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The Monroe Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools Joseph Kobza give recognition to educators retiring this year.
School board honors retirees

MONROE, CT — Superintendent of Schools Joseph Kobza and Board of Education Chairman David Ferris presented plates to this year’s retiring educators during Monday night’s board meeting.

There were 13 retirees with a combined 359 years of service, according to Kobza. Nancy Zukowski, the most tenured of the retirees, was a teacher at Masuk High School for 43 years.

“She started in 1979, when I was in second grade,” Kobza said. “I pulled up her personnel file and looked at her whopping salary of $9,800. For perspective, gas is $5-a-gallon now and it was 86-cents-a-gallon back then, so it was probably just as painful.”

He said Darleen Fensore, the district’s director of Student Support Services, had “very unique travels through Monroe Public Schools” over the course of her 21-year-career, she started out as a crossing guard, and went on to be a para-educator, a teacher and ultimately a secondary instructional leader at Masuk, before being named assistant director of Student Support Services and being promoted to her current position.

Fensore could not make Monday’s ceremony.

Others who were not present were Donald M. Casey, Jr., a Stepney Elementary School teacher of 36 years; Masuk teacher Victoria A. Flam (21 years), and para-educators Joann Zakrzewski (Monroe Elementary School, 15 years) and Kathryn Romano (Monroe Elementary, 22 years).

Retirees who were present included:

  • Jack Ceccolini, assistant superintendent and HR director at Central Office, 36 years
  • Suzanne Ceccolini, teacher, Fawn Hollow Elementary School, 35 years
  • Patricia Flynn, teacher, Monroe Elementary, 21 years
  • Amy Grasso, teacher, Jockey Hollow Middle School, 21 years
  • Jeff C. Seymour, SIL, English Language Arts, Masuk, 25 years
  • Bonnie Waring, teacher, Masuk, 33 years
  • Nancy Zukowski, teacher, Masuk, 43 years
Strawberry Festival

Monroe Congregational Church will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its annual Strawberry Festival on church grounds and the green on Saturday, June 18, and Sunday, June 19.

The event is popular for its assortment of sweet homemade strawberry jams, shortcakes, smoothies and baked goods. Venders sell their wares on the green at the corner of Route 111 and Fan Hill Road and the festival features food trucks, a juried craft show and live music. The entertainment will include a performance by the award-winning Silver Steel Band.

Hours of the festival will be from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on June 18 and from noon to 5 p.m. on June 19. The church is located at 34 Church St.

Crafters wishing to participate can click here for a crafter application form.

Pride Flag raising

The Pride Flag raising outside Monroe Town Hall will be held at 10 a.m. this Saturday (the rain date is Sunday).

Nick Kapoor, who serves on the Board of Education in town, will give the welcome followed by a moment of reflection from The Rev. Jennifer Gingras, pastor of Monroe Congregational Church.

Speakers will include Jamie Correll of the Masuk Class of 2021, Jordyn Chymbor-Souza, a rising sophomore at Masuk, First Selectman Ken Kellogg, Assistant Superintendent Jack Ceccolini, CHRO Executive Director Tanya Hughes and Janice Persico, a parent and advocate.

Then Kapoor will talk about the meaning of the Pride Flag colors, before Kellogg, Jordyn Chymbor-Souza and Jamie Correll raise the flag.

Monroe Food Pantry Online Auction, Wiffle Ball Fun Day

The third annual Wiffle Ball Fun Day will be at Wolfe Park on June 18. The event is sponsored by Newtown Savings Bank and Jensen Tire, Auto & Marine. All donations and sponsorships collected will benefit Monroe Food Pantry clients.

“Due to the continuous and generous support from our Monroe community, we are able to provide nearly 150 households with a wide choice of food to help them feed themselves and their families,” said Dir. Julie Banks.

The Pantry is also having an online auction, featuring items donated by residents who want to help fight food insecurity in town. Victorinox Swiss Army donated a Swiss Army Timepiece and Nick Banks donated a signed MLB baseball from Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling.

Winners will be announced at Wiffle Ball Fun Day on June 18. Cash or checks payable to the Monroe Food Pantry will be accepted.

Winners must be available to pick up and pay for their item in Monroe. Items, which will not be shipped, will be available for pick up either at the Wiffle Ball event or through Friday, June 24, at the Monroe Senior Center, 235 Cutlers Farm Road. The Senior Center is open from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For information about Wiffle Ball Fun Day, visit the Monroe Food Pantry’s Facebook page.

Reminder of Flag Day

Flag Day is celebrated annually on June 14 to commemorate the adoption of the U.S. flag on June 14, 1777, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. The flag symbolizes the pride of our nation and serves as a constant reminder of those in the military who fight to protect our country and our freedom.

American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) units nationwide will celebrate Flag Day with pride. Many will host special events and work with their American Legion post homes on disposal of unserviceable flag ceremonies.

Flag Day is a time for proud Americans to show their patriotism, strength, and support for the veteran community by celebrating our nation’s flag the right way. As you raise your Old Glory this Flag Day, remember these simple U.S. Flag Code rules:

  • When hoisting or lowering the flag, salute or place a hand over your heart.
  • The flag should not be displayed on rainy days, unless it is an all-purpose flag.
  • When lowered, the flag should never touch anything beneath it.

Visit Legion.org/flag/code for the full U.S. Flag Code.

There are several common questions about the U.S. flag. Here are a few:

Q: How are unserviceable flags destroyed?

A: The Flag Code suggests that “when a flag has served its useful purpose, it should be destroyed, preferably by burning.” For individual citizens, this should be done discreetly so the act of destruction is not perceived as a protest or desecration. Many American Legion posts conduct Disposal of Unserviceable Flag Ceremonies on June 14, Flag Day. This ceremony creates a particularly dignified and solemn occasion for the retirement of unserviceable flags.

Q: Can the flag be washed or dry-cleaned?

A: Yes. There are no provisions of the Flag Code which prohibit such care. The decision to wash or dry-clean would be dependent on the material.

Q: What should be the position of the flag when displayed from a staff in a church, public auditorium, or other public meeting place, whether indoors or outdoors, on platform, or on the floor at ground level?

A: When used on a speaker’s platform, the flag, if displayed flat, should be displayed above and behind the speaker. When displayed from a staff in a church, public auditorium or meeting place, the flag should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman’s or speaker’s right as he faces the audience. Prior to the Flag Code changes in 1976, the display procedure was somewhat different. Now the staffed flag should always be placed to the right of the speaker (observer’s left) without regard to a platform or floor level.

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