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School board welcomes choir back from Olympic adventure


GROTON — In their first meeting of the new academic year last week, members of the Groton-Dunstable Regional School Committee were greeted by students in the high school choir fresh from their triumphant return from the London Olympics.

The students spent nine days attending the Olympics in England over the summer, performing at a number of venues, including Canterbury Cathedral.

“It was awesome,” said choir member Paulo Filho of the event. “It was undoubtedly the most moving experience we had in London.”

Filho was one of a number of the high school’s award-winning choir group who made the historic trek to England after receiving a vote of approval from the School Committee.

The trip was led by music director Timothy Savoy with the choir operating within the structure of the Olympic event that included a number of stages around London, where a constant string of entertainment was provided in between screened highlights of the games.

The group was invited to entertain at the Olympics by KI Concerts after its winning performances at competitions along the east coast of the United States came to the attention of the company’s president.

In England, choir members performed in at least nine different venues from Hyde Park to outside the Tower of London to a setting in one of the city’s great cathedrals.

The group also performed in the Olympic Park itself.

“We were exposed to a lot of different cultures, which was fun,” said choir member Jennifer Shattuck of the many visitors from around the world who attended the games. “And our audiences were really enthusiastic.”

Typically, said Savoy, the group performed before audiences of about 200 to 300 people at a time.

Fittingly, however, the choir put finis to their overseas trip by singing the national anthem after leading last week’s School Committee meeting in the pledge of allegiance.

Also at their meeting of Sept. 12, School Committee members heard from interim Superintendent Anthony Bent on district goals he and fellow administrators have set for the coming year.

Calling formulation of the goals “a strong signal of the collaborative leadership” style he promised to bring to the district, Bent then listed what they were doing to start implementation of the state’s new educator evaluation system, which is to apply to half the teachers over the next year.

A second goal is also one imposed on the district by the state. There, the School Department will begin the transition to the Common Core State Standards to which the schools’ curriculum will need to be aligned.

Finally last week, the School Committee voted to approve a pair of overseas field trips for high school students.

One trip planned for Feb. 14 through Feb. 23 and consisting so far of 12 to 28 French and Spanish language students would be to Spain and France and could cost each child upwards of $2,419.

The other, planned for Feb. 13 through Feb. 23, would include 18 to 24 Spanish language and science students on a trip to Costa Rica, where they are expected to observe the local fauna and flora and some volcanic activity. The Costa Rican excursion is estimated to cost each student more than $2,379.

According to teacher and organizer Jean Ellis, no official fundraising is expected to earn money for those students who cannot afford the trips, but grants could be available and donations accepted.

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