Naomi Hambrecht has not always been an outstanding school volunteer, trusted pet sitter. and child care provider extraordinaire. Once upon a time, she was a U.S. Army intelligence analyst who served two tours in Bosnia. Before that, she was a small-town Texan with a big vision.
Day: March 14, 2018
A cold, windy day didn’t stop Greg Correard and members of Bethel High School All Sports Booster Club from asking people to sign a petition for a turf field in Bethel. Originally part of the Selectmen’s Fiscal Year 2018-19 budget, funding for the turf field was eliminated in a 2-1 vote before the Board of Finance could review it. Correard is hoping to gather enough signatures to petition the Board of Finance directly for the discretionary funding.
“Investment in infrastructure is important,” Correard said. “The turf field will have 10-15 years of life and will provide year-round use of the field. As it is now, there’s a ‘Stay Off the Field’ sign posted much of the time to try and keep the football field healthy.” He also pointed out that Bethel is the only town in the 14-school SWC that does not have a turf field, which means that Bethel is unable to host SWC semifinals or finals in lacrosse, field hockey, or soccer due to SWC bylaws. It also cannot host state tournament finals.
According to Correard, another major benefit of a turf field is its availability to marching band practice (currently done in the high school parking lot with rented lights), weekend youth sports, and potential adult sports leagues.
While community support for a turf field is evidenced by the many signatures on the petition, there is also resistance to it, primarily focused on the cost. People have also asked if there are other budgetary priorities in town that supersede the installment of a turf field.
Bethel High School students have met with school administrators to design a student-led presentation at the football field. Principal Chris Troetti sent the following letter to the high school community to explain what the event will entail.
Dear Students and Parents/Guardians,
As many of you are aware, the issue of school violence, particularly since the incident in Parkland, Florida has caused students across the country to effect change in order to reduce these recurring tragedies. In our region particularly, we have a heightened awareness due to the tragedy of Sandy Hook. Unfortunately, this generation of students has continuously seen acts of school violence as part of their school experience. Throughout our country, there are several student-led organizations that are planning events to engage all stakeholders in the collective conversation to end school violence.
Students at Bethel High School have indicated that they also want to make a statement about their frustration with these senseless acts. We have met with students to discuss ways to support opening a dialogue, while respecting all viewpoints and keeping our students safe. Their statement is not political; instead, it’s an expression of their concern and anger with continued acts of violence that are occurring at an alarming rate throughout our country. Therefore, on March 14 during a regularly scheduled Advisory period, students who want to participate in a student-led presentation, will proceed to the football field (weather permitting) for a 17 minute presentation to honor the 17 lives lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. During that time, they will conduct a moment of silence and each victim’s name will be read. Student leaders will also educate their peers on mechanisms to communicate their opinions as part of the democratic process (a lesson in civics). For students who do not wish to attend the student-led presentation, they will be able to report to the Library Learning Commons or cafeteria for a short learning lab.
Our first goal is to ensure our students are safe and to teach them appropriate ways to express viewpoints. We will work closely with our staff and the Bethel Police Department to ensure that this experience is a structured learning experience, while providing an outlet for student expression.
If you have any questions regarding our plans, please do not hesitate to contact me.