Two New Canaan natives recently graduated from Bates College in Lewiston, Me. at the school's 150th commencement ceremony on May 29.

Becky Dobbin majored in neuroscience and English. She is a 2012 graduate of Greenwich Academy. She graduated as a member of Sigma Xi, a national honor society that recognizes excellence in scientific research.

Annie Horstmeyer, daughter of Elizabeth Sanford of New Canaan and Jack Horstmeyer of Pound Ridge, N.Y., graduated after majoring in environmental studies. She is a 2012 graduate of New Canaan High School.

St. Luke's School alum Colin McIntire also graduated from Bates College. The Darien native earned a degree in biology.

From Kiwanis,

to STAR

The New Canaan Kiwanis club donated $500 to STAR, Inc., which provides services to over 500 infants, children, and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families in Fairfield County.

The $500 grant supports STAR’s mission to encourage the community to recognize and appreciate the value of all individuals in the community.

At a recent Kiwanis luncheon, Peter Saverine, director of philanthropy at STAR, and Nicki DuBiago, a STAR participant who is a New Canaan resident and just celebrated her 20th work anniversary at CVS in New Canaan, shared the wealth of activities STAR has already brought to New Canaan.

In addition to residential, job, volunteer and recreational programs, STAR partners with New Canaan Mounted Troop for equine care and riding classes, New Canaan YMCA, Grace Farms book club and art classes, New Canaan Library, New Canaan Racquet Club, Culinary Works at Kitchens by Deane, and more. STAR also provides Sports Buddies, a weekly Saturday recreation program held at New Canaan High School for youngsters with special needs who are matched with student and adult volunteers to “buddy up” to develop skills, sportsmanship and self-confidence.

Fall Family

Fun Night

West School’s first social event of the year is Fall Family Fun Night. Families can bring a picnic blanket and enjoy dinner from Super Duper Weenie, the Big Green Pizza Truck and Taco Azteca. Ice cream, DJ Stella and plenty of fun carnival activities will ensure a great event for the students and families on Sept. 23 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Find a furry friend

Find your next furry friend at the New Canaan Library. The library is hosting local animal welfare association PAWS, as they hold an adoption event on Sept. 24 from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Curtis Gallery.

PAWS will bring a variety of their adoptable pets for visitors to meet. Adoption counselors from PAWS will also be available to help visitors search online for all the pets PAWS cares for and to teach about the adoption process and how to complete online applications.

The nonprofit organization was began in 1962 by Westport’s Betty Long to rescue homeless dogs and place them in permanent homes. In the early 1980s, rescue efforts were expanded to include cats. For 37 years, PAWS rented space from local boarding kennels & veterinary hospitals.

Authors chat

New Canaan Library and Darien Library have joined forces to present "Head to Head," a unique evening featuring authors Lauren Groff and Robin Black in conversation on a shared stage. Black, who penned the novel novel “Life Drawing,” also reviewed Groff’s bestselling novel “Fates and Furies” for The New York Times Book Review. The authors will speak on writing, reading, and the theme of fated marriage.

The event will take place at St. Luke's School in New Canaan on Sept. 25 at 3 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required at newcanaanlibrary.org.

Copies of Groff's and Black's current and previously published books are available for purchase prior to the event at Elm Street Books at 35 Elm St. Books purchased in conjunction with Head to Head will be available to pick up at the event and a book signing with the authors will follow. Please note, no books will be available for purchase on the St. Luke's premises.

Affordable housing, myths vs. reality

Evonne M. Klein will speak to the New Canaan Men’s Club at 10 a.m. on Sept. 23 in Morrill Hall at St. Mark's Church. The focus of her presentation is "Affordable Housing in the 21st Century: Myths, Reality and Progress.”

Appointed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in 2013, Klein is the first commissioner of the newly created Connecticut Department of Housing, the lead state agency on housing matters. The department provides a wide array of funding programs and services aimed at ending homelessness, increasing the supply of affordable housing, and creating new homeownership opportunities for Connecticut residents.

Prior to her appointment as commissioner of housing, Klein served from 2001 to 2009 on the Board of Selectmen in the town of Darien, including three terms as First Selectman.

Conversations

on race

First Presbyterian Church of New Canaan’s “Conversations on Race” series continues on Sept. 28. Led by the New Canaan Chief of Police Leon M. Krolikowski, the Midweek Ministries program begins at 7:30 p.m. in the church common room. Community members are encouraged to attend any and all of the conversations.

First Presbyterian Church of New Canaan is located at 178 Oenoke Ridge Road. Please call the church office at 203-966-0002 or visit fpcnc.org for more information or to register for any of the church programs.

Free SAT, ACT planning seminar

On Sept. 28, test prep expert Lynn Carnegie will help parents and students answer the question of SAT or ACT. She will be giving a free seminar at 6:30 p.m. at the New Canaan Library to help freshmen, sophomores, and juniors - and their parents - create a testing plan that will work for them.

For students applying to competitive colleges, the SAT versus ACT question is particularly significant. Students face increasingly demanding schoolwork, sports schedules, and extracurricular activities, so the prospect of preparing for two admissions tests can seem daunting.