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What’s Right with Schools Special: Summer Highlights

Whats Right With Schools

What’s Right with Schools profiles schools across Connecticut, doing right!

(WTNH) — As the new school year begins, we are highlighting some best-of-the-summer segments:

What’s Right with Schools: Neighborhood Music Program

There’s a spelling bee happening this summer in New Haven.

However, it’s not an academic competition…it’s a theater performance. The summer program at the Neighborhood Music Program is full swing.

Stephen Dest has been the director and founder of the theater department for twenty years now.

“The program ranges in ages six to sixteen. This production of spelling bee (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee ) is with the high school students.,”

Stephen Dest

Younger students write, produce and perform during the day.

“During the day all the younger kids write produce their own little musical parodies that we perform right here in the recital hall,” said Dest.

Spelling Bee’s cast will take the stage at Hamden Hall. The students dedicate six weeks out of the summer to the program.

“People choose to come here – they choose to spend their summer doing stuff they love. Doing music, art and dance,” said Zach Munzner.

“In the end you realize how much of a community you form together; you get so close at the end of the 6 weeks – you always want to keep coming back,” said Becca Albert.

When the summer ends and a new school year begins, dedication pays off.

“What happens with a lot of these kids…sometimes its their first musical – and then when they go to high school it’s not unusual for them to become leads in their H.S productions,” said Dest.

What’s Right With Schools: First Tee of Connecticut

There’s a serenity that can come with spending time on the golf course.

For Connecticut kids, there’s a summer camp that offers them that calm, and a lot more.

First Tee of Connecticut offers golf camps for kids for 8 weeks during the summer. Sure, they learn the game, but there’s more.

“We teach life skills through the game of golf,” said the camp’s Program Director, Mark Murnane.

Taking the challenges golf provides and learning through them.

“We’re a child development organization, so while we want these kids to learn golf we also want them to become better people,” Murnane said.

That means with improving pitch, putt & drive and learning core values, it all makes for a pretty special week for the campers and coaches.

They overcome obstacles, then experience that moment where the lesson crystalizes, and it all clicks.

“Then they get it – all it takes is one…one good shot – then they just have this joy that’s just awesome to see,” said Director of Instruction, Anthony Bonelli.

What’s Right with Schools: at Mystic sailing camp students learn skills of the sea

A sea shanty wakes up the crew on board the Joseph Conrad.

The 111ft vessel is over a century old. Today she’s full of students from across Connecticut and New England.

The Joseph Conrad Overnight Sailing Camp is located at Mystic Seaport Museum and welcomes 350 kids a year between the ages of 10-15.

The campers stay on the big boat and sail on the smaller ones.

But it’s more than just sailing. It’s fun and ultimately about learning the skills of the sea: teamwork and camaraderie.

What’s Right with Schools: CPR Training at Crosby High saves lives

It’s a life lesson that just might save a life, and at Crosby High School in Waterbury, it actually has.

Last year, a student took the CPR and conscious choking victim training.

One day, while he and his brother were eating popcorn at home, the student’s brother started choking. Using the techniques he remembered from taking Mr. Crane’s class, he dislodged the popcorn from his brother’s throat and possibly prevented a tragedy.

It’s one of those invaluable life skills students can take home, into the workplace, or anywhere an emergency might arise.

Tatyana Vega said, “It’s a good skill to have because you could be out in the open anytime and something can just happen.”

Vega is a senior who also helps teach the students, after being inspired towards a possible medical career.

“Instead of just sitting down, going through a book. Having that hands on experience – having them be able to do it themselves is better than anything else,” Vega said.

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