Calling all community heroes: Superintendent celebrates new school year

Rosa Perez, left, secures a super hero cape on Nicholas Fasold, while Tawana Graham, right, secures the cape to Michael Ahern. Both Plainville boys were recognized as community heroes last Wednesday during convocation ceremonies at Plainville High School. Through Nico’s lemonade stand (Fasold) and Scoops for Troops (Ahern), the caped crusaders have raised approximately $100,000 for charities. (Photo by Janelle Morelli)

By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

Plainville Community Schools students commenced the 2019-20 school year on Tuesday, Sept. 3, but the administrative team channeled their school spirit during convocation on Wednesday, Aug. 28, with a few superhuman guests.

“Calling All Heroes” was the theme, and new superintendent, Steven K. LePage, led his team into the Plainville High School auditorium wearing a superhero staple—capes…with one notable exception. LePage listed all the sectors that he considers his “superpower,” from the administrative staff, the teachers, and the staff to everyone in the district, the board of education, town council, and more.

“I haven’t earned the cape yet,” said the rookie superindendent. “I hope to earn it by the end of the year, and I’ll count on your for feedback on whether or not I do so.”

LePage said that his favorite Marvel and DC superheroes wear capes and have super powers, so it was fitting to offer capes to the everyday heroes throughout the community working to make each student the best version of themselves. LePage listed his own personal heroes, including his grandparents and some of the teachers, coaches, and counselors that encouraged him to strive for greatness.

“We don’t have to have powers to be a hero. Today, we’ll celebrate and recognize some community members, as well as the heroic impact the members of this audience have each day of the school year,” he said. “Superpowers are fictional, but the powers we have are the real thing—the power to change the world. It isn’t just a big idea. It happens through the small but collective efforts and actions we take in doing our jobs and doing them well everyday.”

Plainville police and firefighters were recognized as communuity superheroes at convocation last Wednesday. From left, Police Chief Matthew Catania, Sgt. Richard Marques, School Resouce Officer Jessica Martins, and Plainville Fire Marshall Larry Sutherland. (Photo by Janelle Morelli)

Several Plainville community heroes were recognized for serving the district, including first responders Matthew Catania, Plainville Chief of Police and Connecticut Police Chief of the Year; Officer Jessica Martins, PCS school resource officer; Larry Sutherland, Plainville Fire Marshall; and Sgt. Richard Marques.

Two very special Plainville students, Nicholas Fasold and Michael Ahern, were recognized as student heroes. And, because of their heroic dedication to bettering the lives of others, both young men were presented with their own capes.

“I don’t think anything is more important than supporting students like this, like these two great representatives – Nico and Michael—and the work that they do,” said LePage.

Fasold, a PHS sophomore, created Nico’s Lemonade Stand at the age of four and donated the proceeds ($65) to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. It grew quickly, with $800 donated in the second year and $5,051 in year three. Fasold became the youngest wish granter in the history of Make-A-Wish Connecticut, and he’s raised over $82,000 for the foundation.

After learning about the Travis Mills Camp’s work with veterans trying to adjust to civilian live, Ahern, a Linden Street School fourth grader, created Scoops for Troops to support disabled veterans and their families. His original goal was to be able to buy ice cream for each child of a veteran attending the camp, but his vision quickly grew. As of convocation, Ahern had raised $19,000 out of the $30,000 needed to send eight veterans to the camp.

Community members Nancy Gennett and BOE commissioner Foster White, were recognized as volunteer heroes, for their involvement in the PCS mentoring program.

The Plainville Veterans of Foreign Wars post 574, represented by Christina Glasper of the U.S. Airforce, and Brian Zamudio of the U.S. Army, as well as the Rotary International Club of Plainville, were recognized as heroic community organizations.

Benjamin Gediman, Mary Couture, and Stevie Centurelli, Plainville athletic backers, were recognized as parent and family heroes.

Matt Olshefski of O&G Industries was recognized as the Wheeler Renovation project hero.

Business and community partners, the Great American Donut (a division of Dunkin Donuts), Gnazzo’s Food Center, and Chick-fil-A, were recognized as heroes for their work through the School-Business-Community Partnerships program, where PHS students are able to gain work experience, and in some cases, secure jobs for the post-graduate life.

State Representative Dr. William Petit Jr., and State Senator Henri Martin were recognized for their continued efforts at the state level, to secure the very best for the Plainville community.

Rounding out the presentation of community heroes were the recipients of the PCS 2018 Everyday Hero awards, presented monthly during BOE meetings.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at TMurchison@BristolObserver.com.