of Finance; Harrison Gill – Principles of Hospitality and Tourism

Third Place:  Paige Adams – Quick Serve Restaurant Management Series; Ethan Ehlers – Business Finance Individual Series; Jack Garfield and Danny Siemers – Financial Services Team Decision Making

Top Six Place Medal Winners:  Ceci Jansen – Business Finance Individual Series; Davis Nixon – Principles of Finance; Justin Yang – Principles of Hospitality and Tourism

Jessie Halstrom, has been honored for her exemplary volunteer service with a President’s Volunteer Service Award. Well done Jessie!

Jessie HalstromJessie Halstrom with her Guidance Counselor Debra Webb-Maloney

The award, which recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and their country, was granted by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program on behalf of President Barack Obama. Darien High School nominated Jessie for national honors this fall in recognition of her volunteer service.

Jessie has been an active member of the Girl Scouts since kindergarten. Her volunteer work has involved projects at the Yerwood Center, Center for Hope, Feed My Starving Children and Yale-New Haven’s Children’s Hospital. She currently serves on the Girl Scouts of Connecticut Board of Directors. She has also been a member of Darien EMS Post 53 since 2011.

Poetry Out Loud is a national poetry recitation contest that encourages young people to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.


Poetry Out Loud started at the classroom level with over 300 students at DHS participating. Forty classroom champions advanced to a school-wide competition, held on Friday, February 6th in the Little Theater. For the third consecutive year, Breana Del Gatto (Class of 2016) won the competition; Chelsea Hurd was the school’s runner-up. Breana’s next step is to compete at the regional level on February 25. The top seven students from the regional competition will continue to the Connecticut State Championship, which is to be held on March 10. Ultimately, Connecticut’s state champion will travel to Washington, D.C. this spring to compete in the national competition for a chance to win $20,000.  Good luck to Breanna!

Six seniors have been named as Finalists in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program: Sonia Gandhi, Kate Halabi, Noah Hathaway, Matthew Hayes, Alison Lui and Amanda Sload. The selection of approximately 8,000 Merit Scholarship winners from the group of more than 15,000 Finalists is now in progress; the scholarship winners will be notified in March. Congratulations!

National Merit Finalists 2015Noah Hathaway, Sonia Gandhi, Alison Lui, Kate Halabi, Amanda Sload, Matthew Hayes

On February 7, 37 students in the Authentic Science Research program competed in the Southern Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair at Newtown High School. Each student was required to create a poster exhibit, make a presentation, and participate in a question and answer session with two sets of judges. The judges evaluated entries (both completed projects and research proposals) in four categories: health and medical sciences, physical sciences, environmental sciences, and behavioral sciences.

We are pleased to announce that a number of DHS students earned top prizes:

For research proposals:

Catherine Gorey – 1st Place, Behavioral Science – “The Effect of Celastrol Treatment on Social Symptoms Associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)”

Kristen Moran – 1st Place (tie), Behavioral Science – “Using Osteoarchaeological Methods to Determine Medieval Practices of Disease Classification”

Caleigh Morr – 1st Place, Health Science – “Remission of Diabetes Induced by Injections of Antibodies and Beta Cells”

Samuel Pfrommer – 1st Place, Physical Science – “Practical Robotic Control Systems with Servos”

Catharine Morgan – 2nd Place, Environmental Science – “The reversible castes of Pheidole birainata soldier ants and major working ants using differentially methylated regions”

Courtney Lowe – 2nd Place (tie), Environmental Science – “Exploring the Environmental Benefits of the Symbiotic Relationship of Azolla and Anabaena azollae

Emily Nixon – 2nd Place (tie), Environmental Science – “The genetic and morphological differentiation and possible speciation of the slender mola, Ranzania laevis

Mahoghany Dolberry – 3rd Place, Behavioral Science – “Examination of Mere Proximity in Adults Focusing on Intelligence, Wealth and Beauty”

Kristen Picard – Honorable Mention, Behavioral Science – “How understanding the nesting patterns of the green sea turtle will save our ocean ecosystem”

Sarishka Desai – Honorable Mention, Health Science – “Inhibition of the PI3K Pathway as an Anti-Cancer Drug Target”

For completed projects:

Kate Halabi – 3rd Place, Health Science – “The Effect of FGF2 on Hypoxia in the Mouse Brain: A Model for Human Perinatal Hypoxia”

Please congratulate these students, as well as all those who participated, along with Faculty Advisers Will Heher, Christine Leventhal, and David Lewis.

Kate Halabi, Matthew Hayes and Amanda Sload have been selected as candidates for the United States Presidential Scholars Program. These students along with approximately 3900 candidates have been identified based on broad academic achievement and having scored exceptionally well on the SAT or ACT.  The United States Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964, by Executive Order of the President, to recognize and honor some of our Nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors. Each year up to 141 students are named as a U.S. Presidential Scholar, one of the Nation’s highest honors for high school students. Congratulations!

US Presidential Scholar Nominees

Mrs. Dunn, Amanda Sload, Matt Hayes, Kate Halabi, Mr. Ribeiro