Thursday, October 20, 2016

Oct 21

2Nite!  5th & 6th Grade Fun Night. Friday, October 21st. 7-9PM. Halloween Theme. $10/child admission. Please sign up ahead of time by clicking here. We need parent chaperones, too. Any questions? Contact Kathleen Luce at  Important note: Please do not drop off your child before the doors open, please be timely at pick-up time, and please remember to sign your child IN & OUT! This is a fundraising event, and the cost is now $10/child in order to help reduce the number of fundraisers and the need to ask you for money again and again. Please notify the PTO at the above address if this is financial hardship.

2Day! Attention: Girls Soccer Players in Grades K-6 - Harwood Girls Varsity Soccer Coach Mike Vasseur would like to invite all girl soccer players in grades K-6 to the annual training with the Harwood Girls Varsity team on Friday Oct. 21 from 4 to 5:15 p.m. at Harwood.

2Nite!  The Harwood Union Music Department will be presenting a special evening of music on Friday, October 21st at 7:30pm. "Harwood Strong: A Benefit Concert" will feature many local performers, and all proceeds will go toward the Celebration of Life event which the Harwood Junior Class and Teacher Advisors are currently planning for all five students.
Special guests include: George Woodard, Inora Brass, Mad River Chorale, The Renegade Groove, Sarah Reid (Class of 2011) with additional performances by our student Assembly Band, Honors Choir, and our music faculty Bruce Sklar, Chris Rivers, and Stefanie Weigand.
Harwood is mourning the loss of five vibrant teenagers from the community, but with a separate memorial celebration already in the planning stages, this concert will have a very different feel and purpose. "We are looking to provide the community with a place to gather, listen to some great music, and just take a breath." says Weigand. "Music helps us to heal and brings people together, which is what we all need right now."
Tickets will be sold at the door with a suggested donation of $15 per person. 100% of the ticket sales will go toward the funding of the HUHS Celebration of Life event scheduled for Monday, October 24th. For more information on the concert, please contact Stefanie Weigand or Chris Rivers at Harwood Union HS (882- 1159 or 882-1160). 

Stowe Ski & Ride Program- time sensitive, with an October 21st deadline- click here for all the details!

Save the Date!  Student-led conferences are happening at CBMS from 3-8 PM on Nov 10th.  Sign-ups will open next Friday, and details on how to sign up will be coming in next week's Cougar Comments.

Lego Robotics Sign-Up Nov 2016- This class is for students in grades 5-8, and is open to the first 10 students. Classes will take place on Mondays, Nov 7, 14, 21 and 28. 2:45-4:45 pm in the Dream/Quest wing. Cost is $75/student. To sign up, click here. Mike Maloney will be leading. Please make checks payable to "Mike Maloney". Refer questions to Mike at Please submit requests for financial assistance to Tom Drake at

Helping Teens with Traumatic Grief: A Forum for Caregivers.  To support the needs of all families, we are now offering two different dates and times for this forum. Also know, that as time passes, additional forums will also be scheduled.  In order to have adequate space, please RSVP to Wendy Gilbert (882-1101) or if you plan on attending.
  1. Thursday, October 27th from 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m at HUHS. 
  2. Tuesday, November 1st from 6:00 - 7:30 p.m at HUHS. 

How is CBMS supporting our students and being 'Harwood Strong'?   The tragedy of October 8th tipped the definition of "normal" for many of us right on it's head.  As a general rule, normal is good because normal is what we know and can expect and can count on.  Since the tragedy, we have strived to make CBMS an oasis of normal and an oasis of support in a turbulent world.   We have leaned on Harwood and the work of their crisis team and grief experts, and we have kept our eyes, ears, and hearts open to our students who are in need of support.  Systems and supports that have helped in this regard include our AG program which breeds an ability to know our students, the writing of memory book postcards for HU, visits by therapy dogs, the wearing of black and gold ribbons and "HU Strong" pins, the ability to get outside and move more with the additions of the slackline and GaGa pit, and forging ahead with relationship and community building events like last week's well-attended 7/8 Dance, tonight's 5/6 Fun Night, and the upcoming 8th grade vs Staff soccer game.  We view the grieving attached to the tragedy of October 8th as one which will remain within this community for a long, long while, and we at CBMS are committed to maintaining our campus as a calm oasis in the midst of the turbulence through the long journey ahead.

CBMS School Counselor Jennie Hempey's perspective - I have seen a lot of kids over the past two weeks on an individual and small group basis.  The kids have come steadily when and as they've needed, and they are slowly processing and talking about their needs.  The thing I am struck by most is that many kids are grappling with the idea that there is not a way to "make" this better.  It is simply a new normal that they are having to adjust to.  Because the losses we've experienced were those of young kids, our kids have been abruptly faced with the idea of their own mortality.  This is a hard and scary topic to discuss, but they are moving forward through it.  I am proud of them and will continue to be there to support them for as long as it takes.  

Resources for dealing with grief with children and families
  • WDEV radio show with sudden death trauma specialist Fran Whitney Nelson- click here
  • Helping Young Children with Traumatic Grief- click here
  • Helping Teens with Traumatic Grief- click here
  • The Dougy Center- National Center for Grieving Children and Families- click here

How Are We?  Please Don’t Fade Away…from Superintendent Brigid Nease

For the past eight days, it seems as though every other minute I am being asked, how are you? How are your students, faculty, and administration? Simply put, we are not well, but we will be ok. We are Harwood Strong. 

Eight days ago our Harwood School Community received the tragic and unbelievable news that we had lost five wonderful, bright and talented Highlanders; Eli, Cyrus, Mary, Liam and Janie, in a senseless traffic accident. There are no words adequate to describe the loss of these students. Our grief and pain are felt deeply by everyone around the state because we all know that these five students could just as easily have been our sons and daughters, and that any one of our schools could be suffering this tragedy.

Immediately on Sunday, the Harwood Crisis Team went into action. We partnered with other professionals who offered help as well as local clergy and opened up the HUHS building on Sunday and Monday to all those needing to come. Monday, our crisis team gathered to plan for the opening of school on Tuesday. Nothing could have prepared us for this week. We remained steadfast in our mission to keep all students safe and supported, and the gut wrenching grieving continued. None of us really know what we are doing. There is no script, no plan for this. We keep putting one foot in front of the other, work hour to hour, day to day and week to week, as we mourn deeply with the families of these students and our communities. 

Following the beautiful vigil on Monday, our students returned. We continue to provide individual and group counseling services, art therapy, service dogs, a dedicated memorial space where students can leave mementos and write special messages about their friends, several gathering spaces set up with food and other supports, assemblies, debriefings, and regular messages home to parents. We are taking our lead from our students. They are telling us what they need as they figure out what that is.

The path of healing we are traveling together will become a long road. By the time you read this, we will have attended at least four memorial services alongside our students, providing busing to each. I cannot begin to explain to you the pervasive, deep pain present every day in our building. I cannot begin to explain to you the immense courage, empathy, love and hope that accompanies that pain. Our students are remarkable. Their ability to openly share their feelings of grief and remembrances of their lost friends would blow you away. They exude maturity, wisdom, and compassion far beyond their years. You can be very, very proud of them.

You can also be very proud of the entire staff, faculty and administration at Harwood. I remain in awe of their strength, dedication and skill to help and support our students while they themselves are grieving. They inspire me,  and I admire them. 

Our students, staff and administration are comforted and feel loved by the overwhelming generosity and kindness coming our way from other schools, businesses, individuals, and so many from around our beautiful state of Vermont. The numerous cards, flowers, food, gifts, and donations are sincerely appreciated and needed. You are lifting us up.  I would like to sincerely thank you all on behalf of all of us. 

As we move forward, things continue to change day to day. We will continue to provide whatever support is necessary to take care of our kids.  Fortunately, with help from the Governor’s Office and the Agency of Human Services, we are able to bring on a Clinical Crisis and Recovery Coordinator and a Social Worker to support HUHS, funded by AHS. This will help us immensely.

Some of the other pieces we are working on are offering some other therapeutic options for students, such as trauma informed drumming, Tai Chi, Yoga, and other exercise opportunities. Staff from all the schools in WWSU are gathering and preparing written memories about all five of our lost students, which will be compiled into memory books for each of their families. Soon, parents will be invited to participate in a parent night focused on how to provide support for students struggling with grief.

Our students, along with the faculty and administration, are planning a Celebration of Life for Eli, Cyrus, Mary, Liam and Janie on Monday, October 24th from 6:00-8:00pm at HUHS. More information will be coming, but I can tell you that event will be held in the gym, with live streaming into the auditorium. This will give us a capacity of about 2200. Parking will be limited at HUHS because staff and many students will already be parked there. We ask you to park at your local schools and businesses and we will provide busing from those locations. 

Thank you for helping by walking on this healing path with us. No one would wish to be on this journey. All of us wish we could simply awaken from a very bad dream, but that isn’t possible. We need to remain each other’s soft place to fall. Often with tragedies of this magnitude, the outpouring of support naturally fades over time. Stay with us. Please don’t fade away. Our kids at Harwood and, due to the widespread ripple effect of this tragedy, in schools throughout the state, need us, and they will for some time to come. We are Harwood Strong. Community Strong. Vermont Strong.


Please join us for a fundraiser at the Mad River Barn on Wednesday, October 19th from 5:00 pm until 10:00 pm, with a Buffet Dinner Service ($22 adults / $12 children under 12). This is a "show up and eat" event (no reservations required/accepted). Our goal is to feed 600 people, so please spread the word.   100% of the proceeds will be donated to the Mad River Valley “Five Families” Community Fund

- Field greens / roasted winter veg / cherry vinaigrette
- Herb roasted chicken
- Meatloaf
- Garlic mash potato
- Vegetable stew / smoked cheddar polenta
- Ben & Jerry's ice cream

We are also hosting a silent auction with over $22,000 in auction items. To view and place bids on auction items, please visit this link.

Lastly, we'll be submitting to the Mad River Valley "Five Families" Community Fund over $11,000 in monetary donations contributed as part of this fundraising effort.

Got Candy?  Once again the residents of Randall, Elm and a few other popular Village of Waterbury streets are gearing up for a great Halloween for your ghosts, goblins, zombies and princesses! There will be Candy Donation Stations at both TBPS and CBMS starting Wed 10/19 thru Friday, 10/28. Thanks for helping!

Mad River Valley Old Time Harvest Festival this Saturdaycheck the e-community bulletin board for details.

Upcoming Dates of Note:  
  • 2nite! Oct 21- 5/6 Fun Night @ CBMS- 7-9PM
  • Oct 24- A Celebration of Life @ HUHS- 6-8PM
  • Oct 27- Helping Teens with Traumatic Grief: A Forum for Caregivers @ HUHS- 11:30am-1pm
  • Nov 1- School Photo re-take day
  • Nov 1- CBMS PTO meeting- 6:30PM
  • Nov 1- WDSD School Board meeting @ CBMS- 6PM 
  • Nov 1- Helping Teens with Traumatic Grief: A Forum for Caregivers @ HUHS- 11:10am-1pm
  • Nov 8- Election Day
  • Nov 10- Student-led Conferences @ CBMS- 3-8PM
  • Nov 11- 7/8 Dance @ HUMS- 7-9PM
  • Nov 17- Concert- 6-8 band, Jazz band, 5-8 chorus- 7PM
  • Nov 23, 24, 25- Thanksgiving Break- no school for students

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