26 Days Of Kindness: Small Gestures Gain Momentum Year By Year

Like many others, Ashley Petersen did not know any of the children or women who were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on 12/14, but she was horrified and changed by what happened that day. A former student of SHES, Mrs Petersen (née Bochino) did know that building and many of those inside it. She has a younger sister, Cassidy, who also attended the Dickinson Drive elementary school, so Mrs Petersen was part of that school community again until about five years ago. The Newtown High School graduate was moved last year to create 26 Days of Kindness. She encouraged people to do something nice for 26 days straight. Each day honored one of the children and women killed that chilly Friday morning.

Planes, Trains, And — A Bicycle

It was by chance, not design, that 18-year-old Amaury Bargioni of Paris, France, ended up at Newtown General Store on Thursday, December 11, for lunch. And it was by chance that Newtown residents Joanne and Phil Keane struck up a conversation with the young man, intrigued by his arrival on a pack-laden bicycle — and that he was wearing only a T-shirt on a chilly, snowy day that had most locals bundled up in parkas and wool sweaters. “We had to know what he was up to,” said Ms Keane, as well as advise the traveler on a second sandwich to add to the Golden Chicken he had already ordered: a bacon, egg, and cheese on a roll. The young guest had just pedaled into town from Mahopac, N.Y., on his way that day to Middletown. It was a very short leg of his ambitious bicycle trip that began in Paris on September 15 and, if all goes to plan, will ultimately find him rolling around the world before he returns to his home city in June.

A Kind Challenge At Middle Gate

Middle Gate Elementary School students were offered a challenge during two school assemblies on Wednesday, December 10: to conduct at least 1,000 acts of kindness by the end of the school year. “We’re here to talk about kindness,” said Middle Gate third grade teacher Claire DeSisto, who welcomed students to the first Community Circle assembly last Wednesday. Kindness, as Ms DeSisto pointed out to the students, is something the school community has discussed and focused on before.

Producer, Local Rappers Meet In The Cloud, Create Street Smart Beats

One evening last winter as Newtown High School graduate and aspiring rapper Mason West — a/k/a Stirling DuBois — was sitting in his dorm room at the University of Vermont surfing Soundcloud looking for inspiration and possible collaborators, he discovered not one, but two protégés right back here at his own alma mater. Enter two current NHS seniors: rapper Chris Daly and producer Zach Aumueller. That rhythmic attraction resulted in West’s first project, called "The Complex EP" — executive produced by his newfound creative co-pilot Aumueller. Thanks to that project, West says he now has a “small but buzzing fan base and am beginning to book [live] shows of my own.”

Newtown Bee Special Sections