Student Achievements - April 2017

Student of the Month -- Emilia MacGuiness Getzinger

Sophomore Emilia McGuiness Getzinger was chosen as the Student of the Month - Religion. It is apparent through comments on her nomination form that the Catholic faith is more than an academic subject and is a lived experience for Emilia. Emilia's work always reflects her commitment to excellence, and her homework is done with a level of detail that enriches class discussion and has a positive impact on her peers. Congratulations Emilia on this well-deserved award!

Emilia said that she was honored to be named Religion Student of the Month. "My faith is extremely important to me, and I try to make God the center of my life. I want to offer everything I have to Him, and to be able to glorify Him through my studies, my creative expression, my interactions with others and everything else that I do," she said. "He gave me everything good that I have, and I try to serve Him in everything I do and to become the best version of myself," Emilia added.

Emilia's favorite thing about Immaculate High School is its drama program. "I love being able to participate in the Fall Drama and the Spring Musical, where I can act and spend time with the rest of the cast and the crew. I also love the art program, and I enjoy having an art class daily," she said.

Daily Adoration at IHS is also important to Emilia. "It brings me great joy to be able to go to Adoration every day during lunch, since I have the opportunity to spend time with Jesus. At most other schools, I would not be able to do that," she noted.

Besides participating in the plays and musicals at Immaculate (the recent Fiddler on the Roof was her fourth show at IHS), Emilia is also part of the Newspaper Club, A Cappella Club, Campus Ministry and the Literary Magazine. "The drama and art programs inspire me to glorify God through creative expression," she said.

Still pondering what to do after graduation in a few years, Emilia is considering studying some aspect of theatre, theology, psychology, political science or creative writing.

"I want people to understand the Catholic faith more, because most people, including myself, have only a limited understanding of it," she said, and she has ideas about how to help her fellow students. "Although religion classes are very good and informative, it is hard for students to realize the point of practicing Catholicism at all unless they see reason for doing it," she indicated.

In addition to Emilia, the following students were recognized and nominated for their outstanding contributions to the IHS Religion program: senior Colm Doherty, juniors Lauren Garvey and Mackenzie Mullins, sophomore Mary Johnson and freshmen Elizabeth Flaherty, George Hyland and Alex Werdann.

Congratulations to These Creative Students for Their

Outstanding Achievements and Awards!!

Seniors Isabel Kent placed third and Brianna Policarpio received an honorable mention in the City of Danbury's Cultural Commission's 49th annual Poetry Contest Awards.

The contest was open to all high school students attending school in Danbury, and this year almost 100 poems were submitted. The contest's judge, Professor Emeritus James Scrimgeour, chose four poems for small cash awards and an additional four honorable mentions. The awards will be given on May 11, 2017 at Western Connecticut State University and will feature a reading of the four winning poems by the authors. Isabel won for her poem TIGHTER, and Brianna was honored for her poem To Love a Soldier.

Freshman Ian Fitzgerald recently did extremely well in the U.S. Geography Olympiad/International Geography Bee in Washington, DC. In the U.S. Geography Olympiad, JV section he placed 66th overall, and 66th as well in the International Geography Bee, JV section.

Additionally, Ian was chosen to carry the Connecticut State Flag at the Opening Ceremony, and when bad weather prevented the Florida team from attending, Ian was asked to participate as a solo team from Immaculate High School in its place in another round of the competition. He represented Immaculate and had several close scoring rounds. As a result, Ian was placed into the group called "sixes" (all those teams in his grouping that placed 6th in the first 5 rounds), and in the second five rounds Ian had three very close scoring rounds and won two rounds -- in the consolation round he placed 12th overall in this group. To top it all off, Ian was the only one in this group to earn a perfect score in a lightning round about Alexander the Great and did very well in another Lightning Round on Early Islam.

According to all, Ian had fun, learned a lot and made some new friends from Princeton, Florida and the Delaware Valley. He did an amazing job representing IHS -- so much so that several teams commented on his composure and knowledge.

Junior A.J. Vitiello won a National Medal in Flash Fiction from the 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards in March. Senator Chris Murphy sent him a congratulatory letter, stating that "the ability to express oneself in any art form is invaluable...I am so proud of the example you have set for your peers."

A.J.'s "The Gospel According to Steve Harvey" is a flash fiction piece that won the National Gold Medal in the Scholastic competition; this remarkable short story depicts how a teenage girl's relationship with her grandmother is affected by Alzheimer's disease. A.J. will go Carnegie Hall in June for a special ceremony. His "Home," a story about a homeless/immigrant teenager witnessing the terrorist attacks on September 11, won an Honorable Mention in the NY to CT region of the competition. CLICK HERE for both stories.

Since 1923, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Awards have recognized creative teenagers from across the country. Past Medalists have included celebrated authors and artists including Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, Robert Redford, Lena Dunham and Paul Chan. More than 330,000 works of art and writing were submitted by students in grades 7–12 this year. Nearly 19,000 works earned regional Gold Keys and advanced to national adjudication in NYC; of those Gold Key works, just 2,736, including A.J., received National Medals, placing him within the top 1% of all submissions.

This is not the first time A.J. has won Scholastic Awards. The future great novelist submitted excerpts last year from the first five chapters of his novel "Field Mouse" that he is currently writing, and ended up winning a National Silver Medal in the Novel Writing category of the 2016 competition. Additionally, his horror story "Masks" won a Silver Key in the Hudson to Housatonic region of the 2016 competition. A.J.'s dream is to be a fiction writer, and he is well on his way!!

Freshman G. Edward Bell is a member of League of Extraordinary Roboticists, FTC Team number 8699, a community robotics team made up of middle school and high school students from the Greater Danbury-Connecticut area, including New York. The team competes through FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in the FIRST Tech Challenge and was invited to compete at the FIRST Robotics World Championships in St. Louis, Missouri on April 26-April 29.

The team's mission is to "change the face of robotics by inspiring and engaging kids, females, minorities and others with 'different abilities' to get involved in Science Technology Engineering Art and Math (STEAM) fields, in particular robotics," with the objective "to be living examples of diversity and inclusion" in robotics while at the same time demonstrating how fun robotics can be. In order to change stereotypes, the team agreed to have at least one community outreach event every month and partner with other community organizations for education and recruitment.

Seniors Zachary Perna and Linus Jia received Connecticut High School Fine Arts Awards for their talents in music and art. These annual awards honor two outstanding seniors from each of the member schools in Connecticut who excel in the performing or visual arts. Students must also possess the qualities of scholarship and leadership. Both students were honored at the Connecticut Association of Schools' High School Fine Arts Awards Recognition Banquet in early April. Helping them celebrate were IHS faculty Samantha Kohler, Graphics Art teacher, and Niall Reynolds, Instrumental Music Teacher and Band Director.