Posted in General

CHS Students Win Awards at SkillsUSA Competition

Several Colchester High School students won medals at the Vermont SkillsUSA state competition held at the beginning of April. Three CHS students won gold and will be competing in the national competition in Kentucky this June.

image (2)SkillsUSA is a career and technical student organization serving more than 360,000 high school and college students who are enrolled in training programs in technical, skilled, and service occupations, including health occupations.

All of the students who participated in the competition attend the Center for Technology Essex (CTE), which provides comprehensive technical programs including career exploration, preparation, and technical literacy.

Gold medal winner and image (1) (1)CHS junior, Jessica Bortz, says CTE is a great fit for her learning style. “It’s a very hands-on school that gives you skills that a regular high school wouldn’t be able to give you.” She said winning the promotional bulletin board category with her two teammates was exhilarating. “It was like getting the air knocked out of you. It was hard to breathe as all three of us walked to the podium. The feeling of having a gold medal around our necks was proof that we could do it.”

The categories of competition varied from 3D animation to commercial banking, firefighting, dental assisting, interactive game design, cosmetology and over a dozen more.

CHS junior, Alex Cardosi, won gold in the web page design category. “I worked with my partner Ryan Witham to create a website based on the assignment we were given the day of competition. In this case, it was to recreate the Mimmo’s website.” You can visit the winning site by clicking here.

MimmosAlex said he enjoyed working as a team. “It allowed me to have a lower workload and focus on the aspects that I wanted to work on, while my partner could work on the aspects he enjoyed.”

As for winning first place, Alex and his teammate are thrilled. “I’m mostly looking forward to being able to compete with people from all over the country at Nationals. I’m curious to see how Ryan and I can hold up against the best.”

image (3)Classmate Alicia Tebeau-Sherry also won gold at the state competition, although her category could not have been more different than Alex’s. She competed in the medical terminology contest which involved an 80-question timed test covering medical terminology, abbreviations, and other medical concepts. She said that the preparation required a lot of memorization. “After I found out I won, I was surprised, but also very excited. I was proud of myself because all the studying had paid off!”uvm alicia blood

All three of the gold medal winners will travel to Kentucky to compete in the National Competition. All of us here at CSD offer our congratulations and wish them good luck!

Here’s the full list of CHS winners:
Chris Adkins, Silver in Information Technology
Jessica Bortz, Gold in Promotional Bulletin Board
Hailey Blondin, Bronze in Customer Service
Alex Cardosi, Gold in Web Page Design
James Irish, Silver in Interactive Game Design
Alicia Tebeau-Sherry, Gold in Medical Terminology
Savanah Tebeau-Sherry, Silver Medal in Advertising Design and T-Shirt Design

Posted in General

CSD’s Drama Clubs Take on the Classics

Colchester School District has two major productions running in back to back weeks. First up this weekend is Beauty and the Beast by the CHS drama club. Next week, CMS will perform Alice in Wonderland.chs cast

For both clubs, this will be their first drama production in the newly removed Performing Arts Center. Throughout the summer and fall construction crews worked tirelessly to update and replace everything from the seating and curtains to the lighting and sound boards.

“This truly has been a community effort,” says CHS English Teacher and Theater DirecCHS_BeautynBeast_Lopez_Houletor
Amanda Hughes. “Colchester voters approved the use of bond funds that enabled us to make major renovations and turn the theater into a great resource for the entire community…we also invited community members to be involved in the making of this production, helping us with set design and building, promotion efforts, and even the choreography.”

Glen Wallace is the drama coach for the 25 middle school cast members taking on Alice in Wonderland. “The new light and sound capabilities are going to bring a whole new realm of possibilities and professionalism to the show, and everybody will notice an immediate difference in quality,” said Wallace. “We are all extremely excited to be in the renovated space at the high school.”


In both productions, student involvement has been key both on stage and behind the scenes. Wallace says aside from providing the tools and supplies, the kids did it all. “It was my goal to have the production be as entirely student-driven as possible. This means that my crew made up of about 12 students, designed everything, sets, props, and costumes, and made the majority of items as well.”

As the students try to shake out opening night jitters, their teachers have full confidence in their abilities. “I couldn’t be more proud of the students that have chosen to dedicate so many hours over so many months to this musical. There’s a chance for individuals to shine, as well as a cohesive group effort that can be found in few places other than the performing arts” said Wallace.CHS small group

Here’s the when and where to catch the shows and support our young performers:

CHS: Beauty and the Beast
Friday, April 14 at 7:30 pm 
Saturday, April 15 at 2 pm
Saturday, April 15 at 7:30 pm 
Tickets cost $5 each (all ages) and can be purchased at the door or online at Eventbrite.

CMS: Alice in Wonderland
Thursday, April 20 at 6:30 pm
Friday, April 21 at 6:30 pm
Tickets cost $3 for children and seniors and $5 for adults

Posted in General

How a Kindergarten Class Bought a Goat (and Why!)


Allbee Classroom 2

It all started with a book.

“The thing with teaching kindergarteners is, it doesn’t often go according to plan,” explained Porters Point Teacher, David Allbee. “I’ll have planned something and I’ve planned it really well, and all of a sudden I have to adjust my plan because their interest is so great in a certain subject. So, I have to be quick on my feet. This project came about in that sort of way.”

After spending some time with these energetic and imaginative kindergarteners, it is notEsther Gray and Ava Viens Reading a Book hard to understand what he is talking about. Especially when the timing of the visit falls on St. Patrick’s Day and the class just finished making leprechaun traps. However, all you have to do is mention the names Beatrice, Katjie, or Goat Lady, and they will proudly switch gears.

“She sold her goats to the same project that Beatrice got her goat, and that’s where we’re going to get our goats!” explained kindergartner, Esther Gray.

Beatrice is the main character in a book by Page McBrier called Beatrice’s Goat. The children’s storybook is based on the true account of Beatrice Biira, an impoverished Ugandan girl whose life is transformed by the gift of a goat from the nonprofit world hunger organization Heifer International.

booksPrior to Beatrice, the class read Boxes for Katje by Candace Fleming. They thoroughly enjoyed the story of two girls from separate countries who bounded over sending each other packages. The Goat Lady by Jane Bregoli came last. It tells the story of an elderly woman who sent her extra goats to the Heifer Project so they could distribute them to those in need, like Beatrice.

“I specifically chose a few books that had international themes because I have kids in my class from other countries who have moved to this country,” said Allbee. “The connection between the characters in the books were that people were helping each other across international lines. People were sending aid to different countries and friendships grew out of that.”

It wasn’t long before the students started making their own connections, both between the books and within their own lives. They began thinking about how they could help other kids like Beatrice.

Allbee Classroom 1“Beatrice had to work so hard, and then some nice people got her a goat. Then she had to take care of the goat to get money and then she went to school,” exclaimed kindergartener Praydence Handridge.

“It really exposed the kids to the idea that we’re really privileged to go to school in Colchester and that public education is funded here. It also gave them an appreciation of what they have,” said Allbee.

After some brainstorming, the students decided they would make and sell bracelets to raise money to buy a goat through the Heifer Project.

“We introduced the idea to the parents and before we knew it, kids were hawking bracelets at their family birthday parties and holding their aunts and uncles accountable,” laughed Albee. “The money started rolling in, and it was more than I expected!”Books and Bracelets

Friends Praydence Handridge and Madden McMahon were thrilled at how much money the class raised. “We raised so much money we got enough for two goats and some chicks! And people can have milk. They can sell milk for good food so they can survive and they can sell it to get money to go to school,” they said.

The idea behind the Heifer Project is that any offspring produced by a Heifer animal will be gifted to other families. “They [the Heifer Project] helped her. These people give things to other people, and we teamed up with them!” said classmate Nichael Sharma.

“I think the most impressive thing is that somebody can make a difference. One little thing that a child can do, can create an avalanche of good deeds,” said Allbee.

If you would like to find out more information on how to donate to the Heifer Project, visit their website at

To watch a video of this story, visit Colchester School District’s Facebook page or website.

Posted in General

Colchester Senior Wins Trip to DC

Ryan Arel, a senior at Colchester High School, was named the first-place winner in the Vermont Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) 2016-17 Voice of Democracy audio-essay contest. The annual event encourages high school students to write speeches and essays based on democratic and patriotic themes. Click here to read Ryan’s winning essay.

Ryan in Washington, D.C.

Nearly 40,000 9-12 grade students from across the country enter to win their share of $2.1 million in educational scholarships. The first-place winner from each state wins a minimum scholarship of $1,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. This unique opportunity is designed to foster patriotism by allowing students the opportunity to voice their opinion.

After winning the local district with his submission titled “My Responsibility to America”, Ryan was invited to a banquet at Post 782 in Burlington recognizing the top three finalists in Vermont. He left that ceremony having received the top honor for Vermont and the opportunity to represent the state in Washington, D.C.

Ryan says writing this essay helped him to focus on his own values. “It’s important for all of us to really reflect on our true value; reflect on bigger picture ideas; reflect on what we define as right and wrong.”

As for the trip to DC? He says it went very well. “After writing this piece and spending time with people from all across the country, I can safely say that regardless of all our differences, I’ve learned how to get along with people from all different backgrounds a little better than before,” Ryan said.

Posted in General

Join the Fun at the Colchester Winter Carnival

The 34th An2017-wc-logonual Colchester Winter Carnival is coming up on February 3, 4, & 5 at the Colchester High School!  This year’s theme is “Around the World,” and will include a Passport Contest where you can pick up your passport at the entrance on Saturday and learn about the many cultures of the world as you enjoy the attractions and performances.  Collect all of the stamps and you could win a prize.  And don’t forget about the annual Colchester’s Got Talent show on Friday night!  Come out and cheer on your friends and neighbors as they perforimg_0027m their talents on stage.  Skip the lines and purchase your tickets early at the locations listed below, or get your admission bracelet at the Info Booth on the day of the event.
Admission bracelets are $7.00 each (ages two and under free) and include entry to almost every attraction and performance during the whole weekend.  See below for a complete schedule of events.  We can’t wait to see you there!

Visit or follow our event on Facebook at for more details and updates.


*All events at Colchester High School, unless noted

Friday, February 3, 2017

5:00 PM – 7:00 PM                 Winter Carnival Information Booth


Saturday, February 4, 2017

8:30 AM – 11:00 AM              Lion’s Club Pancake Breakfast (additional fee)

9:30 AM – 3:15 PM                Winter Carnival Information Booth

10:00 AM – 2:00 PM              Passport Contest

10:00 AM – 2:00 PM              Laser Tag with Colchester Paintball

10:00 AM – 2:00 PM              Chair Massages with Krista Wilbur

10:00 AM – 2:00 PM              Horse Drawn Hay Rides

10:00 AM – 2:00 PM              Marc Hughes Caricatures

10:00 AM – 2:00 PM              Pirate Dan

10:00 AM – 3:00 PM              The Big Blue Trunk

10:00 AM – 3:00 PM              Arts & Crafts Room

10:00 AM – 3:00 PM              Playdough Extravaganza

10:00 AM – 3:00 PM              Inflatable Obstacle Course

10:00 AM – 3:00 PM              Pony Rides

10:00 AM – 3:00 PM              Face Painting with Face Mania!

10:00 AM – 3:00 PM              Henna Tattoos

10:00 AM – 3:00 PM              SNOWZILLA!!! – OUTSIDE

10:30 AM                                Chili Contest (additional fee)

11:00 AM – 11:45 AM           PERFORMANCE: Jon Gailmor

11:00 AM – 2:00 PM              Food Concessions (additional fee)

11:00 AM – 2:00 PM              Balloon Animals with the Gratto Family Stilt Walkers

11:00 AM – 2:00 PM              Sugar on Snow & Maple Cotton Candy

12:00 PM – 2:00 PM              Fat Bike Demos with Malletts Bay Bicycle & Ski Shop

1:00 PM – 3:00 PM               PERFORMANCE: Studio 3 Dance Company

Sunday, February 5, 2017

12:20 PM – 2:05 PM               Open Skate with CPD Officers (Leddy Park, Burlington)

Winter Carnival Bracelets: $7.00 per bracelet

Children Ages 2 & Under FREE!

Purchase Bracelets at:

* Biben’s ACE Hardware

* Burnham Memorial Library

* Colchester Parks & Recreation

* Mazza’s General Store



This inflatable toboggan slide is made for adults and children. This is a massive attraction simulating a slide down a snow-covered hill. Riders slide down on their snow pants for a fast ride to the bottom of this 35-foot tall slide. And it’s the only one in the United States! It has tremendous WOW factor!


Lion’s Club Pancake Breakfast                                               8:30 -11:00 AM

The Lion’s Club of Colchester will be hosting the Pancake Breakfast.  What a way to get the day off to a great start!   $3.00 under six years of age, $5.00 over 6 years of age, maximum of $15 per family of 4.  Location: CHS Cafeteria.

Chili Contest                                                                              10:30 AM

Think you have the best chili in town? Well then, test your chili against your neighbor, and most importantly help support Blue Star Mothers of Vermont (BSMVT) by signing up. BSMVT is a non-profit 501(c)3 Veterans Service Organization whose mission is to support and advocate for our Soldiers and Veterans while also being dedicated to honoring and assisting families of our Fallen. $15.00 to enter with all proceeds going to BSMVT. The top 3 will win a trophy & bragging rights. Stop by the Colchester Parks & Recreation Office to sign up or download a Chili Contest Entry Form from the Parks & Rec website ( or at  Registration Deadline 1/28. Location: CHS, Cafeteria.



Posted in General

CHS Students Travel to DC for the Presidential Inauguration

Last night, CHS staff and families gathered in excitement for the send-off of the “Election 2016” class as they depart from Colchester, VT and travel to Washington, DC to attend the inauguration ceremony for the 45th President of the United States.


dsc_8324This trip is the culmination of an after-school elective course called “Election 2016” which allowed students to conduct in-depth research surrounding the 2016 campaign season and the electoral process. There was significant interest in the course and the 15 students who were ultimately invited to participate were chosen through a highly competitive application process. Throughout the first semester, students were responsible for writing their own research questions and conducting ongoing research related to the election.dsc_8325

All three local news outlets were there to capture the send-off. They interviewed the students and their parents about the class, the knowledge they gained about the democratic process, and their excitement surrounding the 4 day trip to DC.

Although the Inauguration is the focal point of the trip, the group plans to see much of the city. They’ll be visiting the White House, Ford’s Theatre, Museum of African American History and Culture, Arlington National Cemetery, Library of Congress, Supreme Court, Mount Vernon, the Smithsonian Complex, take guided tours of the National Cathedral and Capitol Hill grounds, and see many of the major monuments (Korean and Vietnam War Memorials; Lincoln, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King monuments).


For most of the class, this will be their first time visiting the nation’s capital.

Posted in General

Performing Arts Center Opens for School and Community Use

On Friday evening, the community gathered inside the newly renovated Performing Arts Center at Colchester High School to cut the ribbon, and officially open the center to both student and community performers.


The audience heard speeches by Superintendent, Amy Minor; Principal, Heather Baron; and School Board Chair, Mike Rodgers. Throughout each speech there was an underlying theme: community pride and a deep appreciation for the tremendous support they have received for this project.

Amy Minor, Superintendent

Up until this renovation, the theater and its technology was nearly original to the construction date of 1975. Back in March of 2016, Colchester School District asked voters for their permission to use the leftover money from the the science construction bond towards renovating the aging Performing Arts Center at Colchester High School. The voters said yes, and work began in June, just days after graduation. Six months later the work is complete and it now boasts all new flooring, seating, paint, acoustic panels, curtains, updated lighting and sound technology, and an upgrade to the ventilation system.

In addition to the vast district and school uses, the Performing Arts Center is also utilized by many organizations and community members, all of which will benefit from such substantial improvements. Immediately following the ceremony, the Colchester Community Chorus got everyone in the holiday spirit with their Annual Winter Concert.

Colchester Community Chorus

The opening ceremony and concert turned out to be an incredible display of community pride among students, faculty, and the residents of Colchester. If you couldn’t be there to celebrate with us, head over to the district’s  website  or Facebook  page to check out the video that was aired during the ceremony. It tours the new center and focuses on the overwhelming impact this renovation has had on the students and faculty who use the space regularly.


Posted in Colchester Middle School, Community, General, Malletts Bay School, Porters Point School

Election Day Excitement Runs Through CSD

Presidential elections are exciting for students and provide a great opportunity to discuss and debate a range of issues in the classroom. On this historic election day, teachers and staff throughout the district have been working to educate and enthuse students on citizenship and civic responsibilities.


To promote community citizenship, the middle school held a mock vote for the entire school (teachers too!). Students had registered ahead of time and checked in with high school students who were running the CMS polling station.

During the election students voted down the ballot from president to local Vermont officials. There was a lot of excitement and questions over what the different elected positions do and who to vote for. After casting their ballots they cheerfully donned the iconic, “I Voted” sticker.


CMS students also spent the day reflecting on what it means to be a responsible citizen, both online and offline, in preparation of bringing their school chrome-books home. They started the day off evaluating balance between interacting with a screen and their individual lifestyle. They then studied some tips and tricks on troubleshooting potential issues and learned how to use new apps and programs through a series of workshops.

At Malletts Bay School and Porters Point School the elementary students learned about ballots, voting, and how the overall election process works. MBS students cast ballots for their favorite yearbook cover, and students in both schools voted for what the next school-wide celebration should be.

At PPS, the voters-in-training had to choose between a dance party or frozen treats. Principal Millham took the opportunity to speak with students about being respectful towards the opinions of others, even in the event their celebration choice was not the winner. In an election year when tensions are incredibly high, we can certainly count on our student community to bring us back to our core democratic values.


Posted in Colchester High School, Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, General

Artists at CHS Compare Observation and Imagination in Still Life Project

A stimulating set-up in the CHS art room is inspiring students to tap into their creativity. Art 1 students have been applying concepts and techniques they’ve learned through a series of still life drawings.


In the several weeks since the installation was set up, they’ve had the chance to practice their skills and recently started on their final drawings last week.


Using every bit of space surrounding the 360º set-up, students chose their favorite composition (making sure to include at least 5 objects), and got to work.


With the goal to fill the entire sheet of paper they used viewfinders to help sight and measure the proportions of objects.


Prior to starting the project students learned the basic concepts and vocabulary of still life to include things like: construction, contour, and gesture lines; highlights, grounding an object, and cast shadows. They worked to utilize these techniques throughout their individual compositions.


One of the final requirements of the project asked them to create a fantasy creature or monster who would “live” in their still life drawing.  They then drew their monsters in 3D form and added any other features that related to their creature’s environment.


The addition of the creatures promoted the project’s overall objective of reality and observation vs fantasy and imagination. The students should be finishing their drawings within the next week.



Posted in General

Colchester Community Wellness Fair

Join the Colchester community for an evening of healthy family fun in a whole community wellness fair and free harvest dinner this Friday, November 4th, from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the High School. The wellness fair is FREE and open to the public. Donations of non-perishable food and used eye-wear are kindly requested.

The fair will bring together local health experts and community members to provide information and answer questions in areas of nutrition, fitness, health, and personal well-being for residents of all ages.

Services will include the following:

  • Flu Shots
  • Prescription Review – Attendees are encouraged to bring their prescriptions for medication consultation with a pharmacist
  • Health Screenings and Assessments – Vision, Diabetes, Heart Health Assessment, Blood Pressure, and more!

The Harvest Dinner starts at 5:30, followed by the Kids on the Block Healthy Snack Puppet Show at 6:00 pm.

Questions? Contact Thalissa Baptiste at