Obituary: Daniel W. Donnelly, 24, Beloved Son, Friend, Musician

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Jul 052017

Daniel W. Donnelly, 24, of Orange, left this world too soon on Monday, July 3, 2017. Born in Bridgeport on Sept. 3, 1992, Danny was the cherished son of Robert and Theresa Durso Donnelly. Growing up in Orange, he played baseball and was an avid Yankees fan.

He graduated from Amity High School, and his dream was to work in the music industry. He will be remembered for his love of guitars and music and for his favorite band, Phish, which he enjoyed following on tour with the love of his life, Emilee Sousa, the late Joey Ciancola and their many friends.

Danny is now reunited with his beloved brother, Robbie, and other family members Tim and Kim Donnelly, John Donnelly and Gerri Marie Durso. Besides his parents, he leaves behind many aunts, uncles, and cousins to cherish his memory, including Patricia Davitt, Kathleen Tillman, Chris, Mary, Paul and Mike Donnelly, Anne Gumersell, Janet Waldman, Mary Ellen and Jack Durso.

Visitation will be held on Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. at the West Haven Funeral Home at the Green. Remembrances and prayers for Danny will take place at the funeral home on Saturday morning at 10 o’clock. Burial will follow in Orange Center Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations, for the family, will be gratefully accepted at the funeral home.

UPDATE: Police Release Identities Of Dogburn Road Crash Victims

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Jun 222017

It’s Not Too Late To Enroll In Theater and Instrumental Music Camps

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Jun 182017

Award-winning Amity Theater Directors Rob and Andrea Kennedy invite students from second grade through high school for a summer filled with singing, dancing, acting, and lots of fun.

This is the tenth summer that they’ve run the Amity Theater Arts Camp, and this year, they’re celebrating the big tenth anniversary with “The Most Magical Show On Earth.”

The program features daily classes in singing, dancing and acting along with other activities.

Camp runs from July 5 – July 28 from 8 a.m. to noon. Click HERE for Registration information.

Music Camp

Don’t forget, there also is an Instrumental Music Camp at Amity.

This fun camp, for students ages 8 and up, is designed to teach students instrumental performance skills on the instrument of their choice, as well as build performance experience; build on their creative spirit and sense of accomplishment and, most of all, Have Fun!! All skill levels are welcome.

Camp Includes: Daily Group and Individual Classes, Sheet Music and Instruction Book, Studio Recording Sessions, Camp T-Shirt, Fun Camp Activities including Movie Day, Pirate Day and more, and Performance on stage at the end of the month. There is a $50 sibling discount if more than one student from the same family registers for camp.

Click HERE to register.

Instrument Rental

Instruments are available for rent, at an additional fee, through Bethel Music Center. See below for rental fees. (The renter is solely responsible for the instrument, as Amity Region 5 can assume no responsibility for rented instruments). The rental period is for 3 months, as time is needed to clean and prepare the instruments after they are used. Contact Bethel Music Center at (800)-276-7974 or visit their website: http://www.bmcmusicsource.com/index.php.

Music Camp is directed by award-winning Amity teacher and conductor Phil Dolan.

Both camps will take place at Amity High School, 25 Newton Road, Woodbridge, CT



Elizabeth Ewing’s “Soundtrack Of Our LIves” Commencement Speech

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Jun 182017

Amity Senior Class President Elizabeth Ewing integrates song titles into her commencement speech as she reminisces about the Class of 2017’s four years at Amity.

She skillfully fits plenty of fond memories into her 9 minutes in the spotlight.

Here is a VIDEO of Elizabeth’s speech.


Eric Greenbaum Brings Them To Their Feet With His Graduation Speech

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Jun 162017

Amity chose the Irrepressible Eric Greenbaum as the Outstanding Achievement – Extracurricular speaker for this year’s graduation ceremony.

Greenbaum, who brought audiences to their feet as Tevia in Fiddler on the Roof on both the Amity and Waterbury’s Palace Theater stages, also received a standing ovation from his fellow graduates at the commencement ceremony on June 14, 2017.

If you missed his hilarious speech, or if you were lucky enough to see it live and would like to see it again,… here it is for your viewing pleasure.

Get ready to laugh, he’s awesome. This is what you need right now.

Amity Students Flip At Graduation

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Jun 152017

Who is this Amity Grad?

The Amity High School Graduation was delightful. It was not too hot with a steady breeze. There were good class speakers, especially the extremely funny piece by Eric, the self-proclaimed most unqualified speaker. (Give me a couple of days to post the videos).

This year, there were fewer beach balls than ever before and I didn’t see one soap bubble rising from the grad seats.

Yet, there was some entertainment when the diplomas were handed out. As he approached the dignitaries from the right side of the field, one student did a perfect flip, received his diploma, then before the official photographer could take his picture, he flipped again and wowed the crowd.

A few minutes later a second classmate also showed his gymnastic skills after receiving his diploma.

From Baseball, Volleyball, Tennis, Theater, Science and more, the Class of 2017 is a very talented bunch.

We took more than 6,000 photos at graduation and it will take some time to edit all of them. They most likely will be available on Shutterfly or a similar service. 


After 32 Years At Amity, Deb-bie Da-vis Is Retiring

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Jun 142017

Retiree Debbie Davis

If you attended Amity High School anytime since 1985, even if you weren’t a student and just stopped by for an event, you know Debbie Davis.

The “most beloved teacher” at Amity is retiring after 32 years.

Debbie came to Amity as a Health and Physical Education teacher and got involved with everything over the years.

She was a Senior Class Advisor for 20 years, Co-Chairman of the BOW Relay For Life, helped with the After Prom and was the school’s biggest and loudest cheerleader.

Her former boss Athletic Director Paul Mengold would ask her to do something with athletics and she would dive in with both feet.

Prior to her employment at Amity, Debbie’s husband Paul Davis was the Amity Boys and Girls Swim Coach and she became dedicated to that program. To this day, she still announces at Amity’s home swim meets in Orange.

Legendary Amity Football Coach Bill Johnson, Teacher Debbie Davis.

As she reflected on three decades with Amity, Debbie said, without missing a beat, that her favorite part was, “I LOVE, love, being with my Department. We laugh every day when you go to work it’s like an extended family,” she said. “I’m extremely fortunate.”

Debbie also loves the kids, she loves watching them as they grow from Freshman to Seniors and seeing their academic and athletic accomplishments over the years.

Although tennis is her favorite person sport, at the school she is partial to girls volleyball because of the coach, her son Seth (who was chosen by his peers as the 2017 Coach of the Year).

“They have a phenomenal team,” she said.

It seems that every day, Debbie runs into a former student who will give her a hug and chat.

One such incident surprised her when the gentleman said that she “changed his life forever and for that he will always be indebted.”

Debbie’s lesson to him was to think with your heart, not with your brain.

She feels that the best thing she’s taught her students is the importance of relationships with their family members, not just their friends. “Talk to your parents, talk to your siblings because they are the most important people in your life.”

Debbie’s husband, Paul, said, “She loves the kids but demands respect and she treats them with respect. She always tells them the truth she will let them know if they aren’t being respectful.”

“Debbie is like a second parent to the kids at Amity. She demands that they work to their highest potential, but also knows the importance of having fun,” Paul said.

Her popularity is evident at basketball games and other events when the kids start chanting “Deb-bie Da-vis,” out of the blue.

The Administration allowed Debbie to do the things she did because they knew it worked.

Amity Principal Anna Mahon spoke affectionately about her. “Debbie Davis is not just the face of Amity, she is the heart and soul. She has been a part of our school community and the greater BOW community for so many years and so many ways.”

Mahon continued, “The students love Mrs. Davis because they know that she truly loves them. Debbie is one of the most enthusiastic educators I know and she will be sorely missed by everyone, particularly during lunch when we no longer have her whistle to rely on or her signature yell while standing on a bench seat, “Clean off  your tables, thank you!”

Athletic Director Ernie Goodwin has only worked with Davis for a couple of years, but already has a deep respect and affection for her.

He said, “She embodies everything Amity Athletics stands for. She knows what’s right, what’s wrong, and she calls people on their behavior.”

George Geane and Debbie Davis

“You know she’s special when you meet her,” Goodwin said. “Everyone gravitates toward her and everyone knows her as a motherly figure.”

“What I will miss most about her is when she’ll close my door and say, “Ok, talk to me what’s the matter.” He added, “Thankfully, she will still help out next year, so we’ll see her, but I will miss the day to day interactions.”

Her friend and Relay Co-Chair Lynn Plaskowitz said, “Debbie is a very special person. She loves the kids and puts her heart into everything she does. She is respected by everyone and has a great sense of humor.”

Davis said she has mixed emotions about leaving Amity.

She will miss her best buddy Betsy in the Amity Athletic Department, with whom she has worked for many years and never argued even once.

She will no longer work 14 hour days and will have more time to spend with her grandchildren.

She can get up at any time she wants in the morning, take a swim, babysit the grandchildren and simply enjoy life. But don’t worry Amity. She’ll still be around at the games with her signature yell,  “Come On Amity!”

Orange Live wishes you the very best in your retirement, Debbie. You are a Very special lady and we treasure your friendship and wisdom over the years.

Visit our FACEBOOK page to leave a comment, share a memory or wish Debbie well. 

The Best Of The Best In Amity Athletics Honored In Orange

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Jun 132017

Three incredible Amity Spartans, Andy Hague, Max Scheps and Teddy Hague

The Amity Athletics Booster Club hosted its 61st Annual Block A Athletic Award Dinner at Grassy Hill Country Club on Sunday, June 11.

The best of the best in Amity Athletics gathered at the event, which withholds the names of the winners until they are officially announced by his or her coach following a brief biography.

In addition, four retiring coaches/educators also were recognized for their contributions: George Taylor, Rick McGowan, Gary Lindgren and Debbie Davis.

Girls Basketball MVP Emma Gehr

Following are the 2016-2017 MVPs in their respective sports: 

Baseball – Max Scheps

Boys Basketball – Tyler Thomas

Girls Basketball – Emma Gehr

Dance – Sophie Benjamin

Boys Cross Country – Kyle Beaudette

Boys Golf MVP Charlie Czejka

Cross Country – Emily Criscuolo

Field Hockey – Jenna Thomas

Football – Colin Beaulieu

Boys Golf – Charlie Csejka

Girls Golf – Bridget Barnsley

Boys Ice Hockey – Nick DeGennaro

Girls Ice Hockey – Tess Csejka

Boys Indoor Track and Field MVP Kyle Beaudette

Boys Indoor Track and Field – Kyle Beaudette

Girls Indoor Track and Field – Natalie Iwaszkiewicz

Boys Lacrosse – Mark Della Torre

Girls Lacrosse – Ana Carney

Boys Ski Racing – Henry Molot

Girls Ski Racing – Mary Foley

Boys Soccer – Matthew D’Onofrio

Girls Swimming MVP Megan Lasto

Girls Soccer – Jennifer Hauser

Softball – Brooke Matyasovsky

Boys Swimming – Colin Roy

Girls Swimming – Megan Lasto

Boys Tennis – Marco DelSanto

Girls Tennis – Daphne Kreiger

Girls Track and Field – Amy Chen

Boys Volleyball – Ari Kaufman-Frankel

Wrestling MVP Nathan Shilling

Girls Volleyball – Kathleen Walsh

Wrestling – Nathan Shilling

And here are some special awards, and scholarship awards:

Versatility Award – John Ahern and Emma Gehr

Scholar Athlete – Teddy Hague and Bailey MacNamara

Sportsmanship Award – Nathan Shilling and Natalie Iwaszkiewicz

Unified Sportsmanship Award Valeria Asperelli

Paul Mengold Outstanding Leadership Award – Andrew Hague

Albert J. Seymour Memorial Award – Matthew Hill and Jessica Ferraiolo

Thomas G. Laugeni Memorial Award – Ari Kaufman-Frankel and Kathleen Walsh

Steven J. Zeider Memorial Swimming Award – Zachary Babbitz

James Dunleavy Memorial Hockey Award – Zachary White

Coach of the Year Seth Davis (2nd from Left)

Mark E. Greco Memorial Hockey Award – Nicholas DeGennaro

Jeremy Saxe Memorial Scholarship – Alexander Friedman

Thomas J. Ross Memorial Manager Award – Daniel Chodos

Coach of the Year Award – Seth Davis

Assistant Coach of the year – Chris Parisi

Outstanding Service Award – David Teitelman

Athlete of the Year Award – Colin Beaulieu and Emily Criscuolo

Not Presented At Block A Dinner

Joseph Ciancola Memorial Baseball Award – Andrew Hague

CIAC Scholar Athlete Award – Bailey MacNamara and Jethin Gowda

Jeffery Ramadon Lacrosse Scholarship – Mark Della Torre

Marietta Mattei Outstanding Citizenship – Andrew Hague



Jun 112017

There is one very disturbing trend that we see every year around graduation week, and that is the THEFT of congratulatory balloons from the tri-town area.

Kids, remember, if you didn’t get any balloons of your own, you do not have the right to STEAL someone else’s.

Last year in Orange, someone or a couple of people went around and cut the strings on bundles of balloons, at the expense of the family members who dished out $5 each for the gifts.

It is uncertain if the nasty culprits simply let the helium filled mylar balloons fly or if they took them for themselves. In either instance it is wrong. The loose balloons most likely will end up killing sea turtles or whales (so congratulations, genius).  And the sudden appearance of these grad balloons on your own mailbox several days after the deliveries were completed, earmark you as a selfish individual.

If the individual(s) is/are caught they could face charges of criminal mischief or sixth-degree larceny (depending on just how many balloons you stole) and won’t it be embarrassing to have THAT on your record when you go for a job interview? — It tells a LOT about your character.

Urgent Message: Help Needed Delivering Graduation Balloons

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Jun 112017

Amity-balloonsFI-300x187Please help! The Amity PTSO is in desperate need of drivers to deliver more than 4,000 balloons to graduates.

If you have time tomorrow, please come to Amity Regional High School. PTSO members will be here to provide bundles of balloons and addresses.

The task involves delivering the balloons to the addresses and tying the balloons to a graduate’s mailbox.

The bigger your car the better; so, if you have an SUV and a few hours available tomorrow Monday, June 12 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. in the ARHS cafe. Please lend a hand and help brighten the community.

Please consider signing up for a time. If you can only do an hour, that is fine.  Please include your e-mail address in the comment section of the doodle sign up.  We appreciate any time you can give to this event. Any questions can be directed to Kathy Sabitsky at  ksabitsky@gmail.com. Thank you for your support.

Note: I did this last year, and it was not a “chore” it felt good to help. You can take as many bundles as you’d like and when you are done you are DONE OR you can go back and get more.