Seven New Canaan High School students were presented with the Kiwanis Peter B. Linden Drama Award at the high school’s recognition assembly June 2.

Phyllis Linden presented the award named in honor of Peter Linden, a respected member of New Canaan Kiwanis for many years. His passions were art and the theater, and in recognition of his contributions, The Kiwanis Club has established several New Canaan High School student awards for promising drama students.

The Outstanding Achievement in Technical Theater Award went to Jason Kurtzman and Maria Oliveira.

Melissa Beck and Edward Dahill earned the Court Miller Award for Achievement in Acting.

The Court Miller Award for Musical Theater went to Allison Demers and Joseph Turner.

Finally, Parker Ames snagged the Director’s Award.

Stars on stage

The Seven Angels Theatre presented the 14th Annual Halo Awards at the Palace Theatre in Waterbury celebrating the best in Connecticut high school theatre May 31.

This year 64 schools participated and the New Canaan High School Theatre Program, under the direction of Director Dee Alexander, received a total of 18 nominations, 13 for “The Will Rogers Follies, A Life In Revue” and six for “Feathers in the Wind.”

In the end, Joseph Turner snagged Best Actor in a Contemporary Musical for “Follies,” while Ian McPeake won Best Actor in an Ensemble Play for “Feathers.”

Additionally, Maddie Freidland won the Best Featured Dancer award for “Follies” and the cast in general took home the Best Dancing award for their performances in the musical.

At the awards ceremony, the New Canaan students performed “My Favorite Son” from “Follies.”

Among the graduates

Peter Richardson, of New Canaan, graduated from Union College in Schenectady, N.Y.

Richardson received a Bachelor of Arts cum laude, majoring in economics and classics.

At its 216th commencement celebration, spanning multiple ceremonies the weekend of May 20 and 21, the University of Vermont conferred degrees on three New Canaan natives.

Phillip Arliss graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in political science; David Crandall graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English; and Amanda Merjian graduated with a Bachelor of Science in early childhood special education.

Yuki Hoshina, of New Canaan, graduated with a degree in economics from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. during the May 5 commencement exercises.

Four New Canaan natives received bachelor’s degrees at Quinnipiac University’s 86th undergraduate commencement exercises, held on May 21 and 22.

Francis Duane earned a Bachelor of Arts in communications; Gianela Gutierrez earned a Bachelor of Arts in legal studies; Danielle Karp earned a Bachelor of Science in health science studies; and Christopher Koennecke earned a Bachelor of Science in economics.

Abigail Sawabini, of New Canaan, graduated from Colorado College with a bachelor’s degree in economics. Sawabini is a graduate of New Canaan High School.

Community Foundation gives grants

On May 23 at Norwalk Community College, Pacific House received a grant from the New Canaan Community Foundation in the amount of $12,000. The funds will support the Pacific House shelter emergency meals program, which provides two nutritious meals served daily to the 60 to 100 homeless men and young adults that come to the shelter each day.

In 2016 Pacific House emergency shelter served almost 50,000 meals and provided nearly 25,000 bed nights to homeless men and young adults from the community. The organization provides those men and young adults with programs and services to help them get back on their feet and lead more independent lives. The vast majority of the shelter’s clients come from Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, New Canaan and the rest of Fairfield County.

The Board of Directors of the New Canaan The Community Foundation also approved a $10,000 grant for the Person-to-Person Campership Program.

For nearly 50 years P2P has been sending elementary school children from low-income households to summer camps in Fairfield County, thereby making a difference in the lives of families who struggle to stretch meager budgets to cover essentials like food and rent.

The grant from the Foundation will fund a full summer of camp for 16 students.

70 other local organizations received grants from the New Canaan Community Foundation. The total amount distributed totaled over $670,000.

Tackling tough issues

On May 24 and 25, New Canaan Country School eighth graders presented at the school’s annual World Congress, a hallmark event of their year-long study of world cultures.

In the social-studies course, World Cultures, students examine the geography, history and cultures of Africa, the Middle East, East Asia and South Asia. Their course of study culminated in a major research project dealing with contemporary issues, including the environment, climate change, alternative energy, global health and human rights.

During the World Congress symposium, students individually took to the podium to present their issue summaries and field questions from the audience of teachers and classmates.

New Canaan Country School is a co-ed, independent day school for students in pre-K through grade 9.

Donating for dogs

For the past three years Pet Pantry Warehouse has organized and hosted the New Canaan Dog Days of Summer fundraiser to help support local pet rescue organizations, Adopt-a-Dog and Strays & Others Inc.

The event, which is now in its eighth year, was held on May 21 and raised $10,000 in proceeds that will be split between both beneficiary organizations.

New contests, more activities and special features were added to the event which included a bouncy house, petting zoo, face painter, family portrait photographers, caricature artist, top trainers that gave complimentary training and behavioral advice and scores of free samples from quality pet food distributors.

There were also dogs available for adoption at the annual event.

Eco-friendly students

To encourage New Canaan Country School students’ curiosity, seventh-grade science students spent the first trimester exploring the school’s 75-acre campus — much of it woods and trails — as part of their life science curriculum. As the year progressed, they learned how living beings are interconnected within an ecosystem and examined the role humans play within that environment.

Life science then shifted into environmental science and students were introduced to natural resources, energy and environmental issues, while also learning critical research and persuasion skills. Working collaboratively in teams, students were assigned a particular topic related to energy and ecosystem balance, which they researched extensively. These studies culminated in a series of evidence-based environmental debates.

After a month of intensive research and preparation, the seventh-graders presented their cases on topics such as the reintroduction of wolves to the northeast, nuclear energy, oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, wind power, hydro-fracking and the Keystone XL Pipeline.

The last term of the year had the students once again up and out of their classroom, this time exploring the ecosystem of the Long Island Sound. Taking a boat out onto the tidal estuary, the students examined water quality and observed first-hand the impact of environmental regulation, population growth and business development.

This culminating experience brought together both life and earth science principles, as well as what they had studied, discussed, debated and seen for themselves about biodiversity, sustainability and the environment.

New Canaan Country School is a co-ed, independent day school for students in pre-K through grade nine.