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2013 CVEF Bee Donors
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
Lyman Orchards
Redstone Studios, LLC

Silver ($100 - $249)
Brenda’s Main Street Feed
Chapman Manufacturing
Jason and Tracy Camassar
Dzialo, Pickett & Allen, PC
Durham Family Eye Care
The Hitchin’ Post Tavern
Lino’s Market
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)
Dean Autoworks
L and I Refrigeration, Inc
Larkin’s Run
Lorrie Martin
Sharon McCormick Design, LLC

Sue Michael with Renee Kelley and Michele Zito, Howard Kelly's wife and daughter

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 bottles.

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

Slide Show    (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
Sunday Dreamers
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

Spirit award
Nicole Maletta, Claire Peterson, Becka Suchy

Spelling Bee business donors

Peach Pit Foundation
Durham Manufacturing
Dolphin Days Learning Center
John J Conroy Comprehensive Orthodontic Care
Durham Pharmacy
Connecticut Overhead Door
Peerless Builders
Brenda's Main Street Feed
Durham Family Eye Care
Tenthorey Consulting, LLC
Larkin's Run
Dean Autoworks, Inc
Frank Kuan
Sharon McCormick Design, LLC
Durham Fitness LLC
TD Bank North
Cozy Corner

Check out this clip from the CVEF Spelling Bee on youTube!

Flights of Fancy and Song 2014
The Coginchaug Regional High School parents’ group, POPs, brought in just under $1,000 with their unique and varied instrument art pieces, also auctioned. CVEF thanks all those coming out to support our organization and the community.

CVEF would like to thank the following businesses and organizations for their generous support:

Diamond ($1,000 and above)
Peach Pit Foundation

Platinum ($500 - $999)
Conroy Orthodontics

Gold ($250 - $499)
Durham Fair Foundation, Inc.
Redstone Studios, LLC

Silver ($100 - $249)
Chapman Manufacturing
Christopher M. Soulias, EA, CFP Tax and Financial Services
Durham Democratic Town Committee
Grade A Home Improvement, LLC
Larkin’s Run
Lino’s Market
Maggie Peterson Design
Middlefield Democratic Town Committee
Middlesex Dental Associates
Peerless Builders, LLC

Bronze (Up to $100)
Allan’s Tree Service
Durham Pharmacy
L and I Refridgeration, Inc.
Sharon McCormick Design, LLC

A special thank you to Home Depot, Indian Springs Golf Course, and Jay McKernan for their in-kind donations.

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
     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,

2013 Trivia Bee

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2012 Spelling Bee

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2011 Spelling Bee

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Annual Gathering

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