2013 CVEF Bee Donors
Sue Michael with Renee Kelley and Michele Zito, Howard Kelly's wife and daughter
CVEF would like to thank the following businesses, organizations and individuals for their generous support:
Diamond ($1,000 and above)
Peach Pit Foundation
Gold ($250 - $499)
Durham Fair Foundation
Independent Day School
Redstone Studios, LLC
Silver ($100 - $249)
Brenda’s Main Street Feed
Jason and Tracy Camassar
Dzialo, Pickett & Allen, PC
Durham Family Eye Care
The Hitchin’ Post Tavern
Middlesex Dental Association:
Anthony J. Onofrio DMD,
Pamela A. Moore DMD
Perk on Main
Team Sponsors ($150)
The Conroy Company
Durham Democratic Town Committee
Durham Library PALS
Durham VFW Post #10169
John Lyman Elementary School
Korn Elementary School
Memorial Middle School
Maggie Peterson Design
Christopher M. Soulias, EA, CFP:
Tax and Financial Services
Bronze (Up to $99)
L and I Refrigeration, Inc
Sharon McCormick Design, LLC
CVEF Honors Sue Michael with the 2012 Howard Kelley Community Award
High school science teacher and community activist Sue Michael has been
awarded the Howard Kelly Community Award. "I am deeply, deeply honored," expressed Michael at the
December 6 gathering in her honor.
Michael, a Durham resident, has taught science for 28 years. But, noted fellow-teacher
Lorrie Martin, who nominated Michael for the award and introduced her at the event,
that is really only one of many jobs she has taken on. "Peaceful, quiet and unassuming by
nature," noted Martin, Michael is committed to her school and her community, where
she "persistently, even tenaciously...pursues goal after goal, making the world around
us all just a little bit better."
At school, Michael is the Science Team leader. She has lead her team of eight in the development
of a wide range of course offerings at the high school. She coaches the Envirothon Team and
oversees the school's ECO club. When she's not doing the official work, she's taking on other
challenges, such as establishing a salad bar in the cafeteria, organizing a better garbage-sorting
station and maintaining gardens at the school.
In the community, Michael is a member (and currently the chair) of Durham's Clean Energy Task
Force - now prominently in the community news as ambassadors of the Solarize Durham project.
In addition, she helped coordinate a Boy Scouts/ECO collaboration to recycle cans and bottles at
the Durham Fair. With the assistance of a Rockfall Foundation grant, this recycling effort now
includes the town's sports complex grounds, where students maintain the collection of cans and
Christine Willett receives Howard Kelley Community Award
Michelle and Renee Kelley join Christine Willett with her husband and
parents at the awards celebration.
The Coginchaug Valley Education Foundation (CVEF) awarded Middlefield resident Christine Willett the first annual Howard Kelley Community Award.
Willett, a Middlefield wife and mother of two young sons, works as a teacher in North Haven. While those are the basics, she is also much, much more, and it is for that compilation of remarkable qualities that CVEF honored her on December 1.
In 2009, Willett established After the Storm, a non-profit foundation whose mission is to assist breast cancer survivors heal and restore balance to their lives. This includes helping women get the integrative therapies that Willett found so helpful. In 2011, the organization will surpass the $20,000 mark in funds raised, quite an accomplishment for any new not-for-profit endeavor.
Howard Kelley Honored
Nominations are in for the first annual Howard Kelly Community Award.
In honor of founder and board member Howard Kelley, who passed away in early 2010,
the award will be made to someone who embodies the spirit of Howard’s leadership in the community,
particularly his devotion to volunteerism and education.
To nominated someone you think would be deserving of the Howard Kelley Award e-mail us at
2013 CVEF Bee
Mike Klimas and Donna Mattei were the Bee emcees filling the evening with
spirited competition. Durham’s First Selectwoman Laura Francis,
the Honorable Judge Joe Marino and Matt Thompson CRHS graduate, teacher and class advisor
were judges. We would like to thank the teams who participated,
Bill Kurtz, the amazing maintenance staff at Strong School, Tom Brennan, all the little bees,
the countless volunteers behind the scene.
Winners of the Trivia Bee Most Spirit Award are the SeaBees, Becca Suchy,
Claire Peterson, Nicole Maletta, Tom Volgenau and Paul Sinusas.
Team sponsored by the Durham VFW
Team O-Bee-ma, Dina D'Amato, Nancy Senick,
Julie Coogan, Michelle Berry and Abbey Coogan,
won the Most Entertaining Award
(windows media player format)
4th Annual CVEF Spelling Bee - Friday, February 10th
Our thanks to the participants and attendees of our Community Spelling Bee.
We also thank our Spelling Bee business donors,
who helped make this annual event such a resounding success.
Spelling Bee Winners
Penny Robiner, Sue VanDerzee, Kathy Meyering
Best Costume award
Kate Gillespie, Jeanne Mesick
Most Entertaining award
Jen Huddleson, Aleda Freeman, Kathy Weber
Best Name award
Dina D'Amato, Jen Christenson, Julie Coogan
Nicole Maletta, Claire Peterson, Becka Suchy
Spelling Bee business donors
Peach Pit Foundation
Dolphin Days Learning Center
John J Conroy Comprehensive Orthodontic Care
Connecticut Overhead Door
Brenda's Main Street Feed
Durham Family Eye Care
Tenthorey Consulting, LLC
Dean Autoworks, Inc
Sharon McCormick Design, LLC
Durham Fitness LLC
TD Bank North
Check out this clip from the CVEF Spelling Bee on youTube!
Robin Heath receives 2013 Howard Kelley Community Award
Heath serves as Scout Master for Troop 33 in Middlefield.
“My favorite part of scouting is the ‘outing’ part,” said Heath in an interview with the
Town Times before accepting the award. Since 1994,
numerous scouts from the area have gone hiking in New Mexico,
canoeing in the Boundary Waters park in northern Minnesota,
and swimming in Florida under Heath’s guidance and supervision.
CVEF’s award goes to an individual who demonstrates a commitment to giving back to the
community in an educational way. The late Howard Kelley served as RSD13’s first school
superintendent and oversaw the start of the Integrated Day program as well as the Youth
Effectiveness Seminar (YES) program.
Heath was nominated for the award by Pam Moore Onofreo, in her speech at the award presentation,
she pointed to Heath’s guidance of scouts to the Eagle Scout rank as a reason Health made a good
Howard Kelley Award recipient. Eagle Scout is the highest honor a scout can achieve and is only
awarded after a significant community service project. There have been 41 Eagle Scouts since
the inception of the troop decades ago. Of those, 30 have been guided to the rank by Heath.
“A lot of good things happened in town because of those scouts,” said Heath.
He thanked many people who helped make scouting successful in Middlefield, including his
fellow scout volunteers and the parents of the scouts. During his speech,
Health said the tally of Eagle Scouts could have been higher.
“It would be 31 but we got snowed out on Tuesday night.”
The Coginchaug Valley Education Foundation (CVEF) is holding "Flights of Fancy"
at the Lyman Homestead in Middlefield on May 18, from 6:30 – 9 p.m.
The gala evening will offer a bit of food, a bit of drink and a bit of live music,
but the highlight of the event will be the silent auction of over 30 birdhouses,
all created by local artists, teachers and others.
Co-chair Dina D'Amato and her husband, Marc, built the birdhouses offered to people to decorate.
However, volunteer artists were also free to "deconstruct what we built, build their own,
even create a birdhouse in material other than wood," notes D'Amato.
"Except for a maximum size restriction, we're really leaving it up to them."
All of the birdhouses will be on display at the Lyman Homestead the evening of May 18.
Tickets for the gala event are $25 a person or $40 a couple. They can be purchased several ways:
contact Renee Edwards at 860-575-4680 or email
purchase your tickets online at www.coginchaugvef.com.
Proceeds from the event will help support the local education foundation's grants program,
which has awarded close to $30,000 in grants over the past three years
(2012 grant recipients will be announced in June).
For more information, contact: Dina D'Amato at 860-301-7862,
2010 Community Picnic -
Fun for All
For the third year in a row, families of Durham and Middlefield congregated at Camp Farnam to
celebrate the end of summer and for some, the beginning of a new school year.
The camp, located on Maiden Lane in Durham, is owned by New Haven’s non-profit Farnam
Neighborhood House, Inc. and provides seasonal programming for low income children ages 13-18
and their families. It is newly renovated and the perfect place for some family fun.
This year, 150 people arrived on Sunday, August 29, carrying picnic dinners, bathing suits
and towels. It took only a few minutes for the pool to fill with children of all ages. Adults could join
in the fun or relax and chat knowing their children were under the watchful eye of the lifeguard
in charge. Horseshoes, basketball and volleyball competitions continued throughout the day.
As evening approached, the crowd moved toward the pavilion to listen to music, break open
their picnic baskets or wait patiently for the arrival of the ice cream truck. With daylight fading, a
roaring fire was lit and hot dripping marshmallows were layered with chocolate and graham crackers,
consumed happily by all ages.