“Reading Rocks!” Program is Coming Soon!

Wilton Education Foundation’s (WEF’s) fourth annual “Reading Rocks!” program is a fun, non-competitive Read-A-Thon program for Wilton students in Pre-K through 5th grade. In its first three years, this program raised more than $110,000 total for our schools! With your support, we hope to meet our financial goal as well as attain 100% student participation.

Students in both Miller-Driscoll and Cider Mill will receive a pledge form with all of the details on January 8th.   Students can get a jump on pledges from visiting relatives over the holidays by downloading the form from edline.net.

On January 23rd, pledge forms are to be returned to school and participating students can dress like a rock star.  The reading period is January 24th – February 8th.

Questions? Contact Julie Steckel at jjsteckel@gmail.com or Rebecca LePage at rebeccalepage@gmail.com. “Reading Rocks!” is generously sponsored by the Stroup family.

WHS Photo Student Gets Art Gallery Show and WEF Award, with Teacher’s Help

By Heather Borden Herve, GMW Editor on October 20, 2014

Wilton is a town of high-achieving students–scholastically, athletically, artistically. The role teachers play is most definitely impactful.

The Wilton Education Foundation created an award to honor one of its founders, Christopher “Kit” Smith, that would commemorate this collaborative nature of learning by recognizing both the student and the teacher. The first awardees are a Wilton High School senior named Luiza Goncalves, an advanced photography student, and her teacher Sue Brandt.

The award is a grant to allow the student to pursue independent study, enrichment, research, or another project befitting the WEF mission and complementing the Wilton Public Schools missions, with work completed before the fall of the student’s senior year. At the conclusion of the project, the student will be expected to display results.

Luiza’s photos are now on display at the gallery at Wilton’s Rockwell Art and Framing (379 Danbury Rd.). They are primarily from her portfolio that she built during the AP 2-D photography class she took during junior year. “My concentration was the contrast of twins and trees as a metaphor of the duality of nature. The other pieces with the line drawings are kind of experimental–a lot of my work is experimental, I play around and I layer and draw over them,” she explains.

Brandt explains she nominated Luiza because of her abilities and talent, but more importantly because of the drive she had to improve.

“Luiza’s a very motivated student and wants to learn. There were particular things–she wanted to improve her photoshop skills, she wanted to work with a program called Light Room, and how to do certain effects. She worked with an infrared camera, a special camera that photographs more than the eye can see. Not many photographers are working with it, and it’s very unusual. Things are dreamy and surreal, and you have to process the photos differently than regular film.”

Luiza’s inspirations are very organic, and she’s been enthralled with cameras since an early age.

“I’m a very self-aware person, I have a hard time getting out of my head. I look at everything in a very cinematic way, the details. I think that translates in my work, I’m always looking and thinking. I’ve seen a lot of movies and have been exposed to a lot of art,” she says.

Part of the award required Luiza to show her work in a public location. Her teacher helped contact the Rockwell Gallery, coincidentally right next to the school, and they accepted.

“I feel very grateful, especially being in this gallery–it’s very surreal. I’m ecstatic, when someone looks at your work and appreciates it,” Luiza said, as she stood next to her work and was surrounded by a packed house of friends, family and art lovers who attended the show’s opening on Oct. 9.

At the same time, Luiza credits the support she’s received at the high school.

“There’s a great art department there, and a lot of my teachers at the high school. They see something in me, and to have a student that cares and talks. I appreciate that. It’s great to have this connection with [Ms. Brandt] and the other teachers.”

The exhibition at Rockwell is also an opportunity to showcase a different side of Luiza’s work–there’s a side gallery of photos she and two other student photographers (Kate Bell and Grace DeLuca) took at an Acoustic Wilton performance last year. About 200 photos the three took from the performance were shown in a slide show during the opening party, and a handful of prints remain during the monthlong exhibition of Luiza’s major works.

Even having taught for 14 years at WHS, Brandt says she was impressed with Luiza’s originality and skill.

“I’ve worked with a lot of talented students, but this technique, I’ve never even seen a professional photographer use it, incorporating drawing and the photography. She’s working with a tablet and working with Photoshop. It’s a unique look.”

Brandt admires some other aspects in Luiza’s work. “She has a great feel for working with layers, combining photographs,” she explains, pointing to one that layers both an infrared and traditional image.

Having a student who is so ambitious and eager to soak up more and more is rewarding for Brandt. “It’s motivating and there are so many techniques you can do in photography. I’m so excited to be able to share, because I’m always learning.” Brandt said WEF has been generous to her as well, bestowing grants for her to learn new skills during the summer. “That’s how I learned infrared, and Photoshop and Lightroom. When I was in college, it was film. This is a different world for me, too. If I’m teaching, I need to keep learning. New things keep developing. And I love working with students.”

Brandt says the coursework is popular at the high school, and she tries to let the children accommodate the curriculum based on their own interests.

“We’ll photograph sports, the kids in the nursery school, or take a trip to the zoo. And I’ll say, ‘You might love animal photography, and the kids will be tough for you to photograph, while other kids might enjoy photographing sports.’ I was more into taking pictures of nature, so I’ve taken classes on photographing models, because you need experience in how to direct and how to light models–there are a lot of students that want to do fashion photography. I learned that in the last couple of years.”

Many of Luiza’s images are for available for purchase. The show, entitled “Beginning,” runs through Nov. 9.

Get Smart for Wilton 5K race

Get Smart for Wilton 5K race
The following article has been printed in the The Online Hour.

    Ageless Zengo does it again

By BOB BIRGE Hour Correspondent | Posted: Sunday, May 25, 2014 11:15 pm

WILTON — Wilton’s Mary Zengo isn’t getting older, she’s getting better. One month shy of her 49th birthday, Zengo was the top female finisher in Sunday’s Get Smart for Wilton 5K race for the fourth straight year with a time of 18:33.”I love (winning). It’s fun,” Zengo said, “but more importantly, they raise a ton of money for the Wilton Education Foundation.” Sunday’s race attracted 270 runners, up from 240 last year, and organizers were hoping to raise in excess of $5,000 for the WEF. The overall winner was 25-year-old Newtown native Zack Schwartz, who posted a winning time of 15:19 in his first appearance in Wilton since running the inaugural race in 2009 Schwartz, a former cross country and track runner at Newtown High School, has been training to run a half marathon or full marathon in the fall.” I didn’t really know what to expect,” he said. “I haven’t run a race in a little bit, but I figured I’d come out and try it. The weather’s good, the course is good. Very pleased with the time. “Schwartz said his time was the fourth-best of his career for a 5K race and 12 seconds off his personal best of 15:07. He is looking to eventually break 15 minutes.” I haven’t been feeling 100 percent, just sore legs, but sub-15 is a goal for next time,” he said. Still, Zengo stole the show, as she often does in this race, and was only five seconds behind last year’s winning time. Sisters Grace and Gabrielle House of Wilton were second and third among female finishers with times of 19:24 and 19:33, respectively.” I said to my girls try to finish behind Mrs. Zengo,” Mike House said of his daughters. Zengo is something of a celebrity here because of the running club she operates in town along with Kevin Foley. She has trained countless young runners in Wilton, including the House sisters.” I would like to know her secret so I could be that good myself, but I don’t foresee that,” 20-year-old Gabrielle House said. The sisters knew they had no chance to actually beat Zengo on Sunday and were basically running for second place.” I know she’s the fastest woman in town,” said 21-year-old Grace House, a recent Tufts graduate who ran cross country and track for the Jumbos. “It’s incredible to get to come see her during a race. I think she’s a role model for every distance runner in Wilton.” Grace House’s boyfriend, 22-year-old Andrew Shapero of Wilton, who also was a runner at Tufts, finished second overall with a time of 15:53.Danbury’s Nick Fraticelli, 31, finished third in 17:39 after winning last year’s race. Zengo logged splits of around 5:50 for her first and third miles and over six minutes for the second mile through the woods.” It’s not a fast course, but it’s a good course and a fair course,” she said. Initially, Gabrielle House tried to stay with Zengo, but realized she wasn’t going to be able to keep up.” I could see Mrs. Zengo ahead of us the whole time and I was like, ‘Why are we running so fast? I can’t run this fast,’ “she said. She marveled that Zengo could outlast two kids whose combined age still leaves them seven years her junior.” I feel we’re so much younger we should be able to run that fast, but she’s amazing,” Gabrielle House said. “I’m happy to come in third.” By winning the race, Zengo earned the first prize of $100, but that’s not why she runs, as she always donates her winnings back to the WEF.”I want them to have it,” she said.

Proceeds from A Christmas Carol tickets can benefit WEF.

Actor: Gerald Charles Dickens
On December 1st 2013, The Historical Christmas Barn and The Wilton Historical Society will present A Christmas Carol at the Clune Center for the Arts at Wilton High School in Wilton CT. This heartwarming show-of-the-season is performed by Gerald Charles Dickens, the great-great grandson of literary master, Charles Dickens. Gerald, an actor and producer hailing from Oxford, England, will be performing his captivating rendition of this timeless holiday classic.
During his energetic one-man show, Dickens brings A Christmas Carol to life. He leaps, he sobs, he laughs as he entertains depicting 26 characters of the classic tale, with just a table, wing chair, and hat rack accompanying him on stage.
One third of the purchase price of each ticket sold with the WEF code, will be donated to the Wilton Education Foundation. For tickets go to http://wiltoneducationfoundation.org/AChristmasCarol

  • Click on [Get Tickets]
  • Click on [Enter a Password or Discount Code]
  • Be sure to type in the code WEF before purchasing tickets.

When:   December 1, 2013. Performances at 1:00pm and 6:00pm.
Where:  Clune Center for the Arts at Wilton High School
Who:  Adults and children ages 8 & up

This flyer contains the information about the show.
Thank you to The Historical Christmas Barn and The Wilton Historical Society for their generousity and help as WEF works to support our students!

About the Wilton Education Foundation

The Wilton Education Foundation is dedicated to enriching the learning experience for Wilton students by providing ongoing professional development for teachers, the latest in innovative and interactive teaching tools, support for music and the arts, and “beyond the classroom” experiences to provide Wilton’s public school students with the confidence and skills to succeed in college and beyond. For more information on the foundation, its mission, volunteer opportunities, and the many events and programs, please visit www.WiltonEducationFoundation.org.


󰀽P.O. Box 7090, Wilton, CT 06897      󰀝203.665.8226      󰀁info@WiltonEducationFoundation.org