One of the most important components of the Starfish Connection program is to provide a variety of enrichment experiences that gives our students the opportunity to experience the world.  With this comes a growing sense of confidence that positively impacts a child’s life!

Naimah

I am so proud of the progress Naimah has made as a Starfish Scholar. She holds a straight A average in the honors program in middle school and plays the flute in the school band. Her academic success has given her self-confidence and poise in social situations. She is more readily able to advocate for herself with her teachers to earn extra credit or help with a problem. She dreams of a career in medicine. I think she is well on her way!

-Meg Mooar

Guisel

Guisel and I have enjoyed baking and cooking together over the years. When asked to identify her favorite dessert, she answered “Cheesecake.” I found the original Craig Claiborne recipe. He was the much respected restaurant critic for the New York Times for years. We followed the recipe exactly. It had many steps, one of which was just letting it sit after it was baked and the refrigerated for many hours. I delivered it to Guisel and her family the next day. Last week we talked about how many steps it took to create this glorious cheesecake. Guisel told me it was “divine.” It was worth all the time and steps to create it, not to mention the calories!

-Rosalea Fisher

Emmi

I remember how tentative and shy Emmi was when we first met.  She has become very outgoing since she joined Starfish.  The first time she went swimming for example, she was afraid to get in the pool and get her face wet.  After a few summers of swimming at Sacred Heart Camp, she has become a strong swimmer and gained so much confidence.  That confidence then transferred to lessons at The Ballet School of Stamford, where she now takes lessons 4 ½ hours each week.  Recently, my heart nearly burst when I watched Emmi perform gracefully on stage at the Palace Theater in Alice in Wonderland.  It is so gratifying to see how far she has come and all that she has accomplished.

-Sarah Arnold Rosetti 

Gemere

Our favorite activities were museum visits, one with Starfish and one just the two of us. We went to Stepping Stones Museum with the group, and to a one-woman art show at the Stamford Museum and Nature Center by ourselves. The art show included paintings of scenery from many parts of the world which led to our playing a geography game that has become an ongoing fun pastime of ours. Gemere looks up information about different cities and countries in the U. S. and abroad, sharing pictures of different places. Gemere is making friends within his Starfish group, took his first train ride to NYC and visited an airport where he saw planes take off and land. His world is already changing!

-Susan Toliver

Fifth Grade Book Club

Once a month, for the past two years, five of our Starfish fifth graders- Brander, Cindy, Esther, Keyli, James and their mentors, meet to talk about books! The group rotates among the homes of the mentors. In the beginning, the mentors would select the book. Now the young readers have matured and the students take turns selecting a book and facilitating the discussion. The child who selects the book is responsible for preparing questions that are sent to everyone before the meeting and then leads the discussion. Everyone shares their thoughts and ideas as they relate to the book. Many themes such as anti-bullying, tolerance for differences and disabilities, survival, resourcefulness, team work, animal cruelty, and standing up for the underdog make for lively discussions. Often each book club participant draws a picture of their favorite scene or part of the book. They recently read Indiana Bamboo and met local author Meira Rosenberg. She discussed the book and answered questions about the creative inspiration for her characters, setting and plot. What an amazing experience for all!

-Cheryl Palmer, Diane Green, BJ Mocarski, Amy Starobin, Peter Lilienthal

Mischou

Mischou with mentor Carol Lilienthal

Mischou attended AITE where he was a top student and a member of the Honor Society. He has enrolled at Tufts University for the fall. Michou excelled in science and math throughout high school and he is planning to major in engineering. Mischou was a varsity pole vaulter with the Westhill High School track team, and he volunteered during high school at both Ferguson Library and at his church. He also loves music and plays both guitar and piano. During the summer, he worked in the City of Stamford Department of Engineering. Mischou was selected as a QuestBridge College Prep Scholar and was named one of the 2016 “10 Teens with a Bright Future” by Stamford Magazine.

Jon

Jon with mentor Kate Herman

Jonathan was accepted at all three of the colleges to which he applied. He has chosen to study business at UCONN, Stamford. He attended AITE where he formed many friendships and enjoyed club soccer. Jon was one of the first students invited to join Starfish Connection because, in addition to the basic requirements, he embodies so many of the values and qualities the organization prizes: conscientiousness, love of family and community, and willingness to help others. Throughout the years he volunteered with Neighbor’s Link, the Food Bank, and St Mary’s RC Church. Through Starfish, Jon was selected to participate in the Stewardship Program at Mill River Park. Recently he interned at First County Bank, an experience that will be invaluable to him in his career.

Beverly

Beverly with mentor Maria Millan

Beverly is a charming young woman and a serious student who excelled in high honors and AP classes at Stamford High School. In the fall she will attend Tufts University. Beverly was a member of both the National Honor Society and the Tri-M Music Honor Society. She was Drum Major and Woodwind Captain at SHS and a flutist with the Stamford Young Artists Philharmonic. She also worked as features editor of the SHS newspaper while maintaining an after-school job. Among other volunteer activities, she was a mentor at Stark Elementary School. Beverly received the Outstanding Arts Award from the CT Association of Schools. During the summers, she has been a counselor with the Young Mariners program, having learned to sail at YM through Starfish Connection.