"In this class are quiet, hard-working wonderful heros. Some were rogues and did not start out that way but all have ended up in the same place."
Principal Tony Pavia was describing the students who have gone above and beyond in their outstanding service to their classmates and to the community.
"Sometimes there are just not enough awards to go around," Pavia told them.
And so, the seniors serving on The Leadership Team were recognized at an awards dinner on May 26. Each received a small plaque and a big hug from the outgoing principal.
formed the team four years ago during her first year as assistant principal with school psychologist Rossella Fanelli when the Class of 2011 were freshmen.
Their intent was to build leadership potential, have more students take an active role in the school, increase the positive school climate and decrease disciplinary issues in this particular class.
"This was the class with 'the reputation,' Bartz said, "and now is probably the best class that has ever graduated from NCHS,"
"Without question!" Pavia added.
The team has been recognized as a top leadership group in the State of Connecticut for mentoring younger students, emergency crisis planning and alcohol and drug peer education programs and especially their anti-bullying efforts.
" was begun two years ago to combat bullying and otherwise "mean" behavior.
More than 100 leaders in the Class of 2011 were trained by the Anti-Defamation League and have changed the climate of the school. The program's common vocabulary of "Ally, Target and Perpetrator" has encouraged bystanders to become allies and created a new respect for diversity on campus.
"When I was in high school, I would not have had the guts to step up," Bartz told the students.
Ryyan Taylor is in his first year with "Names Can Hurt" said, "It was an honor to be part of it. I really like helping kids out and having the opportunity to work with all these great people."
"It's been a really empowering experience and I've learned a lot about the people I've been working with," said Jasmine Nelson.
Isabella Carrillo values the uniting factor of everyone joining together to accomplish something to benefit other classmates. "Names Can Hurt" especially helped us reach out to other students that you normally would not have the motivation to speak to," she said.
"Mrs. Bartz and I both get to graduate with you as a proud member of the Class of 2011," Pavia told the students.
Next year, Pavia will serve as the of Trinity Catholic High School and Bartz will become the of Pleasantville High School.
Again, Pavia acknowledged the quiet heros who set a tone in the school during his nine years that he said was unprecedented.
"I am proud and more importantly, I love you — that's the truth."